Seventeen thrillers from swinging sixties.
Above, seventeen covers from Gold Star Books for Hank Janson's, aka Stephen Daniel Frances's, best selling and highly sexual Hank Janson series, starring a tough reporter who shared a name with the author's pseudonym. We think these represent the complete run of Janson books published by Gold Star, though there are more entries in the series. Later novels were written by Victor Norwood, Harry Hobson, and D.F. Crawley. The excellent art is from Paul Rader, Harry Barton, and Robert Maguire, circa 1963, 1964, and 1965.
Actually, I'd just like a wake-up call and the continental breakfast. Where do I sign for that?
Normal travelers need not stop at the Valhalla Motel—the place is strictly for the sexually adventurous, including a newlywed couple that wants to be filmed having sex, an older woman who likes teen boys, a masochist who gets off on pain inflicted by a masseur, and of course the usual assortment of lesbians and bisexuals. Building a sleaze novel around a motel and the manager's efforts to discreetly please the customers is a pretty full concept for a book, but author Richard Donalds also saved a little creativity for efforts such as Not Since Eve and Something Special. Those books, as well as Sign Here for Sin, were published in 1963, but only the latter has brilliant Paul Rader cover art. It's one of his better efforts and it makes the book highly collectible.
When girl meets girl sparks fly.
Above and below is a small percentage of some of the thousands of lesbian themed paperback covers that appeared during the mid-century period, with art by Paul Rader, Fred Fixler, Harry Schaare, Rudy Nappi, Charles Copeland, and others, as well as a few interesting photographed fronts. The collection ends with the classic Satan Was a Lesbian, which you’ve probably seen before, but which no collection like this is complete without. Hopefully most of the others will be new to you. Needless to say, almost all were written by men, and in that sense are really hetero books reflecting hetero fantasies (fueled by hetero misconceptions and slander). You can see plenty more in this vein on the website Strange Sisters.
Getting what you want is all in how you ask.
It seems as if no genre of literature features more characters in complete submission to others than mid-century sleaze. And how do these hapless supplicants express their desperation? They break out the kneepads. Above and below are assorted paperback covers of characters making pleas, seeking sympathy, and professing undying devotion. Though some of these folks are likely making the desired impression on their betters, most are being ignored, denied, or generally dumptrucked. You know, psychologists and serial daters say a clean break is best for all involved, so next time you need to go Lili St. Cyr on someone try this line: “I've decided I hate your face now.” That should get the job done. Art is by Harry Barton, Barye Philips, Paul Rader, et al.
Hi, I'm your neighbor from row two, plot nine. I can't believe how massive your unit is. And your mobile home's big too.
A beautiful girl named Cherry Gordon who was abandoned by her birth mother and raised by adoptive parents gets into the porn racket, lets booze take over her life, runs afoul of the law, and even descends so far into depravity as to consort with lesbians. All this happens because she wants to be a singer and actress—so let it be a lesson never to follow your dreams. The story is written from Cherry's point of view, which is hilarious considering how little feel as a writer trashmaster deluxe Orrie Hitt has for women. But what does have plenty of feel is Paul Rader's cover for this 1963 Beacon Signal edition. No trash there.
They've been looking forward to this merger for a long time.
A while back we put together a collection of mid-century paperback covers set in offices and depicting hanky panky between bosses and workers. Most of the covers were by Paul Rader because he painted in that theme quite a bit for Midwood-Tower. Well, we've found another—the double novel Always Say Yes by Monty Brian and A Sure Thing by Vin Fields. It's a worthy addition to the collection, which you can see here.
I feel like I let people get close to me really quickly, doctor. Probably too close.
Jason Hytes' 1965 psychotherapy sleazer Secret Session was originally published in 1962 as The Doctor and the Dike, so you can probably figure out the plot yourself just based on the titles. Basically, a high-priced headshrinker's roster of female patients heat up his sessions, but it's his lesbian receptionist who really sparks a more-than-professional interest. In mid-century fiction every lesbian is just a man-hungry freak in waiting. Paul Rader is on the cover chores for this one.
The shape of bad things to come.
Above and below are assorted covers featuring yet another fun mid-century paperback art motif—the looming or threatening shadow. The covers are by the usual suspects—Rader, Phillips, Gross, Caroselli, Nik, as well as by artists whose work you see less often, such as Tony Carter’s brilliant cover for And Turned to Clay. That's actually a dust jacket, rather than a paperback front, but we couldn't leave it out. You’ll also notice French publishers really liked this theme. We’ll doubtless come across more, and as we do we’ll add to the collection. This is true of all our cover collections. For instance, our post featuring the Eiffel Tower has grown from fifteen to twenty-two examples, and our group of fronts with syringes has swelled from thirteen to twenty-six images. We have
twenty-four twenty-eight—see what we mean?—more shadow covers below, and thanks to all original uploaders.
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.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1959—Max Baer Dies
Former heavyweight boxing champ Max Baer dies of a heart attack in Hollywood, California. Baer had a turbulent career. He lost to Joe Louis in 1935, but two years earlier, in his prime, he defeated German champ and Nazi hero Max Schmeling while wearing a Star of David on his trunks. The victory was his legacy, making him a symbol to Jews, and also to all who hated Nazis.
1945—Nuremberg Trials Begin
In Nuremberg, Germany, in the Palace of Justice, the trials of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany begin. Among the men tried were Martin Bormann (in absentia), Hermann Göring, Rudolph Hess, and Ernst Kaltenbrunner.
1984—SETI Institute Founded
The SETI Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence, the discovery of extrasolar planets, and the habitability of the galaxy, is founded in California by Thomas Pierson and Dr. Jill Tarter.
1916—Goldwyn Pictures Formed
In the U.S.A., Samuel Goldfish and Edgar Selwyn establish Goldwyn Pictures, which becomes one of the most successful independent film studios in Hollywood. Goldfish also takes the opportunity to legally change his last name to Goldwyn.
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