Sinister Cinema: An Oscar-Winning Pulp Reader

Pulps in the Movies. On Sale Every Wednesday. Brought to you by that expert pulp hound John Locke.

Take it away, John:

Who knew you could win an Oscar for reading a pulp mag on screen?

But here is Tatum O’Neal doing exactly that in Paper Moon (1973), playing Addie while con-man Moses Pray (played by Tatum’s real-life father Ryan O’Neal) — not having a pulp of his own — looks on, bored.

Tatum, who was ten, is still the youngest person ever to win an Oscar.

The pulp is the December 1931 Clues, with a cover by Wesso. Addie appears to be reading “The Better Half,” a short story by crime-fiction writer Milo Ray Phelps.

The screen story is set in 1936, so, for us purists the use of a 1931 magazine totally destroys the willing suspension of disbelief.

But there’s no arguing with the Academy.

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