She can Rigg a solution to any problem.
British actress Diana Rigg stars on this Flickr sourced cover of 1968's Lijken in Actie, which was a Dutch translation of John Garforth's The Laugh was on Lazarus, a novel derived from Rigg's hit television show The Avengers. She played the indomitable Emma Peel, who kicked ass with great counterculture style while partnered with the older and more conservative Patrick Macnee. The lettering that says De Wrekers, is not the title. That translates literally as “the avengers,” so it's just letting book buyers know they're looking at an adaptation of the show. The title is at the bottom.
This was the second of four Avengers novels by Garforth. As befits a show that had grown more fantastical each year, the story here deals with people being raised from the dead for nefarious purposes. You'll notice that the cover is signed. Dick Bruna is attributed with its creation, because by 1968 we've entered the age where graphic design is occasionally being considered creditable art. The most artful part of this is actually his signature, but okay, nice work. It's hard to go wrong when you start with an unbeatable photo of one of the most popular television spies of the era.
Now is de Winter of her discontent.
We wanted to bring back Dutch illustrator J. H. Moriën, so above you see a signed cover for Jan de Winter's 1960 novel Schaduw over Scheveningen, published by Nederlandsche Keurboekerij for its S.O.S. series. The main reason we're revisiting Moriën is because there's confusion about his identity. The Amsterdam-based auction site Catawiki, which we figure is pretty well informed, tells us this signature belongs to a J.H. Moriën, who was active during the 1920s and 1930s, then again during the 1950s and 1960s. He was born around the turn of the century, so he'd have been working into his sixties, which was common for illustrators.
But we've now seen some Dutch covers signed Moriën E. Beck, and though the signatures on those are slightly different, they're on Nederlandsche Keurboekerij S.O.S. editions from the same period, leaving little doubt it's the same person. But is his name J.H. Moriën or Moriën E. Beck? Hell, if the Dutch can't agree, what can we possibly say? American illustrator Ernest Chiriacka signed some of his work as Darcy, so maybe it's a similar situation. The answer will probably present itself in time. Until then, you can see two more brilliant Moriëns here and here.
Edit: What did we tell you? We got an e-mail from Bert:
I am reacting to your article about the book covers of J.H. Morien. I am preparing an article about his work and so I discovered that he had an office in the fifties in Amsterdam where he worked together with C. Beck, Damrak 45. They were specialized in commercials and advertising, but they also worked together for book covers (C. Beck the lettering?). I hope you can use this information.
Yup, we can use the information alright, Bert. And an immense thanks to you for taking the time to write.
Only losers wait their turn.
Here's an unusual Dutch cover that caught our eye for Martin Porlock's Het Mysterie van de Telefooncel—“the mystery of the phone booth”—published in 1949, with art by Piet Marée. The two characters here sort of look like they're dancing, but they're fighting, probably over which one cut in line for the phone booth (the Dutch are famously bad at queueing). Anyway, this is beautiful work. We can't find more info about Marée, but we'll keep digging, as always. Martin Porlock was a pseudonym used by Philip MacDonald, and the book is a translation of his 1932 novel Mystery in Kensington Gore, which is also known as Escape.
She's where? Going for a swim? Didn't you tell her the pool hasn't been cleaned for weeks?
This Dutch book cover was made for Jonathan Stagge's novel Death's Old Sweet Song, which first appeared in 1941 and was later published in the Netherlands by Uitgeverij De Ster. The Dutch title is “death sues.” This caught our eye—and gave us a laugh—because it brought to mind an occasion when we rented a cluster of three bungalows with a pool in a Guatemala beach town. We partied all day and night and by the light of the next morning were shocked to see that the pool had become like soup, almost as bad as what you see on this cover. We figured it was a mixture of booze, sunscreen, sweat, windblown dust, and bodily dirt. We couldn't even see the bottom. We felt terrible—but not terrible enough to intervene—as a hotel employee went into that bisque, to well over his head, in order to pull the drain. Later we found the meager remains of a hotel chair in the firepit and remembered we'd burned it when we ran out of firewood. As bad foreigner behavior goes, it was complete. We were banned from the place for life. They even taped photocopies of our passports up at the front desk—so said another group of friends who booked a bungalow there months later. And after we'd gone to town and bought them a new chair. Guess they never heard that holding grudges is unhealthy. Anyway, we found this cover in a Flickr group, so thanks to the original uploader, for both the art and the memory.
The sweetest fruit is the type that peels itself.
A while back we learned about Dutch illustrator J.H. Moriën through his re-imagining of a famed Paul Rader cover, and here he is again doing good work on the front of Verboden Vruchten, an Erosex-Pocket paperback published in the Netherlands and written by Linda Michaels. We assume that's a pseudonym, but we can't find more info. We stumbled across the cover in a Flickr collection, so thanks to the original uploader. The title translates as “forbidden fruits,” although this particular fruit gets eaten plenty as the story deals with a stripper named Sophie and her various assignations, including with a horny judge named Johnson and an abuser named Leander. We don't know the copyright on this, but Moriën was working in this mode during the mid-1960s. We have other pieces from him that we'll show you later. Update: We're now thinking this author is Joan Ellis, aka Julie Ellis, who sometimes used Linda Michaels as her pseudonym. After searching everwhere for info, you know where we learned that? Right here.
Part of me really loves nature and solitude. But then part of me wants a frappuccino and a cheese danish.
Frisco Dougherty is back, and as impressed with himself as ever, if we judge by how many times he refers to himself in the third person. Last seen in 1951's Jewel of the Java Sea, he's still knocking around Indonesia in 1960's The Half-Caste, eternally seeking the big score that will earn him enough money to escape the tropics for San Francisco. His newest chance comes in the form of a trio of Americans who have arrived in Java to repatriate the bones of an anthropologist who died in the jungle. Dougherty suspects the coffin they plan to recover contains not a body, but a treasure, and formulates a complicated plan to steal whatever is inside. He follows the group into deepest Borneo, funded by the Wuch'ang crime cartel, who he also plans to betray.
There are two main positives to The Half-Caste. First, the exotic setting mixed with deep background concerning the Dutch East Indies evolving into an indepedent Indonesia influenced by a rising China is interesting; and second, the contents of the coffin are a clever surprise. Overall, though, we considered the book an unworthy sequel to Jewel of the Java Sea. Dougherty always verged on caricature, but now he's fully up that river. While still calculating, bigoted, chauvinistic, and pervy, he's bereft of charm, which used to be his saving grace. We suspect Cushman wanted to show how the tropics had decayed Dougherty's psyche since the first book, but he comes across too unsympathetic. It feels as if Cushman returned to the character unwillingly.
As for the half-caste of the title—Annalee, aka Sangra Brueger—she's one of the trio of coffin seekers, but because Dougherty spends nearly the entire book tracking the group from afar, she's barely in the narrative physically until the last forty pages. Dell Publications used Annalee's meager presence, with an assist from Robert McGinnis cover art, to lure readers, but it's a slight misrepresentation. The book is basically all Dougherty, along with his two male partners. During the era of good girl art there were nearly always women on paperback covers, no matter how flimsy the rationale, so you have to expect this sort of thing. We can't really complain, because certainly, the art is brilliant. We're happy to have it.
I've been working on some fresh runway poses. I call this one: sociopathicool.
Above: a cover for Australian author Neville Jackson's, aka Gerald Glaskin's 1965 novel No End to the Way. What you see here is a 1967 edition from the British publisher Corgi. This is a significant book, one of the first novels with gay themes to be widely available in Australia. It wasn't legal to mail into the country, so Corgi, the legend goes, flew it in aboard chartered planes to skirt the law.
Plotwise what you get here is a drama about Ray and Cor, two men who meet in a bar and form a relationship that becomes committed, and seems aimed toward permanence—which is exactly when their most serious challenge arises in the form of a bitter ex-lover. This ex is determined to ruin what Ray and Cor have built, up to and including slander, career damage, and more.
We were quite interested in the cover art because Corgi was a mainstream publisher, and with this bright yellow effort they gave this controversial book the full court press. The push, the art, and the quality of the story worked—it was reprinted at least twice, and in fact was Jackson's/Glaskin's best selling book. He was an eclectic and fairly prolific writer, so maybe we'll run across him again later. There's a good bio here. Now we're going to work on that pose.
Zumba, huh? Never heard of it. But anything that involves dancing around in this heat I'll take a pass on.
A glance at this Barye Phillips cover for Dan Cushman's 1951 novel Jewel of the Java Sea and you immediately expect it to be filled with lyrical old place names, with their romantic connotations for Westerners of a certain age—Siam, Burma, Celebes, Dutch East Indies, and broadly “the Orient,” names that have dissipated into history, though colonial memory continues to associate them with riches, adventure, and freedom. The name Java is still in use, and that's where Frisco Dougherty, a musician by training, but a fortune hunter and brawler in practice, has been knocking around for fifteen years attempting to make his fortune.
Dougherty has had little luck at this, which is why when he comes into possession of a yellow diamond said to be part of a priceless larger set, he goes into treasure hunter mode with sharp tongue, clenched fists, and hot lead. This jewel he's stumbled upon is supposedly one of five known collectively as the Taj Nipa, with those in turn married to a larger diamond called the Taj-i-nur. The whole kit and caboodle is presumed to reside in the vault of the Maharajah Sir Jagadipendra Bahadur, G.S., C.I., C.C.E.I., LMNOP. But that presumption could be wrong. Maybe the stones were liberated from their vault, though nobody has reported a theft.
Such capers are the core of these types of books, but there are also women. Anna, a Dutchwoman cast adrift in the islands, tells Dougherty she's searching for her missing father, an army major. She's important, but Dougherty is particularly intrigued by Locheng, an exotic dancer in the town of Pontianak, Borneo, and to his eye, a mix of all things good about Asia. He tells the reader she's, “Indo-Chinese, Malay, child of the melting pot, and [with] white blood, enough white blood make her vivid, give her fire.” Uh huh, Frisco loves him some Locheng, though he has a mighty brusque way of showing it:
He decided not to knock. He swung the door open. She sprang up to face him. She was naked. He took a deep breath and looked at her. She seized her sarong and swung it around her hips, tucked it tightly around her waist. Her breasts remained bare, after the fashion of native women.
“Why did you do that?” he asked. “Is it the Western influence that makes you think a body should be hidden? Let me see you as you were. You are so beautiful.”
The Western influence. We didn't notice him wandering around naked to demonstrate his liberation. But maybe that's his point—he's too corrupted to be free, but luckily—his luck, not hers—she isn't. At this point he's met Locheng exactly once before, and she called him a hodah orang—ugly man, according to the book, though not according to Google translate—and showed him the door. But he clearly thinks being cursed out was just a flirtatious prelude to his inevitable conquest of Locheng, and indeed, as these South Seas novels are usually male literary fantasies, that conquest will come soon enough.
Dougherty is interesting. He's impulsive and self-entitled; bigoted, though this appears to be more class than skin based; and sexist, to which we add no qualifiers considering he always wants women to parade around naked. But he's also sentimental and defends the underdog. We think he's an accurate depiction of a certain type of wayfaring American male endemic to the wilder reaches of the world. As former inhabitants of a couple of those reaches ourselves, we've met the type. Cue the Pulp Intl. girlfriends: “Met? You are the type.” Well, not really, though. We've always sought adventures, but our resemblance to Dougherty stops where he demands unearned respect, crosses lines of consent, and calls grown men, “boy.”
In the end, Jewel of the Java Sea is a South Asian thriller that sits neither at the top nor bottom of the genre. Frisco Dougherty might be worth having a beer with, but only until he says something offensive and refuses to apologize. What we'd prefer to hear from him are reflections about something other than how Western influence has ruined his chances to enjoy boobs al fresco. That may yet happen. Reading the book, we got the feeling he was supposed to become a franchise. A series never took root, but he did pop up in one sequel, 1960's The Half-Caste, also set in Asia. We already purchased it a little earlier today, because Cushman can write. What will be interesting is to see if Dougherty can grow.
Hallo everyone! I am from Holland, I am waanzinnig for seks, and I am told I can find very trashy people here.
Above you see a cool little treat—a colorful cover for Zonde op wielen from Amsterdam based publisher Uitgeverij Orion. It's a Dutch translation of the 1962 Midwood Books sleaze novel Sin on Wheels (larger image for laptop and desktop users here), written by Loren Beauchamp, who was in reality sci-fi legend Robert Silverberg.
The art is a translation too, sort of. It's a new angle on Paul Rader's painting for the Midwood original—and as you can see, it features the same character in the same groovy outfit standing in front of the same trailer, but painted from a different angle. It's the first time we've seen this—an artist painting what another artist painted, but changing the viewpoint. We think the Uitgeverij cover is even better than Rader's. We know—sacrilege, but we really like it. Or maybe we're responding to the impact of its novelty. Let's just say they're both excellent efforts.
The brush responsible for the Uitgeverij art belonged to Dutch illustrator J.H. Moriën, whose distinctive signature you see at the righthand edge. He was born in 1897 and was active during the 1920s and ’30s, then after a mid-life hiatus began producing a lot of art again during the ’50s and ’60s. Maybe he wanted an RV of his own in retirement, but realized he didn't have enough cash. We found other pieces by him, so maybe we'll get back to him later. Though this one will be very hard to top.
If she were architecture she'd be streamline moderne.
Above, a Columbia Pictures promo image of Dutch actress Nina Foch made for her 1949 drama Johnny Allegro. She looks like she's getting her gloves on for some shady activity or other, which fits, since in the movie she plays a woman with a very mysterious background. We may revisit the subject later. In the meantime you can see another Foch photo here.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1969—Allende Meteorite Falls in Mexico
The Allende Meteorite, the largest object of its type ever found, falls in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The original stone, traveling at more than ten miles per second and leaving a brilliant streak across the sky, is believed to have been approximately the size of an automobile. But by the time it hit the Earth it had broken into hundreds of fragments.
1985—Matt Munro Dies
English singer Matt Munro, who was one of the most popular entertainers on the international music scene during the 1960s and sang numerous hits, including the James Bond theme "From Russia with Love," dies from liver cancer at Cromwell Hospital, Kensington, London.
1958—Plane Crash Kills 8 Man U Players
British European Airways Flight 609 crashes attempting to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport in Munich, West Germany. On board the plane is the Manchester United football team, along with a number of supporters and journalists. 20 of the 44 people on board die in the crash.
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