TRASHY TUESDAY: WORST COVER EVER? SKY-JACKED (1976) by Stanley Morgan
This cover for Stanley Morgan’s Sky-jacked is arguably the worst cover I have ever seen. Cheaply put together and offensive, it was reportedly banned from sale in the bookstore in the lobby of the Dorchester Hotel by the new Arab owners of the Hotel, because they were so offended by the cover!
The author, Stanley Morgan, was an actor (he had a very small role in Dr No) who turned writer in the late 1960s. He is probably best known for his series of books about Russ Tobin, a young British lad who travels the world seducing women and getting into trouble (see below). The books were apparently very successful and in 1974 he started a new series of books about Captain A1 ‘Cockup’ Rossiter and the “ever-obliging crew” of the “luxurious, nipple-pink Boeing 707” called “Glamour Puss”. Which probably tells you all you need to know about the series.
The ‘Fly Boys’ series only lasted for three books and featured the Morgan formula of puns, laughs, frequent sex and beautiful women. Sky-jacked was the third book in the series.
The cover for Sky-jacked is bad on so many levels:
- It is a cheap, photographic style cover
- It is offensive with the Arab “sheikh” being portrayed as being incredibly ugly and stupid. It is probably the ugliest that they could have got him to look.
- The cover is also poorly timed given the number of hijackings by Palestinians and others in the 1970s
- The costumes are very cheap – I particularly like how they just got a silver glitter party hat and put a pink paper band with the word Stewardess printed on it for the stewardess’ official head wear. At least it matches the bikini uniform!
- They dressed the ‘sheikh’ in an obviously party hire outfit and gave him a very fake looking scimitar with costume jewelry on it.
- Why is the stewardess holding a pearl necklace over his head? Did they run out of grapes?
- Why is she feeding him with an empty teaspoon, especially as there is no sign of food anywhere?
- The glass looks empty.
- And finally that cross-eyed look on the sheikh’s face will, unfortunately, stay with me for a long time!
All in all, it is poorly put together and in very poor taste. But I suspect it probably attracted a lot of attention from young males who probably could not look past the bikini clad air hostess and dreamed on flying on Glamour Puss.
While the “Fly Boys’ series only lasted three books, the Russ Tobin series went on for 18 books, including a comeback book in 2005, twenty 26 years after the last one.
Included in the Tobin books was this 1976 entry, Tobin Down Under, in which Tobin visits Australia as a male escort.
Apart from the almost obligatory “Down Under” joke on the back cover: “Tobin Down Under. But Will he Come Up For Air?”, it is not a bad photographic cover, not too dissimilar from the James Hadley Chase covers of the time. It also seems to feature the same model as was on Sky-jacked.
Credit to http://www.stanleymorgan.co.uk/ for the story on the banning of the book from the Dorchester Hotel.