Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Four Play

• I’ve periodically happened across Web mentions of the Trevor Anderson, Agent 0008, series of “spy-fi smut” paperbacks, which were published during the 1960s and illustrated primarily by Robert Bonfils. But only this last weekend did I discover that the Pulp Covers Web site showcases the majority of those books in all their ribald, sometimes comical glory. In case you don’t know about Anderson, he’s the 30-something top agent for SADISTO (Security and Administration Division of the Institute for Special Tactical Operations), a man “in exceptionally good physical condition, which not only gives him the ability to use his considerable sexual abilities to work miracles in the field but keeps him constantly desiring more escapades, both dangerous and erotic.” (Any resemblance to Ted Mark’s The Man from O.R.G.Y. tales is, of course, purely coincidental.) There were apparently 20 Agent 0008 novels, all credited to Clyde Allison, a pseudonym employed by one William Henley Knoles, who’s been called “the greatest unknown writer of our time, and that’s exactly how he wanted it.” The Agent 0008 book fronts--which you can begin scrolling through here--bear titles (such as Gamefinger, From Rapture with Love, Nautipuss, and For Your Sighs Only) that make clear their intention to capitalize on the popularity of Ian Fleming’s James Bond thrillers. But they also represent some of Bonfils’ best work, and most include hand-lettered titles by Harry Bremner.

• Speaking of Pulp Covers, I had cause to visit that site again yesterday. I’d recently found this piece by Joe Kenney in his blog, Glorious Trash, about the 1957 novel Meet Morocco Jones in the Case of the Syndicate Hoods, written by Jack Baynes (aka Bertram B. Fowler). There were only four entries in Baynes’ series starring Chicago private eye Morocco Jones, described by The Thrilling Detective Web Site as a man “whose mind is as sharp as the edge of lightning--whose fists are as deadly as a forty-five--and whose morals---well, the less said the better.” However, their Crest Book editions were all illustrated by Barye Phillips. Glorious Trash offers the front from Meet Morocco Jones in the Case of the Syndicate Hoods, while Pulp Covers highlights the other three titles.

You just have to love these Anthony Rome paperbacks!

• Artist Charles McVicar’s name came up in a Killer Covers post I wrote back in June having to do with his painting for the front of The Search for Tabatha Carr (1964). I’m reminded of him once more, thanks to the excellent TV history Web site Television Obscurities, which this week is rolling out write-ups about small-screen publicity posters from 1978. “To promote its Fall 1978 line-up,” the site explains, “ABC commissioned a series of seven posters--one for each night of the week--depicting characters from its new and returning shows.” So far, both of the posters presented--for Sunday and Monday--have featured McVicar’s signature. Check back later this week with Television Obscurities to see the whole set.

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