Foxy Ladies #8: Stone Cold Foxes of the Jungle

Since the 1930's, Hollywood has been cranking out productions featuring women of the jungle as an excuse to get pretty actresses in loincloths and leopard skins.  The films and television programs themselves have been less than stellar, but audiences going to see a movies about jungle chicks don't want Citizen Kane - they wanted scantily clad jungle babes swingin' on vines!

So, here's my list of the top 7 stone cold foxes of the jungle - in order. With each jungle babe I've included images and a few facts about the actress and the corresponding movie or TV show. I hope you find them interesting. Enjoy!

7. Ann Corio in Jungle Siren (1942)

Does this look like someone raised in the jungle? After 20+ years deep in the heart of a jungle, I'd say she looks absolutely ravishing. Would it have killed the director to put a smidgen of dirt on her? Maybe a stain on her clothes, a hair out of place?

From the original movie poster: "SHE'S A ONE-GIRL LOVE-BLITZ! It took this American he-man to teach her the manual of ARMS...and what a pupil she made!"  Actually, the movie is quite tame; those that bought into the tag line were surely disappointed.

Ann was also a model for YANK magazine, a periodical for servicemen during WWII that featured pin up girls in each issue.  This is Ann from the September 3, 1943 issue on the left.  I could make a joke about a military magazine featuring pinups called "YANK", but I'll refrain.

Vintage Style #7: Tight Pants for Men

I'm not particularly fond of the hip hugger style of today - it's the rare body that can pull off the look. More often than not, it's just plain unsightly. The late 1970's had its share of ugly denim fashion - the uber tight "spray on" jeans and slacks for men were borderline pornographic. I think even women will agree that, generally, a man doesn't look good in a pair of slacks so tight you can tell what religion he is (to quote Robin Williams).  In 1978, there was a very fine line between a pair of jeans and a bodystocking.  This is not a good look for most men.

Back the 1970s, girls would soak their jeans in a bath tub and then put them on wet so that they would dry up to look and feel like a second skin. Somehow, this was an attractive look for women IMHO.  However, the sight of a gaberdine wedgie on a man is just horribly, horribly wrong.

Mini Skirt Monday #28: Minis on Campus (Part 2)

Man, when was the last time you waited in line to use a telephone? Those days are long gone, and for better or worse, so is the omnipresent mini-skirt. Here's a few images I've scanned and swiped from yearbooks of the early seventies. What really disturbs me is that every one of these girls are about 56 years old by now!


Beatles Covers #5: Lucy in the Sky with Shatner

By now, I'm sure everybody's heard tracks from Shatner's notorious The Transformed Man album released in 1968. Today, we're going to focus on the song "Spleen/Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and search for some much needed answers and closure to this vinyl enigma. Before we take off, take another listen.

William Shatner - Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Question #1: Is he serious?

The album is so over-the top, that many think Shatner is merely having a good time and goofing around. Sorry. Shat is dead freaking serious. Shatner's liner notes which were originally penned when the album came out, make it clear that he was legitimately proud of his accomplishment. Go here to read the full text. Here's a taste.

The birth of this album grew out of the chance meeting of a handful of people - like different roads winding about for miles and then all coming together at one place - with each of us bringing a wealth of experience and know-how to the converging point...
I mean, c'mon, this Shatner we're talking about.... in his prime! He was incapable of creating anything but an overly indulgent piece of work. He gave new meaning the word "overacting"; this exactly the type of guy who's going to try to turn a Beatles song into a Shakespearean tragedy. Look up "histrionic personality disorder" and you're liable to find a picture of Shat.

Question #2: Spleen?


Ads #24: The Space Ranger

click on image to embiggen

Do my eyes deceive me? This can't really be what I think it is. I had stumbled across in an old magazine the answer to the world's problems and a kickstart into the space age! A freaking personal spaceship for about six grand! The ad says it will fly to an altitude of 5,000 feet, and it can go forwards, backwards and sideways! I mean, this is going to change everything - why take a car anymore when this can take off vertically from almost any location? I'm sold. Where do I sign?

I did a little research on the subject (and I do mean little) and found that the G8-2-130 jets use very little fuel (propane) and are ecologically clean (the exhaust is carbon dioxide, nitrogen and steam).  I found this photo from another site about the Space Ranger.  (That woman's bell bottoms look wide enough to get her airborne without need of a spaceship.)

No more need to scar the land with ugly roads (which are made largely of oil, themselves). All that needs to be done is just pimp it a little bit - install some cup holders, enclose it in a cool frame, add satellite radio, A/C, and some headlights for night flying and we're in business!

Not only would this drastically cut our dependence on foreign oil, but this would save the automobile industry. Of course, they'd have to rename it. "Space Ranger" sounds sort of corny to today's consumer.  It needs to be something like The Dodge Prion, The Chevy Luxor or The Ford Oracle.

Oh, wait. Turns out these things rarely got beyond 30 feet in the air and had a habit of erupting into flames.  My bad.


Retro Quote #7: Fred Williamson on Blaxploitation

"Who was being exploited? Certainly not me."
- Fred Williamson

The fact is, while socially progressive groups criticized blaxploitation movies as racist, hundreds of black actors and filmmakers were getting paid, and paid well. And not only were they benefiting financially from these movies, they also were finally in control - they were driving this bus, not paid to sit down. I mean, if Fred Williamson (possibly the smoothest and coolest human being currently living on this planet) was being exploited, then I want to be exploited too!

Sure, these films were often violent and dealt with harsh subject matter like drugs and prostitution, but what's the matter with that? I guess the high-minded critics would've been more comfortable had they all been more like Singin' in the Rain. A quote from director Oscar Williams says it all:

"Why wasn't Death Wish seen as "whitesploitation"? How come only the films for African-Americans were singled out as being sexist and violent?"
These films weren't, as a general rule, portraying African Americans in a negative light. Take for instance, Willie Dynamite. He's a drug user and a pimp - but he finds a way out and reforms his life. These critics screaming "racism" were focused on the drug using and pimping, when there's a very positive message that goes completely under their radar.

Plus, who's to say they these movies had to be brimming with positive African American role models? This attitude stifles creativity and makes their characters one dimensional and predictable.  I mean, admit it, the bad guys are always more interesting, anyway.

Morgan Freeman as a wise judge, a wise president, a wise deity, etc., etc., blah, bla-blah. Enough already! I want to see him in his next movie poppin' caps and laying women like there's no tomorrow! Freeman as the Godfather of Harlem, Black Caesar - now we're talkin'!


The Retrospace Guide to a Happy Thanksgiving

I'm all about family togetherness, so the last thing I want to do is sound like the Thanksgiving grinch. However, Turkey Day has never been one of my favorite holidays.  I want to like it, but at the end of the day I'm always stressed, bloated, bitter and suffering from a tension headache. It's nothing like the old advertisements...

I think the biggest problem is the expectations.  Know what you're getting into.  It's not going to look like a Norman Rockwell painting.  Quite the contrary. Sure, it's remotely possible you may be one of the lucky ones who has a Little House on the Prairie Thanksgiving each and every year, but for 99.999% of America the holiday mainly consists of uncomfortable moments and severe indigestion.  But as long as you don't have unrealistic expectations going in, you might have a good time after all.  So, let's take stock.
1. The Macy's Parade will become intolerable quickly. The Garfield balloon will not impress you.
2. The family gathering will be punctuated by awkward silences and uncomfortable comments.
3. At least one child will mortify their parents; this could very well be you this year, so be prepared.
4. Even if you are not on a diet, you will feel guilty and self conscious about how much you ate.
5. The bloated feeling will cause you to become irritable and drowsy; a bad combination when fraternizing with judgmental relatives who are also edgy.

Once you accept these facts, you are on your way to having a somewhat bearable or relatively pleasant Thanksgiving!

Read on to peruse through a small gallery of vintage "Ladies of Thanksgiving". Hopefully, it will add a little cheer to the holiday. Enjoy! 

Comic Books #14: Pre Code Nastiness

It's a common misconception that popular media has always been tamer and much less explicit than it is today. In many ways, movies, advertising, magazines, novels and comic books could be every bit as ribald and offensive as they are today (if not more so).


Anyway, I was paging through some old pre-code gems and was bitch slapped by some downright sadistic comic panels, generally involving horrific violence against women.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given the fact that this was prior to the 1954 crackdown, when comics were spayed and neutered. Nonetheless, I was both amused and disturbed by some of these pre-code classics.

Sally the Sleuth, 1940

Surprisingly, I find the crime/adventure comics a lot more extreme than the horror ones. The horror comics like Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror would often have a gruesome panel or two - maybe a shrunken head or someone getting wacked with an axe. However, the crime and adventure comics seem much more mean spirited. They were the ones that graphically showed murder each and every week, often with a sado-masochistic twist. Ironically, it was the horror comics that got the spotlight when the shit hit the fan in 1954.


I thought I'd share a few of the particularly nasty ones from these crime/adventure comics. Get ready for some mean spirited debauchery from the era of The Great Depression, WWII and post war America. It's probably safe for work.... but your co-workers may think you're a sociopath. Enjoy!


Hey, Isn't That...? #4: The Partridge Family

I was watching The Partridge Family with my daughter the other day when I noticed not one, but TWO Charlie's Angels appearing briefly on the show. In one episode Jaclyn Smith plays a girl the Partridge kids mistake for a mistress.  They inform their mother (Shirley Jones) that her man is two-timing her.... only to find out that Jacqueline is the dude's niece.  Sounds like a Three's Company episode!

"The Sound of Money" episode is among my favorites because it tells a touching story of a bitter old bachelor (played by Harry Morgan of Dragnet and M*A*S*H) who learns to love with the help of the charming Partridge kids..... but mostly I like it because of Farrah.

Mini Skirt Monday #27: Mini Oddities

Here's a few mini-skirt pictures that, quite frankly, have me scratching my head.  I'm not exactly sure what's going on in the photo, and perhaps I don't want to know.

Take, for instance, the photo at the top of this post. Obviously, there's some sort of money-raising going on... but why is this mini-skirted chick riding side-saddle on a donkey? And why is this persson dressed as a freakish elephant? We may never know.... but, it's evidently worth a donation.


Ads #23

Oh, my God.

This is an ad from a 1913 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Maybe you've seen it- this is something I've scanned myself, but it may be floating around on the internet somewhere else.  I nearly choked on my bagel when I first laid eyes on this.  It is just so wrong on so many different levels.

"Papa says it won't hurt us" is actually written on the kid's shirt. Are you kidding me? She's playing with her little doll and a loaded revolver in bed. A revolver that it specifically says will "shoot straight and kill". What's the matter, they didn't have any razors or broken glass for her to play with?

I understand they were more comfortable with firearms back then, but did they let toddlers play with handguns?  Good Lord.

Artful Conception #3: The A-Frame

In an article at printmag.com, design artist and critic, Steven Heller, claims that the cutoff-torso-spread-leg framing device is possibly the most frequently copied trope ever used. In fact, Heller calls it a "design virus"; one that persists to this day. He names it the "A-Frame".

Take a brief glimpse through old movie posters, books, records, comics, magazines, etc. and you'll find this device used over and over again. As I was compiling the gallery at the end of this post, it really did start to resemble a virus; one that's decades old. There's been other so-called design viruses (the polka dot design virus of the 60's, for example), but none so consistent and long term.
As usual, I couldn't leave well enough alone, and had to start dissecting the reasons why this is so prevalent.
According to one source, "a woman’s legs in the A-frame position usually connote domination and empowerment over a puddle of males, and lots and lots of sex". Sounds reasonable enough - you don't have to think too hard to arrive at the conclusion that a close-up of a faceless woman's legs, spread apart, must have some sexual connotation.

image source

Read on if you'd like to check out a gallery of the "A Frame" and other images that come close.  This being Retrospace, these are all vintage pictures; however, you can find just as many contemporary examples quite easily.


Are You Ready for Some Football?

According to Technorati's Report on the Blogosphere last month, less than 10 percent of bloggers are sports bloggers.  I find this rather odd considering that 48 percent of Americans say they are sports fans.  Plus blogging should fit like a glove for sports enthusiasts since they typically like to make their opinions known and will look for any forum to do so. What gives? Personally, I enjoy watching sports. So, let me get a few things out of my system before I attempt to figure out the answer to this question.

Opinions and Rants #18: Retrospace Gives the Bird to Spammers

Well, folks, you can thank spammers for having to use that pain-in-ass word verification every time you want to leave a comment. I've been deleting ridiculous comment spam for months, but it's just getting out of hand and taking up a lot of time.  Who the hell are these spammers? I mean, what kind of business model uses spam as a marketing plan? Has it ever actually happened that someone notices spam in the comment section, is desperately curious about where this link might lead and actually clicked on it? EVER? Has this ever actually happened?

And if by chance you accidentally click it, who the hell is going to purchase something from them? Is their clever plot contingent upon ensaring porn addicts who will lay down credit card numbers the minute they lay eyes on their lousy porno website? It all reminds me of when my computer was overtaken by a virus last year.  No matter what I clicked after a Google search, it directed me to various idiotic ads. Gee, that really made me want to try their products. A helpful tip to up-and-coming businesses: forcibly taking customers to an advertiser against their will is not a good marketing strategy.

To all you spamming douche bags, this bird's for you.


Trivia Newton-John #12

Okay, folks. Time for another chance to win a Trivia Newton-John award to proudly place in your sidebar. This one will really test your retro-abilities. Here goes...

The illustration for the Procter & Gamble advertisement shown below was painted by the mother of what famous actor?

Be the first to correctly name the actor in the comments, and you win the prestigous Trivia Newton-John award.  Good luck!

Wow. That didn't take long! Well, John, I don't know if you have a blog or not (your name doesn't link anywhere), but I present you with the 12th Trivia Newton-John Award nonetheless.  I think that was a pretty difficult question, so you should pat yourself on the back. Here's to you, John. You da man.


Music Lists #10: 150 Greatest New Wave Songs of the 1980's

In the late 70’s/early 80’s music experienced big changes all at once. Disco was dead, classic AOR was on its way out, punk was finished, and a concentration on image (i.e. music videos) all but washed out the non-photogenic soft rockers like Christopher Cross. Funk was also went bye-bye, along with it went the heavy-duty soul music of the Isley Brothers and Al Green variety.

Catchy top 40 pop never goes out of style, so that remained relatively unchanged. Rap music replaced the void left by funk (and even disco). Heavy metal bands like Def Leppard and Judas Priest found their heyday in the early 80’s. Another big change came with New Wave which combined the ashes of punk and disco to create something new entirely. The punk aspect was evident in their “alternative” style, readily apparent in new wave groups like Siouxsie and the Banshees who once shared venues with The Sex Pistols. The disco element was also readily apparent in their tendency to glam it up and make tunes you could dance to; and they also weren’t opposed to a heavy use of synthesizers– New Order and Depeche Mode being perfect examples.

I’ll spare you any further history lessons and get on with The Retrospace list of Great New Wave Songs. In making the list, there was only one guideline: I can only use 1-2 songs per band. This is to encourage a little variety, and make the list a bit more interesting. Also note: these are not in a particular order.

1. Metro - Berlin
2. Melt with You – Modern English
3. Save It for Later – English Beat
4. Cancer – Joe Jackson
5. Destination Unknown – Missing Persons
6. Just Like Heaven – The Cure
7. In Between Days – The Cure
8. All of My Heart – ABC
9. There’s a World Outside – Psychedelic Furs
10. This Is the Day – The The
11. Dogs of Lust – The The
12. The King Is Half Undressed – Jellyfish
13. Bedspring Kiss – Jellyfish
14. Tower of Strength – Mission UK
15. Vienna Calling - Falco
16. Relax – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
17. Two Tribes – Frankie Goes to Hollywood
18. Europa and the Pirate Twins– Thomas Dolby
19. She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult
20. Love Removal Machine – The Cult
21. Metropolis – The Church
22. Under the Milky Way – The Church
23. Timeless Melody – The Las
24. There She Goes – The Las
25. Summer’s Cauldron – XTC
26. Runaways – XTC
27. Down in the Park – Tubeway Army
28. Cars – Gary Newman
29. Daytime Drama – Billy Idol
30. White Wedding – Billy Idol
31. Can’t Be Sure – The Sundays
32. Here’s Where the Story Ends – The Sundays
33. Bedbugs and Ballyhoo – Echo and the Bunnymen
34. Seven Seas – Echo and the Bunnymen
35. Six Months in a Leaky Boat – Split Enz
36. Der Kommissar – After the Fire
37. Master and Servant – Depeche Mode
38. Shake the Disease - Depeche Mode
39. The Chauffeur – Duran Duran
40. Planet Earth – Duran Duran
41. Vanishing Point – New Order
42. Everything’s Gone Green – New Order
43. How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths
44. Last of the Famous International Playboys – The Smiths
45. Darkness- The Human League
46. Fascination – The Human League
47. Desire – Gene Loves Jezebel
48. Heartache – Gene Loves Jezebel
49. Mexican Radio – Wall of Voodoo
50. Ring of Fire – Wall of Voodoo
51. Peek-a-Boo – Siouxsie and the Banshees
52. Inside Out - Mighty Lemon Drops
53. Out of My Head – Mighty Lemon Drops
54. No Stars – Figures on a Beach
55. Faron Young – Prefab Sprout
56. Working Girl – The Members
57. Christine – House of Love
58. It’s My Life – Talk, Talk
59. Summer of Love – B-52’s
60. Legal Tender – B-52’s
61. Litany – Guadalcanal Diary
62. Ship of Fools – World Party
63. Michael Caine – Madness
64. House of Fun – Madness
65. Celtic Soul Brother – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
66. Come on Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
67. Hit – Sugarcubes
68. Birthday – Sugarcubes
69. Here Comes Your Man – The Pixies
70. Veloria – The Pixies
71. I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls
72. I Wanna Be Adored – Stone Roses
73. She Bangs the Drums – Stone Roses
74. Mirror People – Love and Rockets
75. Yin and Yang and the Flowerpot Man – Love and Rockets
76. One Thing – INXS
77. Johnson’s Airplane – INXS
78. Missionary Man – Eurythmics
79. Beethoven (I Love to Listen to) – Eurythmics
80. Mad World – Tears for Fears
81. Pale Shelter – Tears for Fears
82. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
83. Sex Dwarf – Soft Cell
84. Back on the Chain Gang – The Pretenders
85. Talk of the Town – The Pretenders
86. Overkill – Men at Work
87. Kings of the Wild Frontier – Adam Ant
88. Dog Eat Dog - Adam Ant
89. Wouldn’t It Be Good – Nik Kershaw
90. Genius of Love – Tom Tom Club
91. Don’t Wanna Know - Husker Du
92. Put Your Hands on Me – Sinead O’Connor
93. Jerusalem – Sinead O’Connor
94. Don’t Let’s Start – They Might Be Giants
95. Sun Always Shines on TV – A-ha
96. Really Saying Something – Bananarama
97. Dreaming – Blondie
98. One Way or Another – Blondie
99. Come Out to Play – UB40
100. Chains of Love – Erasure
101. What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy) – Information Society
102. Just Like Honey – The Jesus and Mary Chain
103. Spirits in the Material World – the Police
104. On Any Other Day – The Police
105. Gardening at Night – REM
106. So, Central Rain -REM
107. Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds
108. Kids in America – Kim Wilde
109. Eye of Fatima – Camper Van Beethoven
110. Don’t Tell Me – Blancmange
111. Do You Wanna Hold Me – Bow Wow Wow
112. W.O.R.K. – Bow Wow Wow
113. Let Me Go – Heaven 17
114. Just Another Day – Oingo Boingo
115. Dead Man’s Party – Oingo Boingo
116. Our Lips Are Sealed – Fun Boy Three
117. Ghost Town – The Specials
118. Good Thing - Fine Young Cannibals
119. Johnny Come Home - Fine Young Cannibals
120. Higher Ground - Red Hot Chili Peppers
121. Taste the Pain - Red Hot Chili Peppers
122. Crash - The Primitives
123. Every Day Is Like Sunday - Morrissey
124. Suedehead - Morrissey
125. Cuts You Up - Peter Murphy 
126. Anything, Anything- Dramarama
127. Suburbia - Pet Shop Boys
128. Head Over Heels - The Go-Go's
129. We Got the Beat- The Go-Go's
130. Peek-a-Boo - Devo
131. Up All Night - Boomtown Rats
132. Mr. Pharmacist - The Fall
133. A Million Miles Away - The Plimsouls
134. Small Town Boy - Bronxi Beat
135. Making the Body Search - Wire
136. Born in Xixax- Nina Hagen
137. Strange Town- The Jam
138. Lessons in Love - Level 42
139. Something About You - Level 42
140. It's My Life - Talk Talk
141. Tenderness - General Public
142. Love Plus One - Haircut 100
143. Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream) - Icicle Works
144. Rush - Big Audio Dynamite II
145. Don't Go - Yaz
146. Repo Man - Iggy Pop
147. No One Is to Blame - Howard Jones
148. Birth, School, Work, Death - Godfathers
149. Kiss and Tell - Brian Ferry
150. Headhunter - Front 242

I realize many of you haven't heard a lot of the songs on this list. I hope it will inspire you to seek them out. I've also made a playlist for you to listen to a few of the perhaps lesser known entries on the list.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Note (1): I realize there's going to be some songs on this list that you wouldn't classify as new wave; unfortunately, that's the danger in making genre lists. If the Pixies and Husker Du are new wave, then why not include some Sonic Youth? It's like this: If an umpire makes the strikezone too large, it pisses off the batter, and if he makes it too small, the pitcher gets mad.  Moral to the story: you can't please everybody, so just do the best you can.

Note (2): There are few songs that dip into 1990 (recorded in '89 but in '90) such as "Timeless Melody"; and also a few recorded in 1979, but released in 1980.

If there are any glaring omissions, please put it in a comment. I like to hear suggestions - especially ones I'm not familiar with or have long forgotten. I enjoy discovering songs that have slipped under the radar all these years.


Beatles Covers #4: Paul Muriat and Life Before IMDb and Wikipedia

Remember the song "Love Is Blue"? A beautiful song, and a number one hit for Paul Mauriat in 1967. For me it was a source of pain and frustration for the first ten years of my marriage. You see, my wife and I could hum the tune, but couldn't for the life of us remember the song's name. Sure, I could've gone to the library or asked every person I knew till someone recognized it, but it wasn't that important. Just something that would periodically piss me off.

Can you even imagine a scenario like this happening today? Now I'd simply type in Google: "instrumental hits of the 1960's" and I'd listen to a few free sound clips and BINGO, question answered in less than five minutes.  Or, if the song came on the radio, hold my iPhone up to it and it will identify the tune instantly.

Even better, I can, within a few minutes, learn everything there is to know about the song through Wikipedia, blogs, fan sites, etc. On Pandora I can listen to a selection of songs that are scientifically calculated to be similar.

I mean, crap, is it even possible to just be bugged by not knowing something anymore? When was the last time you said, "I don't know" and just left it? When was the last time you saw an actor in a movie, but just couldn't recall his name and did NOT look it up on IMDb?

I think the fact that there's no "not knowing" anymore really sunk in for me when I was talking with a friend about The Incredible Hulk TV show.  In the show's intro, David Banner's wife is shown in a burning car. I wondered if this woman was somebody famous.  Within 30 seconds I was told by my friend at the computer that it was Lara Parker from Dark Shadows.... and that her husband played Tommy Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life! Damn. This is just ridiculous.

What does all this have to do with Beatle's cover songs? Precious little.  I thought about all this when I was listening to Mauriat's Blooming Hits today.  I'd planned on writing about "Penny Lane" but got distracted by this thought. Don't blame me - blame my ADD.

It's a pretty blah piece of muzak.  The only thing exciting about this recording is its album cover.  This spooky chick has always caught my attention since I was a little kid.  I wonder who she is. Man, that's going to bug me. How long do you think it will take me to find out?

Damn! I just spent ten minutes looking and turned up empty!  I guess there are a few things still obscure enough to keep someone stumped.


Vintage Reads #3: Horrible Book Titles

Glad you could join us for the November 2009 Oprah Retrospace Book Club meeting. This month we are looking at some of the worst titles in book history. If any additional titles come to mind, please leave them in the comments. I'd love to hear them.

It's happening in your neighborhood..... right now!