Vintage Pulp Feb 11 2018
FULL BLAST
Al Wheeler gets caught in an explosive situation.



Barye Phillips art adorns the cover of Carter Brown's The Bombshell, first published in 1957, with this Signet edition appearing in 1960. The book features his franchise police detective Al Wheeler, who's assigned a murder case where there's no body. He protests because it's really a missing persons investigation, but his boss is convinced young Lily Teal's corpse is somewhere to be found. Even so, a previous investigation came up empty and Wheeler is assigned the case with the expectation he won't get anywhere. But failure is for lesser detectives. Our favorite exchange in this one:

Femme fatale: “Maybe it's something to do with me being born in the South—a girl matures early in a hot climate.”

Al Wheeler: “And you've been carrying that climate around with you ever since.

We shared this cover as part of a
collection several years ago, but hadn't read the book. The scan above is from our own copy. This is the third Al Wheeler book in the long running series, but it already feels a bit perfunctory. The narrative doesn't really take off until Wheeler is framed for attempted sexual assault. At that point, based on how far his still unknown enemies are willing to go, he realizes there's more to the case than just a possible murder. Overall, not a bad outing, but nothing special. We have more Al Wheeler mysteries we acquired recently, so we'll see how those go. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 2 2018
KANE IS ABLE
Publisher cooks up hard boiled adventures for Aussie readers.


Above, five covers from the Australian paperback series Kane, by C.J. McKenzie for Webster Publications. All of the covers feature photo-illustrations of actual celebs, but the only one we recognize is Bettie Page, panel three. The main character in these books is columnist Martin Kane, who always seems to get tangled up in murder. C.J. McKenzie had been an editor at Horwitz Publications and wrote some novels as Carter Brown while series author Alan Yates was busy elsewhere during the late 1950s. He wrote Kane afterward, in 1958 and 1959. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 25 2017
THE FRONT PAGET
Horwitz uses its best known cover star to date.


American actress and dancer Debra Paget appears, quite strikingly, on the front of Carter Brown's Stripper You've Sinned, which was published in 1956. We've been speculating for a while whether Horwitz, headquartered 7,500 miles away from Hollywood in Sydney, Australia, licensed its celebrity covers. Our assumption has always been no. The idea of celebrity covers would be, ostensibly, to generate extra interest in the book. But if that's the case, why such obscure stars? There's really no extra publicity to gain, and a licensing fee to lose. So we've always suspected the celebs were chosen merely because they were beautiful and the shots were available as handout photos.

But now we aren't sure about that, because Paget breaks the pattern—she was pretty well known in 1956, having appeared in more than a dozen films, and in highly billed roles in a few of those productions. So now we're thinking Horwitz actually did license these images. The fees must have been tiny, though, otherwise it wouldn't make any sense fiscally. Horwitz could have put an equally beautiful Aussie model on the book covers and gotten the same result with less hassle. In any case, this is great imagery. If you want to know what the book is actually about, check the review here. And if you click the keywords “Horwitz Publications” below you'll see all our previous posts on this matter. 

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Vintage Pulp May 27 2015
A SOMMERY FEEL
Aussie publisher spices up thriller with an image of Elke Sommer.


Last week we shared some images of Elke Sommer from the debut issue of the French magazine Stop. Those were a deliberate preface to today's post, which shows the cover for Carter Brown’s, aka Alan G. Yates’ mystery Death of a Doll from Australia's Transport Publishing, the paperback division of Horwitz Publications.

You can see that the designer used Sommer for his inspiration. Her normally blonde hair was changed to match the hair color of the story’s redheaded femme fatale, but what’s really interesting about this cover is the yawning pose. At least a couple of images from the Stop layout would have worked better, we think, but that’s just our humble opinion.  

At first we thought the designer here was Bernard Blackburn, who made many of Horwitz-Transport’s photo-illustrated covers during the mid-1950s, but then we learned that this “reprint by demand” edition appeared in 1960. So we have no idea who created the cover, but he/she had good taste in models, though we seriously doubt Sommer received any compensation for her starring role. Check out the rest of those rare Stop images here and see if you don’t agree about the designer making a weird choice.

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Vintage Pulp May 21 2010
THE HELLE YOU SAY
Red eyes at morning, Wheeler take warning.

Cover art for Dutch language pulp novel The Hellcat, circa 1962, part of the Al Wheeler series written by Carter Brown, aka Alan G. Yates. Interestingly, “hellcat” in Dutch would actually be something like “helkat”. “De helle” means “the whole” and “veeg” means "sweep". At least, that’s what Babelfish tells us. 

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Vintage Pulp May 15 2009
FLOOR SHOW
Dood, I am so stond right now.


This Dutch issue Carter Brown novel may look like it’s about either getting paralyzingly baked, or testing the effectiveness of various upskirt angles, but no, it’s actually the detective thriller The Lady Is Available, retitled to Death Modeled because, well, we don’t know why. We’ll have to consult our Dutch friends on that question and get back to you. The cover subject here is supposed to be dead, but since he was so rude as to croak with his eyes open someone will have to shake him, then see if he steams up a spoon, maybe even give him CPR. Anyway, the novel is one of Australian author Carter Brown’s, aka Alan G. Yates’, bestselling Al Wheeler thrillers. When we say bestselling, we mean they spread like brush fire. Certain sources credit him selling an astounding fifty million novels. So maybe the dood here isn’t dead, just stund by Carter’s good fortune.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 14 2008
GET CARTER
Carter Brown sold fifty million books in his career and you haven’t read a single one.

He was born Alan G. Yates in Australia, but as Carter Brown he published 150 crime stories, starting in 1953 with The Mermaid Murmurs Murder and continuing until 1981 when he published The Wicked Widow. All his tales were set in the Unites States (including these four with Robert McGinnis cover art), but strangely, American readers never embraced him. Instead, it was in Europe that he made his mark, where his noir plots filled with classic twists and hard-boiled dialogue did as much for international pulp as any figure who ever lived.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 25
1947—Prussia Ceases To Exist
The centuries-old state of Prussia, which had been a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great during the 1800s, and a major influence on German culture, ceases to exist when it is dissolved by the post-WWII Allied Control Council comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
1964—Clay Beats Liston
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, aged 22, becomes champion of the world after beating Sonny Liston, aka the Dark Destroyer, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. It would be the beginning of a storied and controversial career for Clay, who would announce to the world shortly after the fight that he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
February 24
1920—The Nazi Party Is Founded
The small German Workers' Party, or DAP, which was under the direction of Adolf Hitler, changes its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Though Hitler adopted the socialist label to attract working class Germans, his party in fact embraced mainly anti-socialist ideas. The group became known in English as the Nazi Party, and within the next fifteen years expanded to become the most powerful force in German politics.
1942—Battle of Los Angeles Takes Place
A object flying over wartime Los Angeles triggers a massive anti-aircraft barrage, ultimately killing 3 civilians. Initially the target of the aerial barrage is thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but it is later suggested to be imaginary and a case of "war nerves", a lost weather balloon, a blimp, a Japanese fire balloon, or even an extraterrestrial craft. The true nature of the object or objects remains unknown to this day, but the event is known as the Battle of Los Angeles.
February 23
1945—Flag Raised on Iwo Jima
Four days after landing on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima, American soldiers of the 28th Regiment, 5th Marine Division take Mount Suribachi and raise an American flag. A photograph of the moment shot by Joe Rosenthal becomes one of the most famous images of WWII, and wins him the Pulitzer Prize later that year.
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