But I don't want a new husband. I never even liked the old one.
The Widow is typical Orrie Hitt sleaze about a man torn between nice but sexy Norma, and bad girl Linda, whose husband leaves the narrative early when he cracks up his hot rod. The main character Jerry, a widower who hasn't been the same since that tragic event, soon finds himself not only caught between the nice girl and the new widow, but being pushed into a murder-for-money plot. This is always a bad idea, but reading Hitt is sometimes a good one, as long as you can appreciate his unique stories without being too concerned with writing ability. We just scored eight of his books, so you'll be hearing about him in more detail. 1959 on this one, with uncredited cover art.
Hold my calls, people. I'm formatting my new laptop.
This is a nice cover for Office Affair by Mark West. The novel is an entry in the office sleaze genre, and the story is focused on a love triangle and business sabotage. Basically, an exec gets two new women on his staff but when things start to go wrong with his business he needs to find out which one is on his side, and which is trying to torpedo him to advance her own career. We've featured many of these on the website and we're not likely to run out soon. West contributed at least a couple. You can see another example from him here, and an entire collection from various authors here. This one is copyright 1961, with art by unknown.
*sigh* Sense of safety. Last shred of dignity. Trust in people's basic goodness. I think I lost all those tonight.
Sleazemeister general Orrie Hitt's Ex-Virgin is the story of a gaggle of youthful characters with zero life prospects stuck on the worst street in a jerkwater town. Abysmally dumb boys and girls have sex, cheat on each other, and roll the dice on pregnancy. In the midst of all this an innocent beauty hopes to make a good life for herself. But she lets a boy sample her wares, and once that becomes known her reputation goes down the tubes, with detrimental effects. Put this in the scare-kids-out-of-having-sex category. It's all very monotonous thanks to Hitt's colorless writing style. The cover art on this 1959 Beacon edition, which does not depict a scene that occurs anywhere in the story, is by Fred Rodewald, and was adapted from a piece that originally appeared on a September 1949 cover of True Crime Cases.
Eew. Please tell me you washed that hand after you were out there in that nasty gutter.
Above, an awesome cover for Gutter Star, Intimate Novel #52, written by Dorine B. Clark and published in 1954. The painting is by Frank Uppwall, and it was reused in 1957 by Beacon for Carol Emery's lesbian novel Queer Affair.
Any sport in a storm.
A beautiful cover by Clement Micarelli elevates Dean McCoy's sleaze offering Sexbound, published by Beacon Books in 1961. The book deals with a group of people who get stuck in an isolated motel during a blizzard. These situations always turn into massacres or orgies, and we're in the latter territory here as the hot local waitress, the couple who think they have a solid marriage but don't, the dedicated swingers, and others start switching and swapping as the storm rages. Loins are inflamed, hearts are broken, and revenge enacted. The book was a hit for Beacon, and the company seems to have re-issued it in 1965, which is why if you look online you'll see contradictions about the copyright date. Below you see Micarelli's original art, and you can see the quality of it without the obscuring text. We'll hopefully locate more from him and share it later.
That's a hell of a knee you got there, baby. If the rest of you's anything like that knee the sky's the limit.
The Promoter, which appeared in 1957 from Beacon Books, is about the dirty picture racket, which is ironic considering how often author Orrie Hitt skirted obscenity laws. When the lead character Bill Morgan, normally a writer for an auto magazine, is recruited by a minister to investigate the big city under-the-counter porn racket he finds himself at first thwarted, then in over his head. He's also supposed to find the minister's missing daughter. Hmm... wonder where she'll turn up? You really get the feeling Hitt is speaking from experience when he describes how the porn industry worked during the mid-1950s, but the book isn't well written. Hitt churned out a novel every couple of weeks, and the haste shows. The best thing we can say is that the scenario is interesting. We know—we aren't exactly promoting sales of the book, but what can we do? At least the cover art is great. It's by the excellent Walter Popp, and had been previously used in 1953 for Harry Whittington's Wild Oats. Click Popp's keywords below for more visual treats.
The list is long, cowboy, and you're nowhere on it.
There aren't quite enough dude ranch sleaze novels to consider them a distinct subset of mid-century fiction, but we've noticed a few books similar to Lee Thomas's 1963 effort A Woman's Desire. Like E.L Scobie's Man Handled, for example, which we talked about a while ago. A Woman's Desire deals with a group of guests at the Slashed Lightning Ranch, and the revolving affections of Lauri (nice girl), April (man eater), Bob (real cowpoke), and Craig (city slicker). Round and round it goes, and just like in rodeo whoever stays mounted the longest wins. Style points for getting out of the saddle without landing on your face. Charles Copeland cover art.
I wanted you from the first moment I sniffed your butt.
Clyde Merrick's 1961 novel Sex Pack goes in the high school sleaze bin, with fictional Keldon High School's coolest kids putting together an extracurricular club of alpha dogs devoted mainly to getting in girls' panties. The protagonist Troy Cooper is a football star and all around upstanding type who isn't interested, but when his innocent girlfriend Betsy joins not knowing what's in store, he joins too to try to get her out. Or at least that's the plan. This was billed by Beacon as “a book that should be read by every parent,” which was a typical approach, promotionally speaking. But we doubt many people bought it for any reason other than to get their loins heated up. Beacon was usually pretty good about crediting its covers, but not always. Artist unknown in this case.
You know what's ironic? My husband keeps saying he wants longer harder hours out of you.
Above, Al Rossi cover art for Mark West's His Boss' Wife, for Beacon Books, about a traveling sales team peddling magazines from city to city, and the new hire who comes aboard and soon gets in too deep, so to speak, with various women, including his employer's femme fatale spouse. West was a pseudonym, used in this case by Charles Runyon, who also wrote Office Affair and Object of Lust. 1962 copyright.
Watch out—she's a manna eater.
According to Christian literature angels eat manna. According to R. W. Taylor's 1962 sleazer The Man-Eating Angel they just eat men. The book enjoyed both a U.S. and Australian release—though as She Devil up north. We find it interesting that the same character—Beulah Bell—was a devil in the U.S. and an angel, albeit a bad one, in Australia. In the book the character of Beulah Bell is married, but has the time and inclination to meet the carnal needs of a fella named John, and grants the sexual wishes of other men too. She just gets around in general. She even got around to the 1980s, where she inspired Hall & Oates to write the song “Manna Eater.” Well, maybe not. But she definitely inspired a pretty nice piece of cover art, which is uncredited. We're tempted to say it's Robert Bonfils, but we aren't aware of him ever working for Beacon-Signal, so we'll keep this in the mystery bin for now, and hope an angel or devil—or maybe even a crazy Aussie—provides an answer. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1911—Team Reaches South Pole
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, along with his team Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting, becomes the first person to reach the South Pole. After a celebrated career, Amundsen eventually disappears in 1928 while returning from a search and rescue flight at the North Pole. His body is never found.
1944—Velez Commits Suicide
Mexican actress Lupe Velez, who was considered one of the great beauties
of her day, commits suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. In her note, Velez says she did it to avoid bringing shame on her unborn child by giving birth to him out of wedlock, but many Hollywood historians believe bipolar disorder was the actual cause. The event inspired a 1965 Andy Warhol film entitled Lupe
1958—Gordo the Monkey Lost After Space Flight
After a fifteen minute flight into space on a Jupiter AM-13 rocket, a monkey named Gordo splashes down in the South Pacific but is lost after his capsule sinks. The incident sparks angry protests from the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but NASA says animals are needed for such tests.
1968—Tallulah Bankhead Dies
American actress, talk show host, and party girl
Tallulah Bankhead, who was fond of turning cartwheels in a dress without underwear and once made an entrance to a party without a stitch of clothing on, dies in St. Luke's Hospital in New York City of double pneumonia complicated by emphysema.
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