A NEW VINTAGE SLEAZE SERIES The Rare Digests (!) Black Lace #1
With this post a new series begins on Vintage Sleaze the Blog! The continuing series on Tijuana Bibles has been well received, that will grow in the weeks ahead as well. THE RARE DIGESTS will focus on the seldom seen and scarce digest form pamphlets and booklets published prior to 1960 by the real deal...the mobsters. I was recently heartened by a huge mob bust while I was in New York City last week. Maybe we can expect a whole new generation of inept, sloppy but fascinating soft-core like this volume in the future! (Although the crews they busted seem to have more in common with Jimmy Breslin "Gang that can't shoot straight" crooks than the real guys from the wise guys days...One murder was over a spilled drink for god's sake) Still, it indicates the Cosa Nostra still shows the black hand, even if smut is no longer a way of bringing in the dough.
Black Lace comes from the mysterious house of Mishkin. I have written on him before and will again. In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful circa 1955 gem which was obviously intended as a periodical...yet I have never found an issue two...and in fact this is the only copy I have ever seen of issue one! Suum Cuique is a ruse...there is no publisher indicated anywhere else, not on the title page, there is no address...Just some top notch drawings by Gene Bilbrew and three lousy, pseudonymous "novelettes" from a fresh-ribbon typewriter. 50 pages, and five tiny photographs of stocking clad models. Odd.
"Suum Quique" comes from the Latin and means "to each his own" but I suspect the publishers, if they were smart enough, that is, intended it to be interpreted as "cum quick" but that is a guess. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a short poem with the same title, needless to say it has nothing to do with a "sexational" anything.
This is an extremely scarce book. I have only seen this copy. It was promoted in the back of at least one other Mishkin book and the same illustration was apparently used for the cover of "The Day of Sacrifice" as shown in the brochure here, but it was probably just swiped without credit and has nothing to do with the book or publisher here. As with all the digests I will discuss, it is a cheap, poorly bound typed book, nearly 5" x 8" and sleazy. One similar title indicates it was published in a printing of 1000, which given the age and the furtive nature of the reader at the time, would mean few, if any other copies survive. If anyone else holds a copy, I would love to hear of it! As I show in The Thousand Dollar Book, the retail mail-order price from the distributor was $3.00, but any retail operation who dared display it in the 1950s could shrink wrap it and mark any price they wanted, as no price was marked on the cover.
As for the content, it would not even have to be on a top shelf at your local bookstore today. I do not even see a swear word.
Bilbrew uses his pseudonym ENEG which is the reverse of his first name Gene.
I will try to post one digest a week or so...Rare books which should be of interest to pulp collectors, vintage sleaze collectors, scholars, bibliophiles and anyone with an interest in seeing what used to pass for obscene!
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