Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Paperback 195: Slab Happy / Richard S. Prather (Gold Medal s817)

Paperback 195: Gold Medal s817 (PBO, 1958)

Title: Slab Happy
Author: Richard S. Prather
Cover artist: uncredited

Yours for: $11

Best things about this cover:

  • Wow, this is a mess. The floating / severed head seems astonished to see the Men in Black Coroners at the heart of that blue nebula. Meanwhile, Shell Scott just looks ... is that a sneer? A grimace? A leer?
  • Seriously, it's like a kindergartener designed this cover. A morbid kindergartener.
  • I'm not sure the middle of an autopsy is a good time to go on about your sex/death fantasies, Shell.

Best things about this back cover:

  • I admire Shell Scott's writing, but this cover copy is a can of corn.
  • Again with the sex/death nexus. You're creepin' me out, Shell.
  • My great uncle died in the great Shell Scott fever epidemic of 1957
  • "Newest" and "Latest" being the newest and latest in "words"

Page 123~

"The character you call Mr. Worthington is known to crookdom as Viper. He is a hood, a punk, a parasite on the anatomy of society, biting deeply."


PS just found this Fantastic cartoon folded up and shoved inside this novel:


Eunice said...

My, but that's an ugly cover. What's with the dame being a blonde instead of a redhead? Well, a blonde who needs to touch up her roots and has been swimming in an over chlorinated pool.

Somehow the idea of anyone saying "you rascal you", much less a "bloodthirsty hoodlum," is the the most ridiculous thing I've heard so far this week. And that's when I read they're supposed to be singing it.

...I didn't know Guys and Dolls was set in California.

Erik said...

I like the cartoon - it looks like he's got his hands tied behind his back, as if he's having his last cigarette before being towel-snapped to death by the Bikini Squad.

Anonymous said...

The front cover has totally stuck me with St. James Infirmary. It seems to be an excellent juxtaposition of many of the song elements.

To the back cover, all I can say is, "Ghood?" What kind of slang is that supposed to be?

Lynn Sinclair said...

Shell Scott was better known as 'Ted Baxter' on Mary Tyler Moore.

Cullen Gallagher said...

This looks absolutely amazing. Yet one more reason why I love Prather. And I'm sure there are dozens more reasons I've still to discover - the guy wrote a ton...

JamiSings said...

Eunice, are you saying you don't know your Louis Armstrong songs?

For those who don't know where that lyric came from, here's a Betty Boop cartoon with Louis Armstrong singing it.

Rex - does it really say "ghood" or what that a typo?

Eunice said...

Lynn, oh wow, it's totally Ted Baxter!

No, no, Jami, I got that. In fact, that's part of the problem (I grew up on VHSs of Betty Boop and that's what I associate with the song.)

It's the mental image: Close your eyes and imagine the toughest meanest "ghoods" slouching in alleys, itchy trigger fingers on gats, or excitedly twirling various sharp implements of death.

And then... they start singing -in gravely ominous baritones no doubt- "I'll be glad when you're dead, you rascal you." It's just a little silly as a thuggy threat. Plus "bloodthirsty hoods" using "you rascal you" without musical accompaniment makes me fill in the tone with it being coquettish. But maybe that's just my imagination going, my head can be a silly silly place.

Anonymous said...

Gangdom? Crookdom?

Rex Parker said...

Well they couldn't very well use "Condom."


P.M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P.M. said...

This is my new favorite blog.
What is that look on Shell Scott's face? Why did they put that same picture on almost all of the Shell Scott novels? He looks like he is taking a painful dump - maybe he ate some spicy Indian cuisine that didn't sit well.

Michael5000 said...

Shell Scott looks like he's inspecting the May Day military parade from a Kremlin balcony.