She's great. But you know how they say dance like no one's looking? She can dance only when everyone's looking.
A few days ago we shared a book cover inspired by a 1948 Life magazine photo. We wanted to show you a more direct inspiration from that shot. Here you see Tony Calvano's The Hellions, from 1965 for Greenleaf Classics, published by its sub-imprint Leisure Books. Calvano was in actuality Thomas P. Ramirez.
The art on this is by Robert Bonfils, and he basically copied the dynamic figure in the Life photo, and did so brilliantly, making changes to her hair (more and wilder) and bikini (smaller and flimsier). The result is an illustration that's a real eye-catcher. You can scroll down a few posts if you want to see the Life shot in a larger size. It was part of a photo essay on a performative youth movement called Activationism, centered in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Oh, look who it is—the neglectful husband I've been hearing so much about.
Above: a cover for Every Bed Her Own, by Don Elliott for Greenleaf Classics' imprint Leisure Books, 1966. Elliott, in this case, is actually sci-fi author Robert Silverberg, and the art is by Robert Bonfils, the titan of mid-century sleaze illustrators. This is another cover that fits with our collection of cheaters caught red-handed.
Now I'd like to do a little number about the fantastic sex I'm going to have later with a random member of the audience.
Above: a Robert Bonfils cover for Thom Martin's sleazer Serenade to Seduction, which came from Newsstand Library in 1960. We figure the singer here, after making her announcement, goes right into a steamy rendition of Dinah Washington's “Big Long Slidin’ Thing.”
Nicely done. Continuing upward, you may now kiss the royal inner thigh.
Above: Flesh Countess by J.X. Williams, a psuedonym for too many authors to name, and some that remain unknown, for Greenleaf Classics and Leisure Books. Having read many of these low rent sleaze romps, we'll go out on a limb and say the main character here isn't a real countess, but rather someone of great stature within the easy sex community. The art on this is by Robert Bonfils, and the copyright is 1964.
Whoa! Did I say round heels? I have no idea why I was even looking down there.
We come across the phrase “round heels” in vintage fiction all the time. It cracks us up because it's so rude, so sexist, so steeped in patriarchal double-standard. All of you know what round heels means, right, or did we get ahead of ourselves? Well, if not, it means that a woman will so readily have sex with whoever she meets that she might as well have round heels so she can fall on her back at any moment. She's a pushover.
Returning to that double standard thing, there's actually been a bit of a shift in recent years. Nowadays a woman might call a guy who gets around a fuckboy, which is the only insult referring to male sluttiness that we've ever noticed actually getting under guys' skins. Call him a manslut or a male hussy and he might laugh it off. Call him a fuckboy and he'll actually get angry most of the time. Such are the vagaries of English that if you tack “fuck” onto a term it's a whole new ballgame.
In any case, Lars Raymer's cheapie sleazer Round Heels was published in 1964 by Playtime Books and the art is by the always memorable Robert Bonfils. It also has one of the best cover blurbs we've ever seen: “She was a pushover, the easiest lay in town. Ask her doctor... or better still, ask his wife.” That's really funny. To us, anyway. As a side note, we'd like to add that sexually take-charge women are amazing. If not for you we'd still be playing Dungeons & Dragons on Friday nights. You make every university, nightclub, and church congregation better. Don't change a thing.
I'll have to call you back. Something urgent just landed on my desk.
Above, yet another office sleaze cover from Greenleaf Classics, that most reliable of low rent imprints. Too Many Partners was written by John Dexter, a pseudonym for various authors, in this case one who remains unidentified. This was published in 1966 with Robert Bonfils art.
Left brain calling right brain. Left brain calling right brain. Wake up, convict—you're daydreaming.
Here's a fun Robert Bonfils cover for Kitty Morgan's 1967's sleazer Turn-On. The art was recycled from March Hastings' 1962 book Design for Debauchery, with bars added to give the later art a jailhouse theme. It's kind of funny how shoddily original art was sometimes treated in efforts to adapt it for later usage: "Just paint some black bars over the earlier piece and we're good to go." We doubt Bonfils was the person tasked with defacing his own work, but you never know. In any case, the imagery makes us imagine some poor convict enjoying a beautiful cellblock daydream, which is then ruined when his fantasy girl says in a prison guard's baritone, “Hey convict! Who you think you eyeballin' like that?” As penal cover art goes, this is nice, but it isn't even in the same class as our favorite. Check here.
You wanna do something really wild? How about you and my husband swap bank accounts instead?
Robert Bonfils is on cover duty for G.A. Graeme's The Wife Traders, from Newsstand Library, circa 1959. Here a weekly bridge game turns into a swinging free-for-all, which of course leads to death. The story is written in the form of an investigation of two murders by an intrepid reporter who has to go undercover to crack the case wide open. Nothing new, but we always dig Bonfils.
It actually hurts me when you call me a tramp. Know what I bet hurts you more? That you can't afford me.
Monte Steele's Million Dollar Tramp should not be confused with William Campbell Gault's Million Dollar Tramp. Gault was a serious author of some acclaim, while Steele was serious about claiming a paycheck. We last saw him authoring a 1964 literary epic called Campus Chippies. This earlier effort is from 1963 for Playtime Reading with art by Robert Bonfils.
Yeah, wow, nice. I've never seen one without hair. It's slick as a— Wait, did you say you tore it out with hot wax?
Above, the cover of Orgy Man by Dean Hudson, a Greenleaf Classics house pseudonym used in this case by veteran sleaze author Evan Hunter, writing for Greenleaf's Idle Hours imprint, with cover art by Robert Bonfils, copyright 1964. Hah. We did that all in one sentence.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1914—RMS Empress Sinks
Canadian Pacific Steamships' 570 foot ocean liner Empress of Ireland is struck amidships by a Norwegian coal freighter and sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives. Submerged in 130 feet of water, the ship is so easily accessible to treasure hunters who removed valuables and bodies from the wreck that the Canadian government finally passes a law in 1998 restricting access.
1937—Chamberlain Becomes Prime Minister
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who is known today mainly for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 which conceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany and was supposed to appease Adolf Hitler's imperial ambitions, becomes prime minister of Great Britain. At the time Chamberlain is the second oldest man, at age sixty-eight, to ascend to the office. Three years later he would give way to Winston Churchill.
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".
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