Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Naughty Nightstand Novels

I unearthed some more treasures during my weekend cleaning binge (aka Spring Forward/Fall Backwards Toward Nostalgia)...some naughty nightstand novels from the '60s! Some of these even escaped notice in Feral House's exhaustive Sin-a-rama collection. In today's anything goes moral climate, when you can see and download just about anything on the Internet, it's easy to forget what a lost art these sleaze sex paperbacks from the '60s represent. A number of legitimate authors - Robert Silverberg, Harlan Ellison, Lawrence Block, and Donald E. Westlake among them - got their start writing these books under various nomes de plume. (By the way, my all-time fave pseudonym is Jerome Murray writing as "Dr. Lance Boyle"!) Not to mention a number of talented artists, like Robert Bonfils, whose sexy covers (along with the salacious titles, which always managed to contain the words "sex," "sin," "lust," "passion," "flesh," "wanton," or "orgy" in there somewhere) really sold the merchandise. I actually own at least one confirmed Bonfils cover:

Typical Bonfils Babe

More importantly, these prurient pulps were from an era of strict censorship, when one had to "sell the sizzle, not the steak." According to John Gilmore - a Hollywood crony of both James Dean and Ed Wood, Jr. - who wrote a dozen or so titles (including Lesbos in Panama, Dark Obsession and Brutal Baby) under the pen name Neil Egri, "The law was hard and fast: no dirty words, no "cock" or "cunt," you couldn't directly mention the sexual organs, and even pubic hair was taboo. Sex scenes had to result from relationship - couldn't be promiscuous or they would be considered pornography. The books had to have a moral, Good had to shine through in the end. They couldn't even smell dirty."

God I miss those quaint times!

Sex After Sixty
by Hal Kantor
Pad Library (1966)

This one inspires me. I turned 52 this year and this former Peeping Tom has to confess that it's an indisputable fact: the sex drive takes a nosedive at the half century mark. I get more excited by food (especially Ceriello's orgasmically satisfying Rotisserie Chickens!), English Premiere League football matches, and new episodes of Lost than looking at naughty bits these days. But according to author Hal Kantor, the sex drive returns after 60 - and how! And this book was written in the pre-Viagra '60s (1966 to be precise). Johnny Carson once quipped that having sex at 65 was good, but that it was even better when you got off the highway and turned the car off. Kantor's tome offers yet another view of what to look forward to.

Love the cover text: "Though he was an old man, he performed like a stud! And because of his reputation, his apartment was a harem for every girl who wanted him - and there were so many, he had to turn them away!"

The back cover continues: "His prowess and his endurance seemed to increase with age. And though he didn't understand it, he made use of his abilities as he had never been able to in his youth! And the girls couldn't stay away from him - they wanted him with a fervor and a desire that left him limp and exhausted. But he was always ready for more! And there were always more who were ready for him!"

The front cover is typical of this genre in that while all the women look exotic and are dressed in sexy accoutrements, the men are uniformly bland and always - always - wear white button-down shirts (the ultimate '60s square accessory!)

by Rick Raymond (pseudonym of Gil Porter)
Playtime Books (1964)

"Sex for her was a gay, two-way game, until he made her burn to play it straight."

Sex is a topic that's always, um, current...but what I like about this one is the cover. No, not her love pillows! I'm talking about the fact that the chick is AC-DC and can get turned on by men and women alike isn't as nearly as strange (especially in our current Girls Gone Wild era) as those Nancy and Sluggo dolls in her arms. What's that all about?

Executive Stud Sinners
by Monte Rappe
Dragon Editions (1966)

Somehow I think Executive Stud Sinners is still the official employee handbook at AIG.

by Harry Guggenheim
Nite Time Book No. 111 (1964)

I actually read this one cover-to-cover. It's about a man (which I am) named Tom (as I am) who's a Technical Writer (like I was for 18 years) who just happens to like dressing in women's clothing (OK, that's where the parallel ends)(honest!). This is a good read, because not only does it have the sexual pecadillos angle going for it, but our protagonist is a tech writer for the government so, Cold War Paranoia being what it is, Commies try to blackmail him into spying for them or telling Uncle Sam all about his love of nylon stockings and frilly black lace undies. And I'm convinced that this relatively well-written novel was written by none other than Ed Wood, Jr., the notorious cross-dresser, hack writer and infamous director of cult "bad" movies like Glen or Glenda, Plan Nine From Outer Space and Bride of the Monster.

Ed Wood, Jr.: Truth is stranger than Pulp Fiction

"He was a man - and yet he had desires that a man should not have! He tried to resist the compulsion, but it was no use. There was something about the feel of a woman's clothing against his male body that drove him out of his mind with the unbearable ecstasy. And there was that one night when he knew he'd have to go all the way..."

C'mon, that's pure Ed Wood!

And speaking of blackmailing Commies, they'll always try to trap ya, whether you're a cross-dressing government tech writer or a sex-crazed GI...

Commie Sex Trap
by Roger Blake
A Boudoir Original Edition (Art Enterprises, Inc., 1963)

The Higher Education Sin Trilogy

College for Sinners
by Andrew Shaw
Nightstand Books (1960)

Passion Ph.D.
by J. X. Williams
Ember Books (1964)

OK, the authorship of Tranvestite may be open to speculation, but according to the authors of Sin-a-Rama, J. X. Williams was one of a half dozen pseudonyms employed by...Edward D. Wood, Jr.! Wood wrote a number of sleaze sex paperbacks in the '60s for various publishers in order to pay his rent, bar tabs and finance his madcap film projects. According to his pal John Gilmore in Laid Bare: A Memoir of Wrecked Lives on the Hollywood Death Trip (Amok Books), Wood churned out "book after book at a pace like dribbling a basketball." Some of his other pseudonyms include David L. Westermier, Emil Moreau, Jason Nichols, N. V. Jason, Dick Trent, John Quinn and, in feminine voice, Kathleen Everett.

Alumnus of Sin
by Dean Hudson
Evening Reader (1964)

About the cover: Why the hell is Mr. Mortarboard drinking whiskey from a martini glass? Is that what they taught the over-educated back then?


OK, so you graduated from College for Sinners, got your Passion Ph.D., and go to your alumni lust reunions. Now what do you do? You get a boring job in the real world. But come Happy Hour, it's time for...

Office Party
by Dean Hudson
A Leisure Book (Corinth Publishing, 1965)

"The meek ran wanton and the wanton ran berserk!"

Before the Internet and e-mail and cubicles, people interacted more with their co-workers, as this masterpiece by Dean Hudson (author of Alumnus of Sin and a pseudonym of Evan Hunter/Salvador Lombino) makes clear. "The co-sinners and flesh feasters were going out of their cottonpicking minds. For it was time to unleash passions and inhibitions at the Office Party and to hell with the consequences. For after it was all over, life would go on - as sinful and shameful as lustful orgies had ever made it!"

Wow - gives new meaning to the expression, "I gave at the office!

Now if only I could find this companion volume:

Cheap Stories
"All the best parts from the worst books"

On a related note, these books inspired me to dig out and listen to my cassette tape Cheap Stories ("The best parts of the worst books") by Wheaton, MD-based Dave Nuttycombe and the Travesty/Teen Comedy Party lads. (I think you can still get this tape by sending $10 check or money order payable to West Production Services, Inc., P.O. Box 2810, Merrifield, VA 22116). It features the best parts of the worst "adult" novels of the '40s, '50s, and '60s, read to the accompaniment of smokey bongo jazz. Includes readings from Out For Kicks, Shabby Street, Nautipuss, The Bigamists, Virgin In Blue Jeans, Commie Sex Trap, and more. Winner of the Best Humor Award from the Washington Post's Vic Sussman, who said, "Cheap Stories is one of the funniest tapes I've heard in years...A must for all true lovers of American popular culture." I remember I sent a color copy of the cover of Nude Man in Jazz Town to Dave Nuttycombe years ago after he told me he considered it the Holy Grail of these naughty nightstand books.

Related links:
Robert Bonfils Paperback Cover Art

Related audio:
Cheap Stories: All the Best Parts from the Worst Books
by Dave Nuttycombe of Teen Comedy Party/Travesty-Brand Fine Products

Related readings:
Sin-a-rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties
Queer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback
Young Lusty Sluts: A Pictorial History of Erotic Pulp Fiction
Bad Girls of Pulp Fiction

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11:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your site. Old paperback art is almost a lost cultural treasure. I saw some Dell double-book science fiction paperbacks at a used bookstore once. Two novels in one, beautifully dated covers on each side. I wavered, and figured I'd go back later, buy them, and scan the covers for some fun prints. Damned store closed.

5:11 PM  

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