Vintage Pulp Mar 2 2024
HORSING AROUND
Wheeeee! Nothing compares to a butt-naked bareback ride on the beach! Not sex! Not money! Not anything!

Robert Bonfils did well with this wild cover for T.A. Maschke's 1961 sleazer Sex Is Like Money. His art convinced us to give the book a shot (literaure buffs may notice, by the way, that this title predates John Updike's famous quip from his 1968 book Couples). Maschke tells the story of a Chicago cab driver and former pro wrestler named Mike Turner, who's asked by a mystery woman named Della to swim eight-hundred yards into Lake Michigan and back to retrieve a briefcase of dirty financial records she intends to toss off a yacht and give to tax authorities. Turner wants to get laid, so he goes along with the plan, manages to return to shore with the briefcase, but soon learns that it contains not documents but a million dollars. Oops—duped!

The money belongs to Chi-Town crime kingpin Killer Canasta, and obviously he'll be furious—the guy is known as Killer, after all—so Della plans to flee to South America. She's willing to take Turner along, but he drags his feet, arguing instead that they should give the money to the feds and collect a reward. Dumb, right? Turner then discovers Della has an identical twin sister named Ella and things get weird. The tale eventually ends with a televised wrestling match in Soldier Field between Turner and Canasta. How does Maschke manage to bend the narrative toward that bizarre conclusion? It doesn't matter, because under no circumstances should you read Sex Is Like Money. And you always take our advice, right? Trust us this time—it's terrible. And on we go to the next... 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 10 2024
DOCTORISH ADVICE
I don't have my degree yet, so for now my recommendation for your sex addiction is to hire a good booking agent.

Above: Swap Psychiatrist, from 1968, with art by Robert Bonfils. The author, John Dexter, was credited with three-hundred and fifty books, according to the comprehensive website Greenleaf Classics Books. His name was used as a pseudonym by many, including Lawrence Block, Vivien Kern, Harry Whittington, and others. We have more than a few Dexter covers in the website, but our favorites are here and here

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Vintage Pulp Apr 9 2023
HELLION YES
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. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 5 2023
THE WIFE WILL PLAY
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.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 10 2022
READY FOR HER ENCORE
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.”

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Vintage Pulp Oct 4 2022
BODY COUNTESS
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. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 28 2021
GOLDEN GLOBES
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. 

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Vintage Pulp May 8 2020
EXECUTIVE SWEETIE
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.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 2 2019
JAIL BREAK
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

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Vintage Pulp May 3 2019
TRADE AGREEMENT
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. 

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
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