follow us in feedly
‘I’ve got what you want!’: Vintage ads for mail order smut
10:49 am


porn books
porn ads

This is how it was back in the sixties and seventies. No Pornhub. No XVideo. No HD stuff. No downloadable porn just a keystroke away. If you wanted to watch a porno flick in Moosefart, Montana, or keep a stash of uncensored 8x10s in your bedroom closet, well you had to check the small ad pages in adult magazines like Follies, Frolic, Nugget, Dude, Rogue, Gent, Knight, Bachelor and Adam. This is how horny young Americans—like your dear old dad and granddad—entertained themselves before the tsunami of free digital pornography starting getting piped into the home like a utility.

Being born, raised and still living in Scotland, my knowledge of yon Americana is informed by what I’ve read in books, histories and what have you. Of course, over here there is obviously a similarity of experience. One man who built his porn empire on mail order adult entertainment is David Sullivan.

Sullivan is an economics graduate who started his adult entertainment empire by selling glossy pix thru the mail. He then moved on to mail order home movies and “marital aids.” Sullivan was so successful that he ended up running 80% of the UK’s adult mail order market. He also owned several sex shops, a line of hardcore magazines (up to 50% of the UK market), successfully produced several pornos and soft core movies—the latter best known for starring the legendary Mary Millington and a host of British comedy talent.  He diversified into newspapers (Sunday Sport) before becoming the largest shareholder in two soccer clubs—first Birmingham, now West Ham.

When working in the adult entertainment business, Sullivan thought of himself as a “freedom fighter.” He was once tried and sentenced to 71 days imprisonment for living off immoral earnings—which is a kind of catchall charge to punish pornographers. He has no “embarrassment” over his time in jail telling the London Evening Standard in 2010:

“I’ve made a lot of people happy,” he says. “If I was an arms manufacturer or a cigarette manufacturer, and my products killed millions of my clients, I’d have a bit of doubt about the whole thing. I was a freedom fighter. I believe in the right of adults to make their own decisions.”

The 1970s were a boom time for adult mail order entertainment. When I was a student at the University of Glasgow back in the 1980s, the campus was split between the men’s union—the Glasgow University Union—and the women’s union—the Queen Margaret Union. While the QMU opened its doors to both male and female students, the men’s union remained until the early eighties, a bastion of male chauvinism. At the time, the “men’s union” was best known for its world champion debaters and for screening something called the “Freds.”

The “Freds” were the Tom and Jerry cartoons produced by Fred Quimby. A couple of these classic animations provided the intermission entertainment between two mail order blue movies screened for the edification and enjoyment of a select band of GUU students. The “Freds” supposedly stopped after the union opened its doors to women, but it was always rumored the “Freds” were still be screening by a group of recalcitrant students somewhere within the walls of this famous baronial building. Fans of the “Freds” went onto become politicians, lawyers, bankers, successful CEOs and apparently even a priest. But with the arrival of video home systems (VHS) the end was nigh for the boom in mail order adult entertainment. And today with the Internet, even magazines like Playboy have stopped bother to publish nude pictures in its pages. So for those too young to remember, and for those who do remember and perhaps did partake, is a small selection of classic adult entertainment ads from the sixties and seventies.
“Privately” printed mags? Oh my, this is not the kinda smut grandpa wanted you to find in that locked box in his basement after he died.
Bernard of Hollywood must have been the place to go for “Authentic, unretouched stags of well known gals before they reached the top. Rare thrillers all.” Sounds like something out of a James Ellroy novel…and the WTF ad with sweaty, wide-eyed hepped-up pervo freak? Looks kinda rapey.
More vintage adult ads, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The controversial (and lampooned) bondage-themed billboard for The Rolling Stones’ ‘Black and Blue’

The bondage-themed print ad for The Rolling Stones record, Black and Blue, 1976
The magazine version of the controversial advertising campaign for Black and Blue from 1976

In 1976, the Rolling Stones released Black and Blue, their first record with new guitarist, Ronnie Wood. To help promote the record, a billboard was erected over the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The boundary pushing advertisement featured a racy image of model Anita Russell (who Mick Jagger originally considered “too pretty” for the part).
The billboard hanging above Sunset Strip, 1976
The billboard on the Sunset Strip, 1976

Jagger took one for the team and tied Russell up himself for the bondage-themed photo shoot. In the 14 x 48 foot billboard that hung above one of the busiest thoroughfares in Hollywood, Russell is tightly bound, her clothing ripped and the inside of her legs are bruised, as she sits spread eagled on top of the gatefold cover of Black and Blue with the caption:

I’m “Black and Blue” from The Rolling Stones—and I love it!

For some weird reason nobody in the Stones PR camp thought that the billboard would bother anyone, much less send the message that female fans of the Rolling Stones like to be physically abused. Of course the outcry to remove the billboard, especially from feminists who defaced the billboard with red paint, was immediate and it quickly disappeared.

But the news about the controversial photo and message had already garnered the band worldwide press coverage, and Black and Blue (a record infamous rock journalist Lester Bangs called “the first meaningless Rolling Stones album”—he was right) eventually went platinum in the U.S.
Mick Jagger and Anita Russell in a promo for Black and Blue from National Lampoon, 1976
The tables turn on Mick in this spoof that ran in National Lampoon’s “Compulsory Summer Sex Issue” in August of 1976

And because now I’ve got Black and Blue on the brain, here’s the band (with Billy Preston) looking like absolute plonkers in the “Hey Negrita” video.

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘WELL I AM NOW!’: The mystery of this 28-year-old AT&T commercial is finally solved

If you are of “a certain age” you’re going to remember this AT&T commercial which played incessantly on television in the late ‘80s.

It featured a stock broker or some other sort of entitled business-class asshole who was trying to call Phoenix, but mistakenly dialed Fiji instead.

A native answers his call:


or was it “Wanna-mocka-pee-si?”

or was it “Bolenockapeaceye?”

Anyway, the businessman ends up getting infuriated when he has to hold for a minute to get credited. He says “AT&T operators gave me instant credit.” The operator informs the man that he is “not dealing with AT&T,” to which he snaps back “WELL I AM NOW!”

When we were kids we used to make fun of this dork incessantly, always imitating “WELL I AM NOW!” in the whiniest, most privileged voice imaginable at any opportune moment.

We’d also imitate the native Fijian’s phone greeting, sometimes answering our own phones in his voice, but no one could ever really agree on what he was saying…



“Onga laka pisai?”

This was one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Twentieth Century. Of course back then we didn’t have the Internet and Google—but as we now live in the magical futureworld where all questions are easily and instantly answered, we now know exactly what was being said. Here it is:

“Bula Vinaka, Beachside”

“Bula Vinaka,” is a Fijian expression for “hello, thanks.”

You should always go straight to the Internet with any lingering questions from your pre-Internet childhood.


The only mystery that yet remains is how this doof managed to mistakenly dial Fiji instead of Phoenix without dialing the country code.

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Coldwave: The Nestle ‘Alpine White’ song is the official non-denominational holiday anthem

Who else fucks with this jam?

The most beautiful song to ever hawk white chocolate, “Sweet Dreams,” with its coldwave synths and unforgettably emotive vocals takes a supernatural hold of the listener and doesn’t let go—transporting him or her on a flight of fancy to a magical creamy, dreamy wonderland. The jingle is the epitome of a crisp winter’s day.

The infectious mid-80s earworm, written by award-winning commercial composer Lloyd Landesman, has a frosty, ethereal majesty, making it a perfect choice as a non-denominational Capitalist holiday-season anthem. Here it is, troops! More ammunition for the (absolutely totally real) war on Christmas! Like an Alpine White bar kept in your pocket, may your season be white, sticky, and gooey.

After the jump “New Romantic Guy” dancing to our new favorite carol, plus the Faith No More cover!

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Vintage comic book ads that were too good to be true!
12:20 pm

Pop Culture


I was never going to be Spider-Man—no matter how I tried to swing from washing lines or scale neighborhood walls or tumble out of trees. My enthusiasm for imitating Peter Parker always ended in disaster and bruised limbs. Obviously being a superhero was not all it was cracked-up to be. And when I thought about it further it seemed a rather silly career option—there was no pay, no pension plan, and the insurance premiums, well, they had to massive. Before hitting double-figures in years I’d given up on joining the the Avengers or the Justice League and was happy just to read of their incredible adventures in the pages of comics.

Being born and raised in Scotland meant an intermittent supply of such comic books capers. Most of these magazines way back then were brought over to Glasgow as ballast on cargo ships delivering goods and produce from America and beyond. This premium ballast would later be sold in the likes of a wee crammed kiosk near Queen Street Station, or the local newsagent and grocer (McGregor’s) in Blairdardie. Yet, the pleasure of the action-packed panels in every Spider-Man or Batman, was equalled (and often bettered) by the thrill of the adverts for toys, goods and services posted in every issue.

America was known as “the land of plenty,” and going by the vast range of toys and goods advertised, this seemed to be true. Toys were not only plentiful over there but cheap, bewitching and utterly exotic. Coins to hypnotize your friends. Sea monkeys that could live in a goldfish bowl and be trained to perform tricks! X-ray specs guaranteed to make everything see-thru. A Polaris submarine—more than seven feet long—which I dreamt of traveling in along the Forth-Clyde Canal, avoiding the ghostly weeds, the garbage, discarded shopping trolleys, and the imaginary gangsters—pale, bloated and tethered to weighty blocks of concrete. But of course I knew—just like my failed attempt to imitate the web-slinger—that these adverts of youthful dreams were equally illusory and would always seem far, far better in print than ever in real life.

These are the ads I salivated over most—and to be frank a part of me still does hanker after them.
This was top of my list as must have.
Kinda looks like that monster from ‘Night of the Demon.’
I eventually bought a rubber skull mask from a joke shop—it gave me… er… minutes of fun.
More comic book ads, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Good… and long’: Blaxploitation ads for Winston cigarettes, 1970-1973

The term ‘Blaxploitation’ was coined by NAACP head/film publicist Junius Griffin in the early 1970s to describe the genre of African American action films that followed from the examples set by Cotton Comes to Harlem and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, but the term certainly could have had other applications—racially targeted marketing that sought to move destructive commodities like malt liquor and menthol cigarettes to underclass populations has long been, and justifiably remains, a highly contentious matter, and is inarguably more literally exploitative than any “exploitation” film. compiled a lode of eye-popping examples from a print campaign for Winston cigarettes.

After World War Two American tobacco companies started to explore new markets to maintain their not insubstantial prosperity. The growth in urban migration and the growing incomes of African Americans (called at the time the “emerging Negro market”) gave the tobacco companies what was sometimes called an “export market at home”. Additionally, a new kind of media started to appear after the war when several glossy monthly magazines including Negro Digest (1942, renamed Black World), Ebony (1945) and Negro Achievements (1947, renamed Sepia) began to be published.

These relatively expensively produced magazines were far more attractive to the tobacco advertisers than the cheap ‘negro’ daily newspapers of the pre-war era, with glossy pages and a far wider national distribution. The magazines meant for a purely African American audience also meant that advertisers could produce adverts aimed and featuring African Americans away from the eyes of white consumers.


“Rich.” “Long.” Got’cha. Wink wink.

The juxtaposition of aspirational fashion, rogue-ish male confidence, and burning cigarettes carries an unmistakable message so old it’s hardly worth spelling out. The longing looks from the women in the near-backgrounds aren’t terribly nuanced in their subtext, either. But all the problematics of death-dealing aside, these are objectively awesome photos, amazing snapshots of a time and place when African American culture was asserting a more prominent place in the US mainstream. Airbrush out the cigarettes (or don’t) and change the captions, and these would be amazing menswear ads, too.


More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Vintage horror film lobby cards through the decades
09:23 am


horror movies
lobby cards

Freaks vintage lobby card, 1932
Freaks vintage lobby card, 1932
As Halloween is quickly approaching I’ve pulled together some pretty cool eye-candy to help feed your inner ghoul - vintage “lobby cards” used to advertise horror films from the last seven decades. The use of lobby cards can be traced back as far as 1910 (The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale houses a collection of cards from silent westerns from 1910-1930).
Dracula's Daughter vintage lobby card, 1936
Dracula’s Daughter vintage lobby card, 1936
Frakenstein vintage lobby card, 1931
Frankenstein vintage lobby card, 1931
Many lobby cards came in sets of up to twelve cards to help promote the film. In some cases, avid collectors have shelled out loads of cash for vintage lobby cards, such as the card pictured above for the 1931 film Frankenstein which sold at an auction this past summer for over $10K. But most of the cards in this post can be had for more reasonable sums via eBay or Etsy. I’m especially fond of the B-movie lobby cards from the 50s and the 60s that celebrated oddball films like 1956’s The Indestructible Man (starring Lon Chaney Jr.), or the impossibly strange sounding The Brain from Planet Arous (1957), and I think you will be too. Happy viewing, creeps!
Magic lobby card, 1978
Lobby card for the 1978 film, Magic
Many more macabre lobby cards after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Anti-capitalist artist trolls Kellogg’s and Tony the Tiger AND IT IS DARK and EPIC

A couple weeks ago the most amazing thing started to percolate around social media, but then it was apparently stopped by lawyers from Kellogg’s. The “amazing thing” I refer to is the ultra-elaborate trolling—allegedly orchestrated by the brilliant Finnish anti-capitalist artist Jani Leinonen—of Kellogg’s and their Tony the Tiger mascot.

For generations, kids the world over have grown up eating Kellogg’s sugary, nearly nutritionless breakfast cereal and getting positive reinforcement from Tony’s “They’re GRRRREAT!” catchphrase, but some of the child actors who were actually in these commercials have apparently had tragic difficulties later in their lives.

Each new video that appeared saw Tony addressing the problems—via the use of his simplistic catchphrase basically—of a prostitute, a brutal cop and a suicide bomber.

Here’s the first one, launched on October 7th:

What Leinonen (I’m pretty confident he’s the mastermind)—whose “School of Disobedience” show is currently on exhibit at the Finnish National Gallery Kiasma—has done is, well, as I said before, ultra-elaborate trolling. Culture jamming of the Banksy or Ron English school and of the highest order, not only in terms of the wit employed, but in how perfectly this prank was pulled off. What you are about to see aren’t some amateurish commercial parodies, they are as professionally realized as something that you might see on Saturday Night Live, or indeed, as any “real” TV commercial for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes. I used to work at a commercial production studio in New York that specialized in mixing live action and animation, usually in the employ of selling sugar to children, natch, and lemme tell ya, back then this would have taken a small army to pull off. This guy is a maniac! I really admire his dedication and work ethic. He might want to destroy capitalism—but Jani Leinonen is anything but lazy. He must be the hardest working anti-capitalist around.

More after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Watch The The’s innovative ‘Infected: The Movie’ music video album, 1986
11:11 am


The The
The Infected

In 1986 the well-nigh un-Google-able musical outfit known as The The, the thinking person’s dance band formed by English musician Matt Johnson, released its second or third album, depending on whether you want to include Burning Blue Soul, which came out in 1981 as a Matt Johnson release but which the headstrong singer later requested be reclassified as a The The release so that his devotees could find them on the same CD shelf in stores. The new album was called Infected and could boast of a rather unusual promotional gimmick. At the height of MTV’s clout in the music world, The The released a series of videos that covered the entire album. (How did nobody else think of this?)

According to Billboard, the movie had a budget of $500,000 and shooting occurred in London, New York, Peru, and Bolivia. The directors included Tim Pope, Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson, Alastair McIlwain, and Mark Romanek. This was an impressive group—Christopherson, of course, was a co-founder of Throbbing Gristle; McIlwain was an animator who had worked on the movies Pink Floyd: The Wall and Heavy Metal; and Tim Pope had directed a bunch of videos for the Cure and was also the “helmer” responsible for videos by Talk Talk, Soft Cell and Siouxsie and the Banshees as well as the medieval-ish video for “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. Romanek’s resume in 1986 was the thinnest of the bunch but he won a bunch of awards for videos in the 1990s for Nine Inch Nails, En Vogue and Madonna and eventually broke into feature film, directing the critically lauded Robin Williams vehicle One Hour Photo and the Kazuo Ishiguro adaptation Never Let Me Go.

Be that as it may, how Johnson was able to secure a $500,000 video budget (in 1986 dollars) for a musical act that then, now, and at all points in between was something of a connoisseur’s fave strikes me as an incredibly impressive bit of persuasion on his part. Additionally, the article noted that promotion for the album would include “the The video nights at rock clubs in 30 major cities in early December.” Anyone reading this ever attend such a thing?

That Billboard article features a rare instance of a non-errant triple “the,” which I’m guessing came about as the result of a bar bet between journalist Jim Bessman and a colleague. Here’s a shot of that hot syntactical action (see the top line):

After wordplay geekery of such elevated quality, describing anything about the movie itself hardly seems worth the bother, which isn’t a dis on the movie. Infected: The Movie (IMDb calls it The The: Infected) doesn’t have a plot or any over-arching themes or narrative elements: it’s just eight videos that cover the eight songs on the album.  During the part of the shoot that occurred in eastern Peru, a local Indian guide introduced Johnson to some of the hallucinogenic substances used in their rituals.

According to Wikipedia,

The video for “Mercy Beat” captures a scene where during filming the crew were attacked by a rally of Communist rebel fighters, angry at the appearance of what they considered Western intruders. Johnson confirmed that the scene was genuine and unscripted, and admitted that at the time he was “so high”, recalling the madness that had ensued: “Someone produced a snake which I was grappling with, and I hate snakes. A monkey bit me, and then me and this guy, who I’d only just met, cut each other and we became blood brothers, rubbing blood over each other’s face, stuff like that.”

The video for “Slow Train to Dawn” features Neneh Cherry, who also appears on the track, tied to a railway line while Johnson operates the train bearing down on her. Pope, director of that video, later said, “I hate that one. It’s pretentious and kind of stupid.” (He’s got a point.)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Bizarre 1984 TV commercial from New York’s legendary Danceteria nightclub
03:12 pm


Rudolf Pieper

Danceteria was arguably the most influential and important club in New York City in the 1980s. Any musician who mattered played there, and it was featured prominently in the movies Desperately Seeking Susan and Liquid Sky. I spent a little while going through this intriguing collection of Danceteria flyers, and came upon the following names: the Fleshtones, Madonna, Sonic Youth, Marc Almond, Sade, Alien Sex Fiend, the Smiths, Cocteau Twins, Gene Loves Jezebel, Diamanda Galas, Beastie Boys. On December 16, 1982, A Certain Ratio played Danceteria with Madonna opening—she was at the time employed as the club’s coat check girl. It’s a place with that sort of pedigree.

The two main figures at Danceteria were Rudolf Pieper and Jim Fouratt. Pieper was German, and it’s his accent you hear in the crazy commercial embedded below, in which he calls himself “the head bimbo of Danceteria” and supports Esperanto as the language of the club and claims to oppose the inclusion of a Belgian ethnic group called the Walloons unless they “dress fabulously,” of course. Oh, and “exiled Latin American dictators have free admission here, every night.”

John Argento, who was instrumental in the club’s move from West 37th Street to 21st Street in 1982, says, according to Trey Speegle’s blog, this about the commercial:

What can I say? Low budget, public access TV… Rudolf does the voice over, reiterating long standing door policies such as ‘Latin American Dictators get in for free’…’Walloons only if they’re dressed fabulously.’

I remember him doing the voice over in the fourth floor DJ booth… I believe the soundtrack was from the movie La Dolce Vita. A difference of opinion then, the choice of music looks like the right thing to have done now.

One might ask, why would a club that was as successful as Danceteria was at that time even bother with a commercial? Why would they need it? Jim Fouratt, who was the talent booker for the club, remembers it as “a nightmare of lies and intimadation [sic],” in effect an effort to displace Fouratt’s role in the club as well as other ventures like Interferon, which failed. Here’s Fouratt’s account, typos included:

I was sent this commercial for Danceteria .. it comes from an ugly period. I had been locked out of the club on 21st and my average normal business accounts were frozen because my business partner had accept the offer of Alex Delorenzo of the son of mobster and real estate mogul offer to work with his protege John Argento who he had invested over a million dollars into a failed club that was to replicate the Original Danceteria . It ws called Interferon. (good grief) .It failed . Delorenzo called me and I brought putting to the meeting . I forgot the history of putting Germans and Italian together (sorry) , Argento and Delorenzo’s son-in-law had cleared a block of rent regulated tenants in the East 50’s so Delorenzo could raze and build. They had used every kind of intimadation to frighten the hell out of the tenants. Delorenzo wanted to reward them and Argento said he wanted to open a club on 21st in a building Delorenzo owned (it was a dead street at the time). He did . It failed We made a deal and one of the points was Argento was not to be involved .; Delorenzo wanted to protect his other business realtons and insisted Argento be icharge of all the day deliveries .. including liquore , napkins, etc the cash items and the cleaning and removal of the trash. We agreed once it was agreed the Argento would have nothing to do with the club other than his janitorial job I sued Delorenzo for contract violation (yes sued Godfather like business family ) and sued Rudolf for fiduciary betrayal.. it ws a nightmare for six years . This commercial was to establish Rudolf as Danceteria honcho.. he had been telling people I had AIDS .. and that is why I wasn’t there . The real reason was greed .. i was told I was paying talent too much money .. and the club when I was they was a hige hit. Trust me I would neve have approved a commercial .. we did nto need it ..and my door policy insured a fabulous safe mix of people and my bookings were the best in the universe (ok hyperbole) ... this is nto the place to go into just what a nightmare of lies and intimadation .. but since this video has turnes up ... I wanted to put it in context… and no i did not nor do have AIDS or am I HIV +. ...

Golly! Who would have thought that such an innocent-seeming and campy commercial could have that kind of darkness behind it?

It was edited by Danny Cornyetz, who went by the name Dee Cortex. Experience some primo 1980s oddness below:

via Trey Speegle

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Page 1 of 22  1 2 3 >  Last ›