During my recent trip to visit my in-laws, my wife's father told me I could take books out of his basement library if I wanted. He's a big fan of comic strips and owns hundreds of those little paperbacks that used to have, say, 200 pages of Beetle Bailey strips. Or Hagar the Horrible. He even has a couple of early Tom Wilson sketches, when Wilson was still developing his Ziggy character (Ziggy was originally an elevator operator with curly hair, and it's not the Ziggy I loved as a kid). He also has an extensive collection of old joke books.
Anyway, I found one or two books that I thought would interest folks, so let me present, without any further preamble, this little gem from 1969:
Yeah. That's right. It's a Barnabus Collins joke book.
Right at the top of the first page, it promises "Hundreds of hilarious jokes about the vampire America loves to hate!"
Wow! you think, and you are sure that a high quality paperback original like this one is sure to be thoughtful, lovingly put together and have beautiful book design.
But you would be wrong!
Hey! Courier! How lovely to read a book in Courier, with two spaces after the period and everything. Notice also that the pages aren't numbered--how could you possibly recommend the howler on page 39 to your Uncle Earl? How, I ask you?
It's been said that puns are the lowest form of humor, but it turns out that puns based on a daytime horror soap opera about a vampire are even lower.
But if you think the shoddy design, ludicrous concept or contemptuous "humor" are the worst things about this book, you're wrong. The worst part is this: These scans actually come from the fifth printing. Of the year.
That's right. This book was so popular that it had five printings between February and November of 1969.
I know. I won't be able to sleep tonight, either.