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.
1978—Son of Sam Goes to Prison
David Berkowitz, the New York City serial killer known as Son of Sam, is sentenced to 365 years in prison for six killings. Berkowitz had acquired his nickname from letters addressed to the NYPD and columnist Jimmy Breslin. He is eventually caught when a chain of events beginning with a parking ticket leads to his car being searched and police discovering ammunition and maps of crime scenes.
1963—Buddhist Monk Immolates Himself
In South Vietnam, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burns himself to death by dousing himself with gasoline and lighting a match. He does it to protest the persecution of Buddhists by Ngô Đình Diệm administration, choosing a busy Saigon intersection for his protest. An image of the monk being consumed by flames as he sits crosslegged on the pavement, shot by Malcolm Browne, wins a Pulitzer Prize and becomes one of the most shocking and recognizable photos ever published.
In New York City, Dr. Robert Smith and William Griffith Wilson, who were both recovering alcoholics, establish the organization Alcoholics Anonymous, which pioneers a 12-step rehabilitation program that is so helpful and popular it eventually spreads to every corner of the globe.
1973—John Paul Getty III Is Kidnapped
John Paul Getty III, grandson of billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, is kidnapped in Rome, Italy. The elder Getty ignores a ransom demand for $17 million, thinking it is a joke. When John Paul's ear later arrives in the mail along with a note promising further mutilation, he negotiates the ransom down to $2.9 million, which he pays only on the condition that John Paul repay him at four percent interest. Getty's kidnappers are never caught.
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