Gentleman of a Certain Age…is BACK!


Besides the “wispy” sort of drawing style, the thing that identifies the above illustration as from the late 1960s is, to use the technical jargon, the nipplization of the breastages. Which is to say, a fully naked breast has a nipple…and thus thru the 1950s and early 60s, breasts couldn’t be naked…showing most of it, but not the nipple, made that so.

Granted, the whole point of Gentlemen of a Certain Age is that in the old days, titillating didn’t mean anatomical…in fact, it could be accomplished clothed. The 2 examples below show an interesting contrast in styles between the 50s (left) and the 60s (right). 


Still, there was a simple way to suggest a truly nude front…and that was with a completely nude back. And in researching this blog, I was dismayed to discover that one of my favorite bareback movie posters, from 1958, is a fake…


Look carefully…it’s 100,000 BC, and the invention of the flesh-colored — aw, nuts! You’ll also notice that Robert Vaughn is in the title role, albeit at age 26. It is often said this was his first movie but that is incorrect. According to the Internet Movie Date Base, it was the Man from UNCLE’s 3rd feature film, not counting “The Ten Commandments” where he was an extra, along with dozens of others, including Robert Fuller…and Herb Alpert of all people. And he’d been on numerous TV shows starting in 1955.


Getting back to…um, backs…they came in 3 varieties…with ass-crack (right), without ass-crack (center), and with a missing ass-crack (left). Not for nothing, but was this particular cover of “The Maltese Falcon” promising something that the actual text didn’t deliver? And not just Brigid O’Shaughnessy’s semi-nudity, but also what appears to be the unspooling of a man’s brains from his skull? Don’t recall any of that in the movie version, altho it’s been a while.


At any rate, glorious backs, eh? And if she would just turn around, you would see you-know-what…or maybe you wouldn’t…if she were wearing one of these odd contraptions that failed to catch on in 1968…tricky, very tricky…



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Gentlemen of a Certain Age, Part 6

1We begin with another Classic Back…plus a movie fake leftover from last time. It’s certainly a happy coincidence for hard-boiled wordsmiths that there are so many words that rhyme with “eye” (as in private eye) and “die”…then, as the secret agent fad came along, “spy.” I’m thinking of movies like Come Spy With Me…Kiss the Girls and Make Them DieMan on the Spying Trapeze (honestly!) and Spylarks.  It’s a pity they never got around to My Way or the Spyway…

2Switch-hitting? Swapping? I guess those pastimes go by other names these days…but some things never go out of style, if you catch my drift, and I think you do. 

3My theory is that when a guy hits puberty, the “look” that’s current sticks with him for the duration. Thus the picture of Stella Stevens on the left just kills me, with that Marilyn-eque hairdo. Her coif would evolve with the times,  but it was never quite the same. Still, even today, bangs rock my world.

4Along the same lines, I’ve always had a thing for vintage cowgirls…well, most of them anyway…something’s not quite right about Nude Ranch Nymphs…altho Tex there seems to be enjoying himself…to each his own, sez me.


Now when you live with something your whole life, it doesn’t sound strange to you. People in the South shop at a Piggly Wiggly supermarket and never give it a second thought. To me, that sounds like Dinky Doo Fine Jewelry and Timepieces  — New York — Paris — London. Similarly, growing up in Indiana meant Chesty food products seemed normal…but gosh, what the heck kind of a brand name is that? And to drive the point home, a little boy’s chest puffed out? Contrast that with Tempest Storm and hers…Gentlemen of a Certain Age will recall what she did for a living.

BTW, they did make the original Ruffles potato chips. The brand was sold to Fritos in 1958, and they merged with Lays in 1961. 

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Gentlemen of a Certain Age….rides again!


1 bax
The whole idea behind this series of blog posts is that in the good old days, sexy didn’t have to be explicit…and certainly not to the gynecological lengths they go to today. And let’s face it: a bare back was “safer” than a bare front…hence the 2 different approaches to the same basic motif, above…

“Sexy Fraud”…that didn’t mean she was one of those transamacallits? No, not back when paperbacks cost 60¢ it sure didn’t.  Whereas “Nude in the Mirror” was actually a magic mirror…it made you look vaguely like Marilyn…plus it put a guy in there looking out when there wasn’t one looking in…neat trick.

2 fake

These next 2 above are fakes…they were on the front of a Sixties men’s magazine called Man’s Daring…the idea was that each month they’d print part of a paperback novel…except the story was written just for the mag…there was no real paperback…the title and book cover were complete fabrications…sneaky…but nifty, no? 

3 j gozz

These above are fakes as well…but of a different kind…they are actually movie props. The plot of the 2005 comedy-mystery “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” involved a movie being made based on an imaginary pulp hero.  But for a real look of authenticity, they got the legendary Richard McGinnis, illustrator of over 1200 paperbacks and some of the most iconic movie posters of the Sixties, including Barbarella, Casino Royale, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Live and Let Die, and many others…sweet.

4 dupe 1

Reruns? On paperback covers? Say it isn’t so…except obviously it is so, as you can see…I believe this or these are McGinnis again…

5 upe 2

Then again, I’m not sure I’d squawk if every paperback ever published had this cover…yeah, even Chess in a Nutshell…

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From a Gentleman of a Certain Age’s LP Shelf…



A sexy lady on the cover of a cheap paperback book suggests sexy goings-on between the covers. On the other hand, a cute dame on an album cover promises what? It’s just music….I mean, what’s really sexy about Martin Denny, Ray Conniff, or Percy Faith, in the final analysis? Still, it was a universal trope from the 1950s thru the 1970s, and I for one have no complaints. 


And it was all in how you presented it. Above left, remember butterfly chairs? I’ve reversed the image of the Blue Strings cover so the models are facing each other…and even tho one is “showing something” and the other demurely covering up…which is sexier? To me, David Rose wins hands down…the smile, the hair…wow. 

 gone nuts

Of course collectors avidly snap up such “cheesecake” covers, and the one above left is a must-have…the word “paroxysm” springs to mind…sure looks like something’s about to pop. On the right, another lady losing her mind, with just a hint of bosom at the bottom. Were you sufficiently distracted to have missed that there’s something definitely wrong with that stethoscope? Well, it is stereo after all…


The Tijuana Brass’ “A Taste of Honey” from 1965 is a classic of the genre…learn more here and here. Everybody seems to remember where they were when they first saw it. But am I the only one to have noticed that every compositional element is lifted from George Shearing’s cover from 1961? Front, back, right, left, it’s the same thing only different. And yeah, I guess I’m definitely a “back man”…

 walk dog

But also a “leg man” and proud of it…aye chihuahua…time to walk the um, what were we talking about?…


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For Gentlemen of a Certain Age, Part III


Not surprisingly, there are people who collect and study sleazy packerbacks. And they’ve discovered that Orrie Hitt was a real person. He lived in Orange County, NY, down by the border with Pennsylvania, and died in 1975 at age 59. He wrote over 150 “adult” paperbacks, enough to put 4 children thru college. What distinguished him from the average hack was his research and attention to detail. In fact, one commentator claimed, incorrectly of course, that only one of the many Lesbian paperbacks of the period was written by a real Lesbian, who used “Orrie Hitt” as an alias! The book above right is one of his most sought after, because of the goofy cover…the curled foot…the volley-ball bosom.


It calls to mind the equally daffy album cover above left…Julio Cesar Bovea was a Colombian musician, and on the right is one of his American releases. The pose is what I called “fake-ed”…rhymes with “naked”…arms and legs positioned so that it looks like she’s got nothing on, but you really can’t be sure. In this case, it appears they had cold feet and airbrushed in parts that suggest clothing.

Now the inspiration for these “Gentlemen”  posts is something that happened to me what I was 10 or 11 years old, an incident seared into my memory with fearsome clarity.  The family had just entered a drugstore, and I came face to face with a paperback book rack…and a cover illustration of a seated lady, naked, from the back. My mother grabbed me by the shoulders and quickly steered me in a safer direction…but, well, “damage done” as they say! Would I recognize that same cover if I saw it again these 50 years later? I’d like to think so…the Orrie Hitt below left comes close, but I don’t believe that’s it, not that I’m complaining or anything.


Needless to say, my parents were also able to keep me completely in the dark about the existence of Vikki Dougan, a model and actress known as “The Back.” The photo above right shows you why…one of her signature outfits. Yes, she went around in public like that. Her story was: “I’m not busty, so what’s a girl to do?” Oddly enough, she doesn’t appear to have had many imitators.  Still, her fame was such that the Limeliters folk group released a song about her…”Vikki Dougan, Please Turn Your Back on Me”…


I leave you for now with a thought: and it has something to do with short shorts…and the wisdom of recycling old calendars…

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More For Gentlemen of a Certain Age



The paperback on the left came out in 1960…new decade, same livid illustrations. Anybody’s? Well, 4 years later, and now costing 60¢, they decided to drive the point home…on the right. Guess I’m old-fashioned, but I still think a little “man-woman love” goes a long way…but it lead to…


…the read on the left…from the “Don’t You Just Hate When That Happens?” Collection.  Please try not to notice that the blonde looks disturbingly like one of your sister’s mod paper-dolls. Heck, maybe the same guy drew both. Anyhow, got anything left over from the 1950s? Maybe from the “My Name Really Is Orrie Hitt” Collection? Yes? Bless you…here’s 40¢…keep the change.


Now this deal on the left…what an image! The boss said, no ass-cracks…just following orders. On the right, a poster from a 1957 movie that supposedly featured the silver screen’s first interracial kiss. It’s a soap opera with political overtones, set on a Caribbean island where the most popular physical activity is writhing…after a while, you apparently get pretty good at it.


And what was I reading at the time? Don’t ask…guess I was no gentleman…

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For Gentlemen of a Certain Age Only

…you might be a Baby Boomer…well, male anyway…if…

1…you appreciated that “dirty pictures” really didn’t have to be that “dirty,” now did they? Oops….just remembered something I was supposed to do…

2Next, the original on the left seemed a bit, how you say, elongated?…sort of like those impossibly slinky illustrations in car ads. On the right, I tried to fiddle with the proportions…dunno, now maybe she’s too squished. I do know that she’s too muscly…sort of a Tarzan/James Bond 1960s vibe.


Now this is more like it…same book (“Dell paperbacks are good paperbacks”) but from the 1950s…can’t beat a dimple for shucks. Get out your 35¢…


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