I've been practicing by milking Daisy. Just sit back and enjoy this.
Above, a Robert Bonfils cover for Andrew Shaw's sleazer Bad Town, copyright 1966. Shaw was a Greenleaf Classics house pseudonym used by Lawrence Block and others, and was credited with books such as Sin Sucker, Sin Seer, Sintown Setup, Sin Alley—are you sensing a theme here?—Sin Bum, The Sin-Damned, Sin Hellcat...
Actually, she isn't the youngest anymore. But she's been a harlot for some years and it's sort of an honorary title now.
Above, an amusing cover for The Youngest Harlot by Jay Carpenter, from Newsstand Library, 1961. The cover text, in case you can't read it, says juvenile delinquency is the most biting indictment of our times. The fiction bites a little bit too, but in a fun way. If you're inclined you can find out for yourself by downloading a copy at TripleX Books. The art, by the way, could fit into our collection of characters leaning against poles, which makes the cover a winner for us. Thank Robert Bonfils.
Remember I said you needed to spice up your act? Mr. Sweet and Mr. Young—meet your new lead singer Miss Wanton!
Is it just us or does Sweet, Young & Wanton sound like the name of a ’70s disco band? Miss Wanton can't seem to get out of bed, but that makes her like pretty much every lead singer in history. Trust us we know—your Pulp Intl. creators were in a band together for years back during our misspent youth. Too bad Sweet, Young & Wanton has nothing to do with music. It's actually about a man who embarks on a tawdry affair with a girl from the corner café where he drowns his sorrows. Standard sleaze from pseudonymous author Don Holliday, copyright 1965, with art by Robert Bonfils.
Good sleaze can be like beautiful music.
Above you see a really nice Robert Bonfils cover for Bogus Lover, published by Newsstand Library in 1960. What's bogus, though, is how the author got ambushed on this one. According to mysteryfile.com, Hy Silver—his real name, by the way—originally wrote a standard detective thriller that was converted without consent into a sleaze novel. And what a conversion: “Her hips began to sway in low, rhythmic circles, eager with anticipation, then faster until they were undulating to a restless mambo beat.” Note to aspiring novelists—remember to use Latin American music as a metaphor for really good sex. The rumba works, as do the samba and bolero, and the tango is a really good one, especially when describing the interaction of two tongues. We're giving you this for free. Run with it.
Mid-century paperbacks and the many sides of erotic dance.
We've seen more paperback covers featuring dancers than we can count. No surprise—they are after all an essential element of crime fiction, and many of the covers depicting them are excellent. But as you might imagine, novels that feature strippers, showgirls, and burlesque dancers as characters also fall into the sleaze genre quite often, which in turn makes for a lot of low budget cover work. So we have the full range for you today in a collection depicting the kinetic art of stage dancing, with illustrations from Mitchell Hooks, Bernard Safran, Robert Maguire, Robert McGinnis, Gene Bilbrew, Doug Weaver, and others, as well as numerous unknowns. Enjoy.
It's a marvelous time for a loon dance.
This audacious wraparound cover is from Greenleaf Classics for Ricardo Armory's, aka George Davies' 1968 gay sleaze novel Fruit of the Loon. It's a satire of Richard Amory's hit trilogy Song of the Loon, featuring cowboys at the Circle 69 Ranch, a medicine man named Squirming Ass, and more. What makes the parody all the more interesting is that Song was gay fiction also published by Greenleaf, so they're roasting their own author here, as well as his novel that sold hundreds of thousands of copies, making it by far the biggest hit in gay literature in the 1970s. According to Drewey Wayne Gunn's book Gay American Novels, 1870-1970: A Reader's Guide, “[Fruit of the Loon] is not only hilarious but better written than the original.” The cover is better than the original too. It's doubtless Robert Bonfils or Darrel Millsap—probably Bonfils because thickly black-rimmed eyes appeared often in his Greenleaf work—but absent confirmation we'll go with unknown.
Yup. Done gave myself more’n a few painful burns over the years with this trick but I got it down pretty good now.
The cover art by Robert Bonfils makes The Passion Cache look like a western but it’s actually set in the present day, or at least 1968, which is when Don Bellmore, aka George H. White, wrote the book. It deals with two fraternity buddies who go looking for twenty-thousand dollars worth of Spanish gold in the mountains above El Paso, Texas. But this is sleaze fiction, not adventure fiction, so the quest for gold is really secondary to the main character Jud’s quest to do some prospecting between the thighs of his friend’s wife Viola, an Indian girl named Desert Rose, and an eager virgin/tomboy named Sally. He’s successful on all counts, multiple times. Does he eventually end up with the gold? No, but he ends up with Desert Rose, and that’s pretty much what these books are all about.
Wow! He's really mastered some hot licks!
There's something special about how a great talent handles his instrument, right? It becomes an extension of him. A real virtuoso uses every technique in his repertoire—double and triple tonguing, lip trills, circular breathing, and of course quick valve water emptying—until it all comes together in one climactic crescendo. By the way, if you don't know what quick valve water emptying is, well child, you better ask somebody. In the past most players were men, but of late there are plenty of women who blow masterfully. The best often do dates in the legendary Trumpet City. That place is tops... Um, yeah. 1961 on this, with Robert Bonfils art.
Well, okay—since you say it worked for Tom Brady, I guess I can take some of the pressure out of your balls.
The original painting at top, which we ran across on an auction site, was made for the cover of John Dexter’s (Harvey Hornwood’s) 1969 sleaze novel Passion’s Pupil, just above. Like most covers from the genre, it has several raunchy elements. Not only is the femme fatale threatening to go down on her knees, and not only has the football star found the world’s smallest towel (which we guess will make her next manuver even easier), but the jersey peeking out of his locker seems to bear the number 69. Standard stuff.
But what isn’t standard is there may be some question about who painted this. According to the vendor selling it—for $800.00, in case you’re looking for something to go above your mantel—the piece is by Robert Bonfils, however, the quite authoritative Greenleaf Classics Books website has this attributed to Darrel Millsap. The two had nearly identical styles during the time they worked for Greenleaf, so there’s no way to look at the painting and discern whose it is, and there’s no signature on the front or rear. We’re sure the mystery will be solved at some point, though, probably by whoever eventually shells out eight bills for the art.
We like the painting not only on its own sleazy merits, but because it reminds us of another original painting we posted way back that was used for the front of Amy Harris’s schoolhouse sleaze novel Prize Pupil. In fact, if you click back there you’ll see that the male figures in both scenes are weirdly similar. And of course so are the titles of the books. Did Bonfils/Millsap use that earlier cover as inspiration? It sure looks like it.
You knew that he would.
Above is another rare double-sided Robert Bonfils paperback cover, this time for Any Man’s Playmate and Strumpet’s Jungle, written by Rubel, aka James Rubel, and Sloane Britain, respectively. See the first example we shared here.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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.
1924—Leopold and Loeb Murder Bobby Franks
Two wealthy University of Chicago students named Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr. murder 14-year-old Bobby Franks, motivated by no other reason than to prove their intellectual superiority by committing a perfect crime. But the duo are caught and sentenced to life in prison. Their crime becomes known as a "thrill killing", and their story later inspires various works of art, including the 1929 play Rope by Patrick Hamilton, and Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 film of the same name.
1916—Rockwell's First Post Cover Appears
The Saturday Evening Post publishes Norman Rockwell's painting "Boy with Baby Carriage", marking the first time his work appears on the cover of that magazine. Rockwell would go to paint many covers for the Post, becoming indelibly linked with the publication. During his long career Rockwell would eventually paint more than four thousand pieces, the vast majority of which are not on public display due to private ownership and destruction by fire.
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