Vintage Pulp Feb 5 2016
HIDE THE BANANA
Well, I suppose we can. But only as long as you keep a peel on it—I don't want those little seeds of yours taking root.


You ever get the feeling publishers sometimes used whatever art they had sitting around? You certainly would in the case of David Dortort's 1948 paperback Burial of the Fruit, which is a “gripping novel of youth in the slums.” A slum that had a nice expanse of wetlands and recreational boating, apparently. Yes, there's nature around Brooklyn, where the novel takes place and the anti-hero takes his sweetheart out there, but you'd think this was a rural saga if not for the cover blurb. Later editions had more appropriate art. The book tells the story of Honey Halpern—a male—who becomes the leader of a gang of killers for hire. Basically, it's the story of Murder, Inc., turned into fiction. This was Dortort's debut and it got rapturous reviews and earned him comparisons to some of the greatest contemporary authors alive. But he wrote only one other novel and never did become an immortal in the literary world. Instead he's remembered for creating the television show Bonanza. Maybe that isn't as respectable as being a master novelist, but we bet he made way more money. The cover artist here is Ann Cantor. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 4 2016
FEELING HORNY
Wow! He's really mastered some hot licks!


There's something special about how a great talent handles his instrument, right? It becomes an extension of him. A real virtuoso uses every technique in his repertoire—double and triple tonguing, lip trills, circular breathing, and of course quick valve water emptying—until it all comes together in one climactic crescendo. By the way, if you don't know what quick valve water emptying is, well child, you better ask somebody. In the past most players were men, but of late there are plenty of women who blow masterfully. The best often do dates in the legendary Trumpet City. That place is tops... Um, yeah. 1961 on this, with Robert Bonfils art. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 3 2016
LIFE'S A BEACH, THEN YOU DIE
Whew! What a swim. I love this isolated old cottage. No stress, no phone, all the problems of the world just gone...


The Crooked Man, written by Shelley Smith for Doubleday & Co.'s Perma Star subsidiary, is the story of a man who survives by cheating people out of their money. Technically he'd be considered a serial killer, but only goes that far if there's no other way. Other times he relies on more complex methods such as marrying to get at women's dowries or bank accounts. His various schemes go fine until—spoiler alert—they don't, and the past comes back to undo him. It was first published in 1952 as Man Alone, and appeared as the above in 1954. The art, which we love, is by George Erickson, whose consistently excellent work we've shared previously here and here.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 29 2016
ARMED CONFLICT
What to do. Yes, she’s a circus freak whose arms come directly out of her ribcage, but it’s not as if I’m perfect.


Steve Harragan isn’t only the author of Side-Show Girl—he’s its main character. Harragan, aka Bart Carson, aka William Maconachie wrote eleven thrillers starring himself in two years, including Cuban Heel. Side-Show Girl is set at Coney Island and gives Harragan a murder to solve that pits him against deadly lions, a murderous strongman, the hall of mirrors, the dangerously high rollercoaster, etc. It was the first of the Harragan series, coming in 1952. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 28 2016
ALL OF MIMI
Ekberg as a stripper is a dream come true but she brings a nightmare with her.


Based on a 1949 novel of the same name by Frederic Brown, Screaming Mimi stars Anita Ekberg as a traumatized burlesque dancer who can’t shake the memory of being attacked by a knife-wielding maniac. She’s committed to a mental institution, where her psychiatrist promptly falls in love with her and helps her escape and create a new identity. Now dancing at a club in Laguna Beach, California, she’s the hottest draw in the area and her former doctor is her lover and protector, but also smothers and dominates her. Can the anonymity last? Of course not.

Enter stage right an entitled horndog who won’t take no for an answer. After Ekberg survives another knife attack the horndog—who’s also a reporter—has all the justification he needs to dog Ekberg’s every step, and the doctor tries to protect her fake identity and keep her and the reporter from falling into bed together. Chances of success? Zero. Screaming Mimi is an interesting noir—it was fertile enough to serve as inspiration for Dario Argento’s L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo, aka The Bird with the Crystal Plumage—but its b-movie budget really shows and we think Philip Carey is miscast as the reporter/hero. Carey has no charm at all in this, which renders Ekberg’s interest in him unbelievable. But his performance will be a treat for patrons of the Noir City fest—most will probably remember him from his twenty-four-year stint as the repulsive Asa Buchanan on the soap opera One Life To Live.


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Vintage Pulp Jan 28 2016
ATOMIC BLONDE
Nuclear intrigue in North Africa.


Above, top notch cover art by Jacques Thibésart, aka Nik, for Jo Claver’s Bombe atomique à Port-Lyautey, which was published by Éditions Le Globe and Éditions Le Trotteur in 1956. Claver was aka Georges Claver-Peyre, and this particular book is Cold War intrigue and romance set in Morocco. See more fine Thibésart here and here.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 26 2016
PAINTED INTO A CORNER
This looks nothing like you two, does it? Well, truthfully I’m not an artist—I just wanted to see you both naked.


“Mother. Daughter. They Both Wanted Him!” That sums up Myron Brinig’s 1950 novel No Marriage in Paradise about as neatly as possible. The mother, whose unlikely name is Alix, and the daughter, whose even more unlikely name is Duff, end up rivals for the mother’s latest younger boyfriend, an artist named Pete. When the daughter steals Pete and runs away to marry him that throws Alix, who had never had trouble attracting men, into an existential crisis. Best way to solve that? Another man. Despite the seeming sleaze elements here, Brinig was a serious writer, often discussed as part of a cohort of pre-World War II Jewish writers born in the U.S. who mined their parents’ or grandparents’ immigrant experiences for fiction. Brinig, who worked between 1929 and 1958, was also among the first to explore gay characters in American novels. The uncredited cover art for No Marriage in Paradise almost—but not quite—fits into our themed collection of artists and models. You can see that amusing group here

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Vintage Pulp Jan 24 2016
BROTHERLY LUST
Let’s just slip this dress off so Biff and I can share a piece of your Delta Pi.


Above, Fraternity Pet by Edward McCallin, 1968 for Midwood Books. Good girl Charlene has to spend the night in a fraternity house and the brothers teach her to get in touch with her inner freak. Seven years ago we downloaded text files and pdfs of 1,300 sleaze books and this was among them, but without artist info. If we had to guess we'd say it’s Al Wagner but do not quote us on that.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 19 2016
CUTTING IT CLOSE
Boy, are we glad you're finally here. Our women have gotten really hairy.

Bush Nurse, written by medical novel specialist Kerry Mitchell, aka Hunter Wilkes, has nothing to do with women's bushes, but it’d be cooler if it did. What you actually get though, is the story of a pretty nurse who takes an assignment in the remote Aussie outback to heal from a broken heart, but finds herself in a love triangle with two doctors who have their own difficult histories. The action eventually centers on rains, floods, and a wave of medical cases that threaten to overwhelm the little medical facility. The above paperback appeared in 1962 with uncredited art, and as you can see at right, there was another version, which is actually from two years earlier (and shows how the nurse's horse was replaced by an automobile), also uncredited art-wise.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 16 2016
COLD BLOOD
Big trouble in little Chinatown.


Du Sang dans le Champagne translates in English to Blood in the Champagne, and that's always something to avoid. This paperback dates from 1953 and is part of Éditions le Condor’s collection La Môme “Double Shot,” a series you shoud be getting to know pretty well, since we've recently shown you two other examples. George Maxwell wrote twenty-two books in this franchise in two years, which is simply amazing output, quality notwithstanding. In this one murder and mystery takes the hero Hope Travers to L.A.’s Chinatown, where she goes up against a shadowy organized crime sect. The cover art is by Salva, aka Jean Salvetti, as usual. See the other Double Shot covers by clicking the keywords Éditions le Condor just below. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 05
1919—United Artists Is Launched
Actors Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, along with director D.W. Griffith, launch United Artists. Each holds a twenty percent stake, with the remaining percentage held by lawyer William Gibbs McAdoo. The company struggles for years, with Griffith soon dropping out, but eventually more partners are brought in and UA becomes a Hollywood powerhouse.
1958—U.S. Loses H-Bomb
A 7,600 pound nuclear weapon that comes to be known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the U.S. Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, near Tybee Island. The bomb was jettisoned to save the aircrew during a practice exercise after the B-47 bomber carrying it collided in midair with an F-86 fighter plane. Following several unsuccessful searches, the bomb was presumed lost, and remains so today.
February 04
1906—NYPD Begins Use of Fingerprint ID
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Joseph A. Faurot begins using French police officer Alphonse Bertillon's fingerprint system to identify suspected criminals. The use of prints for contractual endorsement (as opposed to signatures) had begun in India thirty years earlier, and print usage for police work had been adopted in India, France, Argentina and other countries by 1900, but NYPD usage represented the beginning of complete acceptance of the process in America. To date, of the billions of fingerprints taken, no two have ever been found to be identical.
1974—Patty Hearst Is Kidnapped
In Berkeley, California, an organization calling itself the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps heiress Patty Hearst. The next time Hearst is seen is in a San Francisco bank, helping to rob it with a machine gun. When she is finally captured her lawyer F. Lee Bailey argues that she had been brainwashed into committing the crime, but she is convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment, a term which is later commuted.
February 03
1959—Holly, Valens, and Bopper Die in Plane Crash
A plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa kills American musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper, along with pilot Roger Peterson. The fault for the crash was determined to be poor weather combined with pilot inexperience. All four occupants died on impact. The event is later immortalized by Don McLean as the Day the Music Died in his 1971 hit song "American Pie."

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