Ep 6 Sixties Sleaze Paperbacks, Orie Hitt, and Special Guests


This week we cover a type of paperback that was forgotten until the mid-nineties when dealers began to promote and sell "sleaze" paperbacks. They were (generally) soft-core novels with middle or lower-class protagonists whose lives are complicated by sex, status, and the desire for money. Sex has always sold books, but with censorship laws loosening in the late fifties and sixties, publishers began to sell novels whose primary appeal was sex and the infinite varieties of arousal.

We discuss the history of this unique paperback genre, how the books were written, distributed and the people who read them (primarily men). The era (excuse the pun) "peaked" in the 1960s when new readers and marketplaces emerges (the adult bookstore). Even established authors like Robert Silverberg and Harlan Ellison wrote (using pseudonyms) these "sleazy novels). And despite the fact that society looked down on these types of books, a lot of money was made creating and distributing these books. 

In the second half of the show, we profile one of the most prodigious authors of sleaze fiction (250 novels in 10 years), Orie Hitt. While most collectors of sleaze paperbacks look for bizarre and colorful cover art, Orie Hitt's novels are actually quite readable even though he borrowed plots and wrote them in a hot heat over two or three weeks. 

We chose his novel, Wild Lovers, to discuss with Cody Goodfellow and Kim Vodicka, both writers, and lovers of the strange and erotic. It's backwoods sleaze (a sub-sub-genre of sleaze) that takes place in the backwoods of New York and the dialogue is priceless. Cody and Kim perform a scene from the novel in a separate recording made just for these show notes (see below). 


CODY GOODFELLOW has written eight novels and five collections of short stories and edits the hyperpulp zine Forbidden Futures. His writing has been favored with three Wonderland Book Awards for excellence in Bizarro fiction. His comics work has appeared in Mystery Meat, Dark Horse’s Creepy and Slow Death Zero. As an actor, he has appeared in numerous TV shows, videos by Anthrax and Beck and a Days Inn commercial. He “lives” in San Diego, California.

KIM VODICKA is the author of four full-length poetry collections—most recently, The Elvis Machine (CLASH Books, 2020) and Dear Ted (Really Serious Literature, 2022). She also writes erotica and her short story, A Dirty Story as You Like It, was published in 2021 as part of the Pocket Erotica Series by New Urge Editions. Originally from South Louisiana, she lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her beloved cat, Lula.

The diminutive Orie Hitt next to a favorite car


Special Reading of a Scene from Orie Hitt's Wild Lovers by Kim Vodicka and Cody Goodfellow. Click the link below to listen. Thanks to you both for doing this!

Orie Hitt Sleaze Cover Gallery

I've put together a small gallery of Orie Hitt paperback covers. Most of the images are from a great Flickr gallery/group "Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks". There are so many collections of Sleaze covers on the net, just google or bing search "vintage sleaze". Artists who created many of these covers are featured in a fabulous book, "Sin-A-Rama" edited by Adam Parfrey and B. Astrid Daley, published by Feral House. 

Some of the great sleaze cover artists are Robert Bonfils, Gene Bilbrew, Eric Stanton, Bill Ward, and a personal favorite, Darrel Millsap. Many sleaze cover artists were uncredited and were glad for it because, like the writers of sleaze, they had careers in strait illustration that would be jeopardized if it were known they did sleazy sex covers.  

Ep 5 - Gold Medal Paperbacks

This week we'll be talking about Gold Medal Paperbacks. Founded in 1950 by Fawcett publications, this company was the first successful publisher of paperback originals. That means they didn't reprint already published hardback books which every other paperback publisher did, but original works of fiction. And they were incredibly successful. 

We begin the show however with a brief note of recent paperback reads of British Library publications. The library re-prints and creates original collections of mysteries, science fiction, and horror in their collection. Their selections are excellent as is the design of the covers. 

There is an abundance of research material on Gold Medal paperback history. I found the most interesting information in Gary Lovisi's Paperback Parade #33 which includes "Gold Medal Books", "Gold Medal at the Movies", and an interview with Gold Medal editor Know Burger. You can find back issues of Paperback Parade on Ebay and Amazon.com. 

I also found fascinating info in Two-Bit Culture: The Paperbacking of America by Kenneth Davis. It's a great general history of paperbacks as well. 

The Ed Gorman list of best Gold Medal writers that I mention in the podcast is found in The Big Book of Noir which also has outstanding articles on noir films, paperbacks, radio and television, and more. 

Check our other post on Episode 5 for a bunch of Gold Medal covers that I'm sure you will love. 


Gold Medal Paperback Covers Gallery

 This is a collection of Gold Medal paperback covers both from my collection and from my roaming around the internet doing research. The best info on covers, the artists, and the background of cover art production at Gold Medal is found in Piet Schreuder's magnificent Paperbacks, USA: A Graphic History. He states that Al Allard was the Art Director at Gold Medal (at least at the beginning) who had a background in stage design and advertising. 

Some of Al Allard's cover designers for Gold Medal include: 

  • Barye Phillips
  • James Meese
  • Mike Hooks
  • Louis Glanzman
  • Frank Tinsley
  • John Floherty, Jr. 

Ep 4 - The Armed Service Edition Paperback

In this episode, we look at the history of the Armed Service Edition (ASE) paperbacks which were made specifically for American soldiers fighting in World War II.  The background of America's response to Nazi book burnings, the formation of various groups to provide soldiers with reading material, and the final creation of the group that would select, edit, produce and send over 100 million ASE paperbacks to soldiers all over the world are covered in this episode of the Paperback Show. The impact of this program was profound not only for the soldiers but on post-war American society and culture as well. 

There's also a short section on "recent paperbacks" included in the podcast where we cover some of the most interesting paperbacks we've read recently.

The primary source of information for this podcast is from the book When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II" by  Molly Guptill Manning. This engrossing and well-researched book chronicles the story of the ASE from the start of the Nazi book burnings in 1933 to the closing of the program in 1947. 

Be sure to see our Armed Service Editions cover gallery for book scans. If you want to know more about collecting ASE's check out this article by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America. 

Episode 4 Show Notes

  • A marvelous, short introduction to the ASE from the City of Little Rock