Vintage Pulp May 1 2024
THE PUSHERMAN
I got shit here that'll blow your minds. Dented saucepans, frayed towels, old keys. I'm talking grade-a junk.


Robert W. Taylor's 1954 novel The Junk Pusher is one of numerous mid-century drug scare books. Many of them deal in an unintentionally hilarious way with marijuana. This one, though, is about heroin, and we think Taylor is on safe ground here in saying it can be very dangerous. The cover art is by Frank Cozzarelli, who we've seen around these parts before. Check here

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Vintage Pulp Apr 29 2024
PICK YOUR POISON
It's the old love triangle: man, woman, and liquor.


​​​​Charles Willeford's 1956 novel Pick-Up is fronted by the work of Frank Uppwall, who we've featured here once before. We've featured a bit more of Willeford. In this one a down-on-his-luck San Francisco diner counterman named Harry Jordan meets a down-on-her-luck customer named Helen Meredith and sparks fly. Also flying in short order are emotional turmoil, tears and regrets, and unsound life choices. The duo mostly drink and dream. They fall into a mutual depression. They make a suicide pact but fail in their wrist-slashing attempt to shuffle off this mortal coil. They check themselves into a hospital for mental care but manifest no discernible benefits. Finally they return to their downward spirals of alcoholic self-medication. The story is a bit like a noirish Days of Wine and Roses, as Harry is able to keep a grip on his drinking but Helen isn't. When you reach the end you'll go, "Huh?" and wonder whether you should read the entire thing again. It's a black tale. Willeford might not be the best writer, but his ideas are definitely unique. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 27 2024
THE MAUSER THAT ROARED
Gun goes bang-bang, problem goes bye-bye.


Above is a cover for Jean-Albert Foëx's 1954 crime novel Le Mauser ne s'use que si l'on s'en sert..! painted by French illustrator Jean David, whose work we've shown you before, notably here and at the bottom of this collection. We aren't happy with David's visual treatment of the black character at the lower right, but you can't doubt his technical proficiency. This book, the title of which translates to, “the Mauser only wears out if you use it,” deals with a supervillain named Luciole who gets up to no good in Mexico and is soon pitted against protagonist Milo Tchero and his crack team of sidekicks. We gather these are recurring characters but we don't know how many appearances they made. The publisher here, E.D.I.C.A., liked wraparound covers, as you can see on an example we shared a while back. Jean David will return.
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Vintage Pulp Apr 25 2024
BEDLY SINS
My husband is clueless. He suspects I'm having an affair, but he thinks it's with a guy from his softball team.

Above: a nice sleaze cover from Greenleaf Classics' Nightstand imprint for 1960's lesbian novel Sin Girls by Marlene Longman. This has the look of a photo-illustration, but it's credited to Harold W. McCauley.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 24 2024
MIDNIGHT RUN
The very moment you need help is the moment there's nobody around.


Harry Bennett put together yet another a unique paperback cover, this time for Vin Packer's 1963 novel Alone at Night. Bennett was a master illustrator who specialized in loose yet highly skilled pieces, but he had a range that we've marveled over many times. Just check his solidly representational efforts here, here, and here, as opposed to his somewhat more abstract stylings here and here, then note how he splits the difference between the two here. He's always interesting, and Alone at Night is also an interesting novel.

Vin Packer was a pseudonym for Marijane Meaker, and she sets her story in the actual small town of Cayuta, located in south central New York state. She tells us about a man named Donald Cloward who's sent to prison for fatally running over a woman. By the time he's paroled eight years later he's come to doubt the official story. On the night in question he'd been nearly incapacitated by alcohol, and had blacked out the events, yet has the vaguest memory of being placed behind the wheel of the deadly car—presumably by someone who wanted him to crash and be killed. Once dead, people would assume he stole the car.

Who would do such a thing? His father-in-law, possibly. He had offered his sedan though Cloward was clearly unable to drive. Since his father-in-law loathes him, and is not a generous man—certainly not enough to lend anyone his car—his guilt seems a good bet. On the other hand, the woman who was killed happened to be the wife of a man who desperately wanted out of his marriage in order to wed someone else. Maybe he arranged everything. After all, Cloward was found in that man's Jaguar. Yes, there may have been a switch. Cloward thinks he remembers getting into one car, even though he ended up in another. Is it a false memory?

Alone at Night is built around a leapfrogging present-past structure, and has a multi-pov narrative in which the reader soon knows all, but the characters don't. In trying to sort it all out, Cloward decides that his father-in-law moved him from the sedan to the Jaguar after realizing the second car was already pointed toward the drop-off of a cliff. After all, why merely hope for a road accident when one is already likely just by virtue of the choice of a parking space? But is he missing a few pieces of the puzzle? We won't say more about the plot. This is excellent work from Packer/Meaker. It's our second book from her, and won't be our last. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 21 2024
STOPPING POWER
This is what's called in the realm of answers a hard no. Don't let the door hit you in the dick on the way out.

To say that Adam magazine is an interest of ours is an understatement, but we haven't shared an issue for eight months. That's been a result of our drawn out and complicated move, which we initiated last summer, thought we'd have finished by November, but actually just completed to the point of unpacking our scanner last month. Lesson: buying a house in the south of Spain takes three times longer than you anticipate. Rest assured, though, we're still collecting Adam, and today we're sharing our eighty-fourth issue, which takes us down to fifty-four more we need to upload.

This particular example, which was published this month in 1965, was tightly bound, so we have only a handful of scans because we didn't want to destroy the magazine by flattening it. Apparently there's such a thing as a triangle scanner meant for such situations, but we never heard of one until this week. Anyway, the cover here of a woman holding off a prospective assailant was painted to illustrate Walter S. Bratu's story, “Ice That Burns,” in which a random everyman runs afoul of a Nordic femme fatale, and gets snared in a blackmail and bribery plot. In a twist he eventually uses his car to bash hers off a cliff, but it didn't surprise us. In vintage men's magazines women who are sexually unavailable to the hero usually come to bad ends.

There's also a story from Carl Ruhen that wins the award for best title of the issue, if not all of 1965: “So Ineffably Sad.” It's about a man named Jacky Ryan who accidentally kills a woman and must somehow cover up the crime. This issue also has signed work from Jack Waugh (he'd give up on signatures as the years progressed), and of course a couple of pictorials, both with unidentified models. As we said, we can't show you everything because of our desire to preserve the magazine, but if we ever get a triangle scanner we'll add to this post. For now, we have a mere fifteen panels below.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 20 2024
GIVING AT THE OFFICE
No, darling, I'm not screwing my secretary. I have a new boss, and she's screwing me.


Bee Line Books was one of the imprints that transitioned from painted covers (examples here and here) into photo fronts, as you see with Roy Battle's 1974 novel Something for the Boss. We wanted something to read on a train ride and this fit the bill. The story deals with a suburban wife and her banker husband, and how his ambition to ascend the corporate ladder leads him to press her to have sex with the branch president. She does, and this leads to a full fledged swapping lifestyle, not only with the president and his wife, but with their two depraved collegiate children. Yeah, it's pretty kinky, but that's no surprise for a sleaze novel published during the ’70s. By then there were no limits. Despite the raunch, Something for the Boss isn't anything you can bank on for entertainment. Next. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 18 2024
MISPLACED CONFIDENCE
You're upset I betrayed your trust. But if I hadn't, all the publishers calling about your scandals would have been even more upset.

It's election season in the U.S., so above we have a cover for Harriett H. Carr's Confidential Secretary, originally published in 1958, with this Berkley paperback arriving in 1961. It's about a woman who takes a job in a Washington, D.C. corporation and is drawn into congressional intrigue, over the course of which she finds true love. This isn't one we'd read, but it does fit into our cover collection featuring the U.S. Capitol building—soon to be belching smoke and flames, the way things are going over there. The art is uncredited. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 17 2024
SENIOR MOMENT
Why, thank you, ladies, I am a goat, and proud of it. Um—you mean greatest of all time, right?

We've been having an ongoing conversation with the Pulp Intl. girlfriends about the word, “cougar,” when used to refer to older women who chase younger men. They say there's no male equivalent. If you're an older man chasing after young women, you're just a man, we were told. We think cougar is kind of a fun slang term, but then we are neither women, nor women in that age range, so our opinion doesn't actually count.

Anyway, we came across this cover for Tiffany Thayer's 1950 novel The Old Goat, and we're going to go with "goat" as a term for a male cougar. And no, not “greatest of all time.” Just goat. We'd like it to catch on, but sports fans have a firm hold on it at the moment. However, we'll do our part to change that if you do yours. The art on this, by the way, is by an unknown, but the rear cover and several interior illustrations are by Lyle Justis.

Update: we recently found ourselves in a group of six women, and we'd all had a few drinks, so it seemed like a good time to throw this question to the committee. The preferred term they came up with for an older man who chases after young women was: honey badger. Gotta say, that works really well.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 14 2024
ONLY FANS
You don't mind if I keep the blinds up, do you? The guys in the building across the street like to watch.


Above: a cover for the 1963 novel Bachelor Girl by Francis Loren. This was painted by acknowledged master Robert Maguire. As for Loren, we'll soon find out about him. We have one of his novels on deck. We've put together a couple of collections of covers featuring Venetian blinds. You can see those here and here

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 24
1930—Amy Johnson Flies from England to Australia
English aviatrix Amy Johnson lands in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to fly from England to Australia. She had departed from Croydon on May 5 and flown 11,000 miles to complete the feat. Her storied career ends in January 1941 when, while flying a secret mission for Britain, she either bails out into the Thames estuary and drowns, or is mistakenly shot down by British fighter planes. The facts of her death remain clouded today.
May 23
1934—Bonnie and Clyde Are Shot To Death
Outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who traveled the central United States during the Great Depression robbing banks, stores and gas stations, are ambushed and shot to death in Louisiana by a posse of six law officers. Officially, the autopsy report lists seventeen separate entrance wounds on Barrow and twenty-six on Parker, including several head shots on each. So numerous are the bullet holes that an undertaker claims to have difficulty embalming the bodies because they won't hold the embalming fluid.
May 22
1942—Ted Williams Enlists
Baseball player Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox enlists in the United States Marine Corps, where he undergoes flight training and eventually serves as a flight instructor in Pensacola, Florida. The years he lost to World War II (and later another year to the Korean War) considerably diminished his career baseball statistics, but even so, he is indisputably one of greatest players in the history of the sport.
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