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The vampy and voluptuous vintage pinups of ‘good girl’ illustrator Bill Kresse
12.06.2017
11:36 am
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A cheeky illustration by New York native, Bill Kresse.
 

“Don’t ever be afraid to try something new. You will learn from it, use it, and, hopefully, profit from it.”

—Bill Kresse.

Bill Kresse is a hero in the world of illustration and comics with many accolades to his credit, including a gig he scored after graduating from high school for legendary New York studio Terrytoons as an inker in the animation department. Terrytoons produced a few cartoons you might have heard of like Mighty Mouse, a series of toons featuring the wisecracking magpies Heckle and Jeckle, and The Mighty Heroes (Diaper Man! Never forget!).

Following that dreamy-sounding job, Kresse joined the Associated Press as a member of their prestigious art department. If you were a reader of the New York Daily News in the late 60s and early 70s you probably looked forward to Kresse’s cheeky comic strip “Super” Duper which ran in the paper exclusively for several years every Sunday. Kresse and his layout artist friend Rolf Ahlsen collaborated on the storylines and comic panels for “Super” Duper which centered around the antics of tubby, girl-crazy apartment superintendent, Mr. Duper. Kresse and Ahlsen’s fictional Mr. Duper had the good fortune to work in a building inhabited by bodacious females dressed in hotpants and mini skirts. While I’m on the topic of scantily-clad, impossibly proportioned illustrated women, let’s dive into Kresse’s foray into what is commonly referred to as “vintage sleaze” in comics and his pin up art which was routinely showcased in various men’s interest digests put out by Humorama—a wickedly popular division of Martin Goodman’s massive pulp publishing firm.

In the 1950s Kresse earned the reputation of being a “good-girl” illustrator. His lighthearted pinup-style illustrations would appear in various Humorama digests for decades along with other well-known artists versed in sleaze funnies such as Bill Ward (not to be confused with Black Sabbath drummer, Bill Ward), and Superman creator Joe Shuster. So yeah, just like Clark Kent, Shuster had his own secret identity of sorts as an illustrator of fiery-hot, hardcore fetish. Go figure. Fans of Kresse and his contributions to vintage sleaze refer to him as “unappreciated” during his lifetime.

Peers of Kresse I’ve already mentioned in this post who drew classic/sleazy pinup art have already been immortalized in beautifully curated gallery shows as well as hardcover retrospectives. When it comes to Kresse, anything tangible beyond his individual vintage illustrations or comics, is a book he authored in 1984 Introduction to Cartooning. After Kresse passed away in 2014, I was hopeful that someone might finally get around to publishing a collection of his exuberant adult-oriented comics, though sadly that hasn’t happened yet. As a huge fan of all things sleazy, I can say without hesitation that Kresse deserves such an homage and more. Kresse’s work might look rather tame when compared to his contemporary Eric Stanton and one of the genre’s most prolific stars, Gene Bilbrew, but it’s still NSFW. Just like hotpants.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.06.2017
11:36 am
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Swallow the Leader: Amusingly titled, tawdry gay pulp novels of the 50s & 60s
10.04.2017
09:34 am
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‘Rally Round the Fag’ one of ten vintage gay pulp novels starring the popular character “Jackie Holmes” from ‘The Man from C.A.M.P.’ series. Artwork by the great Robert Bonfils,1967.
 
Gay pulp novels have been around since the 1930s when the sale of paperback books proliferated. Historically, lesbian pulp was much more popular than novels featuring the exploits of gay men—and that is, of course, because the lesbian pulp was widely purchased by straight dudes. The popularity of the novels continued to rise during 1940s though, as noted in the book Where Thy Dark Eye Glances: Queering Edgar Allan Poe edited by pulp historian Steve Berman, the very first true “gay pulp” novel was published in 1952 by author George Viereck. Viereck, a former propaganda tool of the Nazis during WWII authored the 195 page Men into Beasts that used homosexual prison culture as a part of its storyline—something Viereck had observed first hand while he was locked up.

The 50s was not a good time for the gay community, much in part to the gay-hating U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy who in addition to his suspicions that commies, pinkos and reds had managed to weasel their way into government positions, was also convinced that it was swarming with homosexuals, probably commie, pinko homosexuals, too. Known as the “Lavender Scare,” the State Department fired back at McCarthy’s delusional accusations saying that there were no communists on the government payroll. McCarthy sent his right-wing buddies to turn up the heat on the State Department claims which would result in the acknowledgment that 91 employees had been identified as “gay” and were fired under the guise that they were a huge “security risk.” When the news hit the papers and television, the public, as well as Congress, demanded a full investigation.

During this hysteria, a committee of the U.S. Senate launched the ridiculous sounding investigation “Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in the Government”.
Upon the conclusion of what is best described as a gay witch hunt, the committee was unable to identify any American citizen who might have sold out the good-old U.S. of A. This didn’t stop the committee from publishing a post-operative paper which “conclusively” established that a gay man or a lesbian possessed “weak moral character” and that the inclusion of only one homosexual can “pollute a government office.” After Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected he signed the executive order 10450 which added “sexual perversion” to a long list of personality traits that could prevent a person from holding a job with the federal government which led to thousands of people losing their livelihoods.

Once the swinging 60s rolled around the U.S. post office could no longer refuse to deliver books that featured homosexuality, which, according to research conducted by the University of Massachusetts Press led to a veritable “explosion” of gay pulp novels.

Now that I’ve shared a bit of the rich history surrounding gay pulp fiction, let’s take a look at some of the more hysterical, tongue-in-cheek covers that created such a stir back in the 50s and 60s, shall we? Yes, we shall. Some are pretty NSFW.
 

1968.
 

1967.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.04.2017
09:34 am
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The boys of Paris: The trailblazing transgender performers of Madame Arthur’s


The great cabaret performer, “Coccinelle.”
 
After yesterday’s utterly vile offerings from our Shithead-in-Grief, I was determined to pull together a post on a favorite topic of mine—shining a bright, warm light on notable and obscure transgender and drag performers. I’ve done several such posts on this very topic while on active duty here at Dangerous Minds, and so have my colleagues. It seems like every time we do, there is a positive reaction from our readers. To me, this is an affirmation that the hateful, racist rhetoric coming from our nation’s capital is not collectively who we are as human beings or else not many of our good-looking high IQ readers are Trump fans. I was fortunate to have been raised by two incredible people who embraced the LGBT community at a time when there wasn’t a lot of support for people who chose “non-traditional” relationships and gender roles. Thanks to them, I’ve simply never thought of someone who doesn’t look or swing like me as anything but another person. Unless of course, you are the type that is prone to behaving in a way that physically hurts or openly discriminates against another person. If you happen to be one of those flatulent assholes that shits bricks full of hate, then please, PLEASE feel free to leap off a goddamn cliff. Now, if you’ll once again forgive my affinity to digress from the topic at hand—let’s all take a much-needed look back at one of Paris’ most famous cabaret nightclubs, Madame Arthur’s.
 

An article on Madame Arthur’s from the men’s picture magazine SHE, 1957.
 
A magazine article published in 1957 by SHE (pictured above) referred to Madame Arthur’s as “The Sodom of the Seine.” This lascivious-sounding description is reflective of the article itself which laments “Les Boys” takeover of the Paris nightclub scene and the disappearance of the beloved “decorative” showgirl. Madame Arthur’s would open its doors in 1946. The club’s name comes from a song originally written back in 1850 by Michael Feingold, which was later translated to French by author Paul de Kock. The song was then popularized by French cabaret performer and actress, Yvette Guilbert. Here are some of the cheeky lyrics from the song:

Madame Arthur is quite the lady
They chatter and chatter about her all over Paris
She may be mature and slightly shady
But each man is her lover-to-be!

Oui, Oui! The club and its sister establishment Le Carrousel were playgrounds of sorts for famous transvestite performers such as Coccinelle who debuted her act at Madame Arthur’s in 1953. According to historians, an artist would be hired first by Madame Arthur’s and the cream of the crop would then be given the opportunity to take the stage at Le Carrousel. Occasionally exceptions were made for international acts that had credibility or notoriety worldly enough to bypass Madame Arthur’s, and allowing them to go straight to Le Carrousel. Incredible images of the Parisian trans trailblazers below. Some of the photos are NSFW.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.27.2017
12:20 pm
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The seductive 1950s sex-bomb whose daring backless dresses inspired ‘Jessica Rabbit’
06.27.2017
09:35 am
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Actress and model Vikki Dougan clowning around at the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus.
 
Actress and model Vikki Dougan earned her nickname “The Back” thanks to the dangerously low-back, curve-hugging dresses she wore in the 1950s and 1960s. Dougan’s alluring back has even inspired a song written by folk music legends The Limelighters whose lyrics passionately request that she “turn her back” on them. And, as the title of this post suggests, Dougan’s provocative posterior bearing dresses and look also served as inspiration for the animated character “Jessica Rabbit” from the 1988 film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Dougan would begin her modeling career at the age eleven in 1940. In 1948, nineteen-year-old Dougan (who had changed her name from Edith Tooker to “Vikki Stappers Dougan”) was named the winner of the New York Skate Queen competition. This success landed Dougan a spot in what sounds like the greatest fashion show of all time held by the Roller Skating Institute of America (RISA) which showcased the latest in roller rink fashions. Zowie. Dougan’s fame would take flight, and she would score roles in various films, photo spreads in prominent magazines such as LIFE (photographed by Ralph Crane) as well as posing for commercial advertisements for lingerie. Dougan also did a couple of mostly PG-13 spreads for Playboy and was romantically linked to some of the most famous men in Hollywood including Frank Sinatra.

Sometime in the 1960s things started to slow down for Dougan and in 1964 Cavalier magazine ran twelve photos taken of Dougan in the buff which had initially been shot for Playboy. Following the session, Dougan refused to let Playboy publish the cheeky photos, and she filed a lawsuit against Cavalier which was eventually settled out of court for a tidy sum approximated to be in the neighborhood of $75,000. Photos of Dougan showing off her fabulous back follow and are slightly NSFW.
 

1958.
 

 
More Vikki Dougan after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.27.2017
09:35 am
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Sex signals: Trashy illustrations from vintage ‘Frederick’s of Hollywood’ catalogs


A page from one of Frederick Mellinger’s famous ‘Frederick’s of Hollywood’ catalogs. Mellinger is pictured, with what I imagine was a permament grin, just below the word ‘SEX.’
 

“I never listen to Paris designers . . . they don’t dress women for men.”

—Frederick’s of Hollywood founder Frederick Mellinger on what made him successful.

 
You have to give Frederick’s of Hollywood founder, Frederick Mellinger a lot of credit. After lying about his age, Mellinger scored a gig at a women’s “intimate apparel” company when he was only fourteen. The veritable dream job quickly helped acquaint Mellinger with the ins-and-outs of the mail-order business though he would later be fired from his job for suggesting that the company add *gasp* black undergarments to its catalog. During a stint in the army Mellinger became hip to the existence of the “pinup girl.” His new awareness would end up being a tipping point for the young entrepreneur who headed to New York City to open the first Frederick’s headquarters in 1946 right on Fifth Avenue which he dubbed “Frederick’s of Fifth Avenue.” Within a year’s time, Mellinger moved his base of operations to Hollywood Boulevard.

I’m sure most of you out there are at least somewhat acquainted with what Mellinger would end up calling Frederick’s of Hollywood. Those three words are undeniably synonymous with girlie garments like push-up bras, crotchless panties, and other skin-tight delights, many of which were black. While he was still doing business in New York, Mellinger couldn’t get a magazine or newspaper to run illustrated ads for his racy garment because they considered them to be “pornographic.” Once he relocated his headquarters to Los Angeles and opened the first of what would eventually become 160 retail locations in 1947, everyone from exotic dancers to bored housewives started snapping up his enticing designs. Then, while on a business trip to France that same year, he bore witness to his first bikini-clad woman. Mellinger brought back as many French bikinis as he could which he promptly sold without effort back in Hollywood. Then something happened that would prove to be a linchpin to Frederick’s future success that involved the cops and one of their bikini-loving fans.

A lucky girl who happened to score one Mellinger’s French bikinis was arrested on Venice Beach while wearing it and was charged with “indecent exposure.” The papers went wild and widely published stories accompanied with scandalous images of the poor girl being cuffed and stuffed into a police car. Orders for anything and everything from the Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog went through the roof, and it would be almost 40 years until the company would post their first ever loss in 1984. Through it all, it was Mellinger’s determination to continue to push the boundaries of lingerie design that led to, among other things, the invention of the thong panty and edible panties. Well done, Mr. Mellinger, well done.

When I came across the illustrations used during the early days of Frederick’s, I had not seen them before. Most likely since I mostly associated the catalog with the real-life model sleaze of the 80s. The discovery has led me to pursue the acquisition of one of their vintage catalogs that pre-date the mid-70s, which are sadly hard to come by these days. So, for the time being, we will all have to live vicariously through the images below, some of which are NSFW.
 

1954.
 

 
More sexy stuff after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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06.21.2017
09:16 am
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Fifties fetish model Tana Louise and her sky-high shoes
05.25.2017
08:46 am
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Burlesque performer and fetish model Tana Louise surveying her collection of shoes back in the 1950s.
 
After enjoying success as a popular burlesque dancer and stripper, Tana Louise (not to be confused with actress Tina Louise, aka “Ginger” from Gilligan’s Island, though we’ll get to her later) would truly find her calling by becoming a fetish model and columnist for Exotique magazine.

Exotique followed in the dominatrix footsteps of cult fetish magazine Bizarre, though it didn’t really focus on BDSM and instead featured models clad in corsets and sky-high heels. Acquiring the moniker of the “Cincinnati Sinner” after she allegedly clubbed dancer Emerald Forest in the head while she was sitting in her dressing room, Louise’s bad-girl persona fit in perfectly with Exotique. The assault story was published by Billboard in 1950—Louise denied it ever happened—and this only helped enhance that aspect of her appeal. Exotique publisher Leonard Burtman, considered by some to be the father of the modern fetish business, was so impressed by Louise that he not only made her the primary model for Exotique during its short three-year run, he also married her. Later, and in accordance with his then wife and his magazine’s love of stilettos, Burtman would also produce the pioneering fetish film, 1962’s Satan in High Heels.

Often photographed by the great Irving Klaw, Louise’s column in Exotique “From Me to You” was essentially a primer for “readers” of the magazine for her photo shoots. Most revolved around the process of getting into her leather gear and insane fetish footwear. Though she bore a distinct resemblance to a woman who is arguably the most famous pinup model ever, Bettie Page, the similarity would end up working against Louise during her career. Another issue Tana faced was a lawsuit initiated by actress Tina Louise that accused the model of using the similarities of their names to help promote herself, though it is unclear if the case ever made it to court. It wouldn’t take long for Burtman to tire of the raven-haired model, and sadly, after they divorced sometime in the late 1950s, Louise faded into obscurity.

Later in the 1960s, Tana would briefly resurface along with another burlesque dancer, Mara Gaye. The girls claimed to be in charge of an exotic fashion mail order company called “Tana & Mara” that was rumored to only be a promotional scheme for the two models/dancers, as they allegedly didn’t actually have merchandise to sell, and were merely making money from the sale of the catalog itself which cost two bucks an issue. As there is no shortage of images of Tana Louise from the 1950s, below you’ll find several shots of the gorgeous, sometimes blonde model showing off her fierce fetish footwear below. Dig it.
 

 

 
More Tana Louise and her high, high heels after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.25.2017
08:46 am
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‘Grindhouse Girls’ of the 50s and 60s: An eye-popping set of sexy black & white trading cards
03.30.2017
11:06 am
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A trading card from the ‘Grindhouse Girls’ set put out by Rigomor Press in 1992.
 
This set of sexed-up trading cards featuring strippers and exotic performers from the 50s and 60s was put out in 1992 by Rigomor Press who also put out a few other controversial trading card sets such as Incredible True Life Murderers in 1991 and The World’s Most Hated People in 1992.

The Grindhouse Girls set contains images of well-known adult performers such as Blaze Starr and Maria Villa who performed her exotic act with a snake. The black and white images are a fantastic throw-back to when adult performers used pasties, big hair, and kooky gimmicks to sell their sex appeal. Best of all, like many other vintage trading card sets, when you flipped the cards over you could assemble a giant puzzle—but instead of scene from Charlie’s Angels, you get to put together a picture of “Goddess of the Jungle” Naja Karamuru who was considered to be Brazil’s answer to Jayne Mansfield. Karamuru was a superstar of the burlesque scene back in the 50s and 60s and like Maria Villa, she shared her stage with a number of snakes including two pythons and a cobra. I’ve included images of all twenty cards from the set which occasionally come up for sale on auction sites like eBay if you’re interested in acquiring one for yourself. Though there isn’t any real nudity, strippers and pasties generally equal NSFW.
 

 

 
More ‘Grindhouse Girls’ after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.30.2017
11:06 am
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Lusty erotic playing cards from 1955
03.06.2017
10:56 am
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An erotic Queen of Clubs playing card featuring the artwork of French painter Paul-Émile Bécat.
 
Here’s a lovely NSFW treat for your eyes today—gorgeous images from a deck of playing cards featuring the erotic art of French painter and printer Paul-Émile Bécat.

This Le Florentin deck of playing cards was put out in 1955 and are in the style of the Old Masters such as his fellow Frenchmen François Boucher and Jean-Antoine Watteau. Bécat’s artistic style so closely emulates an era far earlier than his lifetime it would be quite easy to believe that they were done long before the 1950s. Bécat’s dedication his craft resulted in his work appearing in nearly 100 books, most of which published his erotic paintings and illustrations, some of which have accompanied books by the likes of Charles Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Voltaire. What’s especially interesting about Bécat is the fact that he didn’t actually start working in the erotic arena until much later in his life, his mid-40s. Also of interest is that his playing cards come off as tame when compared with his erotic paintings which feature graphic oral sex and other hedonistic scenes—including one taking place in a prison cell complete with handcuffs and chains.

Though there were likely 12,000 of Bécat’s gorgeous decks that once existed they are hard to come by today. I’ve seen fairly pristine examples listed for nearly $600. If you’re a fan of erotic art and are unfamiliar with Bécat, I’m sure you will dig what you’re about to see. Though his work has sadly not yet been compiled in a comprehensive book, there is an incredible paperback, La Vie des Dames Galantes (The Lives of the Gallant Ladies) published in 1948 that I did find here for the tidy sum of $250 (others in various condition can be found here). The book contains 26 hand-colored illustrations by Bécat including lesbian erotica. And as I’ve just mentioned sapphic erotica, oral sex, handcuffs and chains, it’s probably safe to assume the images that follow are NSFW.
 

The Queen of Clubs from the top of the post rotated to show the opposing illustration.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.06.2017
10:56 am
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Two Star Movies, Five Star Posters: The B-movie artwork of Albert Kallis

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‘The Beast with a Million Eyes’ (1955).
 
Albert Kallis was working as a graphic artist with Saul Bass when the twentysomething B-movie director Roger Corman met him at a poster exhibition sometime during the mid-1950s. Corman liked the high-end artwork Kallis was putting out for the big Hollywood studios like Paramount and 20th Century-Fox. He wanted to know what it would take to have Kallis come and work for him? Kallis said he’d be only interested if after any “general conversations about the approach to the picture” all decisions on the poster’s artwork and style was left entirely up to him. Corman agreed. And that’s how he bagged the talents of one of the greatest movie poster artists of the 1950s and 1960s.

Corman made B-movies. Exploitation. Cheap thrills. Schlock horror. He knew he could make a ton of money if only he could get the teenagers to come and see his films. This was the time of the drive-in when movies came into town for a week and then were gone. When the film houses would only take on a movie if they could guarantee a hefty profit. What Corman needed was someone to sell his pictures with a poster that made the audience say “I gotta see that!” Kallis fully understood this. He produced artwork that made even the trashiest z-list feature look like it was the Citizen Kane of cheap thrills.

Kallis spent some seventeen years working as art director for Corman and then at American International Pictures—-going on to share responsibility (with Milt Moritz) as head of advertising and publicity. Kallis’s artwork exemplifies the best of movie poster technique and composition, taking key elements from a film to draw in the viewer and excite them enough so that they create their own mini-narrative. One look at these beauties and it’s more than apparent no movie could ever live up to the thrills of Kallis’s artwork.
 
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‘The Day the World Ended’ (1955).
 
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‘The Phantom from 10,000 Fathoms’ (1955).
 
More cheap thrills, after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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02.08.2017
11:47 am
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‘How to Train a Wife’: Retro sexist silliness from vintage girlie magazine ‘Eyeful’
11.23.2016
10:57 am
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Bettie Page on the cover of ‘Eyeful’ magazine.
 
One of the best parts of my gig working as a writer for Dangerous Minds is the fact that I get to share things that I love with all of you groovy readers. While I honestly don’t have a favorite topic (though it’s probably a toss up between Black Sabbath and vintage Van Halen), I really do love writing about vintage magazines. I’m still a huge connoisseur of tangible media and whenever I can I like to pick up old magazines—a trick I learned from a successful colleague of mine. It’s an exercise that almost always leads to me stumbling on something I can blog about.

Such is the case with today’s post about Eyeful magazine which got its start back in 1942 purporting to be a vehicle for the cause of “Glorifying the American Girl.” Publisher and journalist Robert Harrison, who would later launch “the most scandalous scandal magazine in the history of the world,” Confidential, promoted the magazine using the following words “Gals, Gags, Giggles.” Someone being a fan of at least one of those three things is a pretty sure bet. Harrison’s come-on worked and the cheeky magazine would have a nearly thirteen-year run under Harrison’s reign as one of New York’s most successful publishers. Another reason Eyeful was a hit was the fact that most of their models were burlesque dancers who clearly knew how to make the image of a housewife or “girl next door” be sexy and appealing without showing any actual nudity.

Of the numerous famous faces who graced the cover and appeared in silly sexist pictorials inside the magazine was the iconic Bettie Page who, according to the book Bettie Page Confidential by Bunny Yeager appeared on and in Eyeful while she was still working as a secretary on Wall Street trying to save money for acting lessons. Awww. I’ve included images of covers of Eyeful that feature actual photographs which were not as common as the classic illustrated covers that routinely appeared on front of the magazine. I’ve also posted some tongue-in-cheek humor pictorials from Eyeful such as “How Strippers are Hired” and “How to Train a Wife.” Har har har. If you are a collector of girl-centric magazines, copies of Eyeful are pretty easy to come by.

As I mentioned previously, although there is no actual nudity in the images that follow, they are still fairly NSFW. YAY!
 

 

A picture from inside ‘Eyeful’ magazine.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.23.2016
10:57 am
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Ken Russell’s iconic photographs of Great Britain in the 1950s
10.24.2016
11:06 am
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One of Ken Russell’s childhood memories was of going to school on a rainy day and noticing the clouds reflected in the puddles. These clouds—that seemed to float on the surface of the water—looked more real than the ones in the sky. They were beautiful and golden—the sky an iridescent blue. It seemed to young Ken that the reflected world down there was far more interesting than the one up in the sky.

It was a small epiphany: “If one could get down there,” he thought “it would be fantastic.” It was a vision of the world that Russell never gave up on.

In 1950s, after a stint in the merchant navy and as a ballet dancer, Russell picked up a camera and started taking pictures of the world as he saw it—this time reflected through the glass of his camera.

Over the decade, he took thousands of photographs capturing a beautifully strange and quirky world no one else seemed to have noticed. He started creating photo-essays on street scenes, market traders, parties, fashion, friends, dancers and documented the lives of many of London’s outsiders—the teenage gangs, the newly arrived immigrants and even the daily life for women in prison.

Russell then began to create his own imaginative flights of fancy—stories of cop and robbers, duels, races on bicycles and penny-farthings. He hawked his work around the agencies.

But I didn’t cut quite the right image. With my down-at-heel brogues and shiny Donegal three-piece suit I couldn’t look the least like Cecil Beaton, the popular image of the fashion photographer, no matter how much Honey and Flowers (from Woolworths) I sprinkled about my person. It was too early for the dirty photographer. You had to be dapper, suave, elegant, queer. If David Bailey had turned up in those days he wouldn’t have got past the door. Generally the editors would look at my stuff and say, “Yes, very nice but who’s your tailor? Ugh!

Nevertheless I did land a couple of jobs because I was so cheap. £2.10.0 a page. Peanuts!

For lack of models, Russell relied on his friends and dancer pals who hung around the Troubadour coffee bar. It was an intensive apprenticeship that led to Russell making his first film in 1956 Peepshow.

Ken Russell’s photographs from the 1950s show his unique eye for capturing the unusual and an immense his talent for creating powerful and iconic imagery.
 
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Troubadour: the penny-farthing bicycle, 1955.
 
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Zora the Unvanquished—writer Zora Raeburn pasting some of the hundreds of rejection letters she received to a wall outside her home, spring, 1955.
 
More of Ken Russell’s photos from the fifties, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.24.2016
11:06 am
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‘Plan 9 from Bikini Beach’: Glamourous beatnik ghoul girl ‘Vampira’ goths it up back in the 1950s


Maila Nurmi (aka ‘Vampira’) looking gorgeously goth at the beach with her umbrella, mid-1950s.
 
Maila Nurmi the captivatingly gorgeous Finnish model and actress with a tiny nineteen-inch waist, created an instant sensation when she attended a masquerade ball in Hollywood in 1953. She was dressed as the cartoon character created by longtime New Yorker contributor Charles Addams that would later become the inspiration for “Morticia Addams” in The Addams Family television series. After winning the top prize in the ball’s costume contest, Nurmi became “Vampira,” introducing—and often poking sly fun at—horror movies on her own local LA television program The Vampira Show on WABC. By the time that 1954 rolled around Nurmi was already a star. After doing time as a coat check girl in her early years, Nurmi was now rubbing elbows with everyone from Marlon Brando (who romanced Nurmi), to Surrealist photographer Man Ray (who shot her), to Antonio Vargas (who drew her) to James Dean (who wondered if she was possessed by something demonic). The evil “Maleficent” character from Disney’s animated Snow White was even based on her look (as confirmed by Disney), but her fame sadly didn’t last as long as it should have. She was cast in Ed Wood Jr.‘s Plan 9 from Outer Space in 1959, for which she was paid $200 but insisted on not saying a word of Wood’s lousy dialogue. It is for this mute role that she will eternally remembered.

After disappearing from the Tinseltown spotlight Nurmi continued to be a sort of real Hollywood vampire, even ghoulishly cavorting with the Misfits and performing with a pubk band called Satan’s Cheerleaders during the 1980s when she was in her sixties. At one point Nurmi got into some legal disputes stemming from the rights to Vampira’s image including one lawsuit Nurmi launched against Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson for ripping off her Vampira image, which was dismissed. Despite this, Nurmi’s “Vampira” character continues to endure since she conceived of her over 60 years ago. She was played by Lisa Marie in Tim Burton’s film, Ed Wood.

Somewhat rather underappreciated during her time, Maila Nurmi was lovingly profiled in the 2012 documentary Vampira and Me which featured newly restored kinoscopes of her TV appaearances. Some of the photos that follow (though tame) might be slightly NSFW because, bikinis.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.14.2016
01:05 pm
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Get in the ring: Vintage images of female bodybuilders and ‘strong women’ showing off
09.02.2016
10:35 am
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Strong woman and acobat Louise Leers (aka Luise Krökel), 1930s.
 
Some of the images of the badass strong women in this post date all the way back to the very early 1900s however the female “strong woman” was an attraction as long ago as the early 1700s where women such a the “Female Italian Samson” and the “Little Woman from Geneva” would perform impressive feats of strength such as bearing massive amounts of weight on their backs or effortlessly hoisting several men in their arms.
 

The ‘Great Sandwina’ aka, Katie Brumbach.
 
Sometime in the late 1800s the appearance of strong women became more prevalent in sporting events and were also a common attraction in circuses where they would showcase their superhuman strength. This in turn paved the way for other rule-breaking girls such as female wrestlers and bodybuilders. One of the best known super women was Katie Brumbach called the “Great Sandwina.” Hailing from Vienna, Brumbach’s parents were also circus performers and it would appear that she was the combination of her father (who stood 6’ 6”) and her mother (who was herself a strong woman of sorts, sporting biceps that measured 15 inches around). She not only inherited her parents physical prowess and she performed with them, as well as many of her fourteen siblings. Brumbach would go on to wow audiences by lifting her husband (who reportedly weighed 165 lbs) over her head with only one arm and 300 pounds of weights with both. In her later years Brumbach joined the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a powerlifter where she snapped iron bars with her bare hands. At the age of 57 she was still able to pull to hoist her husband above her head with only one arm.

Another notable strong woman Kate Roberts went by the intimidating name “Vulcana.” In addition to her muscular build and ability to lift heavy weights (allegedly 181 lbs with one arm) she has some fascinating superhero-style folklore attached to her. In addition to saving a couple of drowning kids, Roberts dragged an unfortunate would-be purse snatcher who tried to steal her handbag all the way to the police station by herself. According to various historians Roberts also freed a wagon that had become stuck in a ditch in front of a crowd of awestruck Londoners. I’ve included images of other kick ass women in this post such as Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton (who was a notable member of the “Muscle Beach” crowd in the 1940s), and Joan Rhodes who enjoyed bending iron rods with her teeth and breaking nails with her bare hands.  There’s also a video of Rhodes showing off her strength in a cabaret act called the “Iron Girl in a Velvet Glove.”
 

‘Vulcana’ (aka Kate Roberts).
 

Abbye ‘Pudgy’ Stockton.
 
Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.02.2016
10:35 am
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Vintage sleaze and pulp erotica by prolific fetish illustrator Eric Stanton
09.01.2016
12:45 pm
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The cover of ‘Rent Party’ illustrated by Eric Stanton, 1964.
 
Fans of fetish artist and illustrator Eric Stanton allegedly included Howard Hughes, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and well-known white cotton panty enthusiast Elvis Presley. During the 50s and 60s Stanton’s illustrations of tough, truculent women (often clad in bondage-style outfits) graced the covers of a huge number of “adult oriented” pulp novels and paperbacks that to this day are as controversial as they were six decades ago.
 

‘Young Danny,’ 1966.
 
Stanton was a part of a group of New York City-based fetish artists who were all getting their start around the same time like Bill Ward, Bill Alexander, and Exotique magazine illustrator Gene Bilbrew. In the late 1940’s after responding to an ad placed by the notorious Irving Klaw, Stanton’s illustrations started to get a bit more attention. He would then go on to improve his artistic style under the tutelage of the pioneering comic illustrator Jerry Robinson—the creator of Robin the Boy Wonder; the Joker; Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred; and Two-Face. Later, at the urging of Klaw Stanton, started to introduce BDSM themes into his illustrations. Here’s a quote from Stanton about some of the inspiration he would tap into for his risqué concepts that will likely remind you of a certain R. Crumb and his obsession with large tyrannical women:

I have always loved Amazons. The word itself is exciting. I’ve invented variations such as the Tame-azons who tame men. Being short and a little shy as a young man, I loved the idea of big strong aggressive women who would use their strength to wrestle me down.

By the late 50s Stanton had parted ways with Klaw (and his first wife) and hooked up with Stan Lee’s right-hand man Steve Ditko (the illustrator behind Spider-Man). According to Stanton the fictional character of Spider-Man’s “Aunt Mae” was actually his idea that was then adapted by Ditko for the Spider-Man comic. Stanton’s massive illustrated legacy is highly sought after by collectors and adult pulp novels featuring his art (that once sold for as little as 75 cents) routinely sell for a couple of hundred dollars depending on their condition. Original prints and pages from books containing Stanton’s illustrations and original watercolors can fetch anywhere from $10,000 to over $35,000 each. If you dig Mr. Stanton’s work but lack those kinds of funds, there are several books dedicated to his debauchery out there such as the aptly titled 2012 book The Art of Eric Stanton: For the Man Who Knows His Place. A lovely and somewhat NSFW selection of Stanton’s pulp covers from the 60’s as well as a few of his originals from the same era follow.
 

 

1965.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.01.2016
12:45 pm
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Cruisin’: Vintage photos of cars tricked out with record players
08.09.2016
11:41 am
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Muhammad Ali spinning records on his very own car turntable.
 
Though I’d be the first person to admit that drivers don’t need anything else to distract them from the road (I’m looking at you EVERYONE) I’ll also be the first person to endorse bringing back the trend of installing record players in cars immediately. Because it doesn’t get much more romantic than being able to listen to your favorite 45s during a hot car makeout session.

The driving idea behind installing record players in cars was that it would allow people to not only control what they were listening to while cruising around but it also eliminated having to put up with endless radio commercials (which sounds pretty good to me). The first “Highway Hi-Fi” was put out by Chrysler in 1956 and was available to install in several car models ranging from a Dodge to various Plymouths. The component, designed by CBS Labs was only compatible with seven-inch LP’s that were put out exclusively by Columbia Records which contained about an hour’s worth of jams for your road trip. Apparently when you bought the console Chrysler would then hook you up with six selections from Columbia’s catalog—artists like Percey Sledge and Cole Porter. Of course all this tricked out audiophilia was pretty spendy and Chrysler’s hi-fi on wheels cost a whopping $200. Which was a fortune when you consider that the average family was only making about $3500 dollars a year in 1956.

Starting in 1960 other less expensive car record player units were produced by RCA, Norelco, and Phillips that could shuffle through multiple 45s and according to an article published by Consumer Reports in 2014 the consoles worked pretty well on the road with the help of a heavier stylus. Sadly the trend had a short life and was replaced by the next big thing to have in your car in the late 60s—the forever groovy eight-track tape player.

If this post has got you thinking about installing one of these vintage gadgets in your own car I’m here to tell you that while it’s possible it isn’t going to be cheap. If you’re lucky enough to find one that is brand-new in a sealed box it could run you a couple of thousand dollars to say nothing of how much it might cost to install. I’ll leave you to think about all that while you look at images of George Harrison and the late great Muhammad Ali (pictured at the top of this post) playing around with their car turntables as well as other vintage photos of the units themselves in action.
 

George Harrison and his car record player.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.09.2016
11:41 am
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