Monday, July 28, 2014
Master illustrator, sometimes art director and chief renderer for House of Burtman Eugene Bilbrew conjurs up a perfect characterization of cash cow Bettie Page. How the pinup model became cross-dressing's most famous figure of the 1950s will be revealed...
Eugene Bilbrew...Junkie, draftsman and genius helps to create an underground icon.
Times Square Smut the Book is coming soon
Friday, July 4, 2014
Jon Parker imagines a way to pay the rent other than hacking it out at 50 cents a page. Rent Party features a gloriously incongruent cover by Eric Stanton from the After Hours imprint of Stanley Malkin. Parker also wrote Light Up, Inside Job, and two handfuls more for the early 1960s paperback lines purporting to be out of Buffalo, New York. We'll check the address. Times Square Smut the BOOK is coming soon. Follow Vintage Sleaze the Blog for updates and more.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Joe Shuster Drawing from the Nights of Horror era from the forthcoming book Times Square Smut and Vintage Sleaze the Blog
Times Square Smut the book (forthcoming) by Jim Linderman will reveal numerous previously unknown and unidentified drawings by Superman Co-Creator Joe Shuster from his Nights of Horror period. This one dates to 1954.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
As footwear did play a large part in the groundbreaking fetish fashion developed by the principals covered in the Times Square Smut book...yes INDEED we will discuss the shoes and boots...including the sources who created the fashion accessories.
Times Square Smut the Book is coming. Until then, books and ebooks by the author are available HERE
Times Square Smut the Book is coming. Until then, books and ebooks by the author are available HERE
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Temptation was one of the 70 books for which Edward Mishkin was prosecuted, and which were detailed in the case against him which went to the Supreme Court. Justin Kent was the author, whose pseudonym will be revealed in Times Square Smut. Eugene Bilbrew, the African-American artist who overdosed on 42nd Street did the cover. As you can see, the suggested retail price was more than ten times the going rate for a paperback book at the time. Criminal! It took until 1965 for the Supreme Court to rule on Eddie's case. Very few copies exist today...while it is unknown exactly how long the books were available on 42nd Street before being confiscated, this could be one of a dozen copies remaining.
A characteristic work by the artist, as it not only has his familiar "troubled man" figure, Bilbrew's use of ethnic types often distinguishes his work. He receives no credit on the cover...probably lost in trimming.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Original Work by Eugene Bilbrew (Detail) Missing for 50 Years...Private Collection.
For the first time, the story of how original works, including the above by the artist were lost, and the extraordinary story of how they were found...and where they had been. Hint: It involves show business, the mob, rock and roll and one of the first "swinger's clubs" ever.
Times Square Smut the BOOK is coming.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
At Ground Zero of Times Square Smut Hal Zucker and H. Zucca by Jim Linderman Excerpt from the forthcoming book
(EXCERPT FROM TIMES SQUARE SMUT by JIM LINDERMAN COPYRIGHT 2014 JIM LINDERMAN and MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN ANY WAY without permission of the author)
At Ground Zero of Times Square Smut: Hal Zucker and H. Zucca by Jim Linderman
Hal Zucker was a curious man with curious interests and a pseudonym. Today, he wouldn't require a fake name as his strange tastes are more commonplace. It now appears he published what he found both interesting and quasi- legal under the name H. Zucca.
I believe Zucker is the missing link between the above-ground erotica of Samuel Roth and the low-art of Edward Mishikin, Leonard Burtman and Irving Klaw. For fifty years Zucker managed to keep this connection secret.
Not any longer. If my suspicions are accurate, Mr. Zucker is at the center of Times Square Smut AND was good at picking fake names from the end of the alphabet.
Hal Zucker is best known (though that is an exaggeration) as co-editor with Samuel Roth for some issues of the serial American Aphrodite: a Quarterly for the Fancy-Free. An early sexual-seeped survey published as a hardcover for adventurous lovers of obscure and arcane dirty stories. Literate and literary, but still mostly a way to present the erotic and the taboo which circulated decades earlier (and often a continent away) to the American public. He also worked with Roth on Good Times: a Revue of the World of Pleasure, a digest-sized periodical which did the same but on a more public scale. Both drew extensively from the early days of traditional erotica…the kind one could use for sexual enlightenment and excitement, but still that which had some redeeming social value. They also gave Roth an excuse to print illustrations of topless women and sometimes more if he chose, but for the most part the publications were serious literature, even if the topics ranged from incest to flagellation. Roth pushed the envelope, but it was mailing pitches for his books in them which got him in trouble with the Post Office.
Roth was in trouble virtually his entire life, and he paid for it dearly. Still his story somewhat peripheral to ours, and has thankfully been well documented by others cited in our sources, even though the Supreme Court ruled on one of his cases at the very same time as his lesser-literate publisher in kind Edward Mishkin.
Hal Zucker had legal problems too. It appears he was arrested, while a bookstore clerk, along with bookstore owner Louis Finkelstein right in the Deuce. At least a "Harold Zucker" was…and that bookstore clerk was surely the degree-holding scholar slumming. Finkelstein also had a case which went all the way to the Supreme Court. That would be the Kingsley Books case and his bookstore smack in the middle of Times Square…ground zero for smut. No wonder Hal eventually used a pseudonym, and he also used famed lawyer and civil liberties advocate Emanuel Redfield.
Under his real name, Hal Zucker published his quirky explorations into body modification and tattoo art, such as Tattooed Women and their Mates in 1955. It was released as part of a series of "World Folk Arts" books under the Andre Levy imprint which didn't last long. It is one of the first collections of material on body ink which has now become so commonplace that the rebels are trying to have theirs removed. (Andre Levy was but one of dozens of what could be described as "fly by night" imprints operated by Roth.) In 1955, Tattoos were primarily found in cultures of 'the other' and the somewhat murky underground of criminals, prostitutes, carnival performers and ship hands. Zucker pulled them together and placed them into a sexual context. Jay Gertzman in Samuel Roth: Infamous Modernist reports Zucker adapted the book from his thesis done at Brooklyn college. With chapter headings such as "erotic motifs, homosexual tattooing, criminal tattooing" and more, the book published a quite striking collection of images and photographs Zucker assembled long before "tramp stamps" became common on young women today. It was decades ahead of the times and highly entertaining. It is also but one example of the cultural influences which travelled from a few bookstores on 42nd Street to our lives today.
Perhaps the exorbitant prices for works such as Slave Mistress are why one scholar suspects Zucca had an organized crime connection. Deviant sexual interests were not cheap to satisfy, and while not as profitable as loan-sharking and selling low-grade construction cement, it has been well-documented that where there is a need, the families will provide. At the time, the New York City gay clubs were mob-run. It is not unreasonable to suspect the same when a "thrilling story of a cruel and dominant woman and her unusual desires" would set you back a month's worth of staple goods. Other books likely coming from "House of Burtman" with H. Zucca involvement include Virgin-Co-ed with a stylized Bettie Page cover "copyright H. Zucca, Paris Press" for the slightly lower price of three dollars. The co-ed depicted on the cover was indeed once a college student, but she was 34 at the time these books came out. She had nothing to do with it other than that the illustration was based on a photo of her taken in the same circles. The model was modeling in the milieu as these publishers, and that gives some support to a notion the feds were as interested in where the money was going as much as they were preventing young minds from being corrupted by Bettie's perfect bottom. Page was questioned by the FBI about spanking photographs and the document is shown in her chapter here.
The other sidelines of Mr. Zucca are even more interesting.
Ultra was a digest which lasted four issues. Hal was still trying to figure out exactly which of his scholarly pursuits into the dark would be marketable, so he filled the magazine with "wrestling gals, exotic fashions and bizarre fads" and sent them into the bookstores under the strange imprint of "Ultra-Sports." The publisher's address was on Broadway, but I believe the author and publisher was living on West 84th Street. Despite having very high quality work by both Eric Stanton and Gene Bilbrew, the price had come down to a buck! He continued his practice of cribbing articles from various journals of the strange. Quite likely without paying for them, as the majority were taken directly from other magazines but uncredited. Ultra limped along until the last issue could no longer afford the slick cover, for which Zucca apologized. Sorry Hal, that's why they call it a sub-culture. The market isn't as large as you might think for wrestling amazons.
How Zucca managed to assemble the digests with contributions by Stanton and Bilbrew has not been documented, but he did a good job and they present some of their best works...some which has yet to appear elsewhere. Some of the photographs published in Ultra clearly have Burtman roots. His models, the same clothes…but the editorial content is Zucca's alone. A semi-scholarly pastiche of fetish clip-art, curious cartoons of European origin and mass-media pictures of normal wrestlers now re-purposed into a fetish context.
Zucca's most curious attempt at publishing was surely HUM. Which apparently was a truncated word formed from the Hump of his mascot, a CAMEL. (Hef had a bunny, but a camel?) Sure enough, Zucca created Melvin Hum "the well-bred camel" to represent his first foray into a large format magazine. Each of the three issues has a camel on the inside front cover. The price had dropped to fifty cents, but still Ms. Page was represented by a splashy Bilbrew rendering, and a certainly cribbed camel. Unfathomable, and probably why Melvin the Camel propelled the magazine forward only three issues. Less than a year, and even the striking (stolen) picture of stripper Blaze Starr on the cover of the third issue couldn't save it.
In 1960, Zucker continued his repackaging of earlier spicy material into a more contemporary format. One was the Tortura book here, again possibly a reprint of a moldy earlier tale(?) One rare book dealer describes it as "…a flimsy, self-important short story apparently intended to appeal to S&M fans." While I have not read the book, I suspect that is truth in advertising. I have seen only two copies of Al Golag's Tortura: The Trial of a Spanker and now you have seen the cover of one of them. The book is about corporal punishment, but it is not about the Dr. Benjamin Spock controversy which was raging at the time among parents of the spoiled youth who would grow up to idolize the figures and fashions Zucca helped distribute. Sparingly.
Most notable, if only because the books contain original contributions by none other than Superman's co-creator Joe Shuster, is the It's Continental digests. Same look and feel as a Burtman product, but "It's New" and "It's Different" while being the same. Some of the photos appear to be those of John Willie. They are included here because one scholar suspected "Zucker was a partner with Edward Mishkin in publishing only…" and that he may have been involved with a digest which contained a comic strip by Joe Shuster." However, I do not find Zucker's name on either of the two issues here. I suspect the material was lifted by Mishkin or one of his associates. Still, if Zucker (or Zucca) was involved, good for him. They are valuable examples of the work Superman's father was doing in the 1950s., and a good portion of it appears later for the first time since the 1950s.
It is worth pointing out all the books and magazines here were likely published in editions of a thousand or so, distributed only in a few select bookstores even then…and are virtually extinct today. Few copies of ANY of the Zucca material is available today, even in ripoff digital editions sold on eBay. Documentation was missing fifty years ago and today it is even more furtive.
The Joe Shuster serial cartoon (only part of which was reprinted in Secret Identity: The Fetish art of Superman's Co-creator Joe Shuster by Craig Yoe) is included in the Joe Shuster chapter further along in our story. A panel below teases...
So what are we to make of this connection? Did Hal Zucker have a secret literary double named H. Zucca and was he an acquaintance of both the notable Samuel Roth and the notorious Leonard Burtman? Did Bilbrew and Stanton deliver original work to Zucker, or did he obtain it through Burtman? All I can do is push the story along a bit, but it appears the Zucca / Zucker revelation raises entirely new questions about the relationship between the high art of Samuel Roth and the low art of Times Square Smut.
BOOKS ILLUSTRATED COLLECTION JIM LINDERMAN BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTES FORTHCOMING. ALL TEXT HERE IS COPYRIGHT JIM LINDERMAN 2014 AND MAY NOT BE USED OR REPRINTED WITHOUT PERMISSION