Thursday, August 4, 2011

Know Your Product

Summer's a great time to catch up on reading, and we figured we'd fill y'all in on the page-turners that're currently absorbing our free moments ...OK, we're obviously lying about leafing through these tomes, but tracking them down certainly boiled down to a lot of hours spent.

I was introduced to these publications when I visited Charles Schneider at his Los Angeles apartment a few years ago. Charles caught me ogling his copy of 101 Things to Make With Human Skin and was more than happy to fill me in on the details. It seemed that the book—actually, just the jacket—was part of a larger series of gag covers manufactured in the 1950s. I couldn't believe that something this patently offensive could've been produced fifty years previous. More importantly, where the hell was I going to find a copy in 2007?

I soon discovered that these jackets were not exactly unknown entities among collectors, and book dealers often assigned them highand rather unrealisticprice tags. As usual, I was determined to score these on the veritable cheap, so I contacted the company responsible for creating them in 1959! Amazingly, the culprits had managed to stay in business for the past fifty years ...not so surprisingly, they quickly dismissed my inquiries about any unsold stock!

As luck would have it, our buddy Marc found a book dealer who was selling pristine examples at a very reasonable rate. The two tatty jackets I already had, 101 Things and Lynching, were sold before I contacted the seller, but I managed to snag the rest for far less than I'd ever seen listed anywhere else. Thanks again for the tip, Marc! Anyone with upgrade copies of the two aforementioned titles, please get in touch!

These smaller guys were produced by a different company (albeit also in 1959), and aren't nearly as inspired as the top eight. The cover art, subject matter and production values are decidedly inferior, though the Dandruff and Russian Roulette titles remain favorites. I believe there are at least another 5-6 jackets in this series, so if you've got 'em, please let us know!


Anonymous said...

Typically, you have more of these than i've ever seen collected in one place! I've long coveted the "skin" volume, but could never afford it! What are the books within like ? Blank? Or did you have to provide your own? What about those empty novelty LP jackets of a similar vintage like "Songs For Swinging Singles"? You must have those, too! When will you be opening your museum to the public?

Gonked, Glooked and Slurped! said...

Steve, the books aren't an original part of the package--I had to go to two different thrift stores to find some that were appropriately sized. Part of what makes 'em so scarce is that they were sold simply as jackets.

I wouldn't mind a couple of those empty novelty LP covers--I've never run across 'em. Not even at PDQ.

Isn't this close enough to a museum for ya?