Archive for Kozy Books

Pool Side Pushover by Adam Snavely (Kozy Books, 1961)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on March 6, 2011 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The other Adam Snavely’s we read last year were a mixture of good and blah. Wine, Women and Love and Love Drive were published by Kozy Books, like this one

Pool Side Pushover opens like great comic slapstick.  A young piano moves into an apartment building and is greeted by his new neighbors, most who are sexy single girls who make it known they are interested in some action then or later.  He just wants to move into his new pad quietly and play his piano alone, but the women and men,, too, keep coming. The mailman informs him that the complex is one big swinger scene with a plethora of wild loose women, woman the mailman has had sex with.

The following chapters, and the whole book, do not live up to promise of this openin; it suffers from jumping around too many characters and all their sexual trysts. Then again, as a newstand one hand book, perhaps this sort of  plotless hodgepodge of sex scenes worked.

Love Drive by Adam Snavely (Kozy #181, 1963)

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on November 30, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The curious thing about this Snavely novel is that the interior title page lists Orrie Hitt as the author, causing some to wonder if Snavely was a Hitt pen name:

At first, I thought this could be a Hitt book — the protagonist is a con man with a number of female lovers, but as I read more, I realized this was not Hitt, but the same author of Wine, Women and Love and The Big Flick.

So what happened here?  In the Kozy catalogue of books in the back of some of these volumes, Kozy #169 is listed as Love Drive by Orrie Hitt, yet this Love Drive is #181, with #180 listed on the back cover: Hitt’s Strip Alley (the Kozys usually had the proceeding or next title in the series on the back).

Kozy #169 is actually Hitt’s Love Slave, so seems it was all a bit of confusion on the editorial production side.  This happened often in quickie sleaze publishing — but usually the real author’s name would be on the title page, with a pen name on the cover, as Nightstand did with some John Dexters.  Bedstand Books put Harry Whittington’s name on a Shep Sheppard novel, but it seems Whittington was not Shepard.

It still happens. Blue Moon Books once ran 5,000 copies of Michael Perkin’s Burn with my name on the cover, and had to pulp the entire run and re-do it.

No other writer’s name ever appeared on my books, though, maybe because I always checked the galleys and covers for mistakes (such as misspelling my name).

Onto Love Drive

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Wine, Women, and Love by Adam Snavely (Kozy Books #160, 1962)

Posted in crime noir, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

When I previously examined Adam Snavely’s The Big Flick, I was impressed and wondered who this guy was, or whose pen name it was and to date I still don’t know (I have heard Adam Coulter, but I don’t know who that is either).  “Snavely” published seven books with Kozy, the rest are Bait, 2-4 Sex, Love Drive, Pool Side Pushover, and Split Level Love. I will get to them all eventually — they are all set in Los Angeles, so that’s one clue; the writer was probably L.A.-located.

Wine, Women and Love is a subtle suspense thriller involving domestic espionage, blackmail, and a group of shady government operatives.  The protagonist is a woman in her mid to late 20s, Peggy Porter; the first chapter opens with her in bed with some drunk man, a man who is important in some way.  She has lured him to her hotel room.  Just as the clothes are off and they are in the middle of coitus, several men burst into the room and start taking photos.

The intention here: blackmail the guy.

At first you think they’re grifters targeting rich men, or private eyes, but we get the sensation — it’s never quite said, only hinted at — that Peggy works for these government agents who target certain “key” men in Los Angeles with blackmail and extortion, to make use of at a later date. The group is headed by a sleazy suit named Al Manning, who seems to be power hungry in the political arena.  Is he an operative of . Edgar Hoover?  The operation sounds like the sort of illegal doings Hoover had FBI agents do in the 1950s-70s.

Peggy isn’t an agent; she seems to be a woman with some sort of criminal entanglement,  possible conviction, and she herself is under extorted measures:  she is doing this to keep out of prison.  She’s not the only one; the group has several women working undercover to get dirt and sleaze from various people….

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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…

Violnet Sinners by Orrie Hitt

Posted in crime noir, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , on September 20, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Hitt - Violent Sinners Reviewed here.

Hired Lover by Fred Martin (Orrie Hitt), Midwood #13

Posted in crime noir, Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

midwood - hired lover

Accoridng to Lynn Munroe’s richly informative article on Midwood’s beginnings:

Amazingly, just 5 men wrote almost all of the first 40 numbered Midwoods. This hard-working group (Beauchamp, Lord, Marshall, Orrie Hitt and Don Holliday) carried and established Midwood until [Harry] Shorten was able to build his own stable of regulars –- names like March Hastings, Dallas Mayo, Kimberly Kemp, Joan Ellis, Jason Hytes and Sloane Britain.

Beauchamp was, of course, Robert Silverberg, Lord was Lawrence Block, Marshall was Donad Westlake, Holliday was Hal Drenser, and Orrie Hitt was himself.

Hired Lover is Midwood 13, published in 1959, although there are some early un-numbered Midwoods. Fred Martin was a one shot name for Midwood (and seems to have written one for the short-lived Magnet Books), and the style is easily identifiable: this is an Orrie Hitt book.  You can’t mistake Hitt for anyone else: the set-up, the dialogue, pacing, wrap-up.  Silverberg also did an early one shot, Immoral Wife by Gordon Mitchell (Midwod #11), that I discussed in this blog a while ago.

The question is: why these one-shot names?  Was it Midwood’s idea, to look like they had more than the same writers, or Scott Meredith’s, since the mauscripts came from the agency blinded as to the true writer’s identity. After all, Silverberg did an early Midwood, #7, Love Nest by Loren Beauchamp (see my review), and Beauchamp was his continued name for a dozen more titles from 1960-1963.

Munroe also notes:

Although nobody at Midwood knew it then, most of the books were by the same writers turning out the Nightstands. For example, Loren Beauchamp (Robert Silverberg) would become Don Elliott a year later at Nightstand, Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block) would become Andrew Shaw. Some of the writers, like Alan Marshall and Clyde Allison and Al James, used the same name for both.

Midwood - Call Me MistressI have another early, un-numbered Midwood, Call Me Mistress by Tomlin Rede, and I wonder who wrote this one.  I haven’t read it yet but on quick glance, the style seems like early Westlake/Alan Marshall.

Call Me Mistress is a crime noir set in Hollywood and among syndicate crime lords, wuth a dash of lesbiana tossed in.  I will be getting to this book soon after I do my reading stint of campus sex books and lesbian titles.

Back to Hired Lover — yes, one of many Orrie Hitt’s novels but the name is not listed among Hitt’s pen names (Nicky Weaver, Kay Addams).  I Feldspar - Squeeze Playhave two Kozy Books by one “Walter Feldspar” (Loose Women and Squeeze Play) that look like they may be Hitts (there’s also a Beacon Hitt book called Loose Women) — Feldspar only penned two books, and for Kozy, and Hitt wrote many for Kozy as himself, Weaver, and Roger Normandie…like Lawrence Block and Robert Silverberg and others, there are pen names used that are not always associated with these writers, either overlooked by bibliographers or not admitted to by the writer (or remembered).

Hitt - Loose Women

Hired Lover is a first-person tough guy story — Mike has left Los Angeles after a bad incident and is in Chicago, where he has ties.  He’s working as a driving instructor when one day a gorgeous dame in her mid-20s, Kitty, is his student…she takes him to her mansion, gives him booze and fucks him.  She’s married to a rich old man — short fat,bald and ugly — whom she met when she was a nurse and he was in the hospital in diabetic shock.

As luck would have it, the rich man’s chaueffer just quit and he needs a new driver. Kitty suggests her hubby hire Mike — he can live in the apartment above the garage, where she can visit him for illict sin and lust.

While Kitty and hubby are away on a trip, Mike looks up an old business buddy who runs a stripper club.  One of the strippers has her sister, Ruth, with her — new in town, fresh from Ohio farmland, 18, a virgin, and ignorant of the big bad ol’ world of strippers, whores, booze and crime that her sister is involved with.  Mike manages to talk her out of going down that road — he’s no hero, since he also gets her drunk and takes her virginity, being 10 years older than the girl.

Right off, we know that Mike will end up with Ruth as his wife in the end.  This is typical of Hitt’s novels, mostly for Beacon — similar to the set-up of The Promoter, that I talked about last week.

(An aside: Beacon and Softcover seemed to require, as with lesbian novels, that the hero or heroine redeem and depent tgheir sinful ways by book’s end, married and in the arms of someone good, man or woman.  This does not seem to be the case with Hitt’s titles for Sabre and Novel Books — in fact, Novel gave Hitt carte blance to “take the gloves off” and write what he wanted, free of market and genre constraints.  I will be talking about a few of those in the near future.)

The set-up for Hired Lover isn’t new in sleazecore: the wife convinces the lover that they have to murder the old rich husband so they can be together and get rich.  That never works out, of course, and the wayward wife gets hers in the end — in this case, she has set up Mike in cahoots with the head butler/valet of the mansion. And the hero repents and finds love in the arms of a younger, less gutter-drivem woman, in this and other Hitts.  Mike, on the run from the set-up murder, is aided by young Ruth.  The cops wind up arresting the wife and the valet, but Mike is still guilty for the murder, and had helped plan it.  He married Ruth, but is dying from tetnus due to a untreated gun-shot wound.  The novel ends with Mike on his deathbed, confessing the murder to a Catholic priest, and holding his young wife’s hand, whom he has impregnanted so she will have something of his left.  It’s a sad ending, in a way.

Hired Lover is a great read, however, and if you dig Orrie Hitt, you will dig this — and it’s too bad that Hitt fans may miss this one,  so this blog/review will serve as a pointer for anyone doing research on Hitt.

Now that I am an Orrie Hitt fan  (where was he all my life?), and have bought several dozen books now, expect much discussion of his work here.

I have also found another promising sleazecore writer, Brain Black, who wrote a handful of Beacons, pen names for Western pukp writer Robert Trimnell. The books look good on first glance:

Black --Passionate Prof

Beacon - Unfaithfuil

Black 0 Jeanie

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