Saturday, May 9, 2015

Paperback 878: The Girl in the Gold Leather Dress / Victoria Kelrich Morhaim (Signet S1894)

Paperback 878: Signet S1894 (PBO, 1961)

Title: The Girl in the Gold Leather Dress
Author: Victoria Kelrich Morhaim
Cover artist: Barye Phillips

Estimated value: $15-20

Best things about this cover:

  • The girl who hated books and sandals and so moped on the couch.
  • It's rare that the stars of a front cover are pillows.
  • "Stupid pillows, upstaging me … I wanna go get ice cream. All this leather is making me hot."
  • "The story of a beat coed." I assume this means she is super-tired and has to sit down for a bit.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Oh, *that* kind of "beat." Gotcha.
  • You gotta love when history makes cover copy laughable. "Ginsberg! Kerouac! MORHAIM! Names that will live through the ages!"
  • Seriously, though, this is a cool, unusual (and nearly flawless) paperback original, written about the beat generation During the beat generation—and by a woman. Screw your gray flannel suit. It's Gold Leather Dress time!

Page 123~

"And I don't think we'll have any more discussions about propriety and my Ph.D., will we?"

Pretty sure I said these exact words a lot in the '90s.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]


Amanda said...

This looks like one of the most boring covers ever. I wonder if it was ever read. Maybe that is why it looks so good.

When I think 'Girl in the Gold Dress", I think of Marilyn Monroe in lame - not dowdy broken doll. No wonder she was 'an immature seductress'.

Bram said...

Guessing actual gold metallic ink?

Anonymous said...

If that dress is made of gold leather, it's got to weigh a ton. No wonder she broke the couch.


Patrick Murtha said...

I would really like to know more about this author. Signet DID publish the follow-up, "The Girl Who Had Everything," in 1962. It's for sale by several dealers, but I cannot find the cover in Google Images. This was followed by "Casebook: Nymphomania" for Dell in 1964. After that, the trail runs cold, and a Google search does not reveal anything significant beyond the existence of the books. Morhaim is not mentioned in Brenda Knight's study "Women of the Beat Generation." My curiosity is stoked. This situation just SCREAMS for additional research.

Rex Parker said...


You're right. There's definitely an interesting article to be written here. I always assume that the internet now knows Every Damned Thing already, but in this case, maybe not. I know squat about even the best known beats (an ignorance I, coincidentally, wrote about in my crossword blog today after watching "Heart Beat" (1980)—a movie about the Kerouac/Cassady/Cassady relationship starring John Heard/Sissy Spacek/Nick Nolte).


Patrick Murtha said...

The casting of "Heart Beat" was pretty good - Nick Nolte at that age was a picture-perfect equivalent for Neal Cassady. I don't recall much about the movie, though. There have been quite a number of Beat-related movies lately - "Howl," "On the Road," "Big Sur," "Kill Your Darlings."

Victoria Kelrich Morhaim does not appear to have done any screen or television writing under that name. Her screenwriter husband was probably not named Morhaim (or Kelrich, for that matter). No screenwriters from that era are listed at the IMDB with those last names.

V.K. Reiter said...

VKM still writing, under other names.
Trying to find which university libraries have "Gold Leather Dress" and other of my novels from the '60s in their collection.