TRASHY TUESDAY: WITCHES, SWEETHEARTS AND WENCHES – SOME EARLY CARTER BROWN BOOKS IN AUSTRALIA
I always liked the use of alliteration in the early Carter Brown titles, especially when combined with the various nouns Yates and the publishers came up with to describe women: Fraulein Is Feline; No Halo For Hedy; Blonde, Beautiful and Blam!; Goddess Gone Bad; The Wayward Wahine and My Mermaid Murmurs Murder to name a few.
When combined with photographic covers mixing large photos of posed models with smaller sized drawings and silhouettes, they made for quite effective covers. I have gathered below some of my favourite early Horwitz covers which feature good alliterations in the titles.
The Wench Is Wicked is a relatively early title and first appeared in print in this 1955 Horwitz edition. The cover uses an overlay of two photos – one large and one much reduced, which was a quite popular device on Horwitz covers of the 1950s. This one works particularly well, with the reduced photo appearing to be whispering in the girl’s ear. The gun adds a sense of danger and the white outfit is just weird!
Bid The Babe Bye-Bye is another great title! The cover is not spectacular, but it does make good use of a shadow to suggest danger looming. It is also one of the first to make use of a silhouette figure, different versions of which featured on a number of the 1956 Horwitz titles.
Sweetheart This Is Homicide is another 1956 title, with good use of shadow and a threatening silhouette.
Madam You’re Mayhem is another good title and one of my favourite covers. The model sitting in a very 1950s chair against a backdrop of smashing and burning racing cars works really well, even if the green one looks like a toy!
Walk Softly Witch! is a slightly later book (1959), and probably sits outside the theme of the earlier ones. But is a good title, and not one that you would see nowadays. The drawing on the cover is also quite striking! It is a revised version of an earlier Carter Brown alliteration: Eve It’s Extortion (Horwitz, 1957). Yates reworked it, changed some of the names and tidied up the ending, which was a bit of a mess in the original. A poor copy of Eve It’s Extortion is below. It features a very conveniently positioned floating dollar bill!
Walk Softly Witch was apparently originally released in America as The Victim. A later Horwitz version (1961) is below.
I’m smiling. Lettuce leaves, strawberries and alliteration: what more does a book cover need? Oh wait: pneumatic females and shadows 😉