Stardust Memories

Industrial Design
Sports & Recreation


BIG on samples and happy hour buffets, periodically declares he's giving up on cheese (might as well call him "anti-American" i know), LOVES his wife (remember, "wife" spelled backwards is "efiw"), is certain his son is destined to be known as "Enzo the Great," appreciates his "parents" more each day (in-laws included), still dislikes cats, greatest fear is mediocrity, has resigned himself to blatant self-promotion (hey! i amuse me), defies popularity by defining himself, and wants (would like) you to pay him lots (market-value) of money for his work.

....more on "Papa" Lorenzo

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Stardust Memories:

The Essential Guide to American Adult Pop-Culture
of the Age of Innocence,


Pulp Literature and Art

Popular Magazines:

Beatnik Lit

Pulp Fiction

Mystery/ Crime Noir

Popular Literature

Menís Magazines

Pin-ups Art and Photography



Pulp Literature and Art

1947. The SecretLife of Walter Mitty starring Danny Kaye, gives one a farcical look of the pulp fiction industry. It appears that all book and magazine covers at the time were handpainted and it wasn't until the mid fifties that photographed covers came in vogue.

1948-Fifty cities ban comic books dealing with crime or sex.


"If there was one charecteristic of graphics in the 1950s to dintinguish it from the work produced in the preceding decade it was the use of a single, powerful visual idea that united both image and text. The introduction of photolithography enabled full-colour photographs to be easily reproduced for the first time, while the design of new typefaces, notably Helvetica and Univers, produced a leaner, consistent, less cluttered look....

As television gradually established itself, magazine publishers responded by placing more emphasis on photography, leading to the success of magazines such as Look and Life...In the United States McCalls and Esquire both went even further, taking on distinguished designers to create covers and picture spreads aiming for dramatic impact: text broke out of its rigid column format to 'sprinkle' from the hands of models or to undulate across the page as it followed the contours of a picture."


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Popular Magazines:



1955-At its peak Confidential magazine has a circulation of 4.5 million readers.

Movie Star News


Published by Huntignton Hartford, heir to the A.&P. supermarket chain, it was one of the liveliest glossies of the 1960s.




If it wasn't in VOGUE

It wasn't in vogue. ~Vogue magazine, 1951


Quick News Weekly (1953)

Confidential Magazine

The Village Voice, cofounded and originally edited by Dan Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Ed Francher and John Wilcox. Launched October 26, 1955

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Beatnik Lit

Jack Kerouac

William Burrows

Dylan Thomas

James Baldwin

Alan Ginsberg

Pulp Fiction

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Mystery/ Crime Noir

Agatha Christie

Ian Flemming

According to Esquire, Flemming was one of JFKís favorite writers.

Through James Bond we lived vicariously traveling to exotic lands on life-threatening missions to recover atomic weapons and prevent the world from being destroyed by the evil forces of the underworld. Bond gambles, playing Baccarat-chemin de fer in Thunderball dressed in a black tuxedo with a thin black bow-tie. The Spetre agent wears a off-white dinner jacket with a bigger black tie. He walks into his room and takes a few cubes out of the black ice-bucket, unscrews the tin cap from the gin bottle and pours himself a drink. Bond travels to exotic Nassau where he goes scuba diving in coral reefs and clear blue shark-infested waters, watches a colorful Mardi Gras parade (the Juncanoo?) , observes local bikini-clad firewalkers, gambles in a tuxedo at the local casino, drinks rum beverages, wears native style shirts which are not tucked in one's pants, dances at party surrounded by bamboo thatched huts to the beat of native exotic music and on a palm-tree studded beach sucks the jelly-fish poison out of the foot of Domino, a bikini clad french-accented brunette whom he had made love to the evening before.


Raymond Chandler

Mickey Spilane: Mike Hammer

Dell Mystery Pocket Books

The resurgence of these kind of movies McHolland Falls and Devil in a Blue Dress.

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Popular Literature

Arthur Miller won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for his play Death of a Salesman.

Catcher in the Rye

The Power Elite by L. Wright Mills delineated the new middle and upper class structure of America in the 1950ís.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Carson McCullers.

Ernest Hemmingway

F. Scott Fitzgerald revival

The Liberal Imagination by Lionel Trilling

How To Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

Art Linkletter

From Here to Eternity by James Jones was a best-seller in 1951,

"The cover's anything but cute. A Glimpse into the dark side, the seamy underworld of the soul. Norman Rockwell ripped inside out. Good girls gone bad. Bad girls gone worse. Books to open like switchblades. The sordid scene on the cover, the black-gloved hand holding the ice pick piercing the creamy white bosom, ensured no one on the bus home after work will mistake you for a Commie intellectual subversive. No way. This is a man's book you're reading."

Robert Frost's Complete Poems was at the top of the sales list in 1949.

E.E. Cummings

Carl Sandburg wins the Pulitizer for his Complete Poems in 1950

1953 Plexus by Henry Miller and Junkie by William Burroughs are Critics' Choices

Saul Bellow and JD Sallinger also make it on the list. From Here to Eternity remains a best-seller

Ernest Hemingway wins the Nobel Prize in 1954.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac is a critic's choice in 1957

1957 Allen Ginsberg's Howl is seized by the police because it is regarded as obscene.

1958 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is a best-seller; Breakfast at Tiffany's by Tuman Capote is a critic's choice; Noted poetry E.E. Cummings (also 1957)

1958 The papberback of Lolita sells a million copies.

1959 Critics'Choice- The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs; Best-seller: James Michener's Hawaii; Noted Poetry: E.E. Cummings, 100 selected Poems

Jack Kerouac, Mexico City Blues

1961 Ernest Hemmingway commits suicide with a hand gun.

There was a great popularity for books dealing with domestic issues. One of the best-sellers of 1950 was Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book, the Bible...

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Menís Magazines

"The lurid cover might have helped, but every paperback had a lurid cover back then. Faulkner got cleavage on his paperbacks. Pouty lips. A suggestion of bondage. So did Flaubert. Some deserved the full-tilt licentious boogie on the cover-whips and bondage or B-girls in a doorway half lit by street lamps, a cigarette between their lips. James M. Cain's novels earned those covers. Likewise, Jim Thompson's, all paperback originals. And when the backs of their books screamed out tags like 'torrid,' 'racy,' 'electric,' 'she didn't know what she wanted until it was too late,' they didn't let you down."

"Men's magazines were not the fatuous affairs they are now, indistinguishable from the women's rags. Esquire was large, elegant, very sophisticated, and devoted to jazz and an intellectual view of sports. The stories and humor it published were of the highest caliber. The same with Playboy, whose early forays into nudity were usually sidelong peeks, never full-frontal views."

Had their hey-day in the 1950ís. It was not unusual to find the latest Hollywood stars posing for them. Bruce Jay Friedman edited Swank, Male, Manís World, Men and True Action for Magazine Management from 1953-1965.

"girlie magazine" comes into use in 1953, the same year Playboy is launched.

Playboy: The first Playboy appeared in December 1953 with Marilyn Monroe on its cover and as its centerfold. Regular pin-up drawings by Vargas.

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Pin-ups Art and Photography

"The fifties perfected the art of the fake front. Paperback novels boasted wanton harlots in situations that never occurred in the text. And record albums slyly insinuated that listening to the music would teleport the bachelor babe-side by happy hour."


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Fresh Ink Company & Lorenzo D. Dominguez
All Rights Reserved.
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