Vintage Pulp Aug 25 2015
FREE AS A BIRD
Flight 69, please hold position until further advised.

We think the fabled mile high club is like the original Woodstock—400,000 people showed up, but if you count everyone who claims to have been there attendance was actually something like 8 million. If you’ve never had sex in the sky, let Paul Rader’s cover for Mike Skinner’s 1962 sleaze novel Flight into Sin inspire you (even if the cover figure hasn't gotten airborne yet). Skinner is a bit of a mystery, but we know he was credited with other books in a similar vein for Midwood, such as So Wild, The Undoing of Jenny, and The Passionate Virgin, and he seems also to have written Blondes Don’t Give a Damn as Michael Skinner for Kozy Books. As for Rader, there’s little more to add—he was one of the kings of mid-century paperback art. You can read a full bio on him here. 

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Vintage Pulp Jul 3 2015
ALL THUMBS
Well, mostly thumbs.

The hitchhiker has been a central element of many a mid-century thriller, with the results of these rides ranging from hot sex to bloody murder, and several outcomes between. Below is a collection of paperback covers depicting various characters casting their fates to the road. Wish them luck—they’ll need it. And thanks to all the original uploaders on these. 

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Vintage Pulp Mar 4 2015
TOUCH OF EVIL
Um, I think we’re going to need some revisions to this script.

Above, the cover of Amy Harris’s 1962 novel Touch Me Gently, in which a woman’s personality changes after she’s attacked and violated during a midnight dip in the local swimming hole. The virgin-to-vengeful-vamp transformation triggered by a rape is an all-too-common scenario found everywhere from sleaze fiction to ’70s sexploitation cinema to Japanese pinku films. On the one hand it’s always highly distasteful; on the other it acknowledges the existence of these terrible events and allows women violent revenge. In terms of artistic merit, you have to judge on a case-by-case basis. But that’s what it’s always about with difficult subjects, isn’t it? Done right, valuable understanding can result. The cover art by Paul Rader is excellent. No problem understanding that at all. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 22 2015
NAME BRAND PULP
What’s in a name? Everything, if it’s the title of a vintage paperback.

Above and below you will find a large collection of pulp, post-pulp, and sleaze paperback fronts that have as their titles a character’s first name. There are hundreds of examples of these but we stopped at thirty-two. The collection really highlights, more than others we’ve put together, how rarely vintage paperback art focuses on male characters. The prose is virtually all male-centered and male-driven, of course, but because the mid-century paperback market was male-driven too, that meant putting women on the covers to attract the male eye. We tell our girlfriends this all the time, but they still think we just don’t bother looking for male-oriented vintage art. But we do. For this collection we found two novels that have male characters’ names as their titles, and we looked pretty hard. If we had to guess, we’d say less than 5% of all pulp art is male-oriented. In any case, the illustrations come from the usual suspects—Barye Phillips, Robert McGinnis, Jef de Wulf, Paul Rader, et al., plus less recognized artists like Doug Weaver. Thanks to all the original uploaders for these.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 1 2014
OFF THE MENU
Tonight I think I’m in the mood for a big, juicy piece of meat.


Paul Rader once again demonstrates his genius with this cover for Brad Curtis’s Man Trap, brought to us by always reliable Midwood Books, 1963. Curtis was a pseudonym used by Giles A. Lutz, predominantly a writer of westerns who made a few forays into thrillers. What we really like about this cover are the spangles in the background hinting at some wonderful nocturnal metropolis, doubtless rife with sex, sin, and other worthy pursuits. Pretty nice, too, how Rader slipped his signature—in this case a single “R”—onto the back of the menu. 

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Vintage Pulp Sep 15 2014
EASY RADER
I think it’s really cute when a guy wears pajamas, but I have something even more comfortable you can slip into.

This is one of the prettiest Paul Rader covers we’ve seen, which is really saying something considering he painted this and this. But this stellar turquoise and gold effort for Joan Ellis’s Sooner or Later may be our favorite Rader yet. Note how the placement of the girl’s elbow suggests an erection on her tormented brother-in-law. Joan Ellis was in reality author Julie Ellis, and she also wrote as Linda Michaels, Jill Monte, and Susan Richard. She went on to author serious fiction, but even if those later books were better written, we bet none of them looked as appealing as this.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 7 2014
BRUSH FIRE
Blaze consumes acres of grassland. Authorities seek cause.

Above, the cover of March Hastings’ The Heat of the Day, one of many lesbian themed novels published by Midwood-Tower. It’s the story of two girls whose blackened skeletons are found in a fire-scorched field. Well, not really. It’s actually about two girls who meet at a summer camp and develop a scorching attraction for each other. 1963 on this one, with art by Paul Rader. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 5 2013
DOCTOR IN THE BLOUSE
Well, yes, it’s unorthodox, but I’ve found this to be just as accurate as using a stethoscope.

Actually, if the doctor tried to speak at this point it would sound like, “Mmmph mmmph mmmph,” and nurses don’t wear blouses, but hey, coming up with more than two-thousand headers isn’t easy. Anyway, Loren Beauchamp was a pen name of award-winning sci-fi author Robert Silverberg, and his Nurse Carolyn, one of many sleaze novels he wrote to pay the bills, first appeared in 1960. The above cover is from the 1963 second edition and was painted by Paul Rader.

Update: We got an email about this cover from Ruben: "Just wanted to let you know that today's book cover, Nurse Carolyn, was likely painted by Stan Borack, though I'm not 100% certain. However, I AM absolutely certain that it is NOT a Paul Rader cover."

Thanks for writing in, Ruben. Our info comes from the comprehensive website Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks, which writes: "Rader also did the cover for the second edition, which is less striking but still Rader." So at this point we'll throw it to the masses. Anyone have definitive info about this one?

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Vintage Pulp Jul 6 2013
NOT SAFE FOR WORK
They’re having a hard day at the office in more ways than one.

Where would sleaze fiction be without Midwood Books? The company was launched in 1957 by Harry Shorten, and the sub-genre of office sleaze quickly became one the new company’s linchpins. Below are some examples of these books, with art by the always excellent Paul Rader and others. Thanks to all the original uploaders.


 
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Vintage Pulp Jul 4 2013
STOLEN KISSES
If it feels good just do it.

You never forget your first kiss, right? Pulp and sleaze paperback covers have always been a medium for this form of affection, and so today we have for you below some of the most memorable kisses we’ve encountered over the years. A couple of these are from triplexbooks.com, a site we’ve already mentioned as worth a look. Art by Paul Rader, Louis Carrière, Ernest Chiriaka and others. Enjoy.


 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 31
1948—Mitchum and Leeds Snared in Drug Raid
Actor Robert Mitchum and actress Lila Leeds are arrested in a Hollywood drug raid and convicted of criminal conspiracy to possess marijuana. Mitchum serves 43 days in jail, but in 1951 the conviction is overturned when it is exposed as a set-up. The entire episode has zero effect on his popularity. Leeds, conversely, becomes a heroin addict while behind bars and is never able to rekindle her career.
1997—Princess Diana Killed in Accident
Princess Diana dies after a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris, along with Egyptian jet-setter Dodi Al-Fayed, and driver Henri Paul, who loses control of the car while attempting to elude paparazzi. Despite lengthy resuscitation attempts, including internal cardiac massage, Diana dies at 4 a.m. local time. Her funeral six days later is watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide.
August 30
1918—Lenin Shot
Russian political revolutionary Fanny Kaplan shoots Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, wounding him in the shoulder and jaw. Lenin survives, she doesn't—she's executed three days later.
1963—Washington-Moscow Hotline Established
A hotline between U.S. and Soviet leaders, known as the Washington-Moscow hotline or Red Telephone, goes into operation. It linked the White House to the Kremlin at the height of the Cold War, and presumably still does today.
2006—Glenn Ford Dies
Canadian actor Glenn Ford, who starred in some of the best films ever made, including Gilda, The Big Heat, and the original 3:10 to Yuma, dies in his home in Beverly Hills, USA. He was still in love with Rita Hayworth, his one-time co-star who had died years earlier. Reputedly, his last words were, "You don't keep Rita Hayworth waiting."
August 29
1949—Soviet Union Joins Nuclear Club
The Soviet Union detonates a nuclear weapon at a test site in Kazakhstan. American experts are shocked and dismayed because they had thought the Soviets were still years away from having a workable bomb. The resultant fear helps trigger an arms race that would see the Americans and Soviets stockpile approximately 32,000 and 45,000 nuclear devices.

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