|Vintage Pulp||Jun 7 2015|
There’s no limit to the range of tabloids from the 1960s and 1970s. Yesterday we showed you Private Affairs, and today we’re going downmarket with Offbeat, which came from Beta Publications of Chicago. The main thing that’s offbeat with this publication is the cover design, which you can see on this issue that appeared today in 1965 features elements skewed relative to each other and the magazine’s frame. We like it. Content-wise, though, Offbeat is nothing new. Its report on the shocking habits of American housewives is just sleaze fiction dressed up as research. The number one reason wives cheat, according to W.D. Sprague, PhD, is revenge against cheating husbands. Readers are treated to a steamy retelling of a wife’s affair with a milkman—yes, really, a milkman—and another wife tells the story of how she ran into an old boyfriend one day and they fell into the old pattern and started having sex regularly again. It’s pure lit-porn.
W.D. Sprague was not the creation of tabloid editors you might suspect, but rather an actual author who published Sexual Behavior of American Nurses, Sex and the Secretary, The Lesbian in Our Society (A Problem That Must Be Faced!), and many other romps that swelled readers’ groins while doing the same for his bank account. The article in Offbeat is actually taken directly from Sexual Behavior of the American Housewife, another Sprague winner. His real name was Bela von Block—yes, really—and he also published under other names besides Sprague. His PhD was a hoax, of course, but who needs a degree when you’re smart enough to make a career of faking expertise about the inner lives of women? Some of his work was done for reliable sleaze imprint Midwood-Tower, but he also published for Lancer and other companies. We’ll undoubtedly run across him at some point in the future.
|Vintage Pulp||Sep 3 2014|
|Vintage Pulp||Jul 7 2014|
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 Victor Olson.
|Vintage Pulp||Apr 12 2014|
Above, a cover for They Call Me Lez, 1963, authored by Jo Ann Radcliffe. The back of this, which you see below, reveals that Jo Ann Radcliff is in fact popular men’s magazine writer Joe Radcliff. Seems Jo Ann wrote as Joe for years, but outed herself for this book about a “searing social problem.” We doubt either Joe or Jo Ann were anything more than shell personae, as was often the case with this kind of literature, but we can’t confirm that suspicion. We’ll see if we can find more and circle back to this.
|Vintage Pulp||Mar 5 2014|
This April 1972 issue of The National Police Gazette offers up Australian bellydancer Rozetta Ahalyea as its cover star, touts a method about picking winning horses, instructs how to outsmart used car racketeers, and suggests what to do when your wife goes on a sex strike. Concerning the latter, is the answer to apologize for whatever fucked up thing you did? No—Gazette suggests withholding her allowance, or possibly disappearing one or two nights a week until she realizes she could lose you. Yeah, that’ll totally make things better.
What kind of conflicts? Well, he cites the case of a woman who vomited uncontrollably for weeks due to unknown causes. After exhausting her options with physicians, she came to him for help and he determined that her guilt about a lesbian experience in her past was the cause of her non-stop cookie tossing. Caprio considers it an extreme but understandable reaction to a distasteful experience. So there you have it—everything you need to know about lesbians, provided for you by a heterosexual, middle-aged chauvinist who believes that “female homosexuality represents a flight from the responsibilities of marriage and motherhood.” Scans below.
|Vintage Pulp||Sep 3 2012|
Like any art form, pulp illustration runs the gamut from scintillating to disastrous. Today, with Mark Lucas’ lesbian sleaze novel Suzanne, we’re confronted with a cover from the latter category. The book was published by the low rent imprint Saber, which was owned by Sanford Aday, and if you take a look at the art, you see a woman whose right arm is on backwards. Or who has two left arms, depending on how you prefer to describe it. Just about the time you start wondering if she has two left feet, too, everything suddenly resolves like an Escher and you see that the bizarro arm actually belongs to her adversary. But what an amusing failure this cover is. We have no idea who to blame, though. It’s uncredited.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 7 2012|
The problem with utterly tasteless tabloid covers is that they lock us into utterly tasteless attempts to make fun of them. We could refuse to be dragged to their level, true, but that would be boring. Anyway, behold The National Insider in all its muckraking glory, published today in 1965. This comes from the book of tabloid covers we scored online last year, which means that even though we’d love to tell you what this miracle cure for lesbianism is, we can’t because we don’t have those pages. Probably, though, there’s a standard twelve-step program, as in Alcoholics Anonymous, where, for example, step one is admitting that you’re powerless over alcohol. So, just substitute the word lesbians. We’re powerless over lesbians. Hmm. Maybe it’s just us, but that doesn’t sound like a problem at all.
|Vintage Pulp||Oct 5 2011|
Hungarian-born Fred Fixler’s first career was as a diamond cutter, but by the early 1950s his focus shifted to art, which he studied in both the U.S. and France. He began illustrating paperback covers, and for years was an illustrator for the sleaze publishing imprint Brandon House. During that time his instantly identifiable style resulted in some of the most dynamic paperback covers ever seen on U.S. book racks. The piece above, with its shadowy lovers, is a prime example. Brandon House used Fixler as the primary illustrator for their line of lesbian paperbacks, and because of his talent, these books, which originally sold for around one dollar, go online today for in excess of seventy-five bucks. Fixler also worked in the commercial art field, and taught at schools like the California Art Institute, The Brandes Art Institute, and Parsons School of Design. Below are several more great Fixler pieces that we corralled from around the internet. You can see more of his art by searching online, and learn a lot more about him from his website.
|Hollywoodland||Aug 6 2011|
We’re back to the gossip magazine Uncensored today, with its info-packed cover telling us about gay Toronto, lesbian Hollywood, Sean Connery’s sex secrets and rumors about Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. But the standout item here (aside from the appearance of the non-word “rejuvination” and the misused term “capitol”) is the one on Cary Grant and his experimentation with LSD. Before the Beatles, Timothy Leary, and Carlos Castaneda, LSD was the drug of choice for a rarefied circle of glamorous elites who ingested it as part of their psychiatric therapy sessions. We’re talking about people as famous and diverse as aquatic actress Esther Williams, Time publisher Henry Luce, director Sidney Lumet, authors Aldous Huxley and Anais Nin, and composer André Previn.
Cary Grant never tried to keep his LSD use secret. In fact, he spoke glowingly about it in a 1959 interview with Look magazine, saying that it had brought him close to happiness for the first time in his life. He also said that LSD taught him immense compassion for other people, and had helped him conquer his own shyness and insecurity.
But by 1968 the U.S. government—which had experimented extensively with LSD in hopes of using it as a truth serum or a form of chemical warfare, and had dosed thousands of people both willingly and unwillingly—was moving toward declaring the drug illegal. Grant’s wife Dyan Cannon had famously cited LSD usage as a primary factor in seeking a 1967 divorce, and the counterculture embrace of the drug was beginning to frighten middle America and the White House. That’s the backdrop against which this August 1968 Uncensored appeared, and by October of the year LSD was illegal. But the fact that public opinion had shifted—or more accurately, had been pushed by a steady, government-initiated anti-LSD campaign—did not particularly harm Grant’s public standing.
When he died in 1986 he was still one of the most revered Hollywood actors ever. And about his LSD usage he had no regrets. Quite the opposite—he commented: “Yes, it takes a long time for happiness to break through either to the individual or nations. It will take just as long as people themselves continue to confound it. You’ll find that nowadays they put you away for singing and dancing in the street. ‘Here now, let’s have none of that happiness, my boy. You cut that out; waking up the neighbors!’ Those darn neighbors need waking up, I can tell you, constable!”
|Vintage Pulp||Sep 17 2010|