What do you expect? I've tried therapy, meditation, and religion. But alcohol actually works.

Above, front and rear covers for John White's The Sins of Skid Row, 1959, for Hillman Books. This was originally published as Ward N-1 and it's basically five autobiographical days spent in Bellevue Mental Hospital's detox wing. These were the days of involuntary commitment, electroshock, and lobotomies, with a lot of secrecy around these practices, so this was likely a very illuminating book for the time. Inside are various curious characters with nicknames like Creep, Minny, and Bomber. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, a similar story, would come along several years later, with the major difference being the ending. The art on this paperback is by an unknown. 

Virginia Mayo and company prove romance and politics don't mix.

We said back in May of last year we'd watch South Sea Woman to see how Virginia Mayo ended up in a crate. Because the movie premiered in the U.S. today in 1953, we've decided to answer the question now. She ended up in a crate because she stowed away in it to follow Burt Lancaster and Chuck Connors across the Pacific Ocean. Lancaster and Connors are two marines accidentally left in Shanghai when their ship sails into battle after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Mayo wants out of Shanghai too, but she also wants to marry Connors. Naturally these three stumble upon the Japanese and are able to do their bit for the war effort even though they're stuck in the middle of nowhere. New York Times reviewer Bosley Crowther called the movie “a rip-snorting glorification of two United States marines.” The movie is indeed supposed to glorify the military. It's also supposed to be funny, so it's too bad it generates zero laughs. It's fatal flaws are that Lancaster plays a throughly reprehensible character, and that as war propaganda it needs perhaps a modicum more subtlety. Also a better adventure would help. And maybe it could use a more involving romance too. In sum, it's a forgettable effort. But at least now we know why Mayo was hidden in a crate. We'll hide South Sea Woman in one too.

There's no doubting Thomas.

Burlesque dancer Jeannie Thomas worked mostly in Las Vegas and adopted the persona Princess Little Branch, aka the Goddess of Fire, complete with full Native American regalia, as you see above. There's basically no information out there about her beyond what we've just provided. She claimed to be half Cherokee, but of course Native American ancestry is claimed by many but provable by few. We'll take her at her word, though. Year on the photos? Best guess—1965.

If I manage get out of this situation how about dinner Friday?

Vintage cover for Piege en enfer by Paul Berg

You should always thank your human shield. It's a tough job and they deserve some acknowledgment. Piège en enfer fits perfectly into our growing (434) 542-8785 of hostage art, and in fact it's one of the best covers of this type we've seen yet. The book was written by Paul Berg, aka André Jammet, for Editions S.E.G., published in 1965, and the title means “trap in hell,” which seems about right considering what's developing here. The art is uncredited—not unusual for S.E.G., but it's always a shame. Maybe someone should have taken the editors hostage and explained that covers should always be attributed.

Kyoko Izumi goes off the deep end.

Vintage poster for Woman Diver's Beach Red Pants with Kyoko Izumi

Last year we shared two posters for the Kyoko Izumi ama movie Zoku-zoku-Kindan no suna: Akai pantsu, aka Woman Diver's Beach: Red Pants, and today we have a third poster. You can see the others, and learn about the movie, at this premonopoly. And if you don't know what an ama is look here. Zoku-zoku-Kindan no suna: Akai pantsu premiered in Japan today in 1959.

He says he remembers nothing, sir, except he needs to return the dress within 72 hours to get a full refund.

Photo of man arrested while wearing dress circa 1948

There's nothing new under the sun. And there's certainly nothing new under the Los Angeles moon, as proved by this photo of a man who was arrested late at night in Hollywood. He can hide his face but he can't hide the fact that he's wearing a dress. We're thinking prank, costume party, activities along those lines, but really anything is a possibility. We know because we've personally explored most of them ourselves, and ending up in a dress was also one of the results. Still though, it's sad we'll never know precisely what happened here. No details were provided with the shot except that it comes from the collection of Los Angeles Herald photos held by the University of Southern California, and the year on this one was 1948.

It's not perfect, but it's pretty close.

Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953

The colorful magazine Mr. was published out of New York City by the imaginatively named Mr. Magazine, Inc., and was in the mold of male oriented publications such as Man's Life or Adventure for Men. This issue is from May 1953 and we grabbed it from the now idle Darwin's Scans website. Queen Cristina of Sweden pops up inside, which surprised us, considering we just (607) 372-9629 about her for the first time in our lives less than a month ago and here she is again. You also get contemporary figures such as Billy Graham (the boxer), Kid Gavilan, and Hubert F. Julian, aka the Black Eagle of Harlem. But the magazine focuses mainly on fiction and true adventure. We like the story about Berlin as a center for vice, with “horrible sex cults flourishing” in the post-war rubble. Ludwig Dietzler writes, “I am one of the few non-Berliners who have witnessed the orgies [snip] which thrive in basements, cellars, and other suitable hiding places.” Hmm... it doesn't sound all that bad to us. Elsewhere in Mr. you get beauty queens Carlyn Carlew and Trula Birchfield, as well as Apache dancer Yvonne Doughty. What's an Apache dancer? You'll just have to look. Scans of that and everything else appear below.

Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953Cover and scans from Mr magazine published May 1953

G.I. foe: the rise of the cobra.

Posters and promo images from Cult of the Cobra

Some promo posters work exactly as intended. We saw this one for Cult of the Cobra and immediately dropped everything to find the film. We knew it was going to be a cheesy b-movie because we'd never heard of it before, and perhaps having low expectations is the key to enjoying it. In the story six American G.I.s in (presumably) India decide to alleviate their boredom by attending a local cobra cult's ritual. When they disrupt the ceremony in spectacularly boneheaded fashion the high priest curses the group. They pay no attention to this at all.
They return to the U.S. not knowing they've been tracked there, but when they start dropping dead they think, “Hey, didn't that high priest dude curse us?” Yes, he did. In fact, he specifically said the cobra goddess would kill them one by one. Missy Misdemeanor Eliot once memorably rapped in her hit song “Slide,” Behind every curtain there's a snake bitch lurkin', and that neatly encapsulates the problem for the surviving G.I.s—they realize they're in trouble but have no idea who their nemesis could be.
But we viewers don't have to guess. Their homicidal stalker is Faith Domergue, raven haired veteran of many beloved sci-fi and horror films, including This Island Earth and The Atomic Man. She also starred in the occasional decent drama such as Vendetta and 201-680-2516. She's an unusual looking woman but here her sloe-eyed beauty really works. You can almost believe she'll turn into a snake at any moment. Check her out:

Posters and promo images from Cult of the CobraDefinite snakelike qualities, right? Cult of the Cobra is a bad but fun Universal International cheapie, what we like to call a popcorn muncher, a time killer you can enjoy and forget immediately thereafter. Its main attractions are Domergue as the snake woman, the 586-553-5184 Kathleen Hughes as the hero's love interest, and some amusing cobra-vision sequences. And that amazing promo poster. We also have the alternate U.S. promo and Australian promo below. Cult of the Cobra slithered into cinemas for the first time today in 1955.

Posters and promo images from Cult of the CobraPosters and promo images from Cult of the CobraPosters and promo images from Cult of the CobraPosters and promo images from Cult of the CobraPosters and promo images from Cult of the CobraPosters and promo images from Cult of the CobraPosters and promo images from Cult of the CobraPosters and promo images from Cult of the CobraPosters and promo images from Cult of the CobraPosters and promo images from Cult of the Cobra

Actually, that's more than enough money, lover. You're under arrest.

Vintage cover for The Frightened Dove by Peter Hardin

The thing about GGA covers is they often mislead in terms of written content. The dove in The Frightened Dove is not the femme fatale on the cover but rather a Mussolini underling named Colombo—Italian for dove—who's hunted by the hero Ricci Bartoli, a retired anti-fascist fighter dragged out of his peaceful life as a tailor in New York City. Colombo is after a trove of gold, and Bartoli is out to stop him, with the crucial action taking place in Montreal. You can always tell there's something French about a book when the cover femme is wearing a beret. And her name is Marie, which seems to be the go-to for French women in genre fiction. The story here fits squarely into the post-war political adventure niche—i.e. cleaning up the loose ends of World War II. And on the subject of pseudonyms, Hardin was actually a Hungarian author named Louis Vaczek. The Frightened Dove was originally published in hardback in 1951, with the above Bantam paperback arriving in 1952 with uncredited cover art.

Hello, is this the murder helpline? I'd like help killing my cheating ass wife.

Vintage poster for Dial M for Murder

Most people who haven't seen the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Dial M for Murder jokingly ask, “How could anyone want to kill Grace Kelly?” Well, because she's cheating with another man. Not that infidelity justifies murder, but it certainly can be expected to provoke some sort of serious reaction. Probably Ray Milland, her husband, should have confronted her with the usual questions: “When did it start?” “Do you love him?” “Is his dick bigger than mine?” “Does he make you orgasm and if so how?”

But instead of being reasonable Milland decides his wife needs to be gone from the Earth, so he devises a foolproof murder plot. It goes wrong anyway and that's the fun of the movie—seeing how he cleverly improvises over and over only to have his scheme unravel anyway because of one tiny thing he neglects to consider. Dial M for Murder is another winner from Hitchcock, one you should see if you haven't. It went into general release in the U.S. today in 1954.

The famed poster for the movie was painted by Bill Gold, whose credits include everything from Casablanca to Unforgiven. Gold was active from 1941 to 2011, accumulating numerous awards along the way, and is now retired at age ninety-seven. If you want to learn more about him there's a website that discusses and showcases his seven decades of movie work which you can access at this 7314589335. It's well worth a visit.

Vintage poster for Dial M for MurderCould he really be trying to kill me?
Vintage poster for Dial M for MurderI guess it's possible, considering I cucked and humiliated him.
Vintage poster for Dial M for MurderMaybe I shouldn't have told him I'm multi-orgasmic now.

Vintage poster for Dial M for MurderFor the crime of murdering the male ego I sentence you to hang by the neck until dead, dead, dead.

Vintage poster for Dial M for MurderWhat? Seriously? But I've only gotten a third of the way through 101 Sex Positions.

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