Better late than never is our motto around here.
We're finally getting back to paperback artist Gene Bilbrew, whose odd style, with its scantily clad women and their muscular butts has become collectible in recent years. We didn't get it at first, but like a lot of art, once you're exposed to it regularly you begin to appreciate its unique qualities. There's clear intent in Bilbrew's work, a deliberate attempt to approach illustration from a different angle, and we've grown to understand that his cartoonish, chaotic, often humorous, and often bondage themed aesthetic is purposeful. In fact, his imagery has become so intertwined with the bdsm scene that in 2019 the National Leather Association International established an award named after Bilbrew for creators of animated erotic art. While it's not exactly a Pulitzer Prize, the point is that Bilbrew's bizarre visions keep gaining wider acceptance. So for that reason we've put together another group of his paperback fronts. You can see more of them here, here, and here, and you can see a few rare oddities here, here, and here.
You have multiple personality disorder—they're all insatiable nymphos.
Above, a cover for Sex Queen by Roger Blake, aka John Trimble, for Fabian books, copyright 1962. Add this to our growing therapy collection, which you can get into starting here. The art is uncredited, but it could be Bill Edwards.
Seriously? You're stranding me? Just because I said even cold water can't make a man shrink that much?
When we first saw Naked Return we thought, “A sleaze novel entirely about a woman who has to get home naked? We can't wait to see how this is drawn out to 144 pages!” But the book isn't about that. There's a literal naked return, alright. It occurs in the first chapter when the lead character Sharon's boyfriend steals her swimsuit, leaving her to get home by walking through the woods and into the middle of a packed garden party. The other 95% of the story is a middling drama about her trying to choose between two men, one in Spain and one in the U.S. Yaaaaawn. But at least the book only cost five dollars. The art is uncredited, and the copyright is 1960
They say this color makes a woman more desirable— *burp!* *grunt* —so you want me or what?
As usual with Fabian Books the cover for Cherita is uncredited, but their low rent house artist really scored a hit here. This is a beautiful image of a woman testing the putative phenomenon that red dresses increase one's attractiveness. As for the story, it's a drama about a woman searching for her lost sibling. The tale becomes a sort of a love story when she falls for a man different from the many she's known, a musician who plays a local nightspot. Ann Freeman—most likely a pseudonym but we don't know for whom—also authored the Fabian sleaze novels Between the Two and Emotional Jungle before fading from the literary scene. Copyright on this is 1961.
These two are just dying for a vacation.
Yes, it's another book about people stranded on a boat. We just finished the excellent Dead Calm a few days ago, and wrote about it yesterday, and afterward we read all of Return to Vista in time to write about it today. Yes, it literally took one day to blaze through, and we even mixed in a few glasses of white wine and assorted interactions with the Pulp Intl. girlfriends. Return to Vista is not as ocean bound as Dead Calm. In fact, most of it takes place on dry land. Well, semi-dry—the action starts in New Orleans, moves to Vista Island, and stars a cynical journalist back home from some tough years covering the Korean War.
Various online sources say Return to Vista led to an obscenity bust for publisher Sanford Aday. We came across mention of it more than once. But we dug a bit deeper and as far as we can tell it isn't true. It can be difficult to keep track of this stuff, because Aday had run-ins with legal authorities everywhere from his hometown of Fresno to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and all the way out to the Hawaiian Islands. Today in 1961 police raided his facility on North Lima Street in Burbank, empowered by a search warrant that specifically mentioned the novel Sex Life of a Cop, discussed here.
However, the warrant also said police could gather additional relevant material, so they loaded up other books, as well as mail, packages, cartons, bank statements, checks, bills of lading, work records, labels, rubber stamps, et al. They basically emptied Aday's offices with the intent of depriving him of the ability to conduct business. Return to Vista was seized in the raid, but it was part of a haul that included sixty-two titles comprising an astonishing 400,000 paperbacks. Thus we don't think it's accurate to say Return to Vista specifically resulted in an obscenity bust. Unless there's more info out there than we know about—which is always possible.
Return to Vista's purplest passages deal with interracial sex. Also, the two characters you see on the cover decide one last romp is in order before they starve at sea. Sex must bring them luck, because they survive to fight commies. Or at least, they think they're dealing with commies. Turns out the people they're up against are actually even purer utopians than the political sort. Return to Vista wasn't good, exactly, but it was fun. Author John Foster, whose actual name was John West, showed some imaginative touches. He went on to write 1961's Campus Iniquities before fading from the literary scene. The above is from 1960 with uncredited cover art.
Hi, babe, I'm back early from— Aw, shit. Not again.
Twice a Fool was published by Vega Books, above, and by Fabian Books, a version that was identical in every way except the company logo. That's because both Fabian and Vega, along with Saber Books, were owned by Sanford Aday, as we've mentioned before. Bunny Strand was in reality sleaze author Bernie Strahn, who also wrote such highbrow classics as Reaching High, The Bedroom Imposter, and Sex Party: The Rape of Lori Grant. Info on him is scarce, but we'll keep digging. Twice a Fool is copyright 1960 with uncredited cover art.
Whew. I'm bushed. You know, when you said you needed your field plowed I was thinking along totally different lines.
Above, a typically low rent cover from Sanford Aday's sleaze imprint Fabian Books, uncredited but probably by Bill Edwards. Dolores Dee was actually an author named Delores Cardwell, and Passionate Lovie, which seems to be the only book she wrote, fits squarely into the sub-genre of farm sleaze where a sexually precocious hayseed wants out of hickville. “What goes on in the big towns?” she wonders constantly. The only way to find out is to work her charms on several hapless men. 1959 copyright.
Actually, you’re drinkin’ the kerosene I use for my lantern. The moonshine’s over yonder. But I am duly impressed.
Above, the cover of Clouded Passion by Arthur A. Howe, for Fabian Books, 1962, with Bill Edwards cover art of a country girl chugging booze like a Zeta Tau Alpha. Fabian, as well as Vega Books and Saber Books, was owned by Sanford Aday, who made himself a constant target for various morality groups, including Citizens for Decent Literature, which was headed by that paragon of virtue Charles H. Keating. Aday was eventually convicted of obscenity, along with his associate Wallace de Ortega Maxey, for shipping a single copy of the book Sex Life of a Cop to Michigan. Aday got twenty-five years, but the conviction was overturned by a Supreme Court decision. The novels from Adey’s three publishing houses are somewhat collectible today, and most of the covers were exactly like this one—amusing but low quality. If you’re interested, you can see a group here.
The happy hooker goes to Rex's house.
The 1963 tell-all Honey Baby, for which you see the uncredited cover art above, is a novel narrated by a call girl named Honey Baby Ashley to author Rex Nevins. The as-told-to framework must have worked nicely, because in 1964 Nevins wrote another book called The Swingers, which was told to him by a spouse swapper named Sherri St. John. Call us cynics, but we tend to think Honey Baby Ashley and Sherri St. John both came directly from Rex’s dirty little mind. But we can understand, because we have two imaginary friends, too—they’re called our readers.
The ruin of Troy.
Above, a cover from On the Q.T., May 1962, with curious editors asking if Hollywood heartthrob Troy Donahue beat his girlfriend, Swedish actress Lili Kardell. She said yes. He said no. A lawsuit resulted and Donohue settled out of court. As far as we know, the question of whether he actually beat her was never answered, but curiously, none of his four marriages lasted long, including a union with Suzanne Pleshette that endured a mere three months. Suffice it to say Donahue had trouble in relationships, probably due to his admitted booze and drug problems, yet there were always women willing to take the leap. He was engaged to be married for a fifth time in 2001, but died of a heart attack that September.
Elsewhere in this issue readers are told the story of British socialite Caroline Lindsay-Flynn, who posed for "THOSE" pictures—supposedly hundreds of nudes that eventually were sold under the counter all over the UK. On the Q.T. claims Lindsay-Finn had been compelled to pose for the shots by her boyfriend Arthur Pritchard, but when she discovered they were being sold en masse ran to her millionaire father for help. Father said he'd buy up all the negatives, but that she had to dump her boyfriend. She refused, and that's where On the Q.T.'s account ends.
Sounds like typical tabloid fantasy, but amazingly we found a reference to the tale in the German magazine Der Spiegel, where Lindsay-Finn is labeled a "fallen star of English society" and a "call-girl." And we also discovered that she and Pritchard were arrested in January of 1963 and charged with obscenity for distributing the photos. She was acquitted of the charges, but we don't know what happened to her afterward. Very possibly she'll pop up in one of our other tabloids down the line. Scans of Donahue, Lindsay-Finn, French bikini pants and more, below. And more from On the Q.T. later.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1937—The Hobbit is Published
J. R. R. Tolkien publishes his seminal fantasy novel The Hobbit, aka The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Marketed as a children's book, it is a hit with adults as well, and sells millions of copies, is translated into multiple languages, and spawns the sequel trilogy The Lord of Rings.
1946—Cannes Launches Film Festival
The first Cannes Film Festival is held in 1946, in the old Casino of Cannes, financed by the French Foreign Affairs Ministry and the City of Cannes.
1934—Arrest Made in Lindbergh Baby Case
Bruno Hauptmann is arrested for the kidnap and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr., son of the famous American aviator. The infant child had been abducted from the Lindbergh home in March 1932, and found decomposed two months later in the woods nearby. He had suffered a fatal skull fracture. Hauptmann was tried, convicted, sentenced to death, and finally executed by electric chair in April 1936. He proclaimed his innocence to the end
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