For over 50 years, the extraordinary Hand-Painted Original Photographs of Bettie Page and nude models of the 1950s taken by Rudolph Rossi lay hidden. Now, for the first time, over 100 have been published in Camera Club Girls by Jim Linderman. 114 pages, 35 pages of text and 180 pictures, the book tells the story of the informal groups of early camera enthusiasts in New York City who paid ten dollars each to photograph naked women, including Bettie Page, in dingy studios and outdoor excursions. As much the history of early erotic photography and Times Square smut as it is the story of the exceptional personal vision of an artist, master photographer and painter which has not been told until now. The photographic find of the decade, and an amazing story which combines passion, painting, photography and early porno in a tale never told. By the same author of Vintage Sleaze. Preview 15 pages of the book at right and order.
One of the most popular old time blues couplets uses the phrase "She's got a new way of loving" or a variation thereof...I know what they are talking about (at least I think I do) In actuality, there IS no "new way of loving" but there is a first time for everything. In today's Tijuana Bible, hillbilly cartoon figure Snuffy Smith learns his "new game" and if you think you know what it is, you probably do. That's all I have to say. Suffice to say Snuffy thinks "It ain't bad a-tall, no sir." Isn't imagination wonderful?
Tijuana Bible circa 1930 Collection Victor Minx
Earl Wilson, midget and gossip sleazemeister lends his name to a pulpy parade of pulch and lends his eyes towards Jayne Mansfield's bosom on the cover of "Earl Wilson's Album of Showgirls." Earl paints up some profits by selling his name and mug to a Skye Publication of Celebrity skin! Like Rosie's eponymous magazine of a few years ago (in which she purchased, then ran into the ground McCall's magazine in an attempt to duplicate Oprah's magazine) Earl's face graces nearly every page, and in nearly every picture his brush-cut visage is staring at cleavage. Earl is credited (or credits himself) with popularizing the term "falsies" and although he is known as the king of gossip, he pretty much ended up on the top of a heap of meaningless celebrity tripe of which this is a prime, grade A example. Earl was basically the first "Harvey" from TMZ...but far more creepy.
"Earl Wilson's Album of Showgirls" Number one 1956 Collection Jim Linderman
To the gaping hole of information on lesser Humorama artists, I can now add one small shovel of text. George Morrice, who did the work above in 1956, was a Brit and his name is stamped "Geo. W. Morrice" on the reverse. At the time, he lived in the lovely named "Spital Tongues" of Newcastle-on-Tyne and unless he published in girly magazines on the other side of the pond as well, he had considerable postage expenses. This piece did indeed run in a Humorama magazine, but I do not as yet know which one. I do know at least one other work was owned by legendary packrat Charles Martignette, and I can only assume on the basis of other items in the collection that is was a lesser piece. Nice enough drawing though, and the fellows DO look jolly well, don't they?
George W. Morrice Original Drawing for Humorama 1956 Collection Victor Minx
You know those tiny little men's cartoon books found in antique mall baskets once in a while? Pocket-sized cheapies with a dame on the front and tiny, unreadable cartoons inside? You know, the ones which were about...hold on....well... "4 inches by 5 3/4 inches and 100 pages consisting of the following purported departments or divisions of the magazine: Girls Will Be Legal Eagles Show Biz Whizzes Kid Cut Ups Office Pips Here Come the Tigers With some 11 pages not contained in the table of contents and ...with 29 cartoonists represented by cartoons...most of whom who contributed single cartoons, but one in particular was named on 19 different drawings"
Your tax dollars at work in 1961, when a barrage of lawyers working on the public dime took the publishers of "Chicks and Chuckles" to Court. The extensive case was necessary to determine if the little rags qualified for a second rate mail permit. I mean, please....you can not have just ANYTHING being sent through the US mails. This landmark case, which I am sure made the careers of many a fine lawyer (Me...? oh, not much, really....I just worked on the, ahem... CHICKS and CHUCKLES case) was just one of many similar trials. In fact, I am linking here to another splendid example of courtroom charades which challenged the rights of the notorious "French Cartoons and Cuties and "College Laughs" to spread their bile in mail trucks and mailboxes across America. Thank God I live in a country where the mere chance I might be exposed to a 4 x 5 boob joke is so carefully considered. Must read documentation of censors in the early 60s. Links to the text of Departmental Decisions for Chicks and Chuckles and French Cartoons and Cuties
Books by Jim Linderman HERE
Canadian Jeff Keate was certainly not the most sleazy of the gag cartoonists selling work to Humorama, nor was he the funniest. Almost NOT sleazy enough...note how he resisted making anything here, um...huge other than the computer "Titanic" as most of his cohorts would have done by rote... but then he was a better craftsman as well. There is an almost obsessive detail and decoration on this piece. That the big mainframe computer, still a novelty at the time, was being decorated is the whole point of the cartoon, but it still seems like the artist could have said as much with a simple flower pot or two. Good for Jeff, as he wasn't being paid by the line but the panel.. the kind of detail which is appreciated.
Keate Studied right down the road from here in Grand Rapids, Michigan and later the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. At the time "Hal" above was done, he was living in Westport, CT in one of the highest per-capita income zip codes in the United States, so he must have sold lots of fifty dollar drawings. Keate had several successful strips in addition to an unknown number of pieces published by Humorama. "Time Out" ran for ten years in the 1950s, and one called "Rufus" ran on Sundays in the Chicago Tribune even earlier. He also wrote, get this..."Squeans, Plewds and Briffits, or How to be a Cartoonist" in 1954. This drawing ran in a late issue of "Gaze" but a notation on the reverse indicates he was paid for at least one reprint as well, so it certainly ran again.
Keate's work was frequently anthologized. He was included in "1000 Jokes" "Best Cartoons of the Year" "Cartoons of the Month" and Cracked Magazine. (remember Cracked?) I am sure there are many others.
He was also a Jazz fan! In an astounding bit of archival artistry, Elizabeth Hull at the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives Library (part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) was researching magnificent Jazz photographs taken by Hugh MacRae Morton. The renowned photographer had a long and distinguished career. His work was generously donated by his widow to the archive. It is being meticulously documented in a digital collection and discussed on the beautiful site "A View to Hugh". While attempting identification of the performers in a set of photos, Ms. Hull enlarged this drum kit and lo & behold! A jazzy drawing and inscription to "The Bobcats" from Jeff Keate. A good find and testimony to the archivist's tenacity! On the basis of this finding alone, I am going to go out on a limb and speculate that Jeff fancied himself a beatnik. At the least, the Canadian cartoonist from Connecticut was cool enough to have some cool friends. I also suspect he would love knowing his drum was photographed, archived and preserved in one of the very machines he satirizes here.
Photograph by Hugh Morton, courtesy North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives Library UNC and Chapel Hill
Original Cartoon by Jeff Keate for Humorama, 1966, reprinted 1972? 10" x 13" Collection Jim Linderman
The female form is one of the earliest lessons in art school. As soon as you can draw a shaded cube and receding railroad tracks, out comes the model! Every male student's reason for taking the class, and an easy way for the poser to make some dough without lifting a finger or moving. AT ALL. Today's artist, W. Fitzpatrick, learned his lessons well enough, but he quit learning at the chin. Certainly he knew you could draw a line from the eyes to the ears, but maybe young Fitz dropped out after mastering major anatomy. In a few of his drawings, I think Austin Powers would try to yank the wig off, baby. W. Fitzgerald was prolific it seems, as I had no trouble locating a dozen of his adequate torsos with facial features askew, but other than that he is unidentified as much as I can tell. With those mugs, I would be surprised if he amounted to much outside of the sleaze market. If you know anything about him, let me know.
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Book Catalog HERE
You may be familiar with Camera Club Girls which exhibits previously unknown and recently discovered photographs by Rudolph Rossi, a member of the Concord Camera Club in the 1950s. Rossi belonged to the clubs which hired Bettie Page and many of her friends (two of whom I am trying to identify) to pose for amateur shutterbugs. The first camera club in New York City which hired Bettie and her "figure model friends" was arranged by Jazz musician Cass Carr. It is a unique body of work, not only in that the photos are all one-of-a-kind, original and unpublished (Even those of Ms. Page), but also that the artist took the time to hand-tint each one giving them the illusion of glorious technicolor. Of course, sleaze is colorblind, and one of the unique characteristics of the Camera Clubs was their inter-racial composition, both models and the cameramen despite the times.
Researching Carr and his cooch-crazy camera wielding cohorts, I came across what I believe is one of the only contemporaneous (though wildly inaccurate) accounts of a camera club. Written by one H. Praeger and claiming to be a "true experience" I present excerpts here from the semi-non-fictional article "17 Nude Models and the Sex-crazed Camera Bugs" from a 1963 issue of Peril Magazine.
"The arrival brought happy whoops, yells and whistles from the amateur photographers. Each of them had paid five dollars for the privilege of spending an hour or so taking pictures of nude women. The models were being supplied by the man with the oily hair and the chewed cigar who operated the establishment under the name of the "Glamor Camera Club." Both he and his paying customers knew what transpired on the platform was only a prelude, an appetizer-but it would serve it's purpose in whetting the camera bugs' appetites for more exotic an outre' dellghts. The batch of girls mounted the platform. They pasted smiles on their faces to conceal their boredom and, knowing full well what was expected of them, they immediately began to pose and posture-individually and in pairs or groups.
Some of the tableaux were merely revealing and titillating-second rate imitations of the kinds of poses to be found in photographic art magazines. Others bordered on the lewd and lascivious. Then, as the minutes passed and the photographers scrambled to obtain better views and different angles, the women's poses became more openly and uniformly obscene.
These variegatged displays of nudity and muscular contortion seemed to satisfy the photographers temporarily. They continued scuttling about, aiming their cameras, clicking their shutters-but mainly peering and ogling the undressed females who were now crowding the raised platform.
"Awright, fellas," the man declared loudly. "Thassit for the night." Then he went on to make his regular nightly pitch. "Natch, if any of you want to do any individual photography, our models and private studio facilities are available at a modest extra cost..."
Peril was a Man's Magazine FULL of fake true stories and photographs of pastie covered models. The illustration above introduced the piece, and was done by one "Powell" who I am also unable to identify.
Submitted by kindly reader and living encyclopedia Steve Thompson is this splendid "pull tab transformation teaser." Steve dates the piece to 1945, and also suggests it is likely a seaside novelty from England. Steve's father, a vet, brought the piece back. As for Steve, he is a veteran as well, his blog BookSteve's Library has been running since they were invented and highly recommended. Aside from his comic book knowledge, who DOESN'T want to see a broadside for a film in which an over the hill Huntz Hall plays second fiddle to bluegrass and country musicians in a plot-free stinker released for the regional drive-in market? Just one example of the arcane wonders on his site. Steve also contributes to the Craig Yoe blog Super I.T.C.H. which is also a must stop site. Steve's bio follows. Every word is true.
"Pop culture maven Steven “Booksteve” Thompson has published more than 5000 posts on various websites and blogs over the past eight years, mainly at BOOKSTEVE’S LIBRARY. His writing has also appeared from Bear Manor Media and he has worked behind the scenes on various books over the past year. In spite of all this hard work, he remains technically unemployed. He can be found in Northern Kentucky living with the world's most understanding wife, the coolest son ever, a dysfunctional dog and at least two cats."
Risk-K Transformation Teaser, circa 1945 Collection Steve Thompson
Vintage Sleaze Tijuana Bible Alice and the Ritz Brothers in Dessicated Dissipated Disappeared and Done
Reeking with age (and who knows what else) with each page lovingly taped together in a primitive archival restoration attempt, this 8-pager has seen better days. A depression era Tijuana Bible rendered unidentifiable by wear. I THINK it would be "Alice and the Ritz Brothers in Three of a Kind" but who knows. The Ritz Brothers (low-rent Marx Brothers who appeared in films) were Al, Jimmy and Harry. They had a puny career and even less talent, but thought so much of themselves they staged a well-publicized walk-out complaining of the quality of their scripts...the company just replaced them. Half of the cover is gone, but it lends the piece an authentic grungy feel. As it was not unusual for these little booklets to set a farm boy (or his father) back half a week's wages, makes sense it has been taped up and passed around for so long. It is done moving now. I'm putting it to rest. A synopsis is barely possible, but the artist paid more attention to equipment than he did eyeballs, and Alice, whoever she is, gets to know the fellas quite well.
Eight Pager (Title Obscured) circa 1930 Collection Victor Minx
A kindly reader identifies Alice: I know I've read this one, but I can't find it. In any case, "Alice" is Alice Faye, Phil Harris' (future) wife. Alice Faye was in a couple of movies with the Ritz Brothers about 1937, notably "You Can't Have Everything" and "On the Avenue".
It appears no one has profiled or written about these beautiful postcards from the 1950s published by the Chicago, Illinois based company Curt Teich (A.K.A. "Curteich", A.K.A Teich). The company was founded by a printer from Germany who emigrated in 1896, and it eventually became the largest postcard printer in the world. You'll recognize them from the giant letter "greetings from" cards on linen. (His wife, one Anna Niether Teich, tried to fix the inherent exception to the "i after e" rule in her name!) I suspect she also let Curt take control of this product line. The company closed in 1978 and one of their sons graciously donated the archive of the company to the Lake County Forest Preserve Museum in Illinois. It is the largest postcard archive in the world, and a considerable amount of information on postcards and the company is available on their website, which I recommend highly you visit.
It is easy to find one or two at any time on ebay and in postcard dealer websites...three at a time on occasion. It appears there were two series. One called "Carefree Comics" consisting of ten cards, the other was the "Modern Girl" series which added ten more. If my interpretation of the complicated dating system used by the company is correct, all were published in the years 1954-1956 or so, but don't hold me to it. I have about half of them. The artist(s) (I believe there were two, possibly three) who did the splendid work are unidentified. A shame. One drew folky, almost primitive women always perched to fall or make a mistake. (Here, in part one) They have the flat naive charm of a primitive painter, yet the decor and furnishings are stark, clean, modern and striking. The other artist (or others, which I will post soon) drew more glamorous, languid, dreaming women...seemingly far less innocent. The smoking motif was shared by both, as were spicy stockings and revealing, risque poses. Great, great postcards, and if these representative example of the treasures being held by the archive, they should write a book on them.
Group of "Carefree Comics" Curteich Postards, circa 1955 Collection Victor Minx
Stanley Rayon, despite being prolific, remains a comic cartoon cipher. It is known he had work published in Popular Cartoons, a Humorama magazine from the late 1960s, and I've found a cover he drew for Charleton Comics called "Cartoon Spice" which depicted a circus acrobat loosing her top. The first image here I own, the others are cribbed from the International Animated Film Society Hollywood Animation Archive (who is also trying to find more information about the artist) One site claims he was from New Orleans, but that is more of a plea for info as well. To the mystery, we can add some connection to Jack Lohr, himself a cartoonist of note, whose stamp (along with Humorama's) is shown here on the reverse. Maybe Mr. Lohr acted as an agent and publisher as well as artist? Their work is even quite similar, but I hesitate to claim they were one and the same. After all, a dame drawing is a dame drawing for the most part. I'm sure more information will be available one day. Until then, enjoy the clean lines of the dirty minded lost artist.
Stanley Rayon Original Drawing circa 1969 Collection Jim Linderman
Initiating a NEW series here on Vintage Sleaze, drawing from the collection of Victor Minx, a look at the tiny little lessons taught by Tijuana Bibles. The FIRST illustrated vintage sleaze in the United States by many accounts, and certainly the origin of Adult comics, these cute little chapbooks date to the 1930's for the most part. By this time, anyone who studies illustration or comic books know what the little buggers are, I hope to show some scarce and unusual examples on the site. Not wanting to corrupt minds or get in trouble, I will only show highlights of the books...Although mere illustrations and in my mind harmless, I recognize others may feel differently (although you can find entire collections of these things fully illustrated in your local Barnes and Noble)
To start the series, an apt choice is "Artists and Models" in which a model for a painter is harrassed, saved by a passing cabbie...and although 8 pages it is, I can only show two.
A special note: Ballsy Bill Smith on his Website Store frequently offers beautiful examples of these notorious nano books as well as work by many of the dopes I profile here. Pay his site a visit! William scours the hard streets of Brooklyn for overlooked and forgotten masterpieces mostly of the print kind...added benefits are he is fair and friendly, and he has the eyes of a pigeon looking for a cheerio which fell out of a toddler's stroller. HANG FIRE BOOKS
"Artists and Models" circa 1930 8 Pager Collection Victor Minx
A member of the greatest generation, Gill Fox did his part for the war effort drawing for Stars and Stripes. His splendid little drawing above done for the publication pretty much sums up the entire purpose of this site...babes and how they are rendered by artists. Earlier in the 1940s he had done some drawings for the Quality Comics Group "Plastic Man" and "Super Snooper" but more importantly, he drew the legendary "Torchy" which he took over after big bust luster Bill Ward moved on to other projects. In a most interesting, extensive interview before his death (which name drops so many prominent cartoonists and comic illustrators he sounds like a talking encyclopedia) Fox claims that "The one thing that puzzled me (about Bill Ward) was that he started doing the girly stuff for cheap men's magazines and quit developing as an artist." Fair enough... and due to the quality of Gill's work i'll forgive him. Torchy, besides being one of the major factors keeping the morale (and wangers) of our brave servicemen up, also achieved notoriety when moralist Dr. Fredric Wertham put her on his list of comic books which would warp young minds...and she dribbled away to comic sleaze heaven. Following the purge, Fox continued working on Hi and Lois and many other strips.
Gill Fox, Original drawing circa 1943 (detail) Collection Jim Linderman (Victor Minx)
Virginia "Ding Dong" Bell (seriously) made loops which were spliced together and titled "Lullaby of Bareland" and one "feature" film called "Bell, Bare and Beautiful" in 1963. She had impressive credits...44 inches of them.
SHOCK advert for Virginia Bell Topless Loops 1963
Circle the smut you seek! A big paperback blowout of crummy books from Bedside / Bedtime books. Small print, but worth enlarging for descriptions (when they said you might go blind, they weren't kidding) "A drink in a bar, a casual nod, a frenzied love with nothing to lose." Bedside was Bedside until 1961, when they became Bedtime Books and limped along for two more years. It looks like they produced some 50 titles, but as you can see they had dumped them on a jobber named Teenetta in Long Island City where they were being shilled at the "rare book price" of 50 cents. Plenty of Warehouse space in L.I. City, I've been there. P.S.1, the innovative art space is there now. Enlarge the image to see seething volumes such as "Sinful Army Temptress" "Primitive Passions" "Wild Cargo" and "Man Hungry" to name a few. "Don't be Shut Out...Act Man, Act Today." Double B books published Donald Westlake and Harry Whittington under pseudonyms, but for some reason Harry used his own name for "Naked Lust"...he must have been proud of the title.
1963 Advertisement for cut-out Bedside Books 1963