Vintage Pulp Sep 4 2016
THE FUTURE EX-WIFE
Nope. Dead asleep as usual. Looks like I'll be polishing the jewelry again tonight, if you know what I mean.


This book has nothing to do with polishing jewelry—i.e. masturbation—though the cover could be interpreted that way. Or maybe that's just our dirty minds. Anyway, the story deals not with female needs, but with the dawn of the communist witch hunt era in the U.S., and how one man is targeted, with negative effects upon his wife, ex-wife, son, et al. The cover is supposed to depict the dawning of suspicion and distrust in the main character's once stable marriage. The novel originally appeared in hardback in 1949, this Popular Library abridged paperback hit bookstores in 1950, and as is often the case with this publisher, the art is uncredited.

And now, just because we came across them (and about two-hundred others), here are fifteen terms for female masturbation, ranging from the absurd to the sublime:

15: Muffin buffin'
14: Manual override
13: Clicking the mouse
12: Reading braille
11: Playing with Mrs. Palmer's daughters
10: Backslappin' the beaver
  9: Driving Miss Daisy
  8: Visiting the magic kingdom
  7: Making soup
  6: Hoodwinking
  5: Searching for Spock
  4: Beating around the bush
  3: Soloing on the clitar
  2: Tip-toeing through the two lips
  1: Fingering the accused*

*also useful for communist witch hunts

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Vintage Pulp Aug 4 2016
GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUNDS
I'll get mine, yours, and everyone else's I can lay my little hands on too.


Set initially at San Quentin Prison, then in the wider environs of Oakland, California, I'll Get Mine follows a do-gooder prison shrink down the rabbit hole of Latino gang culture, where he becomes involved in a murder mystery and takes on the role of potential savior to a beautiful druggie ensnared in Pachuco culture. It was originally published in 1951 as Cure It with Honey, which you see at right.
 
Thurston Scott was a pseudonym for the team of Jody Scott and George Thurston Leite, and what they put together was racy stuff for the time, with hetero sex achieved, gay sex alluded to, various flavors of drugs inhaled and injected, and some violence. The mix of elements worked well—the novel was nominated for an Edgar Award. The 1952 Popular Library edition at top was illustrated by A. Leslie Ross, and its resemblance to a cover we shared last month puts us in mind of assembling a collection of women leaning against lamp posts and street signs. Stay tuned.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 11 2016
THE HORNDOGS OF WAR
That's fine, mister—I want the other one anyway. Before the school got bombed she was my sex ed teacher.


This cover depicting a grown man and a pre-teen boy browsing a pair of working girls is kind of creepy, we know, but it's also well executed. Originally titled A Convoy Through the Dream and published in 1948, Torment appeared in this Popular Library edition in 1953. Author Scott Graham Williamson tries for Hemingway with a story set in various sites around the Mediterranean during World War II, including Gibraltar, Algeria, and particularly Palermo, Sicily. Basically, a radio officer on a warship and his wife try to maintain their love and fidelity in a time of chaos and separation. This comes complete with that familiar war novel plot device—one last incredibly dangerous mission before the hero can go back home. The cover art is uncredited.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 30 2016
HOPELESSLY HOOKED
Early television design rejected as a little too hypnotic.


We're doing a double on artist Mitchell Hooks with this cover for Gene Stackelberg's thriller Double Agent. Hooks was working this time for Popular Library, also in 1959 (we neglected to put the copyright in yesterday's post). CIA agent is accused of treason and can only clear his name with the help of the sister of a known informer. Gene Stackelberg was a pseudonym for Ouida Adams, a female writer who doubtless chose her pen name because it sounds so dry and serious, and likely because readers would be prejudiced against a female espionage author. As far as we can tell this was her only foray into fiction.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 12 2016
GLASS HALF EMPTY
You know what's really tough? Watching you spill good liquor all over my new shag carpet.


Above is a cover for James Howard's 1955 thriller I Like It Tough, with a nice wraparound illustration from an uncredited artist.  The novel deals with an ace reporter named Steve Ashe who has inside information on the “vice syndicate” and finds himself marked for murder when the crooks get wind of his snooping. It was first in a series of Steve Ashe novels, which of course means the hero survives this one to sleuth again. Hope that didn't spoil anything.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 22 2016
ENDLESS LOVE
Do you mean it'll feel like forever? Or do you mean it's a permanent commitment? Because we should talk about that.


Originally called Don't Wait Up for Spring and published in 1944, Charles Mergendahl's Tonight Is Forever was published in paperback by Popular Library in 1951 with the great Earle Bergey art you see here. The story concerns a playwright and the lead actress of his play, her convention defying decision to pursue him and do whatever it takes to generate a marriage proposal, even though he's headed off to the army in three weeks. What is a little thing like virginity, after all, when half the planet is at war?

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Vintage Pulp Apr 12 2015
LEGALLY BOND
Bond—James Bond. But Jimmy is fine. Some people call me Jim, Jimbo, J-Man, J.B. My mom calls me Jimminy Cricket. I’m cool with whatever.

The story is well known—Popular Library insisted upon changing the title of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale to what you see above. They even went so far as to call 007 “Jimmy Bond” on the rear cover blurb. Fleming retaliated by selling the U.S. publishing rights to Signet at first opportunity, leaving only a small run of very collectible copies of You Asked For It on the market. Fleming must have learned from the episode, though, that titles don’t really matter, because he later wrote Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car. Anyway, You Asked for It appeared in 1955, with unsigned and uncredited cover art. The blog Killer Covers has a bit more info about the book here

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Vintage Pulp Mar 26 2015
YANKING HIS DICK
She’s got a dilly of a pickle on her hands.

A Yank on Piccadilly is another book that sounds blatantly pornographic, at least to us, but it's merely the adventures of an American soldier in World War II London. Mild sexual involvement? Yes, there's some of that. Dick yanking? Lamentably, no. In case you’re curious, the name Piccadilly comes from “piccadill,” which was a stiff—cough cough—collar with scalloped edges and a lace border that was the fashion rage during the late sixteenth century. The websites we checked have this cover as by an unidentified artist, but it’s Earle Bergey’s work, clearly. 1952 publication date. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 9 2015
CLAWS FOR ALARM
Me? Why should I touch it? You’re the one always going on about how you can tell everything about a man from his handshake.

British author Sax Rohmer, aka Arthur Henry Ward, wrote many novels but made his reputation with the Fu Manchu series. Tales of Chinatown doesn’t feature that famous character, but instead deals in short story form with other characters and various unsavory goings-on in the Chinese underworld of London’s Limehouse district. There are problems with Rohmer’s depictions of the Chinese, but the writing is almost a century old, so no surprise there. On the plus side, there’s sinister atmosphere of a type here you don’t often get anymore. Tales of Chinatown first appeared in 1922, and this Popular Library edition with art by Rudolph Belarski is from 1949. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 15 2014
DISINHERIT THE WIND
Really? You’re really blaming the dog for that? Listen lady, I’m paying you to not move a muscle—especially that one.

Above, the cover of Rogue Wind by Ugo Moretti for Popular Library, 1954. This is serious fiction about wayward youth in facist Italy, and how the illegitimate son of a prostitute falls in love with a bourgeoise beauty. There’s love, heartbreak, war, abduction, and so much more, plus extra significance supplied by main character’s name, Vento Caldo, which in Italian means “hot wind.” So you see, the wind of the title is metaphorical because it refers to the main character. Because his name means “hot wind.” And see, the thing is, winds can be unpredictable, and since the main character is really unpredictable too, we come to see why he is, in fact, not just named “hot wind,” but is very much like a rogue wind as well. So it works on two levels. Try and follow this, now. See, “vento” means “wind,” okay? Stamp your foot twice if you get that. Good. Okay, now since “vento” means “wind,” what you have here is…

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 25
2002—Mystery Space Object Crashes in Russia
In an occurrence known as the Vitim Event, an object crashes to the Earth in Siberia and explodes with a force estimated at 4 to 5 kilotons by Russian scientists. An expedition to the site finds the landscape leveled and the soil contaminated by high levels of radioactivity. It is thought that the object was a comet nucleus with a diameter of 50 to 100 meters.
September 24
1992—Sci Fi Channel Launches
In the U.S., the cable network USA debuts the Sci Fi Channel, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal programming. After a slow start, it built its audience and is now a top ten ranked network for male viewers aged 18–54, and women aged 25–54.
September 23
1952—Chaplin Returns to England
Silent movie star Charlie Chaplin returns to his native England for the first time in twenty-one years. At the time it is said to be for a Royal Society benefit, but in reality Chaplin knows he is about to be banned from the States because of his political views. He would not return to the U.S. for twenty years.
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