Sexy secretaries and co-ed’s on covers were extremely popular, even if sometimes the content was not quite as titillating as promised.
John Burke was a writer of mainly movie and TV tie-ins. His catalogue includes many Hammer films and cult movies and TV series.The two Hammer omnibuses are extremely popular and even today a well used copy will fetch £50, with better conditions getting considerably more.
In Norway and Sweden this kind of books are called "Kiosk litterature" beacuase that's were they were sold.
The Swedish title of this Matt Helm book is "Drive hard, Matt Helm":
in English we have "airport novels", because big fat 600 page pocketbooks (usually with gold leaf embossed titles) were typically sold at airports, appealing to men about to get on a plane and be away from home a week or two. Robert Ludlum was a typical "airport novelist", men who wanted books to read on the plane and at the hotel liked to fantasise they were doing glamourous international spywork instead of sitting round some convention centre trying to drum up sales for their boss or whatever their dull job really was.
English bookstore chain W H Smith got its start in the 1800s selling books at railway stations (I've also read they rented them, and you could return them at another shop at the next station) "penny dreadfuls" were especially popular with train travelers, and I think were prototypes for a lot of the pocketbooks CoolHand has been celebrating in this thread. They cost a penny and their subject matter was dreadful. In North America there were "dime novels" which I think preceded the Pulp magazines. All capitalizing on the rise in literacy and targeting a more manly working class market that did not want to sit round the parlour reading Fine Literature about Social Manners and butlers and all that rot.
That’s a great post, Caractacus, and that last sentence sums up the hundreds of regular collectors that I had who collected the cheap pulp paperback series (pocketbooks) that were available, and which forged a high percentage of my turnover. Once one was purchased, the collector would want the entire series. As the series progressed the sales would inevitably fall and less books were printed until they were no longer financially viable, which is why the latter books in each series gain the highest prices. Just a few of the series are pictured below from literally hundreds of titles.
I used to see these and similar books by the thousand in 2nd hand book shops while searching for others. Nostalgia!
Three covers from my favourite spaghetti western, A Fistful Of Dynamite aka Duck, You Sucker!
John Brosnan is well known on this site. He wrote the first book about the James Bond films and how it influenced a generation, it became a staple for Bond fans and is essential reading.
Less known is that he published a second edition in 1981 - Cubby successfully had it banned in the UK because of some less than flattering comments about himself and how the series had gone since the heydays of the 60’s. But it was published in the USA and if you can find a copy it’s well worth the price of admission.
I knew John quite well and we would meet a few times a year where he would sign his books that I had in stock and we would go for a pub lunch and chat about Bond and life in general. He was a very witty man and good company. He wrote a series of books under a pen name, Harry Adam Knight (HA(c)K), which shows his sense of humour, some of which were filmed.
Some of his other books are here:
He passed away far too soon in 2005, aged 57, from acute pancreatitis. You are sorely missed, John, but your legacy is forever forged in the world of James Bond.
John Brosnan wrote for Starburst magazine and it was through his occasional features on the James Bond films that I got to learn about them in the very late 1970s - in an era where, despite being a mega Bond fan, it was very hard to come by information. Of course the internet didn't exist, nor did videos or DVD, so you were reliant on waiting for the films to come on telly and at this time that wasn't too often, not like today when they are on every week on ITV4, you can't get away from them.
So via his features I'd find out the chronology of the movies and the years they came out in. Otherwise it would make sense to think that Connery gave up the role and Lazenby took over, then Moore - no reason to know that in fact Connery came back for one more in 1971 - indeed, in her book or polemic on movies, Julie Burchill didn't know that and indeed probably didn't care, but fact-checking was hard. Nor were there any books about Bond - now there are many - as in late 79 the 1960s really felt like another era, sort of black and white and dated with leading men in short army haircuts, not tanned, transatlantic with long sun-kissed hair like 1970s leading men, Roger Moore included. The same went for the Beatles - their legacy was assured but there seemed to very few books about it, so when Philip Norman's Shout! came out after Lennon's death, it seemed the first of its kind. Hitherto books on popular culture were deemed a bit irrelevant, like putting out a book on Aero bars, or pornography, sort of a bit unnecessary.
The first Brosnan book I have to the left of me, I went to Foyles in London with Mum as a kid to find a book on Bond and there was nothing doing (in Virgin Records on Oxford Street I picked up the James Bond Collection LP which spanned the era from 1962 to 1971, a sort of 10th anniversary LP which I still play). Anyway, Folyles recommended another movie shop where I found the Brosnan one, some lovely black and white pictures and basically the chapters told the story of every film so was invaluable - again, at a time when any scrap was eagerly devoured, otherwise it would be a case of 'Spoiler alert!' and what made the reviews so enjoyable was Brosnan's superbly witty humour, his affectionate sending up of various scenes. On the whole, one criticism is that he viewed Goldfinger as the high water mark and thereafter it seemed to be diminishing returns, suggesting that in the first three films everything that could be done with Bond's world had been covered and thereafter it was just a question of repeating the formula with bigger and more spectacular variations. I sort of agree but it does do that thing of suggesting that the films just aren't as good thereafter, it's a matter of perspective. The book has a chapter on Bond spoofs of the 60s, well, it was published in 71-72, that is also illuminating.
I happened upon the follow up book in the library, it now goes for about £80 on eBay so it's rare.
When his namesake took the role in the 90s the writer joked that at least people would be able to spell his name and not confuse it with the American Death Wish actor! I heard he was doing a new follow up to his book and, being young and enthusisastic, offered my services as I heard he was collaborating with another on it. I submitted a piece I'd written on Bond for a struggling movie magazine called Movie Collector (that piece never got printed, in fact I think I was the death knell for it, same with Film Focus that I submitted a piece to, neither offered to pay anything I think) and John Brosnan was kind enough to write back. He said his project had fallen through I think and said he was surprised to learn I'd found a copy of his follow up book in the library, I think Cubby Broccoli had taken legal action to stop it being published in the UK. He made a jokey sideswipe about Broccoli, I think it was in response I made about the Connery films not being on telly much, possibly to protect the Moore brand. Brosnan continued to review the films in Starburst, I think GoldenEye was his last one although one sensed his interest had watered down a bit. [Edit: if he died in 2005 he'd have seen all the Brosnan films but I didn't catch his later reviews]
I've also got his book on Historical movies and it's very insightful. In particular just why it is that the American accent doesn't sound right in these while the British accent does, pointing out there's no technical reason of course why a Roman senator shouldn't sound like a guy from the Bronx, after all, he wouldn't have an English accent either, but certain prejudices kick in.
I didn't know he wrote under a pen name though those titles and covers look pretty awful! Is the book about dirty movies what I think it is? Some of the titles posted on this excellent thread I've looked up on eBay and they really don't exist any more, they've gone to the great bookshop in the sky. This of course only adds to their mystery, the mystery that stuff used to have in the 60s and 70s when the internet didn't exist and you couldn't obtain anything or locate information at the click of a button, you could get into arguments over the facts of an issue with no earthly way of resolving it, strange times. You couldn't be sure if the action scene you recalled came from a Bond film or something else and there was no way of knowing, the not knowing would tease at you. It's as if that 'not knowing' that used to be a staple of life now endures arguably in conspiracy theories on the net, that sense of never quite finding out about certain stuff, which has a kind of spectrum in terms of what stuff you think 'they're' holding out on, be it corruption in the police and local authorities (pretty much a given imo) to Covid controversies or Pizzagate in the US.
so is it better to get the 2nd edition of Bond in the Cinema if I see it? is all the text from the 1st edition still in it?
I think I've only seen a copy once, and it was very expensive, like $40-
I like the disgusting bio-horror imagery in the covers of his books of fiction!
Fascinating stuff, @Napoleon Plural
I have nothing substantial to add. My collection of James Leasor's Aristo Autos paperbacks. Host of Extras also feature Dr Jason Love. Very 1970s.
Nothing substantial to add save some soft porn paperback novels @chrisno1 - that'll do....!
It's funny because as I hinted above, some of these paperbacks almost belong behind the counter in a dodgy shop, it's the tone of it! It's strange because it's a bit shocking except hard core stuff - generally unknown and simply illegal back then - was verboten back then and anyone from back then would be shocked to see what occurs online, so it's not for us to judge. That said, soft core stuff infiltrated the public arena more than todays online perversions. And the tone was perhaps worse in some respects. I enjoy some of the Benny Hill repeats currently on telly but one dance routine was about as pornographic as could be without being technically so, it was in the lewd movements of the leotard dancers and their hatchet-faced expressions of disdain...
Now! As for @CoolHandBond 's question, personally I'd opt for the first edition taking us up to DAF. As you see from the cover, it has more charm though it's hard to find a cover that isn't worn a bit (how I wish I'd found a plastic cover for my book asap when I bought it). It may even have better photos - there's currently a copy on eBay that shows the pictures too. I'm not sure if the appendix covering the spy spoofs is in the follow up, which I think takes us up to Moonraker and no further (publication date will reveal that.) A section on spy spoofs would have less relevance in 1979. Not sure if the writing is quite the same as it may have been watered down a bit on the Connery films for reasons of space or because Broccoli didn't want someone revealing every step of the plot of these old films. There's the sense that Brosnan is maybe losing interest in the Moore years. His review of Moonraker I know is available in Starburst magazine, you just need to find the edition. (He claims in it that only then is he beginning to accept Moore in the role.) Of course, If you happen upon the follow up book for about £20 just get it, you could sell it for far more theoretically. But it didn't strike me as a handsome purchase for all that.
it was my question, @Napoleon Plural ! but thanks for the detailed response. I reckon I'll pick up the first copy I find I can afford, but $40- is a bit out of my range.
re those sexy covers: I love a sexy misleading book cover, but theres different sorts. Those 50s painted covers where there is always a lady in the foreground getting her blouse torn even if that scene doesnt happen in the story, those can be rationalised as having a camp/kitsch appeal, or even on genuine artistic grounds. These 70s ones where its just a playboy style nude and some text are different, maybe an evolution of the sordid pulp cover that abandons all pretense at representing a narrative. All these covers you have to imagine reading in public, on a bus or in a Starbucks, and there will be a different social interplay with random strangers depending on what the cover is. Those 70s covers I can predict will upset some strangers who don't know a thing about me, whereas the sexy 50s covers I can imagine being a conversation starter.
But keep 'em coming please! I'd forgotten just how sexy some of them got, so that is very important data in our studies!
I know we've covered Modesty Blaise, but Monica Vitti has just died so....
This is the cover for the version I read. And re-read. And re-read....
Taking posts in order:
@Barbel Im glad that these covers are giving nostalgic thoughts. Half of the point of this thread is to jog memories, the other half is to introduce covers that members haven’t seen before. The Modesty Blaise paperback you show was very popular and coincidentally leads into my post today about Robert McGinnis who painted some of those covers.
@Napoleon Plural Thanks for the extra information about John Brosnan, some good stuff there. The Dirty Movie Book covered a lot of shenanigans which went on behind the making of movies, it was certainly before it time in light of the #MeToo movement. It covered a whole range of stuff about actual films and some made up scenarios. I can only remember having two copies of it and I now wish I had kept one.
@caractacus potts The second edition was edited a bit so both versions would be best, but I think the first edition is more essential and also cheaper. There are many covers that show scenes not described in the book, and I have a certain authors work lined up for a future post as an example, but as I have said before, there were many collectors who didn’t read the books they just collected them for the artwork.
Today’s covers are from Robert McGinnis who is better known for his fabulous movie posters, Bond films included, but he also painted hundreds of book covers and the examples below are some of his more Bondian style work.
And some of his other work:
"That'll do" says @Napoleon Plural , who am I to complain: the adventures of the delectable Kiss Darling. The hardback cover for A Kiss A Day Keeps The Corpses Away is borderline obscene.
Great covers, chrisno1, I’d forgotten some of those and I haven’t seen the hardcover versions before so thanks for posting.
These Saint covers on Pan editions are nice:
Loving this thread. Keep em coming guys.
Those Pan artists were just fantastic.
@chrisno1 did you look at the 007 Magazine articles that give lots of background info on some of those PAN artists?
@CoolHandBond I like those Saint covers, and dont think I've seen them before! many of the ones I have got have Roger Moore's picture, and I'd rather have something that preceded him, since most of the books were written decades before the teevee show started. First volume the Saint Meets the Tiger was I think 1929, itd be great to see some way back yonder editions
which reminds me The Maltese Falcon is another book I have two or three copies of because I keep finding weird old pocketbook editions that are just too cool to not add to the Archives
...thats sort of a late 60s Pop Art style, referencing a typical Dali type subject but with the flat colours and near abstract linework like a silkscreen print. that style looks familiar, a bit like Yellow Submarine or that 1970s book that illustrated the Beatles lyrics, very dated to that period of time. anybody know who drew it? am I guessing the date range completely wrong? the style is just so different from a lot of whet we've been looking at I thought it might be worth learning more, because we're seeing how the graphic trends change over time.
Yes, I thought it had that Yellow Sub vibe @caractacus potts in particular it reminded me of this saucy picture that was in book of Beatle Lyrics, I think it was songs set to piano. Again, the Beatles had an odd mystery growing up in the 70s, their movies were on telly a fair bit but it was hard to get around all the stuff they did.
The full picture is saucier but I'm not sure this thread allows frontal nudity aka tits.
Agent 0008 or The Man From Sadisto, was a secret agent series of books that somehow reached 20 adventures. Apart from the rip-off Bond titles and decent enough covers, it’s difficult to believe that the contents of these books regularly attained some eye-wateringly high prices due to their rarity.
My Panther editions of James Hadley Chase's espionage thrillers starring Mark Girland (I think someone posted a couple of these already):
Book covers where scenes portrayed don’t appear in the text were quite common, and none more so than a series of books by Australian author John Slater, who specialised in war stories…
“Nazi-ploitation” books were very popular and highly collectible…a few examples below…
One of the most successful authors of war literature was Danish author Berge Peterson who published under the pen name of Sven Hassel. His books were often seen on British bookshelves. Controversy reigned after it was revealed that Hassel was actually a traitor during WW2 and his claims of service during the war fighting the Nazi’s were fraudulent. Nonetheless he sold over 50 million books in his lifetime.
For such a long running popular series as The Avengers, they were unfortunately given some dreary covers that did not reflect the tone of the episodes. The 1968 Avengers Annual was scarce and had the best cover, you would have paid £50+ for this in nice condition. Information for those outside of the UK: annuals were published in the autumn of each year, with the following year as the date often on the cover, and were primarily large editions of popular comics of the day, Beano, Dandy etc…but from the 1950’s annuals were published covering popular TV series of the times. There won’t be many British AJB’ers on this site who haven’t had an Annual as a Christmas present at some point during childhood.
I think there was a James Bond annual at one point, but they weren't quite annual if that makes sense. I don't think there were many of them. It had to be a subject matter that would endure year after year, like the kids show Blue Peter and yes, I got the one with John Noakes and Shep the dog on the cover one Christmas!
Those lurid Nazi covers were a bit horrible really but that's how it was back then. It's odd, someone from back then would fall off their chair to see what goes on in the world of online hard core porn - freely available - nowadays, yet those kind of book covers simply would not be permissible now, even with the famous 50 Shades series. It's a case of, if you want that kind of stuff, you know were to find it, but it's not in the mainstream, not on book covers, nor in TV series, nor in the movies. I mean, Bond films under Craig don't really have anything much sexy in any of them do they. I'm not sure Bond even gets his end away in the last one does he. Oh, in the pre-credits I suppose.
I'm surprised they only ever made two annuals during Roger's tenure.
See what you mean - but they're not really 'annuals' are they? They look the same but I imagine they didn't refer back to previous Bond films much if at all. Does anyone know otherwise? I get the impression the Connery films had more consistency, you could see the Aston Martin being a staple, being in two consecutive films. You didn't quite get that kind of thing with those two Moore films, the latter being intended to be very different. And by definition, they're not 'annuals'.
As for earlier stuff, the films were forgotten about, I mean the Connery movies wouldn't get mentioned as Broccoli was protecting his current brand - Moore - and LALD and Golden Gun were largely unknown by kids who loved The Spy Who Loved Me, they'd not been on telly yet and video/DVD didn't exist.
off topic, but I'm always amazed at these reminiscences of how hard it was to see the older films in Britain during the 70s
in North America the classic Bond films were usually on the American network ABC once a month, over the course of a year they all came on at least once. Even OHMSS was maybe the third or fourth one I saw on teevee. So I'm surprised they were not on teevee in Britain, actual home of the franchise.
Then again you guys had those double features at the cinema that have been mentioned a few times. I only remember one, in 1978 they rereleased ..Golden Gun and ...Spy... as a double feature. Our second run theatres that would show such double features either usually ran more arty stuff or more sordid stuff, Bond was a bit too mainstream for either type of theatre.
Hi @caractacus potts it took generally 7 years for a movie to make it on to telly. That said, it took even longer for the Connnery films. You can find out the date the premiered in the James Bond Legacy coffee table book released to tie in with Die Another Day, there's an appendix that does all this. I think Goldfinger premiered in 1975 or 76, Thunderball following soon after. YOLT came out AFTER The Spy Who Loved Me movie release, in the Christmas of 1977. I think DAF was Xmas of 1978 and so on. LALD around 1980 - after Moonraker's movie release.
Of course, these movies would be re-shown a bit, but not much. Dr No never seemed to be on telly between 1976 and mid 1980s, but I've said this before. FRWL did go out one Christmas in the late 70s but I missed it being on a rare family skiing holiday - I didn't know this at the time.
Double bills? I never saw any. It's odd, LALD could have totally cleaned up at the cinema had it been released in say summer of 1978, it would have done the business as so many fans like myself hadn't seen it. Okay, Golden Gun was a bit of a stinker. The first and only double bill I recall was MR and FYEO in maybe 1982.