For someone so big he didn't leave much of a trace.
You'd think a guy named Bunyan would be a giant, at least figuratively, but after some deep searching we found no mention of Pat Bunyan associated with the mid-century jazz movement in any context other than that offered by the blurb on the back of the jazz oriented 1963 novel The Big Blues. The rear says, “Told by a man who blew the horn in many a night spot from the lowdown dive to way up there...” So you can see why we expected to find him mentioned as a major dude of the bop era. But we found no credits for him—way up there or anywhere, even on the comprehensive music site Discogs. Well regarded jazz players often—if not typically—played on albums as sidemen. No such indications exist for Mr. Bunyan. Of course, he could have performed under a pseudonym.
The Big Blues was originally published in the U.S. in 1958 by Newsstand Library, then again in 1960 as I Peddle Jazz by Saber Books, both low budget outfits that specialized in sleaze novels. That probably tells you all you need to know as far as Bunyan's literary talent goes. As far as confirming his identity, we had hopes when we saw he was referred to as Paul Porto on the U.S. edition. Maybe that was the name he used when he lit a firestorm in the American jazz scene. Maybe he had to change identity or be arrested for terrorism after blowing club after club sky high. To the far corners of the online realm we went and... nope. There's no evidence of a Paul Porto playing music during the mid-century jazz era.
As we've commented before, the internet is just an aperture and only about .000001% of all knowledge makes it through the opening. Someone has to actually take the time to do what we do here at Pulp Intl., which is decide the data is worthwhile to others and upload it. We're constantly uploading from sources we've purchased, for example from old tabloids. That makes us gatekeepers of sorts, and as members of that group we can tell you we're notoriously lazy, repetitive, and biased. But even if the gatekeepers don't do the best job getting all relevant data online, would the internet not have info on a great jazzman who played way up there? For that reason, we suspect Bunyan/Porto was just a hack author taking advantage of the jazz trend.
In any case, Digit saw something salable in The Big Blues and certainly elevated it when it produced its edition. The company often featured brilliant cover art—examples here, here, and here—and the front of this one was painted by the masterful Sam Peffer, aka Peff, who we've talked about a couple of times, notably here. So The Big Blues paperback ended up being more artful than its author probably ever expected, and thanks to its collectible nature survives today. As for Big Pat Bunyan, he wrote one other novel that used jazz as a backdrop, 1966's A Doll for Johnny Marco, then disappeared from the publishing scene. We're curious though. Which means we'll probably pick up one of his books if we find one at the right price.
Update: we received an e-mail with a scan of an item from the Hartford Courant newspaper of June 1957 containing an announcement about a concert by Pat Bunyan and his band. So Bunyan did exist. Corrections from readers are part of the package for bloggers, and we'd be nothing without them. So thanks for the e-mail. Now we'll definitely have to read one of Bunyan's books. In fact, we just ordered The Big Blues a few minutes ago.
Coffee isn't going to get the job done today. You got any of that 8-ball left over from last weekend?
Based on the bummed expressions on the faces of the coffee drinkers on this cover for Larry Tuttle's The Bold and the Innocent, they've just come to the conclusion that they need stimulation of a higher order than caffeine. At least that's what it looks like to us. But this is a swinger sleaze novel, which means the only way they'll get their hands on 8-balls is if they have sex with 4 guys. That doesn't happen. Instead the story deals with two married women who cross the line with each other. You know the one. The lesbian line. That always leads to serious trouble in mid-century fiction, and The Bold and the Innocent is probably no exception. 1965 on this, with uncredited art, though it's possibly Bill Edwards.
Once we get started you'll realize this isn't actually my debut at this sort of thing. I just wanna be honest here.
Above a cover for the sleaze novel Depraved Debutante, published in 1962, with art by an unknown. Roger Blake, aka John Trimble, also wrote 1962's Sex King and its follow-up Sex Queen, which aren't about royals getting freaky, but would probably be better if they were. See Sex Queen here.
Don't let him get away girls! He's handsome, he's got money, and his digital history is squeaky clean!
This is a rather funny cover for A.J. Davis's sleazer Man in Demand. These days, only a digital history that can't come back to cause major embarrassment could get women this hot. We're talking no porn memberships, zero Facebook pix in problematic Halloween costumes, and no late night Twitter gaffes. Good thing we already have girlfriends, because the crazy searches we do for Pulp Intl. alone would be enough to sink us. Some of the movie and book titles are astonishing. Top five all-time searches in Pulp Intl. history that have garnered crazy results:
1: Humiliated Nun
2: Teenage Sex Report
4: Prostitute Torture Hell
5: Cannibal Holocaust
Just do an image search on any of those terms with your filters off and you may need therapy—and a new computer. A.J. Davis obviously had something more mundane in mind in 1967, when he published Man in Demand, but even that title brings up some very interesting stuff. Davis was a pseudonym for James Burgin Dockery, Jr., and as usual, the art on this Saber-Tropic paperback is uncredited, but the trademark mole on pursuer no. 1's face indicates that the cover is by good old Bill Edwards. See more from him here. And here. And what the hell, here too.
That stained old sofa, as you call it, is an authentic Hollywood casting couch.
As always, the mole on the female figure's cheek serves as the signature of artist Bill Edwards. Here he handles the cover work on They Paid with Flesh by Tony Marcus. This tale is, shall we say, Weinsteinian in nature, as a middle aged producer beds aspiring actresses, while a young studio fixer tries to locate a missing starlet. Their paths intersect when the producer beds the fixer's ex, who he still may have feelings for. That's a perfectly workable set-up for a story, but instead the increasingly convoluted plot first veers off into a scheme to steal four million dollars from a deposed dictator who's planning a counterrevolution, and later focuses on the starlet's plan to change her identity through cosmetic surgery, though the doctor she's chosen is a serial killer. Did we say convoluted? We meant labyrinthine. But ultimately They Paid with Flesh is sleaze, so the plot pivots are mere lead-ins for explicit sex, in all its typical variations, and a couple that aren't typical—or even legal. We'd like the time we spent on this returned to us, but we'd also like a riad in Marrakech, and we aren't getting that either.
A constant clicking noise? I don't hear anything. Anyway, state your full legal name then let's get into some compromising positions.
The cover for Arnold Marmor's Ruthless Fraternity features possibly the least hidden camera in paperback history, but you have to love the art anyway. We've seen several blackmail covers, and they're tricky in that the artists are constrained by having to show both the camera and the intended victim of the set-up. It always turns out ridiculous in terms of believability, but they're always fun covers. The fraternity of the title is not literal. It refers to the proverbial journalistic boys club, and the story deals with the ins and outs, double-dealing, and machinations of a scandal magazine called Tell. We've featured Arnold Marmor books twice before, but had no idea how prolific the guy was. He wrote such sleazers as Bed Bait, Lust Lodge, and Boudoir Treachery, but also dabbled in spy novels and short stories. We'll probably run into him at a later date. This effort was 1960 and the art is by Bill Edwards.
Um... if your hands are supporting my torso and legs what's poking me in the groin?
In 1962's Vicious Vixen the main character Dyke Donohoe is a lifeguard torn between his hot girlfriend, his hot girlfriend's hot girlfriend, and his hot girlfriend's hot girlfriend's impossibly hot boss. No need for suspense—he gets to have all of them. He falls head over heels for the boss, who's married but hates her hubby and eventually suggests killing him for freedom and inheritance. Bad idea. Since the story is told in first person, we can't tell if Dyke is supposed to be a total meathead or if it's the bad prose that makes him seem stupid. Typical passage:
Her breasts were firm. They were pointed. They were full. They fitted just right. They gave a sense of exciting, delicious fulfillment. You felt you simply had to swallow them. Each of them. Both of them together. But that's kind of hard to do. So I flew from one to the other, maddened by the knowledge that I couldn't have both of them at the same time.
Yeah. That's pretty bad. And the book is extraordinarily padded—without the constant repetition it would probably run fifty pages. But weirdly, the writing gets better as the story wears on. By the end it's actually readable, and it has an effective twist ending we'll admit blindsided us. Woolfe, or the inhabitant of his pseudonym, wrote several other books. Maybe he really hit his stride on Beach Heat, Hot Angel, Sex Angel, or Sex Addict. But probably not.
What the hell are you doing? Casual Friday starts next week.
It's another humorous Bill Edwards cover for Saber Books, this time fronting Jack Moore's 1965 sleazer Party Girl. Wanna know what it's about? No need to be coy. We read them so you don't have to. Twenty year-old Sally Logan applies for an executive secretary position and is immediately made into a sex object, starting from the interview when the company president quizzes her about her bedroom habits, and the personnel manager makes her strip so he can check out her body. It's ridiculous, of course, especially in 2017's cultural landscape, but this being sleaze Sally is willing to do anything—just anything—to please her boss. And after all, the reason she decided to seek work in the first place was to meet a man. Mission accomplished. And accomplished again. And again. A good book? Of course not, but at least everyone gets a happy ending. And as a side note, we'd be remiss if we didn't thank Bill Edwards for being so good to us over years—his are by far the easiest covers to caption. Check here, here, here, and here to see what we mean.
Oh, that's hot, baby. Take your bra off real slow. Just like that. Now tell me you're gonna shank me in the shower.
Last week we shared a collection of Bill Edwards paperback covers, but this piece of his needed to stand alone, if for no other reason than its absurdity. A prison built within feet of an apartment building? A scantily clad woman encouraging a convict to seek an early release—right in her window if his aim is good enough? This one is sublime. 1965 copyright.
Bill Edwards paperback art gains new recognition.
Bill Edwards' profile as a paperback illustrator has risen considerably in recent years. Like others who painted for sleaze imprints, it is not so much his technical ability that has garnered the attention, but rather the subject matter and a strong style. Edwards is a guy whose work you can identify in a millisecond. His women almost always have sharp cheekbones, ski jump noses, and a prominent beauty mark. The cover above for Rick Rand's New Girl in Town shows you all three elements up close. Edwards was also prolific like few other painters, which makes finding his work easy. Below are many more illustrations, some for novels with subject matter well beyond the pale, and we have other Edwards pieces populating Pulp Intl., for example here, here, and here.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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.
1962—Marilyn Monroe Sings to John F. Kennedy
A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy takes place at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe's breathy rendition of "Happy Birthday," which does more to fuel speculation that the two were sexually involved than any actual evidence.
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