Archive for the Midbook Books Category

Registered Nympho – Don Elliott aka Robert Silverberg (Companion Book #524, 1967)

Posted in Don Elliott, Loren Beauchamp, Midbook Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on June 11, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

A great cover but a disappointment in that this is not an original Elliott but a slightly revised version of Loren Beauchamp’s Nurse Carolyn.  Character names are slightly or completely changed — Carolyn White becomes Evelyn White, her doctor boyfriend Dick Evans becomes Joe Bevans, and instead of calling her “honey” in 1960, he calls her “baby” in 1967.  The dirty old rich man she works for, Cornelius Baird becomes Conrad Folsom.

There are other slight line changes, and excess chapter fodder is cut now and then, but really the same book.  The question is: why?

Silverberg did revise some of his Bedstand books from 1959-60 for Midwood (e.g., Thirst for Love becoming Wayward Wife), books he didn’t get paid for, and later, when William Hamling bought Nightstand, those former Challon/Ryan books were reprinted as Don Elliott books.  By 1967, Midwood had to sell off some of its old stock for a debt, so maybe the rights on Nurse Carolyn went to Cornith…Companion Books was yet another one of many Hamling imprints when his company was based in San Diego.

Who knows.

Who cares.

Registered Nympho (although the character is hardly a “nympho”)  is a collectible item, but not a new read, not here at least. If you have not read Nurse Carolyn, this this will be a fun new read.

Cool Covers

Posted in Don Elliott, Midbook Books, Nightstand Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

No reviews this post, just cool covers of books I will be getting to in the next month or so.

Grant - Boss Lady

Budoir - Summer Stock SexBaby FaceSex BetweenElliott - Gang Girl

Collier His to Command

Ellis - Let's Play House

Three Strange WomenI Prefer GirlsLord - Candy

Campus Love Club by David Challon (Bedstand Books)/Campus Sex Club by Loren Beauchamp (Midwood Books No. F206) aka Robert Silverberg

Posted in Midbook Books, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on August 9, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Challon - Campus Lobve

I was reading Robert Silberberg’s Up the Line (1969) the same time I started Campus Love/Sex Club and noted a similarity between the two — they both have a light, humorous touch, unlike most Silverberg/Challon/Beauchamp/Elliott novels which tend to be dark and serious, whether it’s about time paradox, sex, alien invasion, or wife swappers.

In “My Life as a Pornographer,” Silverberg notes that when composing sex scenes “I could make use of my own [sexual] experiences, such as they had been at the age of 25 or so” and that seems to be the case here.  The book has that sort of authentic feel, told in first person by Metropolitan College sophomore Jeff Burnside, who starts off as an awkward virgin and soon becomes a master of “making” the girls on campus.

Metropolitan is a lot like Columbia, Silverberg’s alma mater, where he attended before transitioning into a professional SF writer in the mid-1950s, but could also be NYU.

Jeff Burnside is a 19-year-old frustrated writer — his goal is to write for TV shows, although is parents expect him to go pre-med after his undergrad years.  He writes a sex piece for the campus humor magazine and it is rejected because the editor can tell he has had no sexual experience.  An editor at the campus newspaper, who happens to be a Don Juan determined to fuck every girl on campus, convinces him to move out of the dorms and get a $10/week room, where he can bring girls.

Jeff loses his virginity in 3  minutes with an Hispanic hooker who speaks no English.  Then he asks the campus tramp out on a date, takes her home, and has fun all night. “I got three hours of sleep.”

His friend then feels Jeff is prepared to join a secret fraternity that has exsited on campus for 20 years, cocnisting of 15 select young men, each who can only stay in for 3 years, and each who sponsors a new member for initiation.  There is an equal group of 15 young women in the sorority version.  The code of this group of 30 people is that no member can deny the other sex and companionship — insuring that everyone has a new partner every night.  On Saturdays, they get together for naked orgy parties, where they watch each other have sex with “Bolero” playing on the hi-fi (this long before the movie 10).

The initation for men: they must get it up 3 times in 150 minutes, and hve sex with 3 different female members.  Each time must result in a full orgasm, which they witness.  So a test of virility, and not being shy to have others watch, is at hand.  For the girl: initation is to resist the best seduction at a male member’s hands — he can do whatever he wants, aside from actual penetration, and she must resist, be “dry” and cold.  If she can resist for half an hour, she then must have sex with three men in a row to be a full member.  As the head man, “Hammer,” tells them:

Each member of this group, once accepted, becomes one with the bodies of all other members, and hance, no member may refuse to cohabit with another member in normal heterosexual intrcourse […] Sadistic, masochistic, and homosexual practices may be indulged in, but only with the consent of both parties.  (p. 89)

“Homsexual practices” in this context is lesbianism, not man-on-man,  which would affront the alpha males of this clique.

Sounds outlandish, but Silverberg writes it convincingly because this is really a comic novel, so it fits in this world, where the narrator writes: “I gawped in openmouthed becrogglement” (p. 144). Whether Silverberg came up partywith this in his dirty mind or such a club did exist — either in rumor or deed — on Columbia is anyone’s guess.  I must admit, however, I have heard of such things going on in real frat/sorority set ups (“no sister can refuse a date from one of the brother houses”), and today we can see videos online of such drunken parties.

While on the surface these kids seem cool and at ease with all the sex, they are not proto-free loveniks or polyamorus;  Jeff learns that some of the girls have psychological problems and are masohistic while some of the guys are soul-less and sadistic, such as when one brings a prim and proper girl, having been drugged, to the club to have her virginity taken by all the men there, as the girls watch and cheer the defilement.  The girl is Jeff’s love interest at the end — the usual sleaze book morality ending where the narrarator finds redemption for her sins in the arms of a good girl, and they get married, etc.

Ah, the wages of SIN — one Saturday night party gets raided by the cops, thus saving the group deflowering of the virgin, and the papers have a field day with the scandal.  They’re all expelled.  Jeff is told not to come home and he gets a place in Greenwhich Village and a job in a warehouse.  Others enlist in the army. One girl finds our she is pregnant, not knowing which of the 15 men are the father, so she commits suicide.  Everyone is shamed, their acadmeic career ruined, their futures as doctors and lawyers and newspaper editors altered for their wallowing i the gutter world of lust and debauchery.  The strumpets and trollops of Metropolitan!

Beauchamp - Campus Sex ClubReprinted as Campus Sex Club by Loren Beauchamp doesn’t make much sense as it is told from a man’s first-person POV.  Small changes are evident, like the clas dates, which relfect the original 1959 publication to the 1962 reprint.

This art to the left was re-used in a 1966 Midwood Double with Norman King and Linda Michaels.

Another note about Up the Line since I mentioned it — there is more detailed sex in that SF time travel novel (and other Silverberg SF in the 1970s)  than any of the early 60s softcores.  E.g., here is how Silverberg describes a sex scene in Campus:

We went into the adjoining room and threw ourselves down, and Marge pulled me over on top of her so my body was pillowed on her softness, and I felt the hard bones of her hips pressing againt my hip bones, and the soft bulks of her breasts spreading out against my chest.  Then she wrapped herself around me lik a carniverous amoeba, and I thrust my tongue deep into her mouth, and we became one. (p. 125)

Hot stuff, daddy-o.

Up the Line



Orrie Hitt — Who Was He?

Posted in Midbook Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Hitt - Torrid WenchThe name Orrie Hitt has come up several times the past week that I thought I’d address the topic briefky.

Like Max Collier, Mike Avallone, Carter Brown, Don Elliott, J.X. Williams, and John Dexter, Orrie Hitt published hundreds of sleazecore novels in the mid 1950s to the early 1970s.

In an email, Barry Malzberg wrote to me:

Orrie Hitt was a real guy in Mississippi, big jolly fat guy GilHitt - Rotten to the Core Orlovitz told me who wrote this stuff to put his daughters through college.  They got through college and he quit.  Later he died (in his 50’s).  I don’t know if that’s true but it sounds reasonable.

(A curious side note: a fellow Malzberg fan told me that a bookseller we shall not name once had a Mel Johnson/Orrie Hitt Softcover Library double novel set at a high price and would not slash the price down, claiming that Malzberg penned the Hitt book, that Malzberg was (1) either Orrie Hitt or (2) borrowed the pen name.  “You’re getting two Malzbrgs in one book!” said vintage bookseller who apparently did not know his vintage writers. Malzberg has confirmed to me that he did not pen any Hitt book, like others penned Carter Browns or John Dexters.)

Doing the nifty Google search, one hit on Hitt from a blog has this to pontificate:

Hitt - prowl by nightOrrie Hitt Wrote the Great American Novel– Over & Over/ Why “Confidential” Continues to Thrill/ The Sweet Ride of Mail Art/And Which Mayors Are Married to the Mob?

Who the Hell was Orrie Hitt? Orrie Hitt wrote “racy” pulp fiction in the 50’s and 60’s. Most of it published in PBO’s (paperback originals). Skipping the hardback route, premiering in ephemera that sported covers alive with totally killer babes and guys in various states of mayhem. Married with children, Hitt wrote from a trailer in upstate New York, tossing back iced coffee and tapping out classics of sleaze on a battered manual in a matter of days. Meanwhile, angst ridden authors in cultural Meccas sweated bullets to produce a novel every seven years or so. God made the world in six days but Hitt made his in less. Again and again.

Hitt - Summer RomanceHere’s a Hitt bio in less than 100 words:

Hitt had a grinding regimen, twelve-hour days in front of an aged Remington Royal perched on the kitchen table, surrounded by iced coffee, noisy children and Winston cigarettes, pausing only for supper or to watch wrestling or Sergeant Bilkoon the television.

Hitt produced a novel every two weeks, for which he was paid as little as $250.

Lee Server in Over My Dead Body: The Sensational Age of the American Paperback: 1945-1955

Hitt - Shabby Street

Another blogger writes:

…How many young men in the 1950s and 1960s poured over the Orrie Hitt novels published by Beacon and Midwood with titles like Hitt The SuckerDORMITORY GIRLS? I went on line and found a Orrie Hitt novel titled THE SUCKER. The back cover blurb had the headline “One Damn Girl After Another.” In this day of explicit sexual content on television, it is hard to imagine the time when this sort of thing was borderline legal. On that back cover there is the wonderful rundown of the women the hero knew including one with whom he “…conspired by day and perspired by night.” My goodness, the writer who came up with that should have been carried out of the room on the shoulder of his or her peers.

For years I assumed that Orrie Hitt was a “house name” as it seemed unlikely that any writer could be that prolific. Few writers put their real names on Beacon or Midwood paperbacks. Michael Avallone was one exception. Mike came up with the best soft porn title THE CUNNING LINGUIST but he did use his Troy Conway name for that one.

So years ago I was surprised to learn that Orrie Hitt was a real personHitt - Affair with Lucy

Other stuff on Hitt here and especially here by a blogger who says he is a “Hitt man.”

You get the pic, dig on the Hitt.

Hitt - DollsandDuesI’ve heard mixed things about Orrie Hitt.  Gil Fox, talking to Lynn Munroe, said: “Orrie Hitt wrote absolute drivel! Have you ever tried to read an Orrie Hitt book?”  Hmm…Gil Fox wrote as Paul Russo, Kimberly Kemp, and Dallas Mayo, and some of them aren’t all that good, and some are pretty good.  Any prolific writer is bound to be a mixed bag of the good, the bad, and the ugly — true for Earl Stanely Gardner, Issac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Barry Malzberg, and Lawrence Block.

Hitt wrote for just about every sleaze paperback publisher — Beacon, Softcover, Newsstand, Kozy, Midwood, Boudoir, Saber, Novel, Chafriot, Oracle, and I think he did a couple for Nightstand.  Most seem to be for Beacon and Kozy. He used the pennames Kay Addams an Nicky Weaver, yet preferred his own name on the covers, without an agent, typing away at home and sending his stuff out, starting out at $250 a book in the mid-50s (about $2000 in then-time money).  I guess he didn’t have any fear of the FBI coming after him — “Orrie Hitt” sounds like a pen name, like Saber Books’ “A. Bunch” or Cornith’s “A. Schole.”

Hitt - Promoter

The Promoter came in the mail today.I have a few others (see below).   Glancing through them, Hitt has a hardboiled voice wth snappy dialogue and shame dames in trouble.  The men tend to be blue collar workers, sleaze masters, cheating husbands, with come cheating wives, hookers, and lesbians.  Hitt write three or four peeping tom books, perhaps a passion of his?  I will be reading him and adding him to this blog soon.

I got The Cheaters for the Rader cover alone.  Seems to be about a hardboiled bartender and this married woman…

Hitt - Cheaters

And how could books with these titles and covers be ignored?

Hitt - Diploma Dolls

Hitt - Hot Cargo

Hitt - twisted Lovers

hitt - tramp wife

hitt - the peeperHitt - never Cheat Alone

College Campus Sleaze

Posted in Midbook Books, Nightstand Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

With collegeand high school  starting up soon, I have made a pile of college-and high school-oriented vitage sleaze to read soon….

Challon - Campus Lobve

Beauchamp - Campus Sex Club

Elliott - Instructor

Dexter - Sin Students

Ellis - Campus Jungle

Ellis - Campus KittensEllis - Campus Party

Ellis -- Hellion

Lust Campus

Midwood - Campus Queen

Rader - High School Rebel

Rader - Teacher's  PetShaw - Camopus Tramp

Sin Prof

Shaw - College for Sinners

Shaw - High School Sex Club

Shaw - Call Girl ShcoolShaw - harlot SchoolCool Co-edsGirls Dorm

Instant Sex by Mel Johnson (Barry Malzberg), Midwood Books

Posted in Barry N. Malzberg, Midbook Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I just realized I have been neglecting Barry Malzberg’s sleaze novels as Mel Johnson, Gerrold Watkins, and himself, which half this blog (along with Robert Silverberg’s pen names) is supposed to focus on (and now I have added in March Hastings, Joan Ellis, and Andrew Shaw).

I have been trying to track down Malzberg’s Mel Johnson Midwoods for years with little success, and if I do find them, they are priced outrageously.  I have no idea why these Midwoods — even the doubles and triples Johnson is in — are scarce and priced so high, when other late 1960s Midwoods are not.

A kind Malzberg fan, Jim Mix, contacted me and said he had a couple extra beat up Johnsons and one Watkins and sent them to me, in the interest to advnace my overdue Mazberg monograph, Beyond Science Fiction (let’s say early 2010 from Borgo Press at this point).

One of them was Instant Sex, that has a nifty Paul Rader cover:

Instant Sex A

Not even Lynn Monroe had this one in his Rader catalog, and he lists it as wanted. When I sent him this scan from Jim, he was surprised he had never seen it — I mean, he’s one of the top authorities and collectors of vintage paperbacks in the country.  Before my telling him, he had no idea Malzberg had written as Mel Johnson, and the Johnsons were not in his catalogues.  This makes the Mel Johnson scarcity more mysterious…the Gerrold Wakins books are hard to find because Olympia only printed 1000-1500 copies and maybe sold half the run.  But Midwood printed in the 25-50,000 unit range…

Does this great cover art depict the storyline inside the pages?  Not really. But when do they ever?

In an email conversation aboutl, Barry Malzberg told me that the novel

was written with real ambition under the working title FIRE.  I was trying, in 9/68, to write the first Vietnam veteran‘s novel, to make a major statement.  I reread it just a few years ago, tried to anyway, thought it was all right.  Better than all right.  I don’t know what was crazier: a) writing a novel of that ambition for Midwood Books’ $900, b) thinking that I had a chance at some “literary” recognition.  Cough cough.  This way to the egress, ladies and germs.

Here is a true or at least represented-as-true story told me by my Midwood editor and good friend Robert Devaney: Malzberg-Barry_thumbthe novel was delivered, Harry Shorten paid for it, Devaney put it on top of the small pile of delivered manuscripts heading for copyediting.  Harry Shorten came into his office.  “I had a dream,” Harry said, “I had a dream last night.  Here is the dream: it is that I published a novel and it was called INSTANT SEX.  I awoke and thought ‘that is a really good idea, I want to call a novel INSTANT SEX.'”  He pointed to the pile of manuscripts.  “Take that one on the top,” he said.  “Call it INSTANT SEX.”

This goes along the lines of other Harry Shorten tales.  In an interview with Gil Fox (Paul Russo, Kimberly Kemp, Dallas Mayo), Gil Fox  says to Muroe:

Harry Shorten had no knowledge of books whatsoever. He had some money from his cartoons, wanted to start a business, used the money to start Midwood. I don’t think Harry ever read a book in his whole life. He did not recognize intelligent writing in books. He would slap a hot cover on anything. For some reason Harry loved me. He would hit me on the back and call me “his most prolific Mayo - When the Lights Are Lowauthor.” How Harry operated: one day we came back from lunch and Harry picks the title WHEN LIGHTS ARE LOW out of the air and says “Your next book for Midwood will be WHEN LIGHTS ARE LOW.” That was it, no meaning at all, no story. So, you know, I went home and wrote WHEN LIGHTS ARE LOW.

In another interview, Joan Ellis says:

One time I walked into Harry’s office and he held up a painting of a blonde eating an ice cream cone and he said, “I now own this cover art. Write me a book to go with it.” So I did. (ed. note: the book is TALK OF THE TOWN, Midwood 32-396).

Would Fire have been a better title than Instant Sex?

Malzberg states he wrote this novel in Sept. 1968, and it’s pub. date is 1968 — Midwood must have had a quick turnaround from accpetance-copy-editing-production.

As for the story…

Instant Sex B

Coleman got into some trouble in Saigon — he was arrested for being with a Vietnamese prostitute and he assaulted a superor officer (tones of “Final War,” Malzberg’s novella written as K.M. O’Donnell).  After some time in the stockade, he returns Stateside despondent and impotent.  The letters from his fiancee were distant, and when he tries to re-connect with her, he knows the marriage is off.

He goes to New York in search of himself, hell, and meaning of his experiences in Vietnam. He wanders into the world of prostitutes, since it was a hooker who ruined his army career.

(I am left wondering if William T. Vollmann [whom I have published two books on, with the recent one out now] read this book, because there are some parts that remind me of Vollmann’s short novel, Whores for Gloria.)

Coleman meets the cliched “whore with a heart of gold” — Cynthia, a skinny girl in Harlem, that he picks up on the street.  He goes limp while they have sex.  She feels bad, like she has not satisfied a custimer, and offers to give him half his money back.

Coleman is an angry Nam Vet.  He goes into a bar and looks for a fight. He wants to go back to jail.  Cynthia has followed him.  When he gets into a brawl and the cops start to take him away, Cynthia comes to his rescue and says she’s his girlfriend and he’s a war hero, blah blah…she takes him back to her apartment and he sleeps in bed with her, and attemepts a half-ass (no pun?) act of anal sex with her.

He wakes up with Cynthia’s pimp, a man named Creature, in his face.  He leaves, although he feels he shouldn’t and Cynthia gives him some looks…he decides to go back, just as Creature is about to stab Cynthia (why do all the charcters have names that start with C?)…Coleman fights Creature and beats Creature up…feeling like the winner, like a man, he takes Cynthia on the floor and, yes, has instant sex. Violence becomes the pure for his impotency.

This book surprised me — it’s a good novel, but the style is different than most Malzberg’s: it’s not in present tense or first person, and Coleman is not as insane as many Malzberg protagonists tend to be.  This also has a “happy” ending.  As a “Vietnam novel,” it does comment on PTSD and what soliders coming back home from an unpopular war have to endure. The sex, as in many Malzbergian fictions, is not “hot” or enticing for the label “one-hand book” but realistic, horrifying, sad, nuerotic.

It’s an early Mazberg, a novel written before he was publishing under his own name, and before his stint at Olympia Press, and was just starting to write as “K.M. O’Donnell” in the science-fiction field.  It reminded me  somewhat of Larry Heinemann’s Paco’s Story.

As for the cover art — that isn’t Coleman and his  skinny teenage Harlen hooker…it could be Coleman pre-Vietnam, with the girl he was to marry…

Some day I will find and read all the Mel Johnsons…next is A Way With All Maidens, from Midwood’s short-lived Oracle Books imprint. Then The Box and The Sadist.  I really want to find Campus Doll and Nynpho Nurse.

Faculty Wife by Joan Ellis (Midwood 32-588, 1966)

Posted in Midbook Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Faculty Wife

I bought this book several months ago before I had read any Joan Ellis because I loved the Paul Rader cover — this disproportionate woman with a glazed, dazed barbie-doll look on her face, walking down a campus and all these frat boys and book-carrying academics staring at her ass and wolf-calling her.  This was a rader motif — men are often staring atRader - Sallywomen, or women at women, or women looking at themselves in the mirror…either, someone is observing someone, which draws our attention more to that person.

Of course, this is not what Faculty Wife is about. The wife in question is Fran, a former computer programmer (progressive for 1966!) who is married to a young consumer research wiz who has published key papers and has left the corporate world to teach. The college wants him for his published works — he does not have a Ph.D. and this pisses off the old researchers because he’s well-published and has world experience in the consumer trade field.

Boy this rings a bell — I have seen and experienced the same in literature, sociology, and anthropology: the fellow with no high degree but lots of publications and practical hands-on know-how frightens the dusty Ph.D.’s who can never get their dull work published.

Ellis must know this world too, because she writes with autheticity.

Ellis - Day in, Day OutMany of her books are set in college or high school, often dealing with confused, over-sexed girls age 17-19, such as Campus Jungle, Campus Kittens, The Cool Co-eds, After Class, High Shcool Hellion, Girl’s Dormitory, Odd Girl on Campus, Campus Pet, Campus Rebel, Campus Affair, etc.  Her other themes are young women in the entertainment industry (Flame, Redhead, Pleasure Girl, Daughter of Shame) and young women in the office work life (Temporary Secretaryl, Executive Sweet), and bored housewives (Day In, Day Out, Married Too Young, No Last Names).  She also wrote quite a few of the Midwood doubles and triples under Ellis, Michaels, and some other names.  Rader did the covers of most of Ellis’ books — they seemed a good match.

The hellion in Faculty Wife is not Fran but 19 year old Shirl, a spoiled rich girl who can’t stand to not get her way, or whatever man she wants, student or professor.  She is sleeping with a grad student and the drama teacher, and she has her gun sites on Craig, Fran’s husband.  A newlywed, he has no interest and that drives her crazy, so she sets up a situation and tries to break up the marriage.

Fran is gorgeous, but the students are not chasing her — other professors are, damn that she’s married.  Ellis captures the little petty sexual games within academic politics well.

The nice irony is that Fran, thinking Craig cheated on her with Shirl, goes out and sleeps with the drama prof as revenge…then she finds out Craig neverdid anything and Shirl made it up.  Fran shows no guilt or remorse.

The book ends in a strange, anti-climatic way. Country Girl did too. This seems to be Ellis’ style — a sorta New Yorker-ish literary trick: dangling the slice-of-life ending…

Joan Ellis is really Julie Ellis, who wrote under other pen names for other houses, but mostly Midwood as Joan and Linda Michaels.  Here is an excerpt from an interview with Lynn Munroe:

LM: What pen names did you use?

Julie Ellis: I was Joan Ellis and Linda Michaels for Midwood. I was Jill Monte for Beacon and Domino, and Susan Richard at Paperback Library. My daughter is Susan, my son Richard. Susan Marvin became Susan Marino for one book when an editor at Avon wanted an Italian name on a book. I was Allison Lord and Jeffrey Lord. And I did some paperback originals under my own name before going hardcover/softcover with Simon & Schuster in 1975.

LM: I found some of your books at my local used bookstore in the romance section.

Ellis: I’ve never written paperback romances. Today the term “romance novels” is being widely expanded. I’ve done multigenerational novels, historicals, and romantic suspense.

I will be reading Girl’s Dormitory and Campus Jungle next.

Ellis - Campus Jungle

Girls Dorm