Archive for Hollywood novel

Sweet Smell of Lust – Arnold Marmor (Intimate Books/Art Enterprises, 1962)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on February 4, 2012 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

This one is from Art Enterprises, a shady Hollywood outfit that published some cheap little books under a variety of imprints, later investigated by the feds for money laundering and mob connections with a corpoate board made up of people who were dead or retirement homes and had no idea they were officers of some questionable southern California sleaze publisher.  (Apparently, Art Enterprises took over Midwood in the late 60s/70s in leiu of the debt Harry Shorten had incurred with mob types.)

Fittingly, this Marmor is set in Hollywood and has a similar feel to McCoy’s I Should Have Stayed Home: the petty rich and poor players of the movie industry, women using sex to get ahead, jealousies, games, strategies, art as commercial commodity.

This is a multi-character story and the problem, with Marmor’s short, snappy chapters, is you got lost in who is who, who is doing who, and what is going on.  But the basic story is: Nancy Pulver, a one-time famous 38 year old actress, is vying for the lead role in a ne film based on a bestseller, only the lead calls for a woman in her early 20s…Kitty is the young starlet up for the part, and she has been sleeping her way up the ladder…Gertie is the screenwriter and a die hard lesbian after any girl flesh in Hollywood…but before Kitty can get the part, she has to do a strip show at the director’s wild Hollywood party, plus sleep with Gertie…Kitty feels like a whore but she will do what it takes to get what she wants, but not if Nancy does something to destroy her.

There are other characters and other games, like taking down the studio head by framing his wife in a sex scandal, but the other storyline is the main meat.

Not bad, nothing great…another fun read…three of the chapters include sexy illustrations, something a little different.

The Big Flick by Adam Snavely (Kozy Books, 1961)

Posted in Orrie Hitt, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Snavely - Big FlcikAlong with Jerry Goff, Max Collier, and John Turner, Adam Snavely is my next “big find,” and he’s at the top of the heap.  I have no idea who he really was, but he did a dozen or so books for Kozy.

Snavely may have been a house pseudonym, as a quick glance at a few titles I have, the writing styles look different.  One of them, Love Drive, credits Snavely on the cover, but on the title page the book is called The Love Drive by Orrie Hitt, also listed that way in the back of book catalogue of a number of Kozy books I have.  I’m not sure yet if Love Drive is Orrie Hitt, haveb’t scrutinized yet, but it’s set in L.A., not Hitt territory. Could be Kozy had titled a Hitt book Love Drive and changed it in favor of Snavely…

The Big Flick is also set in L.A. and the film industry.  The protagonist is 20-something Terry Wilson, a young writer with a smash first novel and a collection of stories on th way.  An old college friend, Zip Zachery, has established himself as a hot young producer with a couple of hit indie films under his belt, and has brought his old buddy Wilson to Tinsel Town to write his next film.  What that film is is anyone’s guess — there is no script, not even a treatment or idea, as  Zachery has rounded investors and studio backing based on the strength of Wilson’s hit novel. He’s also casting small parts for actresses, in exchange for investment from parents and sex from the eager starlets.

Whoever wrote this odd little Hollywood novel wrongly packaged as a sleaze wank book knows the business of filmmaking and the seediness of behind-the-scenes machinations of sex, lies, and double-speak required to get stories on screen.

This is territory I know well myself, having dealt with producers, agents, actors, and other types in Tinsel Town. (See the indie flick I wrote, The Watermelon, now distributed on DVD and Blu-Ray; plus I have had published novels and screenplays optioned here and there,won some screenwriting and festival awards, have optioned and pitched TV pilots, had a short documentary screen at Cannes last May, and soon.) There are some scenes and situations in this book that ring true to my experience, and probably just about any other writer whose virgin eyes have been popped when the illusion of Hollywood is shattered like a cheap wine bottle, and the whole tawdriness and ugliness of how things really work is revealed like a drunk, old, and worn stripper in a dark hole-in-the-wall bar.

Why The Big Flick wound up with Kozy is anyone’s guess  — was the author unable to place it with a mainstream house?  It could have been a Dell, Avon, Pryamid, or Ace title at the time, companies that surely paid better than Kozy.

The sexual stuff is minimal, as the case usually is with some sleazecore books; the core is a well-written yarn of a reclusive literary author’s slow corruption with sex, booze, and drugs as people chase after dreams of the visual image on the silver screen and all the lies fame and fortune Hollywood presents to the neophyte, writer, actress, directors alike.  It is a business truly run by fast-talking “producers” who are two steps away from the label con artist or thief.

Although published decades before Robert Downey, Jr., there is a Downey-like character, a damn fine actor who keeps having to go to detox, running off sets with models and hookers, and just a mess…

Wilson is placed in a hotel room, then an  apartment, to write the script.  He has been assigned a “secretary” who takes care of his any sexual need, but he has his heart set on this actress, Harriett.  Eventually he moves in with her.

Zachery goes over budget and to get more money, he signs a three-film contract with the distributors to do some monster movies. “Find me a lizard!” he cries.

When the movie screens, Wilson thinks it’s horrible but the audiences like it, get gets more writing work, the reviews are good…he doesn’t understand how Hollywood can like the crap the movie came out as, but he takes the money, the actress, and the life…