Why are you undressing? I can't offer you any sexual pleasure. My body is immobilized and bandaged all over except for— Oh. I see.
As the leaves begin to turn brown we turn to Greenleaf Classics, a publisher to keep you warm through the cold months ahead. Above is Sin Pit by John Baxter, 1963, for Greenleaf's Ember imprint. Add this to our ever growing collection of hospital sleaze. The cover has one of paperback history's funniest facial expressions—soon to be smothered by a woman's, er, sin pit, we suspect. As low rent as this illustration is, we don't think even the most acclaimed paperback artists could have nailed this guy's expression the same way. Hell, we can't even convince ourselves Rembrandt or Caravaggio could have done it. It's pure genius—but uncredited, amazingly.
I was hoping you had time to handle a couple of things for me right now.
The artist who painted this cover for Curt Aldrich's 1966 sleazer Anytime Girl didn't receive credit, which is not surprising, because it's a simplified copy of a Bob Abbett cover for the 1959 William Campbell Gault novel Sweet Wild Wench. But on the other hand, the cover for Sweet Wild Wench is a simplified copy of a frame from the 1958 Brigitte Bardot film En cas de malheur, aka Love Is My Profession. You'll see what we mean if you look here. We still like this cover, though. Greenleaf Classics and its various imprints—Evening, Candid, Midnight, Ember, Nightstand, et al—had a way of reducing cover concepts to their primal essence. Back then the results were considered tastelessly funny. Probably not so much today, but that's one reason we share these—for the cultural contrast between then and now. If you think society has progressed since then, here's a bit of evidence why that's true. And if you think everyone has simply turned into humorless drones, ditto. Want to see our greatest hits of Greenleaf Classics? Top ten: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Debate and discuss. We'll be back tomorrow to help dispose of the bodies.
Little Schmo Peep is such a creep and doesn't know how to stop.
1965's Passion Peeper, for which you see a Darrel Millsap cover above, is another sleaze novel credited to Don Elliott, but allegedly written by future sci-fi author Robert Silverberg. The blurb tells you all you need to know, as a voyeur named J. Martin Crispian gets his rocks off by spying on his female neighbors who live across the courtyard from his apartment. He describes himself as a schmo and a loser unliked by women, though he certainly likes them. Among his obsessions: a blonde who does nude calisthenics every night, a high school aged nympho, and this pair:
They were in a tight embrace. Mr. Crispian watched, startled by what he saw. These two young girls, framed in the window, were unmistakably kissing. [The redhead] began rubbing her hand over the brunette's blue jean-covered buttocks.
It had to be, Mr. Crispian thought. Two girls who were just roommates or good friends might kiss each other now and then, he figured. But they wouldn't kiss on the lips the way these two were doing. And they wouldn't go in for buttock grabbing and breast squeezing.
That's pricelessly funny. Interestingly, the peeper doesn't appear much through the middle of the story, as Elliott/Silverberg expands his narrative to encompass the lives of other characters. But everything circles back to him, as his spying puts him in the uncomfortable position, Rear Window fashion, of witnessing a possible crime. A clever ending follows, but future sci-fi legend or not, this is mediocre fiction. Silverberg was just trying to pay bills, which we can certainly respect. He later proved he could do much better.
Sir Squeezalot starts slow but once he gets warmed up he's a hell of a lot of fun.
1967's Diary of a Dyke was published by Greenleaf Classics for its imprint Pleasure Readers, and the, er, interesting cover was painted by Tomas Cannizarro. The book was written by Robert Silverberg under his Don Elliott alter ego. The distinguished Silverberg is of course famous as the mind behind award winning novels like A Time of Changes and Lord Valentine's Castle, but early in his career he paid the bills by surreptitiously cranking out sleaze classics like LSD Lusters and Sin on Wheels. When these serious writers are outed for their early smut we always picture them reacting like vampires suddenly exposed to the light, shrinking into a far corner and hissing eternal curses. But Silverberg seems pretty chill about having worked in soft porn. He even wrote the foreword to one of the reprints. We'll undoubtedly run across more from him and his worse half later, but until then feel free to click his/their keywords below and explore our previous postings.
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.
I'm pretty sure she doesn't even like me. I think the lockdown is making her do this out of sheer boredom.
Above, The Girl Takers by Don Holliday, for Greenleaf Classics' Midnight Reader line, published in 1961. Holliday is, as you probably know by now, a house pseudonym used by many. This time it's being inhabited by Arthur Plotnik, who wrote nine other Greenleaf novels. This one deals with a man who descends into increasing depths of so-called depravity in order to experience bigger and bigger thrills. The cover art is by Harold W. McCauley. We'll have more from Greenleaf soon.
Need a service animal? He's happy to do the job.
Harold W. McCauley is responsible for this simple but effective cover for 1961's Lover. His image captures the main character Johnny Wells' aura of unhappiness. Johnny is a young New York City hustler who decides to become an uptown gigolo. Starting with a few hundred dollars of ill-gotten gains, he transforms himself into a cultured, hotel-dwelling manhooker who services upper class women. While great at his job, his sexual misadventures take a toll. These include being spurned by a favorite customer who realizes she prefers women, being the unwilling centerpiece of an orgy, and more. The most curious bit is how Johnny's main love interest is a 14-year-old girl from around the way. Author Lawrence Block, hiding behind the Andrew Shaw pseudonym, makes no comment about how strange and possibly illegal this relationship is, and after a while you realize he never planned to. Block can write, so in general Lover reads smoothly, which is about the most you can hope for with this genre. Does that mean it's worth checking out? Well... we wouldn't go that far.
Yeah, wow, nice. I've never seen one without hair. It's slick as a— Wait, did you say you tore it out with hot wax?
Above, the cover of Orgy Man by Dean Hudson, a Greenleaf Classics house pseudonym used in this case by veteran sleaze author Evan Hunter, writing for Greenleaf's Idle Hours imprint, with cover art by Robert Bonfils, copyright 1964. Hah. We did that all in one sentence.
I don't understand your reluctance to do me in the privacy of my office. Your résumé says you did this guy Chekhov in the park.
Before we do anything else here are five book covers of women shooting men. And here's a book cover of a woman whipping a man. And here's one of a woman about to stick a gun in a man's mouth. This is just paperback art, which is not to be taken too seriously, but we felt we needed to de-Weinstein things a bit anyway. So what's going on with this book? A sleazy casting agent named Stirling Steele catches wind of a beautiful singer and goes to Nashville to promise her anything she wants as long as she ends up naked on her back. Instead he gets arrested for trying to corrupt her morals and finds himself in jail with a friend of his, also a shady agent who'd heard about the singer and shown up in Nashville for the same reason. The jail is run by a hot matron, and there's also a beautiful— Wait. Let's stop. This is silly. The plot doesn't matter at all. Orgy Scouts is so stupid and badly written it isn't even worth summarizing. Why do we torture ourselves with these books, you're wondering? Because we buy them in lots, and others in the group promise to be better. We'll see. This one is copyright 1967 with art by Tomas Cannizarro.
You're amazing. This whole reputation you have for evil is totally undeserved. Wait, what are you doing? Hey, I can't bre— *glug*
Another cheapie cover from Greenleaf Classics, Lust Demon by Don Elliott, with a tableau featuring a nipple-less devil woman and her unsuspecting companion. This isn't just any sleaze—it's sleaze by Robert Silverberg hiding behind the Elliott pseudonym. We've read of few of his smut efforts now, and he's better than the average literary perv. That doesn't sound like a compliment, but it really is. 1966 on this with art by uncredited.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1926—Houdini Fatally Punched in Stomach
After a performance in Montreal, Hungarian-born magician and escape artist Harry Houdini is approached by a university student named J. Gordon Whitehead, who asks if it is true that Houdini can endure any blow to the stomach. Before Houdini is ready Whitehead strikes him several times, causing internal injuries that lead to the magician's death.
1973—Kidnappers Cut Off Getty's Ear
After holding Jean Paul Getty III for more than three months, kidnappers cut off his ear and mail it to a newspaper in Rome. Because of a postal strike it doesn't arrive until November 8. Along with the ear is a lock of hair and ransom note that says: "This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits." Getty's grandfather, billionaire oilman Jean Paul Getty, at first refused to pay the 3.2 million dollar ransom, then negotiated it down to 2.8 million, and finally agreed to pay as long as his grandson repaid the sum at 4% interest.
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.
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