Monday, September 17, 2012

Paperback 562: Summer Street / Hal Ellson (Ballantine Books 27)

Paperback 562: Ballantine Books 27 (PBO, 1953)

Title: Summer Street
Author: Hal Ellson
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Yours for: $12

Best things about this cover:
  • "Aw, gee whiz, Summer. I didn't know this was your street. OK, OK, I'll leave. Golly, it's gettin' so's a fella can't practice his Fonzie poses nowheres!"
  • "Aw, gee whiz, it's Miss McGillicuddy. Now she's gonna know I'm playin' hooky. OK, Billy, c'mon, get it together. Just play it cool. No eye contact. Stare broodingly into the distance and she'll just walk on by ..."
  • "Billy, get back in the house. Your dungarees need washing."
  • I believe "emotional awakening" is '50s code for "awkward, furtive sexual experiences."
  • "SHE ... was an angel in lime green chiffon. HE ... was a telepath who could move trash cans with his mind. Together, they ruled ... Summer Street!"
  • The great Bob Maguire! This cover is from his ... lesser period.


Best things about this back cover:
  • "Well, go on. You said you'd die for me, so ... don't just sit there. Here, I'll give you a push. 1, 2, 3 ..."
  • "The water sure is murky, Gloria. Murky like our hearts on account of we're star-crossed but I'm from the wrong side of the..." "Shut up, Billy. You gonna jump or what?"
  • "His mother's confining affection..." — uh oh. "Mom, I need a real girl. One I'm not related to."
  • I can't believe this cover doesn't tell us the book is "frank." "Unusual honesty and understanding" is sooooo something a "frank" story would contain.

Page 123~
In another moment she would fling herself upon him if he did not read the note. He lowered his eyes and found he had guessed right, though the message was not worded as expected. Simply and directly, it said: "Do you want to? Yes or no?"
Long story short—he does want to, and there follows one of those 1950s sex scenes that is all indirection and euphemism, all "avalanche of fire" and "plunging creature" and "swelling within himself" and "tremendous surge as if all that was himself had burst." The best part is that he comes first, but she won't stop until she comes too, so of course: "It was then that fear enveloped him again." No wonder he has that traumatized look on his face. "My genitals and I need some time alone, Miss McGillicuddy."


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Keir said...

Fonzie poses? Seems like he's about to burst out in his best Brando.

Anonymous said...

Stupidest question in the world (in the context cited): "Do you want to?" Why don't you just ask whether or not gravity is still working?

Lisa in Oz said...

My first thought after reading the top blurb: "Robert Maguire! Yay!"

And then scrolldown to the cover and "Oh." Lesser period, indeed.

Also, I suddenly realized that I've been reading your blog for too long since I now actually know who Robert Maguire is. :P