Creepy Homemade Bird Feather Victorian Postcards Extinct Practice Extinct Birds and the Most Expensive Feather
Gross handmade postcards from Borat land! Circa 1900 and circa disgusting! This year a single feather from the extinct Huia bird sold for nearly $7000.00 at an auction in Auckland. I don't think you can clone a bird from a feather, but maybe one day. Ritual objects of Native American Tribes containing eagle feathers are illegal to sell, and there are numerous other laws protecting the use of our animal friends in collectibles today, thankfully. I don't know the species here, or if the feathers match the paintings...but they are grisly and gross reminders of when Victorian "fashion" dictated the wholesale harvesting of feathers for silly hats. Not to mention post cards.
Four handmade Bird Feather postcards circa 1900 Collection Jim Linderman
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books
Robert Leslie Bellem did the words. Adolphe Barreaux did the art. Decades before Harvey Pekar wrote stories for others to illustrate, Bellem did the same, but his were goofy crime tales told in the Hollywood hills. Bellem was the auteur of the pulps...this one issue of Hollywood Detective is edited by Bellem, contains four articles by Bellem AND a "Dan Turner in Pictures" cartoon done by the two. It's nuts...but it works if you care to immerse yourself in one man's odd vision of fictional crime (supported by another man's vision of the scene.)
During his time, Bellem became something of a joke for his writing. 300 of his estimated 3,000 stories were about Dan Turner. S.J. Perelman satirized his work in a hilarious essay "Somewhere a Roscoe..." for the gumshoe slang he created...and he didn't have to work too hard to make it funny.
I can't put it any better than Kevin Burton Smith does on the outstanding Thrilling Detective website HERE "...it was the high-octane use of every slang word known to man (and more than a few Bellem must have coined himself) that fueled the tales. Women were wrens or frills, and their breasts were pretty-pretties or tiddlywinks, something that Dan, "as human as the next gazabo," always took the time to notice. Cars were chariots, money was geetus and no one ever got killed in the stories, they were croaked, cooled, iced, de-lifed or had an act of killery performed upon them. Guns didn't go bang – they were roscoes and they spat, coughed and belched. Or sometimes they just sneezed, though the end result was the same -- people ended up dead."
I guess when you write 3,000 stories, you reach a bit. I'm glad he did! I could spout the slang all day long and feel tough as nails, even if I am not. It is certainly no coincidence Bellem later wrote the story lines for the stilted Superman television series.
And seldom does an illustrator merge so well with a writer. Barreaux did more than draw, and was actually editor of Trojan Publications later...the company which put out Hollywood Detective. When the comics code came in and artists of his ilk were S.O.Luck and S.O. Work..he turned to producing "art" books with naked photographs of the dames he portrayed in his drawings. He even produced Bunny Yeager's Nudes!
Dan Turner Hollywood Detective (illustrated by Adolphe Barreaux, Story by Robert Leslie Bellem) from Hollywood Detective December 1944 Collection Jim Linderman
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE
Bernard Kobel Photograph Freak and Freak Photographer Tattoo Sideshow Abnormalities and More (Worse?)
I pride myself on collecting unusual photographs, but no one collected more and with more vigor than Bernard L. Kobel. It is a clear case of the freak collecting the freaks!
You see, Bernie didn't just take and COLLECT photographs of medical abnormalities, circus freaks, war atrocities, lurid and lewd crime scenes and such, he reprinted and SOLD them from the back of sleazy magazines! You have likely seen some if you are a bit adventurous...the woman with the world's largest whatevers, the guy with the giant stuff, the bizarre pair of thingamabobs...even I don't want to show them and I'm pretty much immune by now. I'm cheeky but Bernie crossed the line!
You have also seen reproductions of his collection without knowing it. The famous picture of armless and beautiful sideshow performer (and actress) Frances O'Connor who appears on the cover of the Re/search book Freaks (linked at right) is a Kobel photo, even if not taken by him, but he did take plenty himself. Some of the photographs shown on the billboard at Hubert's Museum in Times Square (and later, on the cover of the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street album) were Kobel shots. His reprints sold fairy well, at least well enough to have entered the sleazy underground where gourmands of gore dwell. They continue to sell long after Bernie moved from Indiana to Florida and then Sideshow heaven, as bootleg reproductions and, I guess, authentic ones on auction websites.
Not all Kobel's photos were gruesome or gratuitous, but plenty were...As you can see here, he advertised kinky tattoo photos in girlie magazines, (often showing far more than the tattoo) freaks and contortionists in entertainment trade magazines, and I suppose he advertised his gruesome war photos in whatever war folks read. A pair of originals are shown HERE.
I do not know much about Bernie, but I know as much as I want. Interestingly, a later advertisement shows he was trying to leverage his collection into a new direction....stamp collecting! "Lists sent, natch...Will trade for U.S. stamp collections."
Natch indeed...one of his catalogs from the 1950s lists nearly 500 photos which I don't even want to print the descriptions of. On the other hand, one of his photographs for sale in a catalog is "The First Official Hair Pulling Contest...held at the Palisades Amusement Park with 24 girls from the Walter Thornton Modeling Agency as contestants."
I'd trade a few stamps to see THAT one.
(A post on Vintage Sleaze the Daily Blog as well)
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books HERE
All great fake crimes take place in Manhattan. Sure, some happen elsewhere, but except for a few genre-creating masterpieces set in Los Angeles (okay...maybe they can claim a few) the dark, scary corners of the West Side are still the best place to fictionally stab or shoot someone. Dump them in the Hudson and they won't float up until spring.
Maps are snoresville...GPS killed them, and piles of the once familiar gas station freebie now fill baskets at the flea market. All of us still have a few crumpled and stuffed in the back of the glove compartment, still as ungainly and unmanageable as ever. I once drove from Manhattan to Los Angeles, a trip everyone should do, not only to realize the scope of the country but to obtain major bragging rights. 6 days for me...and I traced every mile on my faithful USA road map until the Petrified Forest in Arizona, when a big wind grabbed it right out of the car. I watched it fly down an ancient ravine, just like a recent automobile commercial which has sullied my memory.
By far the coolest paperback books are the Dell Mapbacks which were published from 1943 to 1951. I recently disparaged them in a post about a more obscure publisher...but they remain most collectible, mostly affordable and mostly available. And they are cool. My father, who visited me in Manhattan annually, used to love reading them and he would shout "I was there" a few times in each volume. Most were hard-boiled mysteries, the greatest fictional genre EVER. Shown here are a dozen or so Dell Mapbacks located in Manhattan. I do not believe there is one placed in the Petrified Forest.
A complete directory to the Mapbacks in shown HERE. There were hundreds, and all are great...but the ones set in the Big Apple were always my dad's favorite.
DULL TOOL DIM BULB BOOKS complete catalog and previews HERE
Big Giant Kachina and a Cigar Store Indian Authenticity Spirit Trade Sign and Antique American Indian Art
Many a young girl received a doll today, Merry Christmas, by the way. They may teach, but they aren't spirits.
Hopi and Zuni dolls are and were used to allow young women from the tribe to participate in sacred dances performed by the men. A rich, complicated cultural ritual I am not qualified to discuss, and I am not really sure anyone of European origin can, to tell the truth. We can "own" kachina dolls, but can we understand them? I guess as interlopers. There are some 400 identified, each with distinctive features represented by adornment and design.
Once you have an appreciation for cottonwood carvings from 1900 and before with flaking natural pigments, you may desire to own them as well. Not easy today, as the early ones, or what could be called "real" ones are for the most part tucked away. There are different levels for collectors...19th century, of which I have cribbed a few here from the catalog of an exhibition at the Galerie Flak in Paris from ten years ago (link here to the catalog) those from 1900 to before World War two, and those since. The later ones are purely decorative and produced for tourists, and although fine carvings are still produced by Native American artists they are far more elaborate in design and far less transcendent than the early ones.
The earliest kachinas were flat, simple, rudimentary wooden objects with sparse adornment but great magical power. The later ones can be beautiful but are more decorative, and it is quite common for dealers to date them earlier than they really are. There are literally hundreds of identified and collected kachina carvers working today, and there are festivals and such to display their work. You can even take a bus tour right to the carvers, they don't have to set up outside train stations any more to sell to Paleface. (I am sorry to use what is now a derogatory, and likely Hollywood invented term, but after what we did to those who took care of our land before we got here, and what we have done to it since, let's face it...some of us have earned names worse.)
The photograph above is dated 1944 on the reverse. It is, of course, a Southwestern trading post with a symbolic gigantic Kachina out front. (A "Cigar Store Indian" as it were...another large sculptural object with racial and cultural baggage!) The rugs would indicate this is a shop of Navajo goods...I hope the women asked if they had any old Hopi or Zuni ones behind the counter, as the Navajo didn't make them then, but they do today. I understand now you can even find Kachinas carved in Korea. Ugh.
Snapshot 1944 Collection Jim Linderman
Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books
Okay, I don't want anyone to think all I write about (or care about) is smut...so here is the subject of my NEXT book. I'm not tipping my hand, as there are no other photos of him around, I found the archive and bought it. I'm not saying who he is either, but he is a good story. A DAMN good story! I might have to ask for help. Inquiries from grown-up real publishers welcome. Stay tuned. Until then, my current inventory HERE. The format "BOOK" isn't dead yet, it's just dying.
Labels: Dull Tool Dim Bulb Books
Excerpt Thousand Dollar Book Obscenity Bust in Milwaukee 1957 Bilbrew and Smut Art THE THOUSAND DOLLAR BOOK: SMUT AND THE MILWAUKEE ARREST FOR OBSCENITY 1957 by Jim Linderman
Writer and collector Jim Linderman from the noted blog Dull Tool Dim Bulb finds yet another forgotten story. In 1957 Milwaukee, hapless bookstore owner Samuel R. Hochman is arrested and convicted of obscenity attempting to stock his shelves with sleazy digest books produced by criminal elements, hack writers using fake names and the startling illustrations of Eugene Bilbrew and Eric Stanton. With Court transcripts, vintage ads, scarce mail order catalogs and more, the unfortunate story is told here for the first time. INCLUDES a COMPLETE reprint of the ENTIRE BOOK for Which Hochman was convicted, THE SEX FACTORY by H. Tennob. Not seen for over 50 years, the book contains numerous Bilbrew illustrations which have never been reprinted. Of interest to legal scholars, book collectors and anyone who enjoys a true story with spicy pictures!
On the afternoon of May 13, 1957, Federal agents walked through the door of Samuel R. Hochman's "Avenue Novelty Shop" located at 733 West Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee. Federal agents of the FBI that is. Hochman sold books and other sundries in his store which was located in what was at the time an entertainment district and somewhat dicey neighborhood. Mr. Hochman had just received a shipment of books from the ABC Freight company he had ordered for his inventory, but had not even had time to open the box. After signing the delivery receipt, he left the carton on the floor of his shop. Three FBI agents already knew what was in the box. After introducing themselves, one being agent Julian Clark, they told Hochman that he was receiving an obscene book titled "The Sex Factory". They asked if they could open the box and Hochman gave his permission. Inside were 101 books. In addition to The Sex Factory (and Virgins Come High, which will figure later) there were some twenty titles including Silk Stockings,' 'Lash,' 'Flossie,' 'Spankee,' 'Straps,' 'Sadist,' 'Woman and Her Master,' ' 'Celesti,' 'Wheel of Violence,' 'Come-on Girl,' 'Justine,' 'French Pornographer,' 'History of Prostitution,' 'Bandit in High Heels,' 'Mistress in Satin,' 'Exotique #13,' 'Exotique #14,' and 'Bubbles Darlene.' It appears Hochman ordered four copies of each title and a few extras of The Sex Factory.
(For those of you who are interested, "Bubbles Darlene" was an exotic dancer, though she described herself once to Nashville police as a "strip teaser." Bubbles real name was Virginia Lachimia, a platinum blond with considerable talents originally from Minneapolis. She studied as a ballet dancer, but found burlesque paid more. However, she did more than dance. In 1955, while performing her act, someone broke into her hotel room and swiped her entire suitcase of risque photographs "including some nudes taken in Cuba" and she was forced to take out a classified ad in the local newspaper offering $500 for their safe return. She was "S.O.L." and they were never found.) Bubbles even claimed once to have danced with a 22 piece orchestra. Today, Bubbles is recognized as one of the classic burlesque dancers, and an often seen photograph of her posing in a hat made of ram's horns makes Lady Gaga look like a thrift store model.
The agents rustled through the box on the floor and retrieved two they either found most offensive, or were the titles they were sent to retrieve. The Sex Factory and another book by the same author, Virgins Come High. Both were written by one H. Tennob, a pseudonym. The Sex Factory was illustrated with line drawings by Eugene Bilbrew, and Virgins Come High was illustrated by Eric Stanton. The agents confiscated the entire box (though at a later date returned over half of them) and arrested the bookseller, charging him with violation of 18 U.S.C.A 1462, which among other things declares it illegal to accept through a common carrier any "obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture...of indecent character."
Milwaukee, Wisconsin may have "sin" in the state name, but the city was solid middle-of-the-road America. The Milwaukee Braves would win the world series a few months after Hochman was arrested. Despite the glut of beer (and beer guts) it produces, Milwaukee maintains strict vigilance against sleaze. 20 years after Hochman's book bust, comedian George Carlin was arrested in the city for his "7 words" routine. Despite being only an hour north of Chicago, Milwaukee has maintained a comparatively innocent profile, low on crime, low on mobsters and low on porn, although a recent study did find 46% of Milwaukee residents masturbate at work, not that it was too scientific. I am sure there is no relationship, but for interesting context, a former nun took an axe to a bikini wearing snow sculpture in Milwaukee in 1987. In 2005, a small group of zealots made a failed attempt to ban the display of thongs at a Milwaukee Victoria's Secret. On the other hand, cartoonist Denis Kitchen, founder of Kitchen Sink Press who worked out of Milwaukee says he never felt any pressure there, though he did found the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund anyway. I guess censorship can rear whenever and wherever. Milwaukee is probably no better or worse than any other city, and thankfully virtually all first amendment rights as it pertains to the printed word are protected these days, be it in Wisconsin or New York City.
Wal-Mart does the de-facto censoring these days, in Milwaukee and everywhere else. Of course, this will not matter for long as the entire format "book" is on the way out like the compact discs they refused to carry. All the action is on the web, and the law, by definition a long, reasoned procedure, is so far behind technology and the times that regulating it is impossible.
Where did the box of smut originate? It seems a salesman from the Max Padell book company in New York City had paid a visit to the Avenue Novelty Shop earlier in the year with sample book covers to show and a price list to study. Padell was a well-established publisher and vendor who had skirted the law before. Among their own titles were (and are today... moldy copies exist in every used bookstore in the country) "Fact about Nudism" from way back in 1935, "From Dance Hall to White Slavery" in 1943 and "Strange Loves: A Study in Sexual Abnormalities" in 1952. Their bread and butter was a ton of crappy rip-offs like "How to be a Detective' "How to Play Dice and Win and numerous magic trick and self-defense books. They ran mail-order advertisements in the 1940s which indicated they stocked hundreds of different titles, and listed the company address at 830 Broadway, New York City. Most were mere pamphlets, but they had also published serious writers like Kenneth Patchen...