"Legitimate" books are those for which the Library of Congress received two free copies. That is how copyright is established for a book. (It is also a smart way for the nation's library to build their collection) It is also a law, in some states anyway, that books published must show the actual publisher and location where it was printed. These laws are enforced selectively...so that, for example, a mobster printing smut could be found guilty of SOMETHING to keep the magazine racks clean, even if his product did not satisfy the nebulous requirements to be banned as obscene.
Book folk, of which I am one, refer to books not within the system of copyright and above-ground publication as "fugitive literature" when they lack any form of bibliographic control. No Library of Congress number, no ISBN, no indexing and I suppose no "accountability" though I don't think the Constitution had an ISBN number. Or Walden, Common Sense and Leaves of Grass for that matter, but they all do now.
Try to find a copy of Secrets of 42nd Street. I did for a year. I failed! And I hate to fail.
Now this could be for many reasons. Rare? Thrown away? A ruse designed to collect $1.98 from pervs who lived in Podunk? Trust all are quite possible. If any of you actually HAVE a copy, let me borrow it...I need it and my research doesn't depend on any stinking numbers!
I am starting to suspect this book may not have ever existed, nor did the apparent companion volume Secrets of Greenwich Village advertised two pages away. Unless they really were "fugitive" literature and just plain slipped into and out of the system for good.
Claimed author Ted Poole existed...sorta. In addition to the ad copy here (From a 1960 issue of MAN to MAN, a real stinker from Picture Magazines, AKA Volitant Publishing, Adrian Lopez's pulp empire) I have found TWO articles Mr. Poole was responsible for. Ready? "The Lonely Women of Lesbos Island" which ran in Sir magazine in 1959 and "My Life in an Arab Harem" in South Sea Stories 1962. For all I know Ted was their staff writer, or as the copy claims their "famous adventure writer" as Sir isn't too well indexed either. Though it did spew fiction as fact for a long time.
So having established, almost, that Ted Poole existed, even if in pseudo anonymous form...you would think I could find a copy of the books. Nope. I'm not sure how carefully MAN to MAN checked their advertisers, but we might assume they didn't at all...so maybe this mail drop was a ruse and your money order crossed the bridge into Brooklyn only in turn to be loan-sharked back to some other looser in Queens. Or maybe the book was literally one mimeographed page...just enough to satisfy the price.
Whatever. I'm intrigued by the ad copy here and I need the book for my OWN book I am writing which WILL have a LC number and an ISBN. So if you have one, let me know. I'll even go the $1.98 but I'd prefer a real address, not a PO Box. I really, really need this book to strip it for content and then make fun of it.
I already know "where you can go for a cheap drink, when you're short" (The Landmark Tavern on Tenth Avenue and 46th...they waved me away once after three bourbons) and I also know what the ladies of the night "want..and how to outwit them" but that stays with me.
Seriously, if you know of a copy, share?
Jim Linderman is is author of "TIMES SQUARE SMUT" which tells the story of a few rouges who changed the world by publishing illegal soft-core digests during the 1950s.
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