Archive for December, 2009

Hard as Hell to Find Hitts

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books on December 31, 2009 by orriehittfan

Never Cheat Alone (Beacon, 1960)

Posted in Beacon Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , , , , , on December 30, 2009 by orriehittfan

One of Hitt’s suburban novels with desperate housewives and desperate husbands with big dreams.

Ricky is an ex-insurance salesman who has spent two years writing his “tell all” expose on the scams insurance agents and companies pull on unsuspecting people, and how not to get taken.  He believes if he publishes, distributes, and advertises the book himself, he will make a bundle of money.  He just needs to come up with $5K to print 10,000 copies, or even half of that…he believes within a year he’ll have “100 slaesmen working for me.”  No one believes in this book but him — not hus friends, not his wife, Beth, or even his city girlfriend, whose father is a printer and is getting him a deal on paper and ink.

His wife, Beth, when he’s gone, has been spending time with the widower next door, who sleeps with a lot of lonely housewives in the neighborhood.  There is also a rich divorcee, Dorothy Cain (for James Cain?), a vixen who not only seduces Ricky, but seduces Beth as well, so that she is secretly sleeping with both of them.

Ricky is pathetic, showing how low he’ll go to beg for the investment money.  He works for $200 a week at a grave stone company, and there’s always customers because people always die.

This isn’t one of Hitt’s best. It’s somber, but also boring — we don’t care about these people or their problems.

On the Hitt Scale, a 6.

Nude Doll (Kozy Book #182, 1963)

Posted in Kozy Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2009 by orriehittfan

Another novel dealing with one of ol’ Orrie’s favorite themes — young women posing naked for the camera arts nudie pic racket, $5 a set.  The female protagonist is another Lucy, and she’s a backwoods farm girl on the edge of the swamp and bogs, with no mother and drunken louse of a father who raises white mice for the experimental lab market.

I need to keep a count of how many of Hitt’s heroines, villains, and femme fatales are named Lucy.

Was this because of the popularity of I Love Lucy at the time?

But this one is a little different than the others, a slight cut above the rest.  The story of Lucy Sanford  is a sad and somber one — when we meet her in Chapter One, she is living with a married man and woman, Anne and Ted; she’s the wife’s lover, a rich woman, and her husband is a failed novelist with big, non-commercial ideas. He doesn’t seem interested in sex, only his arcane ideas for grand novels.  They own some resort cabins along the lake in Oakville called Perks Landing.  How did Lucy get here?  She looks back…

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As Bad as They Come (Midwood #23, 1959)

Posted in Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by orriehittfan

Like other 1959 Hitt Midwoods Hired Lover and Affair with Lucy, this is a terse first-person tale with a hardboiled edge, about a heel salesman who womanizes his way until all hell breaks loose.

Art is lead sales guy at a mail order catalog firm; he’s indeed as bad as they come just as another Hitt anti-hero was Rotten to the Core. He works in Manhattan, but commutes via train to Middletown, outside Port Jervis, an hour and a half ride, so he often has an excuse to stay overnight in the city if he “misses” the train from staying late at the ofice, when in fact he’s gotten a room or is staying with another woman. His wife seems to trust him — she thinks he makes $200 a week but he actually makes $350 — that $150 is needed for rooms, dinners, drinks, gifts, or even women he pays for sex.  He wonders

why couldn’t I be happy with the wife I had and stop chasing other women?  For the first few months of our marriage — we had been living in New York then — I had tried it and almost made it work. I had only been an assistant in the office then, making seventy a week, and every pay day I handed my envelope over to her. Then I had been assigned to do some work with a married girl and we had gotten friendly […] All the promises I had made myself about being faithful to my wife had fled under the driving pressure of her lips.  (p. 12)

At least he has a conscience about it, so maybe he isn’t all that bad.  Art is not insatiable about  women as much as he’s been sedued by the act of seduction itself — to conquer, acquire, because it makes him feel on top of the world.  He’s also succumbed to the desire of money.

I ought to be satisfied. I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted more. I wanted the whol damn business and then I would be set. Once I had the business in my hands I could have all that I wanted and all the dames I could take care of.

Hell, I’d have everything. (pp. 12-13)

He’s also in debt up to his ears, often missing payments on the car his wife uses. His attitude: “The finance company could wait. They had more money than I did” (p. 32).

Then a monkey wrench is tossed into his plans — one of his lovers at the office, Linda, informs him that she’s pregnant, the baby is his, she plans to have the baby, and she wants him to divorce his wife and marry her, the proper thing to do…

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The Naked Flesh (Kozy Book #159, 1962)

Posted in Kozy Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , , , , on December 23, 2009 by orriehittfan

Of ol’ Orrie’s three nudist camp-themed novels, this is by far the best, albeit quite similar to the other two.

The protagonist is a fellow named Dutch, your typical Hitt hero type,

a big man, a couple inches over six feet, and he weighed a hundred and eighty pounds. None of that weight was fat. He was all new muscles and bone with broad shoulders and close cut sandy hair. As for being handsome he didn’t know […] Most of the women thought he was a man atthe age of twenty-six and that, to Dutch, was what counted.  (p. 3)

He’s spent the last two years working in Iceland (!), having gone there to escape the pain of his girl, Penny, having gotten pregnant by another guy and marrying him…now he has come back to the States because his parents have passed and left him the 250-acre farm. He plans to fix the house up and sell the land, as he doesn’t want to farm to stay here in Cranston, NY.

Only Penny is a widow and childless now, her drunk husband having tried to take off with the kid and killing them both in an accident. Dutch takes from her what he “should have had” years ago…he is not interested in love or getting back together; he wants to hurt and humiliate Penny for what she did to him.  He does not forgive.

He has also met up with Cherry in a bar, a nude model who talks him into using his savings to turn his farm into a nudists camp, a new fad and craze, with a business guy (aka promoter or even pimp) she knows.  Dutch is too mesmerized by her and we know right off this woman is setting him for something.  But he goes into biz with her and the other guy…and, like the other two books, the nudist camp is a front for prostitution, catering to rich men and hiring hookers to wander around naked, who must be paid for sex.

Now, was this (is this?) true of nudist camps or was this Hitt’s fictional fantasy?  Never having been to a nudist camp or in the scene other than nude beaches, I wouldn’t know, then or now.  I imagine some camps were ruses for the sex trade.

Like the Kay Addams book, Hitt delves into the philosophy of the nudist, who

although not always accepted by society, was a person of firm and decent convictions. They held the sun in the highest regard but they respected it, too. The strength of the sun probed their bodies, brought them pleasure (p. 85)

as if they’re some primitive sun god cult.

Like Nudist Camp, Hitt also discusses how the naked body and sexuality differs culturally in Iceland than the puritanical U.S.

Penny knows Cherry is bad news but Dutch is hypnotized by her, letting her buy thousand dollar coats, squander money away. Penny works the food cart at the camp, naked, because she was fired from her job, but she also wants to keep her eye on Dutch — she still loves him even if all he wants to do is keep hurting her for her sins.

But Penny is the”goof girl” and Cherry the “bad woman” and for a change there isn’t a third woman in Dutch’s life, although he does have some one nighters at the top. We know, in the end, Dutch will see the light, forgive Penny, and marry her, but first he must be burned by the bad woman.

A good read, yet predictable. On the Hitt Scale, a 7.5.

The Man With Four Arms and Two Heads

Posted in Kozy Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags on December 22, 2009 by orriehittfan

On the back cover of several of ol’ Orrie’s Kozy titles (The Naked Flesh, Peeping Tom) is a small bio bit about the author, which reads thus:

When a person asks Orrie Hitt how many books he’s written, the question is very likely to be answered with a shrug. Strangely, it’s a truthful answer because he simply doesn’t know.

“I’m no adding machine,” he says. “All I do is write.  I usually start at seven in the morning, take twenty minutes for lunch and continue until about four in the afternoon.”

As for the number of copies of his books that have been sold, there is no accurate count.  The count, however, would reach up into the millions.  Some of his readers first saw his books in Korea or Germany or other distant places.

Born forty-five years ago [pub date: 1962], he is the father of four children and married to a woman “who understands me.”  His writing career began in high school when he started selling to outdoor magazines — at the same time, much to the dismay or his teacher, nearly failing an English course.

He has been writing novels for over ten years, going to Iceland to write his first one.

“I had a family,” he says.  “I needed the money from the job to support them while I was gambling on a future.”

Of course, this wasn’t his only job.  He has worked as a club manager, served in the army, and, as he puts it, “sold almost everything from life insurance to roofing.”  Once we worked on a ship and another time managed a mail order firm.

Today, Orrie Hitt does nothing but write an d he says he wishes he had four arms and two heads.

“But that’s impossible,” he adds. “I’m just an average guy.”

We wonder if he is.

Like the man with four arms and two heads.

Nudist Camp (Beacon, 1957)

Posted in Beacon Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , on December 21, 2009 by orriehittfan

This one was rather disappointing and I could not even finish it. I had high hopes for it, too, being a 1957 Beacon.

The story concerns 22-year-old Della, orginally from Keflavik, Iceland, the same city Love in the Arctic is set.  She came to the U.S. to study in college and married Ricky, a man with money and land he inherited from his father.  But Ricky is a notorious womanizer, he’s gotten their maid pregnant, and she cannot stand having sex with him.  He divorces her, leaving a few ares of land and some money.

She rents the land out to a New Jersey-based nudist camp, much like the Kay Addams  book, with similar situations of a con.

The writing and action is dull, the characters flat and boring. This was not Hitt at his best — maybe he was writing about the subject at Beacon’s insistence, rather than writing about topics he preferred and loved — salesmen and their women, young girls modeing for pictures, peeping toms, etc.

Beacon re-cycled the cover from the early 50s Woodford/Thompson first version of Male Virgin — adding in a fishing pole —