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Naked Holiday by Don Elliott/Robert Silverberg (Nightstand Books #1512)

Posted in Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , on January 12, 2010 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Orrie Hitt wasn’t the only soft/sleazecore writer taking on the nudist camp as a setting.  This Elliott was Robert Silverberg’s fifth title for Hamling’s Nightstand, the first written from an “I” protagonist (most the the Elliotts are third person).

Naked Holiday is told by Al Fieldston, a 34-year-old bachelor and Chicago ad man who has decided to take a “creative leave of absence” for three summermonths from his job to finally write that Great American Novel nagging at the back of his head — a novel about, well, the ad agency biz.

His buddy Jack, who makes a living writing articles for magazines, has gotten an assignment for a piece, as well as a book, on the nudist camp craze, and suggests Al join him out in the fresh country and write his novel among the naked people.

One of the big magazines wanted him to do a feature on Nudism. The idea was an unsensational piece, stressing the individualistic character of the nudists, pegging them as staunch rugged spirits  in the middle of a society of conformists. (p. 15)

There isn’t any actual sex until 50 pages in, unusual for a Nightstand, but there are plenty of naked people, from page one, to have given this book enough flip appeal, since the very notion of “naked” or “there was a naked girl walking outside” (p. 5) was enough to get the puritans writing letters to the D.A.

There was about a dozen people in the building, and they were square dancing. Men and women, and their ages seemed to range from age ten to seventy, with a heavy concentration in the thirties. [They] were as naked as the day they came into the world. (p.29)

He is, at first, shocked to see pre-teen girls and boys frolicing around like nymphs and satyrys, but learns that they have grown up with this, and there is no Americanized shame.

And these nudist kids […] They wouldn’t grow into teenage sex addicts. They wouldn’t hover around trying to peep into the girls’ washroom.  They wouldn’t be customers for sleazy unshaven characters who hang around high schools trying to sell kids packets of little glossy prints of naked men and women. They wouldn’t have any interest in burlesque shows, strippers, nightclub comics. They wouldn’t turn into rapists of peeping Toms. (p. 88)

A good point — what society deems taboo and forbidden becomes a nasty vice. Take that sordidness out of something, it no longer has a torrid or criminal aspect.

There are a few rules, like no public displays of affection, no hints of sexuality, but b ehind closed doors, with consenting adults, that’s okay, and Al winds up having sex with two women who give him trouble — one is wildly possessive, and one is sixteen, the daughter of the camp’s leader, who sneaks into his bed at night and he thinks it is someone else.  A third woman is a masochist and cannot reach climax until she gets beaten and feels pain.  Soon, Al finds he cannot write with all these naked women in his life.

I had women on my mind.

Too many women.

Harriet. Bonnie.

Joanie.

Sandra.

Harriet with the freckled breasts and the ping pong paddle. Bonnie with the bug eyes and the pathetic desire to be loved. Sandra with her devil’s lust, her hotbox insistence that could not be brooked. And oanie with the flawless body and all the amorous fervor of a Greek model statue. (p. 122)

Trouble in paradise comes when the possessive girl, wanting revenge for being rejected, accuses him of rape.

A breezy, fun little novel.  I have yet to put down a Silverberg book — sleaze of SF or any — and not finish.  In fact, they tend to be the kind you can’t put down.  Silverberg was, and is, a consumate professional storyteller.  Some of them are great, some okay, but never bad.

Interesting to see that the 1973 Reed Nightstand reprint has a similar cover, but the woman is wearing a swimsuit, and the two are not kissing directly on the lips — maybe because these books were on the trade bookstore shelves instead of the lurid newsstands and adult bookshops?

She’s a redhead here, a blonde in the original, and tgheir hairstyles are updated for the 1970s.

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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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.

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…

Girls Afire by Jan Hudson (Boudoir #103)

Posted in pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 25, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Hudson - Hirls Afire

Jan Hudson was one of George H. Smith’s nom de plumes (his middle name Hudson) that he did a few books under, most notably the highly collectible Those Sexy Suacer People from Greenleaf Classics.

Smith also wrote many Nightstands as Don Bellmore, and some scince fiction titles.  His stuff tends to be comic, playful, and whacky, such as this one.

This is Boudoir #103.  The first, #101, was The Wife Traders by Loren Beauchamp, reviewed here in July. Boudoir was a short-lived imprint of Imperial Publishing aka American Art Enterprises, a shady Los Angeles outfit.

Girls Afire opens with protagonist Jeremy Fargo at a Venice Beach party that has been going on for three days.  People are drunk, high, having sex, reading poetry aloud — they’re all beatniks too, proto-hippies in L.A., and they see Jeremy as a “sqaure” but he’s there.

Jeremy is a frustrated novelist, once a Madison Avenue commercial artist, following his dream to be a, um, writer of great Ameican literature.  His first novel was published but the critics found it bleak and sales weren’t good, so his publisher has rejected his second novel and Jeremy doesn’t know what to do — maybe write a more commercial, upbeat novel?

He has left rainy San Francisco and move to sunny Los Angeles to write. He has rented a room out in a house. The landlady, a good looking woman whose husband is often away, suggests he might pay his rent in trade — that is, sex.  He thinks it might work.

At the party, he meets a girl named Deirdre and takes her home.  Deidre thinks he may be The One, even if he is a sqaure, but he is a writer.  She’s going with a friend of his but he convinces the friend to dump her, that she’s no good; his friend does, leaving a clear path for him.

Then he meets her sister, Jean, and falls in love with her.  As much as Jean tries to resist, she succumbs to Jeremy, much too Deirdre’s hurt and anger.

Giving in to his landlady’s reqest of sex for rent, the two are at it when her husband walks in and catches them — he wants to kill Jeremy, and so does Jeremy’s friend when the guy learns Jeremy took Deirdre as a lover, and now Deirdre wants to kill him for taking her sister.

So he has three people after his hide…

It’s funny and short.  It’s okay.  I’m not much into comic sleazecore. I prefer the serious and dark stuff.