Friday, March 27, 2009

Vintage Paperback Book Display

As a small child, Mr. Peacock, would frequently travel with his parents when my dad was playing in different golf tournaments. I was always drawn to the utilitarian towel racks in the bathrooms at the hotels and motels we stayed at. I wanted one at our house—filled with bath towels and wash clothes all the way to the top. It seemed very fancy to me at that age. I would constantly pester my mom, “Why can’t we have one of those towel racks at our house?” She’d always reply, “Because they’re for hotels, but you can get one someday when you have your own house.”

Well, years later, I saw one of those utilitarian hotel towel racks in mint condition at a flea market—and I bought it. I immediately put it in my bathroom, but it didn’t seem as cool as it did when I was 6 years old. And I quickly realized it didn’t really hold the towels properly either. What to do...hmmm, what else could I use it for... maybe it could hold magazines? No, not deep enough, but then I had the idea, maybe it could hold vintage paperback books!

Mr. Peacock has collected these naughty little paperback books from the 60’s and 70’s for years, and they fit perfectly in the vintage hotel towel rack (see photo above). Every time I spot one of these vintage books at a flea market or yard sale—I snap it up. The campy double entendre book titles is what initially attracted me to these adult themed paperback books from the late 1960's to early 1970's. I still giggle out loud at some of the titles, which I can't repeat here, to keep this blog g-rated—but you get the idea. As I accumulated more, I also appreciated the simple, yet well-done, graphic design system of the entire book series.

Here's a few of the books, with g-rated titles. The front cover always has a black and white Tom of Finland or Etienne-esque illustration with the title in white, knocked out of a different colored “bullet” at the top. The color palette is nice too: magenta, lavender, brown, teal, royal blue, orange, green and red—all set against the clean black & white type and artwork.

The back covers always have the title of the book series at the top, “A Manhard Book,” with a large and suggestively phallic colored shape that contains a message—either a naughty synopsis of the book, or an apology about the quality of the paper, due to a paper shortage at the time. I've tried numerous times to research more information about these books, but haven't found anything. The authors names were also double entendre pseudonyms, such as Rich Cummings. I know many well-known, but financially struggling writers at the time, would moonlight on these adult paperback book assignments under a fake pen name to make some extra cash. The covers could have also be drawn by well-known artists, struggling at the time, and drawing them for money without any credit or byline on the book.

As I said, I found my vintage hotel towel rack at the flea market, but you can purchase new retro-styled hotel racks, in different sizes, online here. Sometimes eBay has a few here. Your local hardware store might also stock them. You could mount a rack near your desk too—to hold small books or manuals.

Mr. Peacock also likes to collect vintage paperback books that were made into movies, and movies that were made into paperback books (see photo above). I know Mr. Bluehaunt at The Haunted Lamp, and David at The Invisible Agent, collect and appreciate vintage paperback books. Do you collect any vintage paperback books?


Cranky Quilter said...

Such an incredibly good idea!

jason said...

I can't even decide which I like better...the towel rack (which I never really appreciated before and now kind of want myself...thank you very much) or the paperbacks themselves.

kelly jo said...

i swear you have the greatest collections of all time! and so well organized!

ayem8y said...

I love the towel rack book shelf idea. I lucked out on one of the big towel racks from a deco hotel. Those hotels were all the rage to tear down not so long ago. I collect the Ian Fleming/James Bond paperback books myself.

Reavis Eitel said...

There's a Juliette of the Spirits book!!?? I have to find it!

Mr. Peacock said...

Thanks everyone!!!

I love hotel fixtures from those old Deco hotels!

...and I love the James Bond/Ian Fleming books too! me your address and I'll send my copy!

Melody Migas said...

Hey, those are my towel racks photographed on my wall. Cool!! :-)

We've been selling them for years on eBay, Amazon, and our Website.
I'm glad you all like them. I use the 3 size at home. We have other styles, too. I've got them all up at the website.

Thanks for the post.