Pulp Pages #4: The National Police Gazette

I love the scene in So, I Married an Axe Murderer where Charlie talks with his mother about her "news":

Charlie: Hey Mom, I find it interesting that you refer to the Weekly World News as, "The paper." The paper contains facts.
May: This paper contains facts. And this paper has the eighth highest circulation in the whole wide world. Right? Plenty of facts. "Pregnant man gives birth." That's a fact.

Truth be told, what passes for TV news today is only marginally more factual than these tabloids.  You could argue that TV news is even worse because it pushes an agenda, thus planting it in the realm of propaganda... a greater sin than mere trash, I think.

The National Police Gazette was an infinitely influential paper beginning in the late nineteenth century.  Here's their credo:
"We offer a most interesting record of horrid murders, outrageous robberies, bold forgeries, astounding burglaries, hideous rapes, and vulgar seductions in various parts of the country.... The whole country swarms with hordes of English and other thieves, burglars, pickpockets, and swindlers, whose daily and nightly exploits give continual employment to our police officers, and whose course through the land, whatever direction they may take, may be traced by their depredations."
Unfortunately, the publication jumped the shark bad during the Great Depression.  What survived was a shell of its former self.  It blended in with The Weekly World News and The National Enquirer on newsstands and ultimately went out of business entirely by the close of the seventies.

The following snippets are scans from issues released during its final decade.  The first set is from the May 1972 issue (cover at the top of this post).

WOLF ON THE PROWL - Oh, that looks nice! And in a few seconds Alex the Lover Boy has his prey cornered. This scene on a Florida road shows the aggressive technique of the curb-cruising wolves who crawl out of garages at the first blush of spring. How did Alex do? A gentleman wolf never tells.
This seems more like assault than an innocent pick-up.  Somebody call the police.

LINDA Cunningham wanted to be a teacher before she went into show business. Now she's going to do the next-best thing. Linda, 18, is signed to co-star in a new Old West series for TV. And no doubt school teachers throughout the country will have their eyes glued to the screen while they measure up her educational possibilities. Linda's physical attributes measure 38-27-36. Such equipment should make her a TV standout.
They don't even say what show she's going to be on.  I looked her up on IMDb to no avail.  There's a Linda Cunningham who acted around this time, but it's not her.

A MARRIED SEX delinquent is a man who is married only on paper. He goes through the formality of a ceremony, but it is a false marriage. He has never, in his heart, agreed to participate in all the things he has promised in the marriage vow. He agrees verbally to become a husband, but essentially, he is still single. Emotionally and psychologically, he is still a bachelor, and he remains one throughout marriage. He doesn't marry with the idea of making himself a good husband or father. He marries with the idea of advantages to himself: "What can marriage do for me?" Never, "What can I do to make my wife happy, and in doing so, enjoy full married happiness myself?" 
I wonder how many housewives developed a subtle suspicion that their husbands were sex delinquents after reading this article?

JANE FONDA GOES TO WAR - The "soldier" with the rifle is film actress Jane Fonda. The battlefield is the stage of a public meeting hall outside the Yokota Airbase in the Western suburb of Tokyo. Jane and a theatre group she organized are touring the Far East performing in an antiwar show.
I understand Fonda's manic frustration over the conflict in Vietnam, but when she directed her anger to the soldiers, she crossed a line.  Unfortunately, she wasn't alone in this regard - my own father had rocks thrown at him from hippies sitting on a roof because he was in uniform.  To this day, it upsets him.

From the June 1972 issue

THE Most Amazing Show on Earth at the moment is in Copenhagen but the ringmaster, Jens .Jorgens. refuses to watch. Real. live, naked, sweating, grunting human animals copulate on a mattress before the pop eyes of an audience that averages a hundred a night. The spectacle is similar to those sex acts shown at the Roman games and just. as legal.  
As Denmark is the only country in the world where the business is legal the foreign market is enormous. There are large fortunes to be made. Porno supermarkets are all over Copenhagen and often open until three in the morning. If this proves too early there are all night vending machines provided. There has even been a Sex Trade Fair which attracted charter planeloads of Americans, Brittons and coach loads of Germans.  
Most patrons arrive and make no attempt to talk to others. It is not the place one makes bosom friends. The girl behind the bar announces that the floor show is about to begin and a ripple of activity runs through the crowd and eventually accelerates into a rush for the good seats. 

There is an interval, while the audience enjoys a drink, and Lise comes out again with a plump little thing who looks as if she should be at home with mother ~ but this is Copenhagen. The newcomer is no professional but is led through the act, stage by stage, by a wildly enthusiastic Lise. They undress each other and go through an acrobatic routine of lesbian lovemaking - which includes the use of an electric vibrator, of the kind that is advertised so accurately as being able to be used on 'any part of the body.'  
As they leave there is more polite applause. The audience applauds reservedly when it is over. Nobody seems very stimulated. No lip chewing, no Adam's apple bobbing. The thing about these shows is that they somehow manage to be almost totally unerotic. The models say that they have to be totally involved with one another in order to forget about the audience. The advantages of the couple knowing each other well are obvious. There are an amazing number of schoolteachers in the job. One, pretty but prim, had earned enough in a few months to go to the Canary Islands for the winter.  
All the Copenhagen sex shows have a chill to them. "What do you expect,'' one Dane said. "We are a profoundly unerotic nation." It is strange that an unerotic nation should have a monopoly on legal porno, but businessmen in the country are making their money while they can. Internal competition is hatting up. The day when Germany or the States free the porno laws is dreaded as the apocalypse, for these two countries are the big customers. And everybody in the business agrees that it will be France, with her alluring, erotic nature, who will take over.  
Hilarious.  I love the quote: "We are profoundly unerotic nation."  Any Danes out there that'd like to comment on that statement?

The same kind of urgency could he applied to the US scene where infidelity on the part of errant wives has also reached epidemic proportions, according to a consensus of leading sociologists.
"The Women’s Lib movement has led many married women into rationalizing their illicit love affairs as their so-called right to freedom," says one highly respected marriage counselor. It is this situation that engaged the attention of the lawyers at the recent state bar association meeting. A surprising number of those present who specialized in divorce cases could cite instances where a doctor had been prevailed upon to give a truth serum injection  to a patient - on the pretext of having a psychosomatic ailment. "
Those damn Women's Libbers. Let's see how liberated they are when their injected with sodium pentothal.

And finally, from the April 1972 edition:

Once upon a time gals like Betty Grable, Jane Russell, Veronica Lake, Hedy Lamar, and Marilyn Monroe, to name a few, helped to perpetuate the honesty of the film capital's moguls in their endeavors to provide enjoyable -entertainment for the multitudes. Could you imagine Barbra Streisand competing with these glamour girls? 
Could you imagine Barbra Streisand, voice and all, taking on Jeanette McDonald or Kathryn Grayson or any of' the charmers with golden larynxes who kept movie-goers glued to their seats with their rhapsodic renditions of the ballads of their day? It's another Hollywood today.
When the sexpots, like hazel-eyed Nancy Kovak, with a body that puts Aphrodite to shame, and the sexpot Edy Williams, with the spectacular 37-24-37 body that oozes sex from every pore, can take a back seat to Barbra Streisand - the question is what has brought on this change? Perhaps it was the decadence that had infiltrated the star system which for so many.years had ruled America's cinematic center. Or conceivably it was the changing times which have brought on so many upheavals in so many places, from the ghettos to the college campuses. . . In either case, Barbra Streisand has made it in Hollywood - and made it big. 

I'm not a huge fan of Babs, but this just seems mean.

THERE'S one quite definite requirement for every good horror film, apart from the horror ingredients, of course - and that's at least one attractive girl - to give the audience something to smile about. And one lovely girl who has become a top favorite with horror film fans is lovely Polish-born actress Uta Levka. She has more curves than a scenic railroad and exudes more sex appeal than a bevy of Folies Bergeres nudies.

Twenty-four-year-old Uta is an old hand at horror films, and was recently working on yet another one. Her latest film is "Scream and Scream Again" - a horror film in the "mad scientist" tradition. In "Scream and Scream Again" the lovely Uta plays a nurse, whose body has been made up from pieces of other bodies by a mad transplant surgeon. And looking at Uta in the film, it seems they certainly did it successfully! 

According to Wikipedia, Uta became a sales manager at a textile company.  An unexpected career change.


  1. That Jane Fonda pose with a gun looks almost like the Patty Hearst pose with a gun two years later.

  2. Welcome back from your holiday break. Next time remember vacation requests need 7 days notice. I was jonse-ing for a new post. BTW I have a page or 2 from an 1890's Police Gazette. Not much difference other than electricity and color printing. Always looking for more, they're sen-sational!

  3. Barbra is a great singer, but in all fairness she is pretty much an oinker compared to Nancy Kovak and Edy Williams.

  4. 'The whole country swarms with hordes of English...' *chuckles*

  5. Can't some wives also be "sex delinquents"?

  6. I think that is they right Linda Cunningham. The age is right she would have been 18 at the time the copy was written. Also she looks like her, she has quite a distinctive nose.

  7. That is the right Linda Cunningham as provided in the link. I just watched her in an episode of Doctor in Charge.