Who you gonna call when 007 can't get the job done?
We said we'd get to Clyde Allison's, aka William Knoles' Agent 0008 and here we are, sooner than you thought. Above and below are covers for all twenty entries in the series. The idea here, of course, is a sleaze riff on James Bond, or possibly even a riff on the many imitators of Bond. The dominant literary motif is satire, but as a wise man once said, just because it's satirical doesn't mean it's smart or good. The cover art on most of these is by Robert Bonfils, doing some of his better work, with Darrel Milsap handling the chores on Platypussy, and an unknown tapped for The Sin Funnel.
So we read a couple of these and they involve the spy agency SADISTO (Security and Administration Division of the Institute for Special Tactical Operations), which is located in a sprawling bunker beneath the Maryland countryside. There the agents, about sixty of them, male and female, attend briefings in a pillow covered den while lounging mostly nude, and take on assignments too difficult for MI5, the FBI, SPECTRE, the CIA, etc. Their main weapon is sex, and their main advantage is that they're utterly ruthless. They even use kidnapped college co-eds for live fire training sessions. Because they're sadistic like that.
In The Desdamona Affair SADISTO's budget has been cut, their fleet of Jaguars exchanged for Volkswagens, and their banks of IBM computers swapped out for calculators and an abacus. 0008 goes after a villainess named Desdamona Eva de Struxion (D. Eva de Struxion) in order to steal a secret formula that could eliminate world hunger. Along the way he fights trained panthers, is captured by Indian maidens, and imprisoned in an oil tanker, but ends up with all the money de Struxion has accumulated selling the formula, which means SADISTO can once again afford fancy cars and big computers. The whole narrative is absurd the same way Sharknado is absurd.
In Gamefinger 0008 is sent by SADISTO to the island of a madman named Cantwell Undershaft, aka Gamefinger, who wants to end war by broadcasting to the world via satellite lethal gladiatorial spectacles. The unwilling deaths of hundreds of kidnapped naked men and women, he reasons, will prevent the deaths of billions in World War III by slaking humanity's bloodlust. This book differs from the previous one due to the extreme violence, but the formula is the same. In a text with so many jokes, a few will hit the target, but the percentage is depressingly low and the glib approach generally wears thin.
At this point you must be wondering how we got through these. All we can say is they're curiostities—stupid, poorly written curiosities. We can't imagine anyone reading more than two—one to get the general dumb idea, and the second to confirm that the idea remains dumb. Most of the content is sex, but written entirely without making a single explicit reference to penises, vaginas, oral sex, or bodily fluids. Doesn't that sound stimulating? If you should happen to want your own copies of these they usually go for around $100, which we consider wishful thinking on the part of the vendors, but with online buying, if you bide your time, someone will always sell at a more reasonable price.
This is the wickedest sorority prank in the history of— Hey, whoever's finger that is stop it right now!
Greenleaf Classics had the most ridiculous covers of any mid-century publishing company. There's no contest. This one for Clyde Allison's The Sex Spree is both absurd and, thanks to its colors, beautiful. Unfortunately the art is uncredited. The book appeared in 1962 from Greenleaf's imprint Midnight Reader, with author William Knoles the man operating behind the Allison pseudonym. Many Greenleaf pen names were shared, but as far as we can tell Allison belonged to Knoles alone, and he used it to write Greenleaf's spy-themed Agent 0008 entries, which are among the company's most collectible books. We're going to get to those in a bit.
Not bad, kid. You got talent. Now can you make them rotate in opposite directions?
Above, a typical piece of Greenleaf Classics sleaze, Flesh Act, written in 1963 by whoever inhabited the Don Wellman pseudonym this time out for the sub-imprint Ember Books. It's a tale about women, talent agents, movie producers, and the casting couch, 1963, with Ed Smith cover art. Smith has been a fertile source of visual material, as you can see here and here.
I felt so lonely and unappreciated I was going to jump. But then people started screaming, “Take it off! Take it off!”
It's been a while, so here's a cover from sleaze icon Darrel Millsap for Hoke Jackson's 1968 Candid Reader sleaze novel Along the Ledge to Lust. Jackson also wrote The Lecherous Age, Swappers in Heat, and Marriage for Four. He was not a person, though, but rather a pseudonym inhabited by various writers, so we don't know who really authored this, and we have a funny feeling they prefer it that way. More from Millsap here and here.
With all of you? Well, okay. If that's the custom.
It may not look like a fifty dollar book, but that's what William Kane's Sin Safari recently sold for on Ebay. We also saw it selling for ninety bucks on another site. What you see is what you get here—white girl goes from untouchable memsahib to sex plaything for primitive but precocious tribesmen. Well, they say cultural exchange is beneficial for everyone involved. The character is actually a globally famous heiress, a Paris Hilton type, which is not unusual in sleaze—i.e. the more untouchable the woman the more titillating her eventual defilement. The scene depicted on the cover is non-consensual and pretty shocking. What wasn't shocking was the negative portrayals of Africans—we fully expected that. The nerve of this Kane fella. 1966 copyright, uncredited cover art.
I've been practicing by milking Daisy. Just sit back and enjoy this.
Above, a Robert Bonfils cover for Andrew Shaw's sleazer Bad Town, copyright 1966. Shaw was a Greenleaf Classics house pseudonym used by Lawrence Block and others, and was credited with books such as Sin Sucker, Sin Seer, Sintown Setup, Sin Alley—are you sensing a theme here?—Sin Bum, The Sin-Damned, Sin Hellcat...
It's a marvelous time for a loon dance.
This audacious wraparound cover is from Greenleaf Classics for Ricardo Armory's, aka George Davies' 1968 gay sleaze novel Fruit of the Loon. It's a satire of Richard Amory's hit trilogy Song of the Loon, featuring cowboys at the Circle 69 Ranch, a medicine man named Squirming Ass, and more. What makes the parody all the more interesting is that Song was gay fiction also published by Greenleaf, so they're roasting their own author here, as well as his novel that sold hundreds of thousands of copies, making it by far the biggest hit in gay literature in the 1970s. According to Drewey Wayne Gunn's book Gay American Novels, 1870-1970: A Reader's Guide, “[Fruit of the Loon] is not only hilarious but better written than the original.” The cover is better than the original too. It's doubtless Robert Bonfils or Darrel Millsap—probably Bonfils because thickly black-rimmed eyes appeared often in his Greenleaf work—but absent confirmation we'll go with unknown.
And when ze leetle libidometer say zat your libido is at just ze right level all of us vill haf you sexually.
Above you see ze cover of... COUGH COUGH! Had something in the throat there. Above you see the cover of Dean Hudson's, aka Evan Hunter's, Twisted Tulips, yet another winner from Greenleaf Classics, this time for its Leisure imprint. 1966 copyright with uncredited art.
It floats? How weird. I would have thought something that size drags you down like an anchor.
Swap Circuit was written by Thomas P. Ramirez in the guise of Tony Calvano, with cover work by Darrel Millsap, and published in 1968. A couple set up swapping sessions for profit only to see their scheme go awry when they attend an orgy that’s out of their league. This piece of art caught our eye because it fits perfectly into our large collection of swapping covers, which you can see here. Don’t trade it for anything.
Calm down. Saying I could really nibble on a bush right now is just my way of saying I'm hungry. I swear.
Above, another highly amusing cover from Greenleaf Classics, Devil's Degradation, 1966, by pseudonymous author J.X. Williams. Satanism and sex combine as people have a Devil of a time in this one. Once you go goat you never go back. Art is by Tomas Cannizarro.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1933—The Gestapo Is Formed
The Geheime Staatspolizei, aka Gestapo, the official secret police force of Nazi Germany, is established. It begins under the administration of SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police, but by 1939 is administered by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, or Reich Main Security Office, and is a feared entity in every corner of Germany and beyond.
1937—Guernica Is Bombed
In Spain during the Spanish Civil War, the Basque town of Guernica is bombed by the German Luftwaffe, resulting in widespread destruction and casualties. The Basque government reports 1,654 people killed, while later research suggests far fewer deaths, but regardless, Guernica is viewed as an example of terror bombing and other countries learn that Nazi Germany is committed to that tactic. The bombing also becomes inspiration for Pablo Picasso, resulting in a protest painting that is not only his most famous work, but one the most important pieces of art ever produced.
In Detective Comics #27, DC Comics publishes its second major superhero, Batman, who becomes one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, and then a popular camp television series starring Adam West, and lastly a multi-million dollar movie franchise starring Michael Keaton, then George Clooney, and finally Christian Bale.
1953—Crick and Watson Publish DNA Results
British scientists James D Watson and Francis Crick publish an article detailing their discovery of the existence and structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, in Nature magazine. Their findings answer one of the oldest and most fundamental questions of biology, that of how living things reproduce themselves.
1967—First Space Program Casualty Occurs
Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1 when, during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere after more than ten successful orbits, the capsule's main parachute fails to deploy properly, and the backup chute becomes entangled in the first. The capsule's descent is slowed, but it still hits the ground at about 90 mph, at which point it bursts into flames. Komarov is the first human to die during a space mission.
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