1. Backstage Trio, by Allyn Davis (Wee Hours #526, (c) 1967) (Cover by Bill Ward (?)) - Speaking of "I don't know, and I don't wanna know...) - Acquired by mail auction from the good folks at Frog Hollow Books, 1136 Pelican Place, Safety Harbor, FL 34695
2. Gang Girl, by Joe Weiss (Beacon Books #155, (c) 1957) - One of the most prolific of the early soft-porn writers, Mr. Weiss put out dozens of books under a dizzying variety of pseudonyms. Acquired at the 1996 New York Paperback Show from Kayo Books (see links page).
3. Private Club, by Orrie Hitt (Beacon Books #232, (c) 1959) - Mr. Hitt was possibly the most prolific author in the history of paperback sleaze, having cranked out books at the average of one every two weeks during much of the fifties and sixties. His name was so widely recognized by, er, afficionadoes of this sort of literature that publishers hired other authors to ghostwrite books under his name well into the seventies. The story whereby I purchased this book and five others much like it (including Private Chauffeur, below) is too good not to relate - I went to a church book sale and was perusing the paperbacks when I noticed a flash of yellow out of the corner of my eye. It proved to be eight fifties-vintage paperbacks in dead mint condition, always a happy discovery. When I went to the checkout table, the man behind the cashbox smiled and said, in a heavy Russian accent, "Ah, de sleazy ones! I poot togedder! I know someone like you come along! When I come to dees country, I learn to read English from such book!"
Learn to read English from such book? Scary thought.
And no, I'm not gonna tell you which church it was.
4. Private Chauffeur, by N.R. DeMexico (Beacon Books #313, (c) 1960) (Cover by Paul Rader) I have to figure that this is a pseudonym, but god knows for whom.
5. Hitch-Hike Hussy, by John B. Thompson and Jack Woodford (Beacon Books #138, (c) 1952) (Cover by Saul Levine) - Thompson and Woodward were also "major" authors in this field. Acquired at 1996 New York Paperback Show; can't remember the dealer.
6. Wild Palms, by William Faulkner (Signet #659A, (c) 1939; Second Paperback Printing, 1948) - From Geoffrey O'Brien's Hardboiled America - "It was (the paperback publishers') marketing savvy that reduced The Sun Also Rises to a single blurb -- "Could he live without the power to love" -- and summarized Faulkner's The Wild Palms in the image of a swim-suited maiden posed against a beach parasol." Acquired at library sale.
7. The Black Gestapo, by Joe Nazel (adapted from screeplay by Lee Frost and Wes Bishop) (Holloway House #BH477, (c) 1975) - I realize that this cover is a little late for our proposed period of coverage (1939-1970) but I couldn't pass up the chance to display a cover that could offend such a broad range of potential offendees. Just goes to show you that no movie, even this blacksploitation epic from former skinflick director Frost (probably best known as the Director of The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant), is so obscure that some publisher won't crank out a tie-in book. I am only slightly embarassed to admit that I also own a copy of the 27"X41" "one sheet" poster for the movie. Acquired from elderly couple's sidewalk Brooklyn book stall.
8. To Step Aside, by Noel Coward (Avon Book Company, 1943 and 1946 (?!)) - Yes, that Noel Coward, and no, aside from the prodigiously stacked female protagonist, it really isn't particularly tawdry, but it is a beautiful cover, which has not, to the best of my knowledge, been published elswhere. Purchased at synagogue flea market.
9. Wanton Web, by Dave King (PEC, (c) 1966) - PEC (Publisher's Export Company, Inc.) was a highly successful publisher in the 1960's and '70's, particularly beloved by collectors for their vivid (sometimes to the point of preposterous) covers for such classics as The Sex-O-Reenos, Panda Bear Passion and, my personal favorite, Satan Was a Lesbian (a copy of which I would love to acquire.) Our correspondent David Frame traded us this one, along with a stack of other fine books, for some movie posters.
10. Father of the Amazons, by Pete Lewis (Kozy Books #136, (c) 1961) - During the 1950's, Hollywood cranked out tons of low-budget films about ordinary men who, for some reason or other, find themselves in cultures exclusively populated by man-hungry women (Prehistoric Women, Love Slaves of the Amazons, Fire Maidens from Outer Space, Cat Women of the Moon, Missile to the Moon, Queen of Outer Space, blah, blah, blah) and it should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that the money-hungry men at the less reputable paperback companies decided to follow suit. This is just one of a number of similar books, but most others don't include the cheery ad line "Cozy Up With Kozy Books!".
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