I promised my husband I wouldn't smoke anymore, but since I already broke one promise I might as well break them all.
Above, a cover for Two Sided Triangle by Gus Stevens for Brandon House Books, 1965. The company's most beautiful covers were painted by Fred Fixler. Is this a Fixler cover? We don't think so. Brandon House, through its art direction, seemed to make all its illustrators paint like Fixler, but while similar, this doesn't look like him to us. We could be wrong. We could always be wrong. It's happened. More than once. But we like this cover quite a bit, and it amuses us that the male figure seems to be staring directly where the sun don't shine on his female companion, which is probably what we'd be doing under the circumstances too. If you have an idea who painted this, Fixler or otherwise, feel free to drop us a line.
Baby, this has been like winning 100 million bucks.
Above, a nice cover from Brandon House Books for Sin Lottery, a sleaze effort credited to Bob Howard, who was in reality a pseudonym used by William Stroup. 1962 on this, with proficient but uncredited art.
Are you ready to see my unbelievably sexy new panties? These will blow your mind.
There was a time when her panties probably were considered unbelievably sexy. We're glad that time passed, though with the waistlines in women's fashion creeping back up—harkening to the era when it was illegal to show a navel on television or in movies—will it be long before panties turn into parachutes again? We're on record as hating high waistlines on undergarments. Let's pray to the Roman goddess Clotho that sense prevails before that happens. She isn't technically responsible for clothing, but she does spin the threads that determine the course of people's lives. Presumably that includes fashion designers. 1964's Suzy and Vera comes from author Peggy Swenson, aka Richard Geis, last seen around these parts writing the sleaze classic Lesbian Gym. The same artist painted the covers for both books, looks to us. Some say it's Fred Fixler, but we think it's someone charged by Brandon House with producing work in a similar style. And a nice style it is. But Fixler? We think not. We'll keep researching this.
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.
I’m glad we stopped calling it spring break. I just feel better being honest about how we behave.
Sex Week is classic lesbian sleaze from publisher Brandon House and author Rex Weldon, aka Duane Weldon Rimel, and it appeared in 1965. Weldon also wrote Party Wife, Bedroom Bingo, Bed Slave, Sweet Sapphic Scene, and other gems of the genre. He may have gotten some of his ideas from his many interesting jobs, including as a liquor store clerk, jazz pianist, hotel worker, and bartender. Thankfully, he found his true calling in sleaze. The artist here is the indispensable Fred Fixler, and you can see much more from him by starting with this link, and you can see our recent large collection of lesbian sleaze here.
Fred Fixler’s talent transformed sleaze into high art.
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.
It was an Affairs to remember.
Above is a cover scan of Victor Jay’s 1964 novel The Affairs of Gloria, a book that is significant because it’s the first from the LGBT author whose real name is Victor J. Banis. He happens to be the person who, writing under Leisure Books’ communal pseudonym Don Holliday, gave the world the mystery series The Man from C.A.M.P., as well as many other books that are classics in the gay pulp genre. Some of those unforgettable and decidedly un-PC titles include Blow the Man Down, Man into Boy, Homo Farm, and Rally Round the Fag.
Gloria isn’t what you’d call a gay pulp. Banis hadn’t yet taken that direction with his fiction (which was all short stories up to that point), but he was literarily bi-curious, you could say, so what he did was create a protagonist whose sexual appetite allowed him to experiment with lesbian themes. The book sold well, and despite an obscenity indictment in Sioux City, Iowa, Banis came away from the experience more convinced than ever that an untapped gay market was waiting. In 1966 Greenleaf Classics published Banis’s first gay mystery The Why Not, which resulted in the go-ahead for similar novels.
Banis is still churning out books today, and is well reviewed by entities as middle of the road as Publisher’s Weekly, who, according to the author’s website, called him a literary icon who made a difference. All of that began to take shape with his first novel, The Affairs of Gloria. You can read Banis’s own account of writing Gloria and get the skinny on that obscenity trial here. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1930—Movie Censorship Enacted
In the U.S., the Motion Pictures Production Code is instituted, imposing strict censorship guidelines on the depiction of sex, crime, religion, violence and racial mixing in film. The censorship holds sway over Hollywood for the next thirty-eight years, and becomes known as the Hays Code, after its creator, Will H. Hays.
1970—Japan Airlines Flight 351 Hijacked
In Japan, nine samurai sword wielding members of the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction hijack Japan Airlines flight 351, which had been en route from Tokyo to Fukuoka. After releasing the passengers, the hijackers proceed to Pyongyang, North Koreas's Mirim Airport, where they surrender to North Korean authorities and are given asylum.
1986—Jimmy Cagney Dies
American movie actor James Francis Cagney, Jr., who played a variety of roles in everything from romances to musicals but was best known as a quintessential tough guy, dies of a heart attack at his farm in Stanfordville, New York at the age of eighty-six.
1951—The Rosenbergs Are Convicted of Espionage
Americans Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage as a result of passing nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. While declassified documents seem to confirm Julius Rosenberg's role as a spy, Ethel Rosenberg's involvement is still a matter of dispute. Both Rosenbergs were executed on June 19, 1953.
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