Archive for pulp writer

Meet Marilyn by Sloane Britain (Midwood #52)

Posted in Midwood Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , on November 14, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Britain - Meet Marilyn 1960

Britain - Meet Marilyn 1963

I thought the 1960 first edition was a Paul Rader cover, but Al Wagner did that one, as well as the 1963 second edition.

Sloane Britian was Midwood editor Elaine Williams, whom I will discuss in the next post.

Meet Marilyn might be the weakest of the Britain Midwoods; it’s not a novel as much as it is a collection of stories, set around a party thrown for the residents of a posh Manhattan Park Avenue apartment building.  In each apartment, the people we meet have their colorful, sexually kinky pasts, hetero, bi, and lesbian.

The best chapter is #2, about Gabe and Myra, who meet in college and fall in love.  Problem: Myra comes from a rich Jewish family and Gabe comes from humble suburbia, with dreams if being a writer.  Myra believes Gabe will one day be a great writer and against her parents’ wishes, she marries him but she gets cut off from the family money.

They live in sqaulor as Gabe writes short stories, gathering rejection slips.  One day, Myra picks up a pulp detective novel and the two spend the evening readng absurd passages to one another, making fun of the genre, which is hardly literature in their eyes — the violence, the witty dialogue, the dolls and dames, etc.  They start making up their own passages and Gabe writes them down…he keeps writing…then he finishes it.  He thinks the detective novel is a lark but he sends it in to a paperback publisher.

Meanwhile, Myra gets pregnant.  Scared, she crawls back to her parents’ for help; they give her access to money and hekp her rent out a nice apartment on Park Avenue.

Gabe doesn’t want their help for having rejected him, and they still disappriove of him for being a gentile and not from money.  Then, to his surprise, his detective novel sells for a $1200 advance and the publisher wants another one, maybe more, a series if possible.  Gabe is now a published writer!

He moves into the Park Ave address with Myra, mainly because it’s a better home for their baby.  He works on his next detectibve tyarn, doing with the idea that one day he will take the time for a serious literary novel…the plight of many pulp writers.

The baby is born with defects — a cleft palate and a slow intelligence.  They are devestated but vow to love the mongloid child.  Gabe pours himself into a world of private eyes and dangerous dames…

A few years pass. Gabe is on his 27th detective novel and hating it; he can’t stand to sit down and write any more of the same thing, but he has contracts and needs money.  Magazines ask him for stories but they want the same crime and sex sleaze.  Britain/Williams is making a funny comment on what happens to many writeres she knew, from Midwood and elsewhere, who got trapped in the genre slump.

Other characters pop in chapters all culminating at the party, events surrounding the mysterious and sexy Marilyn, but all in all, this reds like Britain/Williams gathered a handful of unpublished siort stories she had lying around and added in connecting transitions.

A better book would have been an expanion of the Gabe and Myra story.

Lust Queen by Don Elliott (Robert Silverberg), Midnight Reader #401, 1961

Posted in Don Elliott, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

LQ

LQ

Another Hollywood novel with a writer as a narrator…but this wrter is not a screenwriter but a pulp hack.

Silverberg had the first Nightstand (1501) with Love Addict, reviewed here, and had the first Midnight Reader (401) with Lust Queen.

I love the “waterbaby” Robert Bonfils cover, a companion to Robert Carney’s Anything Goes.

Anything GoesJoey Baldwin writes detective and science-fiction books and makes an average living. Then his agent gets him a lucrative gig: ghostwrite the autobiography of a 50s star, Mona Thorne, who is making a come-back.  He stands to get $15,000 for the initial job, with a possible $50K more with foreign, film, and other rights.  Big money for 1961!

He’s about done with a sticky divorce and wants to marry his girlfriend, Lisa.  He has to leave her for a few months to go to L.A. and write the book. He assumes he will be put up in a hotel but Mona Thorne wants him to live at her Pacific Palasides estate…and, he finds out the first night, be her sex toy.

This is no Norma Desmond/Sunset Boulevard gigolo situation.  Mona is in her mid-30s, well-fit, well-endowed, tanned, sexy, and likes kinky things in bed.  Joey likes doing kinky stuff he’d never ask Lisa to do.

So begins their business arrangement: breakfast early, work on the book, pool and marinis by four, dinner, Hollywood parties, sex all night, and so on…

L.A. people find Joey fascinating since he’s not a screenwriter. When people ask, “What studio are you with?” they cannot get their minds wrapped around the fact that Joey is not in the game.

The book opens like it’s Silverberg’s autobio:

I was busy making the typewriter move. My fingers were writing as if they had their own private case of St. Vitus Dance, and every time they twitched more nice black marks appeared on the white paper in the machine. I was 40,000 words into the new detective novel… (p. 5)

Writers who have never worked on a manual typewriter do not understand what a physical task it was to use the machine, pressing down on keys, putting paper and carbons in, changing ribbons, matching one’s typing skills to the keyboard of any given typer…some old writers, like Harlan Ellison, still write on manual machines, never having graduated to an electric one (Ellison didn’t like how they hummed) or computer…Silverberg is on a computer now, and online, having embraced the 21st Century…I understand that T.C Boyle still writes on the old Sears typewriter he had when he was first writing.

Joey meets a lot of typical Hollywood characters — the miscle boy models, the shady producers, the jealous actresses…at one party, Joey meets a down to earth TV announcer on a kid’s network and has a quickie outside with her. She also has “small breasts,” unusual in sleaze where all women are at least 37-42 D cups.

Mona gets outrageously jealous over his sex fling…but gets over it…but when Lisa comes to visit him, she loses her mind…

Mona is petty, insecure, clingy, cannot take rejection for a big famous rich star…Silverberg does a good job showing how the famous lived isolated, lonely lives for the most part, outside their films and publicity shots.  I have seen the same with well known actors I have met in Malibu (staying at the home of a certain big produce once and getting to know the neighbors like Bruce Willis, etc.)…one thing Silverberg did’t mention that I find funny is how so many film/tv stars are short…they’re all so damn short..

This is one of the better Don Elliots, I think, up there with Sin Servant, Love Addict, and Convention Girl.  It’s also a dark story of greed and petty jealousy, with quite the violent outcome with a nice Hollywood iroic twist about commercial marketing of tragedy.

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