Vintage Pulp Jan 2 2018
KANE IS ABLE
Publisher cooks up hard boiled adventures for Aussie readers.


Above, five covers from the Australian paperback series Kane, by C.J. McKenzie for Webster Publications. All of the covers feature photo-illustrations of actual celebs, but the only one we recognize is Bettie Page, panel three. The main character in these books is columnist Martin Kane, who always seems to get tangled up in murder. C.J. McKenzie had been an editor at Horwitz Publications and wrote some novels as Carter Brown while series author Alan Yates was busy elsewhere during the late 1950s. He wrote Kane afterward, in 1958 and 1959. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 25 2017
THE FRONT PAGET
Horwitz uses its best known cover star to date.


American actress and dancer Debra Paget appears, quite strikingly, on the front of Carter Brown's Stripper You've Sinned, which was published in 1956. We've been speculating for a while whether Horwitz, headquartered 7,500 miles away from Hollywood in Sydney, Australia, licensed its celebrity covers. Our assumption has always been no. The idea of celebrity covers would be, ostensibly, to generate extra interest in the book. But if that's the case, why such obscure stars? There's really no extra publicity to gain, and a licensing fee to lose. So we've always suspected the celebs were chosen merely because they were beautiful and the shots were available as handout photos.

But now we aren't sure about that, because Paget breaks the pattern—she was pretty well known in 1956, having appeared in more than a dozen films, and in highly billed roles in a few of those productions. So now we're thinking Horwitz actually did license these images. The fees must have been tiny, though, otherwise it wouldn't make any sense fiscally. Horwitz could have put an equally beautiful Aussie model on the book covers and gotten the same result with less hassle. In any case, this is great imagery. If you want to know what the book is actually about, check the review here. And if you click the keywords “Horwitz Publications” below you'll see all our previous posts on this matter. 

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Vintage Pulp May 27 2015
A SOMMERY FEEL
Aussie publisher spices up thriller with an image of Elke Sommer.


Last week we shared some images of Elke Sommer from the debut issue of the French magazine Stop. Those were a deliberate preface to today's post, which shows the cover for Carter Brown’s, aka Alan G. Yates’ mystery Death of a Doll from Australia's Transport Publishing, the paperback division of Horwitz Publications.

You can see that the designer used Sommer for his inspiration. Her normally blonde hair was changed to match the hair color of the story’s redheaded femme fatale, but what’s really interesting about this cover is the yawning pose. At least a couple of images from the Stop layout would have worked better, we think, but that’s just our humble opinion.  

At first we thought the designer here was Bernard Blackburn, who made many of Horwitz-Transport’s photo-illustrated covers during the mid-1950s, but then we learned that this “reprint by demand” edition appeared in 1960. So we have no idea who created the cover, but he/she had good taste in models, though we seriously doubt Sommer received any compensation for her starring role. Check out the rest of those rare Stop images here and see if you don’t agree about the designer making a weird choice.

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Vintage Pulp May 21 2010
THE HELLE YOU SAY
Red eyes at morning, Wheeler take warning.

Cover art for Dutch language pulp novel The Hellcat, circa 1962, part of the Al Wheeler series written by Carter Brown, aka Alan G. Yates. Interestingly, “hellcat” in Dutch would actually be something like “helkat”. “De helle” means “the whole” and “veeg” means "sweep". At least, that’s what Babelfish tells us. 

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Vintage Pulp May 15 2009
FLOOR SHOW
Dood, I am so stond right now.


This Dutch issue Carter Brown novel may look like it’s about either getting paralyzingly baked, or testing the effectiveness of various upskirt angles, but no, it’s actually the detective thriller The Lady Is Available, retitled to Death Modeled because, well, we don’t know why. We’ll have to consult our Dutch friends on that question and get back to you. The cover subject here is supposed to be dead, but since he was so rude as to croak with his eyes open someone will have to shake him, then see if he steams up a spoon, maybe even give him CPR. Anyway, the novel is one of Australian author Carter Brown’s, aka Alan G. Yates’, bestselling Al Wheeler thrillers. When we say bestselling, we mean they spread like brush fire. Certain sources credit him selling an astounding fifty million novels. So maybe the dood here isn’t dead, just stund by Carter’s good fortune.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 14 2008
GET CARTER
Carter Brown sold fifty million books in his career and you haven’t read a single one.

He was born Alan G. Yates in Australia, but as Carter Brown he published 150 crime stories, starting in 1953 with The Mermaid Murmurs Murder and continuing until 1981 when he published The Wicked Widow. All his tales were set in the Unites States (including these four with Robert McGinnis cover art), but strangely, American readers never embraced him. Instead, it was in Europe that he made his mark, where his noir plots filled with classic twists and hard-boiled dialogue did as much for international pulp as any figure who ever lived.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
January 24
1961—Plane Carrying Nuclear Bombs Crashes
A B-52 Stratofortress carrying two H-bombs experiences trouble during a refueling operation, and in the midst of an emergency descent breaks up in mid-air over Goldsboro, North Carolina. Five of the six arming devices on one of the bombs somehow activate before it lands via parachute in a wooded region where it is later recovered. The other bomb does not deploy its chute and crashes into muddy ground at 700 mph, disintegrating while driving its radioactive core fifty feet into the earth, where it remains to this day.
January 23
1912—International Opium Convention Signed
The International Opium Convention is signed at The Hague, Netherlands, and is the first international drug control treaty. The agreement was signed by Germany, the U.S., China, France, the UK, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, and Siam.
January 22
1946—CIA Forerunner Created
U.S. president Harry S. Truman establishes the Central Intelligence Group or CIG, an interim authority that lasts until the Central Intelligence Agency is established in September of 1947.
1957—George Metesky Is Arrested
The New York City "Mad Bomber," a man named George P. Metesky, is arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut and charged with planting more than 30 bombs. Metesky was angry about events surrounding a workplace injury suffered years earlier. Of the thirty-three known bombs he planted, twenty-two exploded, injuring fifteen people. He was apprehended based on an early use of offender profiling and because of clues given in letters he wrote to a newspaper. At trial he was found legally insane and committed to a state mental hospital.
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