Saturday, October 22, 2016

Rader Love: “When Lights Are Low”

Part of a month-long celebration of artist Paul Rader’s work.

When Lights Are Low, by “Dallas Mayo,” aka Gil Fox (Midwood, 1963). “Unlike some other paperback houses, all of Midwood’s early books dealt only with aspects of human sexuality,” writes Paul Rader authority Lynn Monroe. That includes lesbianism. Beginning with When Lights Are Low, Rader is said to have gone to work all but exclusively for Midwood, and a number of his paintings appeared on lesbian novels. Julie Ellis, who penned various tales for Midwood under the pseudonym Joan Ellis, told Monroe that during his college years, Gil Fox—who’d grown up partly in Connecticut and had served as a bombardier in World War II, before becoming a prolific Midwood author—had “met and married a Southern beauty who was bisexual. Her lesbian adventures would influence Fox’s writing for the rest of his life.” Fox himself related a story to Monroe about how Midwood Books publisher Harry Shorten had instructed him to write When Lights Are Low: “How Harry operated: one day we came back from lunch and Harry picks the title When Lights Are Low out of the air and says, ‘Your next book for Midwood will be When Lights Are Low.’ That was it, no meaning at all, no story. So, you know, I went home and wrote When Lights Are Low.” The book’s cover is embedded above; the back jacket can be found here.

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