Sunday, January 22, 2012

George W. Bush Spotted on a Pulp Fiction Cover

Nicolas Cage isn’t the only one to pop up unexpectedly on book covers (both a Serbian textbook and a children’s history book).

During a recent browse through the huge cover archives at the blog Those Sexy Vintage Sleaze Books, I spotted a disturbingly familiar face on the cover of Charles Willeford’s Honey Gal: George W. Bush.

Honey Gal and Dubya. The sheep's in the meadow and the cow's in the corn, no doubt.


I don’t normally recoil when I see W’s visage, but when he (or his doppelganger) is sprawled under a haystack grasping confusedly at a busty barefoot vixen, I get caught off guard.

There’s no record of young Bush doing any modeling for pulp mystery paperback cover artists in his pre-prez days, but I can definitely hear him uttering the expression “honey gal.”

"Mr. Willeford, I'm ready for my close-up." (Photo via mywesttexas.com)



For those who don’t know Charles Willeford’s work, don’t be too put off by the sensational packaging. He’s actually quite readable (though I haven’t read Honey Gal.)

Both The Pick-Up and The Woman Chaser are fine examples of pulp mystery. The latter was made into an odd (though worth watching) little film of the same name with the also-odd-but-worth-watching Patrick Warburton, whom you might remember as TV’s real-life version of The Tick.

Spotted any famous doubles on book jackets? Let me know. Book Dirt is poised to become the repository for celebrity book cover sightings.

16 comments:

  1. I don't know if movie stars count, but they're pretty easy to find.

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    1. Both real ones doing early modeling work and doppelgangers. I've spotted a lot of TV stars on the covers of old teen romance novels. If I find any of those again, I'll post them here.

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  2. "He's actually quite readable"? Talk about damning with faint praise. Willeford was an American classic! His typical hero doesn't give a damn what anyone else thinks and does whatever he wants, no matter what the consequences. Pick Up, Cockfighter, The Black Mass of Brother Springer, his volume of memoirs, and most of his other books are great, dark fun. Late in life, he produced his most popular series, starting with Miami Blues, which is quite good, but the rest of the series is a lot more standard issue mystery novel than the quirky works that he will be remembered by.

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    1. I agree! Faint praise was not my intention. Willeford is one of the best of the pulp writers. While I don't quite consider him a Goodis or a Woolrich, what I've read is some of the best of the genre. Since I haven't read Honey Gal (which is the same book as The Black Mass of Brother Springer that you mention), I couldn't go into more detail about it specifically, and didn't think a humor piece was the place. I might do a post on Willeford himself at some point. Thanks for filling out the details a little better for the Book Dirt readers!

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  3. Okay I see the resemblance to the photo you offered. The cover art and blurb is just I need to make me want to read this one. I'm going to rush right out the door to look for it--oh, wait, it's raining. I guess the book can wait.
    Love these famous doubles on books posts.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Not everyone seems to think it looks like Bush. I think it's dead on. My fiance thinks I'm insane.

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  4. Creepy. Totally creepy. I agree, it does look like him, right down to the mouth-breathing.

    Will keep my eyes open for other celeb book jacket covers.

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  5. My respect for Bush has just gone up.
    ======================
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
    http://www.detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com

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  6. LOL! That is great! Another job to add to his resume: cover art model.

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  7. I don't to create domestic discord, but your fiance is nuts. The set of the mouth and the shape of the face are highly Bushlike.

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  8. Sorry to toot my own horn but I brought this resemblance to Dubya up on Rara Avis in 2004:

    http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/archives/200410/0155.html

    Michael

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    1. Toot away! Wow! Well, at least I'm not alone. The resemblance, I think, is uncanny.

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  9. Heh. That's an awesome eagle eye you've got there. ;)

    And I love this site! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog--new follower here.

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