Archive for March, 2010

The Trouble with Tramps – An Orrie Hitt Pastiche

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , on March 31, 2010 by orriehittfan

The Orrie Hitt homage, a pastiche called The Trouble with Tramps, has been released by Black Mask Books and can be ordered from them or from Amazon.


Orrie Hitt was known as the Shakespeare of Sleaze, the Noir Poet of Vintage Softcore, during his salad days from 1957-1964. Then he slowly faded away, like many old paperback hacks did, but he was hardly forgotten. He influenced and warped the minds of many, back then and today, creating a cult following among vintage book collectors and fans. In this pastiche of Orrie Hitt, Michael Hemmingson pays homage to the vintage paperback heyday with a compulsively fascinating novel that walks in the used, old boots of the Shakespeare of Sleaze. . . Jack Card is a hard-working nowhere man who dreams of a better life. Whether he’s laying pipe, tending bar, or laying willing wanton women, he spends his free time writing short stories for the pulp magazines, proving he’s more than some hard-drinking, blue collar lug. Set in 1957 in a small American town, Jack juggles the favors of three women: Kay, his lush wife who cannot keep faithful; Lucy, his teenage hillbilly girlfriend who is now carrying his child in her belly; and Eve, the rich woman who promises him another life if he helps her murder the husband she hates. The Trouble with Tramps explores many of Orrie Hitt’s pet themes and obsessions: younger women marrying rich older men, peeping toms, backwoods swamp girls, alcoholism, jealousy and bad wives. We dare you to open at any page and see if you can’t put this exciting new novel down!

Girls’ Dormitory – Beacon, 1958

Posted in Beacon Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , , , on March 28, 2010 by orriehittfan

This was Orrie’s first college girl novel — his other, Campus Tramp, daftly delt with a young lady from the wrong side of th street trying to better herself with an education, and getting roped into nude modeling to cover her expenses.

Girls Dormitory is somewhat similar — the two young ladies that take center stage,  Peggy and Helen, roommates and then lovers, wish to better their lives by attending Cooper Community College.

Peggy is from a well-to-do family, but her father’s money made kids in high school scorn her for her expensive clothes and new car.  She does not want that at college — she wants to blend in, to be one of the regular people, so she dresses down and gets a room in a rooming house, or girls off-campus dorm; she is put in the same room with Helen, who is secretly a prostitute.

Helen hates men, so she makes them pay for it.  On the weekends, she stays in a certain motel while Jerry, basically her pimp, rounds up men for her to fuck, $10-20 a pop, depending what they want. Jerry also works as a handyman at the girls rooming house and dates girls now and then, like Peggy.

Helen’s plan is to get an AA degree and get a executive secretarial job, move about rich men, find a rich man to marry, and live in luxury.

She’s also a lesbian, and falls for Peggy, who finds out she likes girls too, although she starts to date Jerry.

The man who runs the motel, Frank. is hurting for extra cash so he blackmails Helen into giving him 25% of her take, or else he will tell the college what she does and she will get expelled on moral grounds.  But Jerry beats the guy up for moving in on his territory.

When Helen finds out that Peggy’s father is a widower, and he hasa thing for young girls, and he’s loaded with money, Helen hatches plans to become her lesbian lover’s step-mom.

This is a good one — it moves fast and the characters are sympathetic.

On the Hitt Scale, a 8.5.

Abnormal Norma – Novel Books, 1962

Posted in Novel Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , on March 25, 2010 by orriehittfan

A somewhat rare and hard-to-find Novel title from Hitt, Abnormal Norma is one of Orrie’s salesman yarns and it’s pretty good.  It is his “version” of Death of a Salesman — the narrator’s name, Willie Lander, is too close to Willie Lohman for comfort.

We open with Willie getting canned as a debit insurance agent — the job many Hitt heroes have, from I’ll Call Every Monday to Shabby Street to Tramp Wife — because he is $500 short and he can’t make it up.  If his bond is used, he will never be able to get another sales job; if he quits, he can cash his profit sharing of three years and cover what he owes.

He’s the hole because his trophy wife, Star, demands the material things — a good house in a good neighborhood, clothes, two cars.  Now she wants a Cadillac, and a new mink on sale, and he can’t do it.  She freaks when she learns he no longer has a job.  We saw a similar situation in The Cheat.

A couple moves in next door, Fred and Norma Stearms.  He’s older than her, drives a Caddy, seems to be a successful businessman.  Willie is immediately taken with Norma:

My hair is blonde but hers was almost the silver kind, long and hanging down to her bare shoulders, sweeping back from a face that belonged on the front of THE MEN’S DIGEST magazine, promising more of the best inside.  Her eyes were blue, her eyebrows two neat arching lines, her lashes curled.  She had a small nose but below that her lips were rich and full, parting a smile over white, even teeth.  But what I noticed about her most was the red halter that strained against tilted, thrusting breasts.  I’m n ot accurate on measurements but if she was an inch at that point she was in excess of forty. (pp. 33-34)

Well, from that description, we know the cover model certainly isn’t this Norma.  The quip about The Men’s Digest is a bit meta.  On the back cover is a note from ol’ Orrie his own self:

“ABNORMAL NORMA is my most provocative book — and Norma Stearns is the most shocking woman I’ve ever put down on paper — shocking to know and to look at.  She’s a woman and a half, and I mean that literally.  Read the book and you’ll see exactly what I mean!”

What exactly is “a woman and a half?”  Seems Norma has what may be a third breast, and while that is abnormal, for a tit man like Willie (or Orrie) it’s just more funbags than he knows what to do with.

It is inevitable that Willie will have an affair with Norma, while working with Fred on his new mutual funds business. And because Fred hires Star to be his receptionist, it is inevitable Star will cheat too, so we have one of those tidy suburban swapper tales here.

It is also quite detailed in matters of mutual funds, so much that you get confused with all the lingo, which was a problem with I’ll Call Every Monday: the deep detail made it authentic, but unless you know the terminology, you’ll get lost.  We see the same detail in Bed Crazy about surgery, so Novel let Orrie go off on tangents.

But it’s all doom for Willie, as he does well selling mutual funds and bedding his boss’ abnormal young wife.

On the Hitt Scale, an 8.

Recent Hitt Acquisitions

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books on March 25, 2010 by orriehittfan

At the Paperback Show in the San Fernando Valley last Sunday, I picked up a couple Hitts I was seeking:

Shocking Mistress! (Novel, 1961)

Abnormal Norma (Novel, 1962)

Carnival Sin and Playpet (Vest Pocket, 1962)

The Sex Pros (Softcover, 1967)

From ebay:

An American Sodom (Novel, 1963)

Warped Desire by Kay Addams (Beacon, 1960)

Collection almost complete.  Still looking for:

Cherry (Novel, 1964) by Kay Addams

Panda Bear Passion (PEC, 1967)

While the City Sins (Ember, 1967)

Honey (Chariot, 1963)

Torrid Cheat (Chariot, 1963)

Cabin Fever (Uni Books, 1954)

Easy Women (Novel, 1961)

Currently Reading…Passion Street and Bed Crazy

Posted in Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , on March 18, 2010 by orriehittfan

Bed Crazy (also reprinted by Novel as Perverted Doctors) is a disappointment, being a hard-to-find Htt title that I paid Gary Lovisi $35 for. It’s a minor theme that I now add to the Hitt themes: the doctor yarn, along with A Doctor and His Mistress, Male Nurse, and Female Doctor.

All of Hitt’s doctor books comment on abortion, fertility, and the responsibility of procreation. In this and his others, abortion is immoral and babies can always be given up for adoption; and like the others, a young wealthy woman married to an older infertile man suggests the doctor impregnate her so there will be an heir to the old hubby’s fortune, and of course the doctor will get a cut plus get some sex.

But this one was just too damn slow and plodding and I coudld not get into it. Like Hitt’s other Novel titles, he is allowed free reign to pontificate on social problems and political matters, which is interesting but what place does it have in a “men’s adult” novel, and with that cover?

The model on the cover is some well-known model from the 1950s, I will have to look her up.

But on the Hitt Scale, this one only gets a 5.

Girl of the Streets (Midwood #12, 1959)

Posted in Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books with tags , , , , on March 12, 2010 by orriehittfan

All of Hitt’s Midwood titles are fairly easy to find and not too pricey — The Cheaters and Two of a Kind will get up there.  For some reason, Girl of the Streets is rare to locate and fetches $40-60 on the market.

All of Hitt’s Midwoods are excellent novels. The weakest is A Doctor and His Mistress, followed by this one and then Unnatural Urge (the best are Hired Lover, The Cheaters, Two of a Kind, As Bad as They Come, Affair with Lucy, and Summer Romance).

There is nothing wrong with this one, per se, it’s just the same sort of story Hitt has re-told in many a cover — such as Sin Doll,and both have the same heroine name, Sherry Collins, and both get roped into the sin world of flesh and photos. Other books with the same: Campus Tramp, Three Strange Women, Sheba, etc.

Sherry grew up on River Street, the town’s seedy part where cheap hookers and booze is always available, and shady characters sell reefer and girly pics on the street.  But she is a good girl, despite her 38-19-34 figured that all men and boys crave for.

She works in a typing pool at an office and makes $70 a week, $30 going to her parents so they can pay rent and her dad can booze it up.  She finally gets fed up and leaves them, moving into a room rented out by the parents of her boyfriend, Frank.  She gives in to Frank, thinking it is true love, and then catches Frank with another girl.

She moves next to a River Street girl’s boarding house that caters to “loose” women who make money in an amoral way consistent with “the street.”  She shares a room with a young woman who paints and winds up getting seduced by her, having a wild lesbian experience.

All the while she is trying to focus at her job but keeps making typing mistakes; the office manager says her job is on the line and one day she is called into the head man’s office, Freddie Parks. She expects to be canned but instead Mr. Parks tells her he has had his “eye” on her and would like her to represent the company in the local country club beauty pageant.

She is flattered, floored, and naive to boot — others try to warn her, and she soon figures out that these beauty contests are rigged and just a way for old married businessmen to flirt and sleep with pretty young girls. Freddie has rigged the contest so the judges will vote for her — this is after he beds Sherry.  She is naive enough to think that dinner and drinks with her married boss is nothing serious — she holds up her guard until he tells her sweet nothings and how he will leave his wife and marry her.  He even makes her his personal secretary, not knowing that there ave been three other secretaries, all whom he impregnated.

Meanwhile, the local River Street smut merchant and pimp, Sammy Gaines, has been hounding her to let him take naked pictures of her. He offers $500. She keeps refusing and he assures her that one day she will be desperate for cash and will come to him…

And the day comes when SHerry’s mother falls down a flight of stairs and breaks her back, needed a $1000 surgery.  So she goes to him, the photos are taken, she stoops below her moral standard…

This is somewhat a depressing story, and Hitt draws a well-rounded portrait of a young lady in the 1950s trying to survive in a world run by men, either in the sex racket or the business world. She finds that she has power using her body but she also loathes it.  All the men in her life are heels, except for Frank, who redeems himself and provides for a sappy, happy ending.

On the Hitt Scale, a 7.5

Private Club (Beacon, 1959)

Posted in Beacon Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, sleazecore, vintage sleaze books on March 6, 2010 by orriehittfan

A wife-swapping tale set in upper state NY Catskills around a private upper middle classer club and the lots of land people are building cabins on.

Alas, not Hitt at his best.  Very dry, slow, boring, I couldn’t get past page 40 — similar to Never Cheat Alone, which read the same.

On the Hitt Scale, a 4.5.