Hi girls! I brought my paddle. And a couple of fresh balls. I still don't see where we'll play, though.
It's uncredited but memorable, this cover for Night Lust by Ken Gardner, from Erotik Books, a subsidiary of Foremost Publishing, which was a branch of Connoisseur Publications. It's almost like nobody really wanted credit for this book. Basically a kid named Peter is shaped by his two lesbian neighbors into a pervert. First they play dress-up with him and pretty soon they're leading him down the path of total perversion, which results in him becoming a roving peeper. The cover depicts them about to play the “spanking game,” which like ping pong incorporates the backhand smash. Put this book in the evil lesbians bin. Not that there's a good lesbians bin. This is mid-century sleaze. Lesbianism is like demonic possession—you're either eventually exorcised or lost forever. Gardner, presumably a pseudonym, continued in this vein with Terrified, Sex Hostage, and other highbrow literary efforts. Night Lust is from 1966.
*sigh* Okay, lesson learned—new sexual orientation, same old crushing regret.
Above is a piece of classic Midwood sleaze, The Drifter, by March Hastings, aka Sally Singer, 1962, with Paul Rader cover art and the staggeringly funny tagline: Any port in a storm—and one of the ports was Lesbos. In the story, a woman has an impotent but deviant husband who seems to be sexually inspired only by his sister, so wifey flees and the drifting begins. As does the slumming, self-hating, and everything else. Since lesbianism is universally understood in mid-century sleaze to be a mental disorder, it's no spoiler to reveal that our heroine doesn't stay docked in Lesbos permanently, but rather learns the usual dubious lesson imparted by these books: the love of a good man fixes everything. It's a sex conversion fantasy written for a male market, and not to be taken seriously in any way. As a side note, since Lesbos is a Greek isle, that means we have a bit of a theme today (see below).
Are you sure I need an entire superhero outfit? I'd feel more comfortable—and frankly more fabulous—fighting crime like this.
Danny Shannon, the lead character in Peter Sinnot's 1966 sleazer Young Danny does not fight crime. We made that up. He's actually just a regular guy with no superpowers whatsoever, who gets a job working in a combo hotel/health club/steam bath where wild bondage parties are held, and becomes the favored staff member of all the guests. See what we just did there? Staff member? Anyway, by the mid-1960's sexploitation books of all types had reached the point where little was left to the imagination, and this one is a prime example, as its rear cover bluntly proclaims: “Once you enter this hotel prepare to get raped.... or rape... anything goes!”
Eric Stanton is on the cover chores here and—this is where we got the idea about crime fighting—he was strongly influenced style-wise by Jerry Robinson, the comic artist who created Robin of Batman and Robin, as well as Batman's butler Alfred, and the villain Two-Face. Stanton was also a friend of Steve Ditko, the man who illustrated the first Spider Man comics. In fact, Stanton claims that the character of Aunt Mae was his idea. Now we know exactly where the strong comic book feel of Stanton's art came from, and why Danny Shannon looks like a crimefighter having a costume fitting. Or maybe that's just us. You can see plenty more from Stanton here, here, and here.
I'm going to devour you like a rotisserie chicken and pick my teeth with your bones. I hope you don't find that too terribly forward.
Here's another mid-century novel for the ever growing lesbian corruptor bin, When Lights Are Low, by sleaze maestro Dallas Mayo, 1963, for Midwood-Tower. Mayo was a pseudonym inhabited by Gilbert Fox, who apparently wrote this when Midwood honcho Harry Shorten conjured the title out of thin air at lunch and told Fox to produce a book to go with it. You can read that tale at paulrader.com. Fox was super prolific, writing many books as Mayo, as well as under the names Kimberly Kemp and Paul V. Russo. The cover art is yet another brilliant effort from Paul Rader. It's inspired us to go have a snack of our own.
Grrrr... That shameless slut. If I hadn't seen her with my own two eyes—and the other two eyes on my chest—I would never have believed it.
There's nothing quite like carny pulp, and this one has one of the better tag lines in sleaze history. The basic idea here is innocent Curtis Bryan joins a carnival only to find it a hotbed of sex, sin, and spouse swapping peopled by lesbian trapeze artists, a sex freak equestrienne, and more. Pretty soon he's in danger of being corrupted by all the crazy goings-on. The tagline: Enter normal... exit abnormal... That is inspired. The artwork is inspired too. It's by the uniquely great Eric Stanton, and the copyright is 1965.
Membership is costing her the shirt off her back.
Charles Copeland is the brush behind this cover for The Friendship Club, and he's done his usual bang-up job. The book was written by Dean McCoy, which was a pseudonym used by Dudley Dean McGaughy for several novels, including Beach Binge and Juice Town, which also sound like winners. In this one a swinging couple puts together a swapping club for like-minded residents of their small town community, and everything goes well until one of the members decides swapping means woman on woman too. The guys are dismayed to learn their services aren't required, or for that matter desired, and countermeasures follow. Put this in the dangerous lesbians bin, 1963.
Tabloid gets blue inside and out.
Above is another cover from the famed blue period of National Spotlite. Actually, all the covers are blue. We've literally never seen one that wasn't. The stories are predominantly blue, too, among them a piece by Jay Shanley titled “Girl Seduces Men for Homo Clients.” In addition to being sexual it's of course offensive as hell toward the gay community, but as phony tabloid stories goes it's more inventive than most. Shanley writes about a woman named Tina Conway who has a business seducing men for gay clients. She doesn't actually have sex with them. “I just get them heated up so that they'll take any form of sexing they can get.” Did this actually happen? We seriously doubt it, but Spotlite editors had to make sure they ticked the anti-gay box with each issue. For people who claimed to dispprove, they sure were obsessed. Just saying. This issue hit newsstands today in 1971.
I want to be prepared to fight back in case a man attacks something other than my basic rights as an individual.
Above, a cover for Lesbian Gym from Brandon House, by Peggy Swenson, aka Richard Geis, copyright 1964. This one caught our eye because the Pulp Intl. girlfriends are always mocking the guys in their gym, whose apelike nature—so they tell us—emerges rather strongly there. We can't comment because we don't go to the gym. We do a bit of heavy lifting at the local bar, though. Good thing we're naturally skinny. A couple of sources attribute this cover to Fred Fixler, but we think they're wrong. Keep this in the uncredited bin.
Hey, Sarge, I'm ready for those nocturnal maneuvers you mentioned.
Not long ago we put together a large collection of lesbian paperback covers from the mid-century period. This one—Harry Whittington's Rebel Woman, 1960, from Avon Publications—we held back. It was just too awesome to mix in with the fifty or so we posted earlier. As we mentioned before, since these were mainly written by men, they reflected male fantasies and assumptions, and this one is prototypical anti-lesbian sleaze. An American mercenary gets involved in a Latin American revolution and is captured by a squad of female rebels. When he realizes the leader of the group is an old flame he figures he has nothing to worry about. But when he “saw the way she looked at the girl Dolores [he knew] the twisted path she had taken.” He decides she'll need to be reconverted to the hetero team, but that may be harder than it seems at first glance. Whittington may have gone to hell for writing this one.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1931—Nevada Approves Gambling
In the U.S., the state of Nevada passes a resolution allowing for legalized gambling. Unregulated gambling had been commonplace in the early Nevada mining towns, but was outlawed in 1909 as part of a nationwide anti-gaming crusade. The leading proponents of re-legalization expected that gambling would be a short term fix until the state's economic base widened to include less cyclical industries. However, gaming proved over time to be one of the least cyclical industries ever conceived.
1941—Tuskegee Airmen Take Flight
During World War II, the 99th Pursuit Squadron, aka the Tuskegee Airmen, is activated. The group is the first all-black unit of the Army Air Corp, and serves with distinction in Africa, Italy, Germany and other areas. In March 2007 the surviving airmen and the widows of those who had died received Congressional Gold Medals for their service.
1906—First Airplane Flight in Europe
Romanian designer Traian Vuia flies twelve meters outside Paris in a self-propelled airplane, taking off without the aid of tractors or cables, and thus becomes the first person to fly a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Because his craft was not a glider, and did not need to be pulled, catapulted or otherwise assisted, it is considered by some historians to be the first true airplane.
1965—Leonov Walks in Space
Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov leaves his spacecraft the Voskhod 2 for twelve minutes. At the end of that time Leonov's spacesuit had inflated in the vacuum of space to the point where he could not re-enter Voskhod's airlock. He opened a valve to allow some of the suit's pressure to bleed off, was barely able to get back inside the capsule, and in so doing became the first person to complete a spacewalk.
1966—Missing Nuke Found
Off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean, the deep submergence vehicle Alvin locates a missing American hydrogen bomb. The 1.45-megaton nuke had been lost by the U.S. Air Force during a midair accident over Palomares, Spain. It was found resting in nearly three-thousand feet of water and was raised intact on 7 April.
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