Gag Pocket Viewer with Lens and Slide of a Vacation Photo. 1958 Collection Victor Minx
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books Here
Eric Stanton Illustrations not seen for over 50 years and then only published in a book entitled "Virgins Come High" which likely only exists in a dozen or so copies. That is my guess, but you certainly will not find it on Amazon. This book is one for which a Milwaukee man was prosecuted and convicted of obscenity for attempting to sell in his bookstore. Note he did not even display the book for sale...he was arrested as he signed for the shipment of books from New York.
Do they seem somewhat tame today? Ayup...and the bookseller, who was fined and given jail time, never received a pardon!
I personally know of only five copies of the book, and four were confiscated in Milwaukee in 1957. A 95 page book with absolutely nothing more obscene than a PG film, if that! I would love to hear from anyone who has a copy other than this one. The story is told in the new book The Thousand Dollar Book: Smut and the Milwaukee Arrest for Obscenity 1957.
Interestingly, the book itself has something as "obscene" as an encounter in a haystack, and one of the characters is named "Ed Begely" (!!!) Now THAT is sexy.
Eric Stanton Illustrations from "Virgins Come High" by "H. Tennob" No date, No publisher, 95 pages. Circa 1956-1957 Collection Victor Minx
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books
I pride myself on collecting unusual photographs, but no one collected more and with more vigor than Bernard L. Kobel. It is a clear case of the freak collecting the freaks!
You see, Bernie didn't just take and COLLECT photographs of medical abnormalities, circus freaks, war atrocities, lurid and lewd crime scenes and such, he reprinted and SOLD them from the back of sleazy magazines! You have likely seen some if you are a bit adventurous...the woman with the world's largest whatevers, the guy with the giant stuff, the bizarre pair of thingamabobs...even I don't want to show them and I'm pretty much immune by now. I'm cheeky but Bernie crossed the line!
You have also seen reproductions of his collection without knowing it. The famous picture of armless and beautiful sideshow performer (and actress) Frances O'Connor who appears on the cover of the Re/search book Freaks (linked at right) is a Kobel photo, even if not taken by him, but he did take plenty himself. Some of the photographs shown on the billboard at Hubert's Museum in Times Square (and later, on the cover of the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street album) were Kobel shots. His reprints sold fairy well, at least well enough to have entered the sleazy underground where gourmands of gore dwell. They continue to sell long after Bernie moved from Indiana to Florida and then Sideshow heaven, as bootleg reproductions and, I guess, authentic ones on auction websites.
Not all Kobel's photos were gruesome or gratuitous, but plenty were...As you can see here, he advertised kinky tattoo photos in girlie magazines, (often showing far more than the tattoo) freaks and contortionists in entertainment trade magazines, and I suppose he advertised his gruesome war photos in whatever war folks read. A pair of originals are shown HERE.
I do not know much about Bernie, but I know as much as I want. Interestingly, a later advertisement shows he was trying to leverage his collection into a new direction....stamp collecting! "Lists sent, natch...Will trade for U.S. stamp collections."
Natch indeed...one of his catalogs from the 1950s lists nearly 500 photos which I don't even want to print the descriptions of. On the other hand, one of his photographs for sale in a catalog is "The First Official Hair Pulling Contest...held at the Palisades Amusement Park with 24 girls from the Walter Thornton Modeling Agency as contestants."
I'd trade a few stamps to see THAT one.
(A post on Dull Tool Dim Bulb the Daily Art blog as well)
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE
Remember those horrible plastic magnet Scotty dogs, one of the most useless toys ever invented? Fishlove. A cheap bastard if I ever heard of one. Why do I say that? Check these out...He paid his artist for ONE gag gift, but used it TWICE. Now you could call that good business...or "value-added" use of a drawing, but I call it cheap. Sleaze artists have to eat too, Fishlove.
The Fishlove novelty company made more things than you can imagine, and you have owned some...you STILL have some, even if only in a cardboard box on the top shelf. Maybe you have ONE of the Scotty pair, the other having fallen down a floor vent decades ago. Founded in 1914, they are still churning out gags...but now under the umbrella of another fun conglomerate, Fun, Inc.
I'm not showing you what was in the first falsies box here...who wants to ruin a good gag?
Falsies box, circa 1950 Collection Victor Minx
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books
Bill Wenzel Drawing and the home it found on the back cover of Fun Parade. More early bill Wenzel work HERE.
Original Drawing collection Jim Linderman Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books Catalog HERE
Inexplicable, but each one named Suzy! "On the upper left-hand corner, you will find 3 slots. Insert white card into each slot + "WATCH THE ACTION" + Taiwan on reverse.
Three Strip action Novelty toys, Taiwan No Date Collection Victor Minx
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE
Excerpt from THE THOUSAND DOLLAR BOOK: SMUT AND THE MILWAUKEE ARREST FOR OBSCENITY 1957 by Jim Linderman
Writer and collector Jim Linderman from the noted blog Dull Tool Dim Bulb finds yet another forgotten story. In 1957 Milwaukee, hapless bookstore owner Samuel R. Hochman is arrested and convicted of obscenity attempting to stock his shelves with sleazy digest books produced by criminal elements, hack writers using fake names and the startling illustrations of Eugene Bilbrew and Eric Stanton. With Court transcripts, vintage ads, scarce mail order catalogs and more, the unfortunate story is told here for the first time. INCLUDES a COMPLETE reprint of the ENTIRE BOOK for Which Hochman was convicted, THE SEX FACTORY by H. Tennob. Not seen for over 50 years, the book contains numerous Bilbrew illustrations which have never been reprinted. Of interest to legal scholars, book collectors and anyone who enjoys a true story with spicy pictures!
On the afternoon of May 13, 1957, Federal agents walked through the door of Samuel R. Hochman's "Avenue Novelty Shop" located at 733 West Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee. Federal agents of the FBI that is. Hochman sold books and other sundries in his store which was located in what was at the time an entertainment district and somewhat dicey neighborhood. Mr. Hochman had just received a shipment of books from the ABC Freight company he had ordered for his inventory, but had not even had time to open the box. After signing the delivery receipt, he left the carton on the floor of his shop. Three FBI agents already knew what was in the box. After introducing themselves, one being agent Julian Clark, they told Hochman that he was receiving an obscene book titled "The Sex Factory". They asked if they could open the box and Hochman gave his permission. Inside were 101 books. In addition to The Sex Factory (and Virgins Come High, which will figure later) there were some twenty titles including Silk Stockings,' 'Lash,' 'Flossie,' 'Spankee,' 'Straps,' 'Sadist,' 'Woman and Her Master,' ' 'Celesti,' 'Wheel of Violence,' 'Come-on Girl,' 'Justine,' 'French Pornographer,' 'History of Prostitution,' 'Bandit in High Heels,' 'Mistress in Satin,' 'Exotique #13,' 'Exotique #14,' and 'Bubbles Darlene.' It appears Hochman ordered four copies of each title and a few extras of The Sex Factory.
(For those of you who are interested, "Bubbles Darlene" was an exotic dancer, though she described herself once to Nashville police as a "strip teaser." Bubbles real name was Virginia Lachimia, a platinum blond with considerable talents originally from Minneapolis. She studied as a ballet dancer, but found burlesque paid more. However, she did more than dance. In 1955, while performing her act, someone broke into her hotel room and swiped her entire suitcase of risque photographs "including some nudes taken in Cuba" and she was forced to take out a classified ad in the local newspaper offering $500 for their safe return. She was "S.O.L." and they were never found.) Bubbles even claimed once to have danced with a 22 piece orchestra. Today, Bubbles is recognized as one of the classic burlesque dancers, and an often seen photograph of her posing in a hat made of ram's horns makes Lady Gaga look like a thrift store model.
The agents rustled through the box on the floor and retrieved two they either found most offensive, or were the titles they were sent to retrieve. The Sex Factory and another book by the same author, Virgins Come High. Both were written by one H. Tennob, a pseudonym. The Sex Factory was illustrated with line drawings by Eugene Bilbrew, and Virgins Come High was illustrated by Eric Stanton. The agents confiscated the entire box (though at a later date returned over half of them) and arrested the bookseller, charging him with violation of 18 U.S.C.A 1462, which among other things declares it illegal to accept through a common carrier any "obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture...of indecent character."
Milwaukee, Wisconsin may have "sin" in the state name, but the city was solid middle-of-the-road America. The Milwaukee Braves would win the world series a few months after Hochman was arrested. Despite the glut of beer (and beer guts) it produces, Milwaukee maintains strict vigilance against sleaze. 20 years after Hochman's book bust, comedian George Carlin was arrested in the city for his "7 words" routine. Despite being only an hour north of Chicago, Milwaukee has maintained a comparatively innocent profile, low on crime, low on mobsters and low on porn, although a recent study did find 46% of Milwaukee residents masturbate at work, not that it was too scientific. I am sure there is no relationship, but for interesting context, a former nun took an axe to a bikini wearing snow sculpture in Milwaukee in 1987. In 2005, a small group of zealots made a failed attempt to ban the display of thongs at a Milwaukee Victoria's Secret. On the other hand, cartoonist Denis Kitchen, founder of Kitchen Sink Press who worked out of Milwaukee says he never felt any pressure there, though he did found the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund anyway. I guess censorship can rear whenever and wherever. Milwaukee is probably no better or worse than any other city, and thankfully virtually all first amendment rights as it pertains to the printed word are protected these days, be it in Wisconsin or New York City.
Wal-Mart does the de-facto censoring these days, in Milwaukee and everywhere else. Of course, this will not matter for long as the entire format "book" is on the way out like the compact discs they refused to carry. All the action is on the web, and the law, by definition a long, reasoned procedure, is so far behind technology and the times that regulating it is impossible.
Where did the box of smut originate? It seems a salesman from the Max Padell book company in New York City had paid a visit to the Avenue Novelty Shop earlier in the year with sample book covers to show and a price list to study. Padell was a well-established publisher and vendor who had skirted the law before. Among their own titles were (and are today... moldy copies exist in every used bookstore in the country) "Fact about Nudism" from way back in 1935, "From Dance Hall to White Slavery" in 1943 and "Strange Loves: A Study in Sexual Abnormalities" in 1952. Their bread and butter was a ton of crappy rip-offs like "How to be a Detective' "How to Play Dice and Win and numerous magic trick and self-defense books. They ran mail-order advertisements in the 1940s which indicated they stocked hundreds of different titles, and listed the company address at 830 Broadway, New York City. Most were mere pamphlets, but they had also published serious writers like Kenneth Patchen...
NOW AVAILABLE! THE THOUSAND DOLLAR BOOK: SMUT AND THE MILWAUKEE ARREST FOR OBSCENITY 1957 by Jim Linderman
Writer and collector Jim Linderman from the noted blog Dull Tool Dim Bulb finds yet another forgotten story. In 1957 Milwaukee, hapless bookstore owner Samuel R. Hochman is arrested and convicted of obscenity attempting to stock his shelves with sleazy digest books produced by criminal elements, hack writers using fake names and the startling illustrations of Eugene Bilbrew and Eric Stanton. With Court transcripts, vintage ads, scarce mail order catalogs and more, the unfortunate story is told here for the first time.
INCLUDES a reprint of the ENTIRE BOOK for Which Hochman was convicted, THE SEX FACTORY by H. Tennob. Not seen for over 50 years, the book contains numerous Bilbrew illustrations which have never been reprinted. Of interest to legal scholars, book collectors and anyone who enjoys a true story with spicy pictures!
Links to the original articles follow:
Stanley Rayon Cartoonist
Jim Linderman Interview
Lost Art of Tattoo Comics
Satan Press Bibliography and History
The Expert Man who was a Dame
Who is the Girl Next Door
A sophisticated artist and photographer who will probably ask me to take these photographs down when he finds them (and if so I will be happy to) but as I am choosing him to be the fourth "Unsung Hero of Photography" (along Wil Blanche, Russ Meyer and Bunny Yeager) maybe he will permit them to stay here a while. Benno Friedman is not a vintage sleaze photographer by any means, and his inclusion here is only for two reasons. One, his splendid, if tiny, photo essay on the sleazy underbelly of New York City Times Square and Sex Shops along 42nd Street which he shot for Venture Magazine way back in 1970. They are thus buried...Venture is a defunct magazine which was a strange mixture of art and travel that, for some curious reason, put a 3-D cover on each issue! The technique was called "Xograph" and you've likely seen the technique on other things...like lenticular toys and such.
Benno was then a very young man, and working seemingly as a journeyman photographer. He did a considerable amount of commercial work but it was all far above the norm. The images I have seen which he has done since this are remarkable...and although he is well-published and active (including work in the Whitney Biennial, the pinnacle as far as I am concerned) with a considerable and impressive resume, these photos which document a pre-Disney deuce are as such a little prize. Maybe if he sees this post Mr. Friedman will dig out the work and do a show. He has also contributed much to photographic theory and art...there are contributions to numerous photography sources in which Friedman adds to the field.
The other reason I am including his work here is a quote he provided to an essay from a recent show at Boston University. Not one to rest on his darkroom laurels, Mr. Friedman is actively digitizing his work and is still creating vital and impressive photos with new technology. Friedman says in the 2009 exhibition essay from the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University “Software is today's magic wand, allowing all of us to become wizards …[but] what is a photograph? Instead of eliminating all of the scratches and dust marks on a photograph, one could choose to eliminate everything but the scratches and dust marks; the result would be no less a photograph.” Sums up my own feelings about photographs...they are physical objects with imperfections, and those "dust marks and scratches" which provide surface to the flat object are important. Bravo Benno!
(A graduate of Brandeis University, Friedman has both worked as a commercial photographer and shown at the Whitney Biennial. Exhibited extensively, Friedman's work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY; National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC; and the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, among others. His most recent solo exhibition, Real Photos, Visual Queries, was on display at the Suffolk University Art Gallery at the New England School of Art and Design in Boston)
Photographs taken from the article "New York...Should This Town be Rated X?" by Saul Braun, Venture Magazine November 1970. Photographs by Benno Friedman, all rights the artist.
Satan Press Paperback Books Vintage Sleaze SATAN PRESS Reuben Sturman and his Demented Bilbrew Covers a Bibliography and History
The sleaziest, which goes without saying, the BEST paperback line of all time was certainly Satan Press. I mean, what were they thinking? Would ANYONE carry one of these books up to the counter to pay? I think Satan probably had the highest ratio of stolen vs. paid in the history of printing. Of course, it is all come-on, and there is nary a swear word in them. Just like my mother used to say in regards to cold cereal "you might as well eat the box."
Satan had the good, or rather horrible, sense to pick Eugene Bilbrew for the covers. Not just Bilbrew...a queasy demented Bilbrew, down on his luck and obviously experimenting with more than junk...he MUST have found some psychedelics somewhere.
Until recently, I do not believe it had been confirmed the covers of the entire line were done by Bilbrew, but I'm here to say amen, Satan, pass the pulp. I can also confirm each is worse than the other! They cross the border at quirk and drive all the way to dement without stopping to buy gas or take a leak. What did the publishers TELL him?
Satan books have always been a bit harder to find than, shall we say, regular boring publishers like Signet, Ace, Penguin and Dell. After all, your dad, or grandfather, had to sneak one of these home! Unlikely, unless your father was crazy insane as well.
As I have posted some of the Satan covers before (Surf Broad in particular....He HAW) I am only putting a few up here. Here is your checklist...figure from 20 to 50 bucks each, maybe more. Do NOT expect a good read...but the covers will put your friends jaws on the floor.
Satan Press was but one tiny portion of the mega-huge-gigundo-whopper of a publishing house run by Joe and Rueben Sturman, brothers in sleaze and brothers in CLEVELAND of all places. Rueben was the brains. Satan certainly wasn't one of his most profitable lines, but he had others...and when he died in prison, a victim of tax-evasion laws, he left an estate said to be 100 million dollars. That is one big chunk of sleaze dough my friends. With the estate tax in place, Rueben could have wiped out the national debt had he gone to pulp heaven today. He passed in 1997.
Reuben paid his authors (none of whom used their real names, apparently) $1000 each for a book. For all it matters, he could have printed pages of the telephone book in these...I mean, please who is going to walk up to the counter and RETURN one?
Rueben really made his money in distribution, but he did have printing plants and adult bookstores in his prurient portfolio. Did I say bookstores? EIGHT HUNDRED OF THEM! Hell, that probably rivals Barnes and Noble! Now bear in mind the inventory in his stores certainly included far, far, far more explicit rags than these softer than downy core books. But 800? Gosh, when a company hires a thousand employees today, it is Wall Street headline news. Rueben had that many working as clerks and his local cops probably had twice that many photographing license plates!
How a Jewish pornographer in Cleveland hooked up with an African-American fetish artist living in squalor on 42nd Street is beyond me, but isn't this a great country?
So for you adventurous paperback book collectors out there, here is your challenge. Trade in your "rare" Dell-mapbacks and Ace Doubles and build a real collection of hard to find titles...Satan Press. "Lust Behind Bars" was the hardest one for me to find, I got it on Ebay two days ago and am using the image from the listing here.
Jim Linderman is author of the forthcoming book TIMES SQUARE SMUT (and other books from Dull Tool Dim Bulb Press)
SATAN PRESS BIBLIOGRAPHY (All around 1965)
101 Queer Daddy Helene Morgan
102 Passion Psycho Jack Kahler
103 Denied Russ Trainer
104 The Seeker Russ Trainer
105 Teacher's Pet James Harvey
106 Celluloid Sex Bomb John Roxbury
107 Black Water Nympho Helene Morgan
108 His Brother Love Russ Trainer
109 Passion Sauce Jack Kahler
110 The Experimenters Juliette Rowler
111 Just For Kicks Donna Powell
112 Sex Challenge Russ Trainer
113 The Sex Trap Wolf Larkin
114 Everybody Wins Jack Vast
115 30 Day Orgy Donald Powell
116 What Wanda Wants Dan Brook
117 Surf Broad Ray Train
118 Flesh Worshippers Jack Woods
119 Blood Orgy Helene Morgan
120 After School Donna Powel
121 Lust Behind Bars Russ Trainer
122 Sexpionage Jack Woods
123 Fetish Farm Ken Gardner
124 Black is for Bliss Lana Preston
125 Coed for Hire Bud Masters 126 School for Nymphos Don King
DULL TOOL DIM BULB BOOKS HERE
Some of these woman may run hot and cold...so does Bil Rich Hot & Cold Paving Materials! Bil, who seems to have left the last "L" off for, um...laying your concrete driveway...tries to spice up some business with his spicy ashtrays!
I found the owner of Bil-Rich, and his name was in fact "Bill" but I will omit him here...as I am sure these sexist smoke trays have come back to haunt him before. The company also gave away lighters, so you could have a complete set of "works" to get your nic fix. Unfortunately, the lighters just had the asphalt-making factory on them...no broads.
Ashtrays are a collectible of the future (which means now!) No one wants them because they reek of "dirty" but some are quite splendid once washed and the poison, carcinogenic stink has left them.
Now that I think of "collectibles" it is time to acknowledge the glamorous stocking-wearing elephant in the room...Good Girl Art or Cheesecake Illustrators. You know them, and if you are like me, you sneer at them. Vargas. Earl Moran Gil Elvgreen Zoe Mozert Earl MacPherson and the ilk. Pervy Norman Rockwell types. If I am really lucky, one of the collectors will happen upon this post and help me identify the artist here so I can make fun of him better.
Yes, the Good Girl Art artists rule the pin-up roost. They rule the calendar market too, and have for 100 years, but their endless perfect poses and pert pets displaying only so much for the artist become tiresome after you have seen a few. Revered by some, but I sure don't know who. Every year another giant book on them comes out and is immediately sent to the "Bargain Books" rack at Barnes and Noble. You won't see any of the artists I profile here on a Coca-Cola ad, that's for sure. I prefer my dirty old men to render less well.
For an apt analogy, think airbrushed Playboy centerfold versus Suicide Girl. Fleetwood Mac versus the Sex Pistols. Breast implants versus, well...no breast implants. Authentic is never perfect, but it is real...and in an increasingly "plastic" world I favor the natural.
The ashtray artist here is actually not that bad, as he isn't too good! Rendered quirky enough to be appreciated here, his sexy gals look more like guys in drag than girls. Just inept enough for me! Unfortunately, his signature is illegible, even though he managed to put it off to the side where the butt isn't snuffed out...but you gotta think there is something misanthropic about putting a woman on an ashtray anyway. Go ahead, animal...grind it out.
Group of GGA Cheesecake Ashtrays, circa 1950 Collection Victor Minx
DULL TOOL DIM BULB Books Catalog HERE