You wanna do something really wild? How about you and my husband swap bank accounts instead?
Robert Bonfils is on cover duty for G.A. Graeme's The Wife Traders, from Newsstand Library, circa 1959. Here a weekly bridge game turns into a swinging free-for-all, which of course leads to death. The story is written in the form of an investigation of two murders by an intrepid reporter who has to go undercover to crack the case wide open. Nothing new, but we always dig Bonfils.
I always get confused about this. So, like, if you're my mother's husband does that mean you can or can't spank me?
Above, a cover for My Mother's Husband, written by M. Anderson for Newsstand Library, a company based in Chicago. M. Anderson is obviously a pseudonym whose real identity seems lost to time, and believe it or not, this is actually a detective story. It's copyright 1960, with Robert Bonfils art.
You excite me so much, darling, but that's not my heart making that noise. That's my gastrointestinal tract.
Above, a cover for the medical romance novel Amorous Dietician by Mary Shomette Gooch, 1961, with art by Robert Bonfils. Gooch, who has such a ridiculous name you have to suspect it's real, also wrote Cheating Woman, The Tainted Rosary, and The Lusting Breed as Mary S. Gooch. And if you say that fast, you can make it sound like “Mary's gooch,” which would be funny but it turns out women don't have have gooches. Only men do—we looked it up.
Yes, dear, I replaced my flirtatious young assistant with a white-haired older lady, just like you wanted me to.
Above, another entry in the office sleaze genre—B. J. Gillan Jr.'s Office Playgirl, from Newsstand Library, 1960. We've included the rear cover so you can get the gist of it yourself. The art is uncredited,
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.
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.
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.
She’s finally going to make her mark on Broadway.
The comic book-like art isn’t of good quality, but we had to share this because it fits into the collection of falling covers we put together a while back. The Penthouse Killings was written by Horace Brown for Toronto based Newsstand Library in 1950. If you actually want to know why this ballerina is tossed off a building, check the detailed review here.
Where there’s smoke there’s desire.
Above is a cover for Ronald J. Cooke’s The House on Craig Street, produced by an artist known only as D. Rickard for Harlequin in 1949. That’s the year Harlequin was launched in Toronto, Canada, and we gather that Rickard painted many of the company’s early covers. We had actually seen his work around quite often without knowing who painted it. But we always took note of it, and now that we've attached a name to the output, we’re officially on Rickard's bandwagon. His style reminds us of many of the French covers we share—i.e., verging on impressionistic, as opposed to the realistic work you see from many of the top American artists.
Moving on to the fiction, Ronald J. Cooke’s tale here involves a young advertising man who wants to make it big, and the action is set mainly in Montreal of the 1930s. Though there is a love interest, or even two, this book isn't one of the romances with which Harlequin earned its enduring fame. Cooke went on to write two more novels, and some non-fiction, including books like the popular Money-Making Ideas for Retirees. He also wrote tons of business articles for magazines and trade publications, exciting stuff like “How To Get Better Results for Your Mail-Order Business” and “Labour-Management Ideas That Yield Big Dividends.”
D. Rickard painted another cover for The House on Craig Street for News Stand Library’s U.S. run of the book, which you see at right. Depicting the same scene, this alternate version, also from 1949, seems to us a bit less evocative than the Harlequin cover, almost cartoonish. Anyway, we’ll have more work from this interesting artist later, but if you want to see some now, follow the link to this small collection.
I was thinking the four of us could get to know each other a little better.
This uncredited 1960 cover for Edwin Booth's Desire is one of the more brazen pieces we've seen. Among the several reactions it conjures are wonder and sympathy for women who had to wear bras that made their breasts look like bazooka shells. There’s no doubt in our minds the contraptions were designed by men, but it was actually Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner, Jane Russell and a few others that made them popular. This art evokes that era and its pitfalls for women succinctly.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1968—Olympic Committee Suspends Carlos and Smith
The U.S. Olympic Committee suspends African-American track & field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos for saluting the crowd with raised, gloved fists during a medal ceremony at the Mexico City games. The salutes represented the black power and civil rights movements in the United States. Both athletes also received their medals shoeless to represent black poverty.
1933—Capone Sentenced to Prison
Chicago organized crime boss Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion after all other attempts to tie him to an assortment of crimes, from the mass murder of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre to widespread violations of the Volstead Act, fail. He is sentenced to eleven years in federal prison and, cut off from the outside world while on Alcatraz Island, his power is finally broken.
1964—China Detonates Nuke
At the Lop Nur test site located between the Taklamakan and Kuruktag deserts, the People's Republic of China detonates its first nuclear weapon, codenamed 596 after the month of June 1959, which is when the program was initiated.
1996—Handgun Ban in the UK
In response to a mass shooting in Dunblane, Scotland that kills 16 children, the British Conservative government announces a law to ban all handguns, with the exception .22 caliber target pistols. When Labor takes power several months later, they extend the ban to all handguns.
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