Tag Archives: Arkon Paperbacks

Pulp Friday: Number 96 paperback tie-ins

Bev & BruceLike the television show they were based on, today’s Pulp Friday offering, Number 96 paperback tie-ins, contain nudity, sex, free love, devil worship, infidelity and murder.

The Australian TV soap opera Number 96 depicted the lives of the residents of a fictitious block of inner Sydney flats. These days it comes across as a cultural curio and a sleazy late night commercial TV reminder of early, pre-feminist, seventies. It was indeed those things, but also much more.

Number 96 debuted on March 13 1972, “The night Australian television lost its virginity”. There was moral outrage about the explicit nature of the show and protestors picketed Channel 0 (now the Ten Network) with placards demanding the station “ban this filth”.

It was a huge success with audiences, however, who were keen to dive head first into the warm water of the increasingly sexually liberated early seventies. The show resulted in a feature film and even had its own passenger train that transported the cast and crew from Sydney to Melbourne for the annual Logie awards (Australia’s equivalent of the Emmys). The train made stops at country towns along the way at which thousands turned out to see it.

The end titles always featured a shot of the exterior of the apartment block.… Read more

Pulp Friday: Operation Concrete Butterfly

“The Sydney Opera House opening was glitter and show – and then it became a  bloodbath.”

One of lessor known sub-genres of sixties/seventies pulp fiction was what for want of a better term could have been called ‘Blaxsploitation pulp’ (even though a lot of it was written by white authors).

It was big in the US and UK usually featured black PIs solving their cases in style at the same time as sticking it to the man or black revolutionaries seizing power and getting some pay back on whitey. You get my drift. New English Library, a UK pulp publisher, also released a series of semi-soft core porn novels featuring slaves and slavers in the pre-US civil war deep south.

I’ve never been able to find any example of this kind of pulp fiction in Australia, with the exception of today’s Pulp Friday offering, Operation Concrete Butterfly by Dick Peters.

To says this is a little known book is an understatement. I have not been able to find out any background on the author or Arkon Paperbacks, the outfit that published it in 1973. The publication notes suggest it might have been a subsidiary of Angus and Robertson Publications but I can’t be sure.

As for the plot, the back cover blurb gives a pretty good indication of what the prospective reader is in for.… Read more