Monday, March 22, 2010

Misc. New Additions to My Vintage Book Collection

A Killer among Us
(Lion Library, 1957)
Originally published as The Silver Forest, 1926.

Ben Ames William
Back cover
: A killer among us. Six people, a murderer among them, trapped in the Maine woods ...
The shock of sudden death, and the stress of fear, draw them ever tighter into a web of unbearable suspense ... as the world-famous novelist Ben Ames Williams unravels a masterful puzzle in the greatest mystery tradition of Gardner, Christie, Rinehart ...
Cover art by Robert Stanley (1918-1996).

From Dare to Judge This Book: Some More Great Paperback Cover Artists at Thrilling "By far the most prolific Dell artist — next to Gerald Gregg — was Robert Stanley. Stanley worked for Dell from 1950 to 1959 and his covers were a major component of the publisher's "look" of the fifties. Concentrating on mysteries and westerns, Stanley always produced covers with action [...]. Most of the men on his covers he patterned after himself; his men are serious, stern, and usually fully clothed. He patterned most of his women after his wife Rhoda; they are alluring, menacing, terrified, and occasionally semi-nude. Stanley's daughter and father-in-law also stood in as models from time to time."

From Ask Art. Com:
"Before his employment at Dell, he produced covers for paperback companies including Bantam, Lion and Signet. […] Stanley's wife, Rhoda, was a ballet dancer before her marriage. She and her husband worked as a team and lived in Westport, Connecticut. Designers at Dell Publishing provided Bob Stanley with a rough sketch of what they wanted, and from that he made a color sketch. If approved, Rhoda created a photograph, which her husband then used as the model for painting the final picture. If he was the model, she took the photo and vice versa. If they appeared together, they used a delayed-action shutter."

A Taste for Violence
(Dell D463, New Dell Edition First Printing, March 1962)

A Mike Shayne Mystery

Brett Halliday
Brett Halliday is the main pen name of Davis Dresser (July 31, 1904 - February 4, 1977), but also was used by the various writers that ghosted the Mike Shayne books after 1958.

Back cover
: 6th sense. Famed red-head Mike Shayne is notorious for possessing an uncanny instinct about women, a smell for murder — A Taste for Violence. Shayne steps into a ring of danger and packs the toughest wallop of his career in a fast, tense fight against mob rule, and unleashed violence.

Cover art by Robert McGinnis.

Beginning with his first book cover in 1958,
McGinnis became one of the most prolific book cover (and movie poster) illustrators active in the 60s and 70s, his work is always eye-catching. More information on him and examples of his fabulous work can be found here at Stainless Steel Droppings. Rich people might want to purchase a copy of The Paperback Covers of Robert McGinnis at Amazon.

The Bedroom Route
(Beacon Signal, 1963)

Sheldon Lord

Sheldon Lord
is a pen name shared by Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Milo Perichitich, or Hal Dresner, but this time around it’s Lawrence Block).
Early male-written Lezzie Lit. Most books by “Sheldon Lord” have a lesbian angle of some sort or another, this one included. The blog Those Sexy Vintage Sleaze Books was not impressed by The Bedroom Route, as revealed in this review.
Cover art: Name illegible.

Cast of Characters
(Cardinal Editions, 1st Printing, 1958)

Al Morgan

Front Cover
: A sizzling slam-bang, no-holds-barred novel about Hollywood.
Back cover: Al Morgan's crackling novel is jam-packed with people, action, satire, stories. It might have been titled Hollywood Confidential. You meet the celebrities—and get a startling look into the private lives of: Marla Van Dyke, the star whose best love scenes are played in her dressing room. Carl Miller, the writer who hates Hollywood but loves the money he makes there. Otto Freund, the ex-director who now runs a highly unusual school for starlets. Buddy Tyler, the Bronx-born crown prince of pictures who wants to own somebody. Mary Harwell, the film critic who gets an unforgettable sample from Reed Herald, "The Screen's Greatest Lover."Cover art by James Meese.
The blog Vintage Paperback Cover Art says: "James Meese was another of the unsung heroes of golden age paperback cover art; his style combined the glamor of Barye Phillips with the earthy realism of James Avati."

Don’t Say No
(Eagle Books/Popular Library, 1956)

Olga Rosmanith

An abridged reprint of her book Picture People from 1934, reviewed here at Reading California Fiction.

Back Cover
: Hollywood Hucksters. Dazzlingly beautiful and willful Josepha Schmidt came from the obscurity of Vienna to hit Hollywood with the force of a hydrogen bomb. This is the story of her rise to stardom, the director she drove mad with desire, the photographer she couldn’t win and the lives and homes she wrecked on her star-crossed way.

"A generous helping of romance and Hollywood atmosphere, done in primary colors." — New York Herald Tribune
Cover artist unknown.

The Ever-Loving Blues
(Signet, First Signet Printing, 1961)

(In the imprint: "First published in the English language, in a slightly different form, under the title Death of a Doll.")
Carter Brown

Back cover
: Requiem for a bikini. It was an itsy-bitsy white polka-dot bikini. She was a beautiful brunette, curvy, kissable, cuddly. Too bad they had to come together — in death. Danny Boyd, the private eye with the profile no gal can resist, accepts a movie mogul's bid to track down a wandering, wanton star. He winds up playing fast with a loose redhead ... and footsy with a couple of thugs on a fifteenth-century Spanish galleon in sunny Florida, where the climate is perfect for murder.

Cover artist unknown.

Bookgasm reviews the book here. Excerpt: "Yes, another Carter Brown novel for the simple reason that they are just so fun and breezy to read. As much as I’ve enjoyed Brown’s other books, this 1961 offering is cliché city…."

The Life of Davy Crockett
(Signet, First Signet Printing, 1955)

Davy Crockett

Back cover
: “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.” This was the motto of Davy Crockett, famous as scout, Indian fighter, frontiersman and Congressman, the credo that carried him through the most exciting period of the American frontier! Everyone — old and young — who has thrilled to Davy Crockett's colorful adventures will marvel at the supreme vigor, boldness and good humor of the hero’s wonderful story… as he himself tells it.

Kiss Me, Deadly
(Signet, 19th printing, 1958)

Mickey Spillane

Does anything need to be said about this book? I don’t think so. Don’t know who did the cover art of the book, but the gun-toting blonde babe is definitely modeled after the character as played in Robert Aldrich’s great 1955 film version of Kiss Me, Deadly. Doesn’t this trailer just make you want to see the film?

Long, Long Ago
(Bantam Books, 1946)

Alexander Woolcott

Mr Adam(Pocket Books, 8th Printing, 1955)
Pat Frank

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Adam is the first novel written by Pat Frank dealing with the effects of a nuclear mishap causing worldwide male infertility… the story was inspired by a 1924 silent film The Last Man on Earth, a comedy loosely based on Mary Shelley’s now mostly forgotten novel from 1826, The Last Man.
Front Cover: The hilarious story of a shy male who suddenly found he was the only man on the world who could be a father.
Back cover
: On the day of the big atomic explosion, Homer Adam was a mile underground exploring a lead mine. Result—he was the only man left in the world who could be a father. Overnight, Homer Adam became a National Asset! He was placed in charge of the National Re-fertilization Project and taken to Washington. The Army was alerted to guard him from designing females. Foreign countries demanded to share his wealth. The President himself headed the drawing to select the first group of A.I. (Artificial Insemination) mothers, and Senator Fay Sumner Knott held the first winning number. What happened to Mr Adam is “a comedy satire that borders on the classic.” — San Diego Sun

“A dilly, a howl!” — New Orleans Times Picayune
Cover art by Barye Phillips (died in 1969).
From Good Girl Art: “Barye Phillips started by working for Columbia Pictures' advertising department in the early 1940s and did training booklets and propaganda during WW II. Her (sic) began painting paperback covers around 1943 and was very prolific, working for several publishers in various styles. His best known work was probably for Gold Medal and other Fawcett imprints.”

Nothing More Than Murder
(Dell Book 738, no print history or date)

Jim Thompson

According to Quill&Brush, this is the "first paperback edition of this novel originally published by Harper in 1949." (Dell First Edition (1953). Dell Book 738. $75)
Front cover: “Wonderful suspense, a sense of the ugliness of crime and the horror clinging to real life criminals, make this a must. . . ." — Book-of-the-Month Club News
Cover art by George Geygan.
Mostly Crappy Books
notes that George Geygan was both a prolific and excellent cover artist of vintage books, but that there is no information on him to be found. Does anyone know anything about him?

(Signet, 1st Printing, 1960)

Samuel Hopkins Adams
(The book behind George Abbott’s and Jerome Weidman’s musical of the same name.)

Cover art by James Hill.
Life in Legacy (week of February 28, 2004) says: "The dean of Canadian illustrators, whose colorful and evocative artwork could be seen everywhere from the cover of Maclean's magazine to The Saturday Evening Post, who produced covers for more than 200 paperback novels, and who did several portraits including Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau and Pope John Paul II, died Feb. 3 at his Toronto studio of heart problems at age 73."

Victims of Lust
(Merit Books, First Printing, February 1961)

Jerry M. Goff, Jr.
Can’t find out much about Goff other than that he seems to have written regularly for Merit Books and that Those Sexy Vintage Sleaze Books claims he his fine if unknown writer of hard boiled fiction. He died in 1992 I Milwaukee, 7 years before his brother Harold Neil Goff. He also got in a lot of trouble for plagiarizing the author Richard Prather, an interesting story that is gone into great detail in this article on Those Sexy Vintage Sleaze Books.

Back Cover
: What could be in a stag film that’s worth $1,000,000? Here’s the shocking story that spells out the details of how the film was made, and how it lead to the break-up of a vicious circle of extortionists.

Cover artist: Front cover by “Sloan” (?), back cover by an artist familiar but unknown.

Visit to a Small Planet
(Signet, First Printing, 1960)

(A play by) Gore Vidal
Back cover: Interstellar Lunacy. The fun comes fast and furiously in this riotous frolic about a visiting spaceman who lands his flying saucer on earth … and almost wrecks the lives of two young lovers, a TV news analyst, and a pompous Pentagon general.
“A brilliant satire … done with great wit and humanity.”—Tennessee Williams

“A delightful lot of screwball humor and nonsense:”—John Chapman, NY Daily News

See the imdb entry on the film.

The Wayward Ones
(Signet, First Printing, October 1954)

Sara Harris

“Life in a girls’ reformatory”

Back cover
: Bad girls. Behind the high walls and the locked gates of a girls reformatory lies the little-known world of teenagers who have stumbled—and are seeking their way back to acceptability... This is the hard-hitting, unflinching story of the punishment society metes out to youth that has erred.

Cover artist unknown.

Who Knows Love?
(Lance Books, 1962)

Originally published as Strange Passions in 1953
Florence Stonebraker
More Lezzie Lit, this time from a married woman. (Not that means anything, actually, going by half the women I met through my sister in San Diego when I went back years ago to cremate my mom. So, gentlemen: Do you really know where your wife is right now?)

Back cover
: Strange passions. Can this woman, who is torn in two, face the truth? Twisted love—normal love—which did Kay really want? Which would she eventually accept? Here is a powerful, moving story of mixed emotions ... of a stormy love which violates the rules of society.


Anonymous said...

I found this page looking for information about George Geygan. You're right that there's next to nothing out there on the open internet. A little genealogical research, however, reveals that he was born in Ohio on 3 March 1910. The 1930 census shows him working as an engraver, though still living with his parents in Norwood, Ohio. By the 1940 census he had married, moved to the Bronx, and was working as an artist for the advertising industry. He enlisted as a private in the US Army in April 1944, but for some reason he was discharged from service that December. He died in Garden City, New York, on 3 November 1974.

Abraham said...

Thanks for the info! You seem to be rather adept at on-line research, to say the least... and there also seems to be a bit more info out there than there was in 2010. Still, he seems to remain a relatively under-appreciated artist.

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