The Smut Peddlers

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The Smut PeddlersThe Smut Peddlers
Kilpatrick
1960

Submitter: This time capsule was found at my small local library. I was hoping for some racy pictures, but was disappointed to only find it filled with legal information. What I did find interesting to see what people thought were obscene in 1950’s. The birth of a lamb? How seedy, LOL. I am sure this book would have some use in a research or academic library. But a small public library?

Holly: The back cover (pictured below), says that Mr. Kilpatrick investigated mail-order “smut” by receiving shipments under three pseudonyms. Of course he did. For “research.”

Smut Peddlers author

Smut Peddlers forward

case against censorship

motion pictures

15 comments

  1. Kilpatrick went on to become a well-known syndicated columnist and one of the co-hosts of 60 Minutes’ Point/Counter-Point segment.
    I know some early film censorship laws included bans on women smoking, showing pregnant women in a movie and kissing on screen. I had no idea the birth of an animal would be covered.

        1. For me, it’s this line from Airplane!

          “Shana, yhey bought their tickets. They knew what they were getting into. I say, let ’em crash!” 🙂

    1. Here’s a link to a transcript of Mike Wallage interviewing Rod Serling (of Twilight Zone fame)- http://www.rodserling.com/mwallace.htm

      Skim down to the part where Mr. Serling talks about an episode of “Lassie” where Lassie has puppies. Apparently, the episode drew hate mail comparing Lassie giving birth to “a sex show”

    1. I would hazard a guess that they’re appealing to them less as librarians—we’re talking about the board of trustees, not the staff—than as a body of respected citizens who can be trusted to decide for the community what’s allowable. Or maybe they started out as the appeals board for book censorship and just expanded.

  2. When I was a kid I watched nature shows where animals were being born all the time. Oh my goodness, no wonder I’m so messed up! 🙂

  3. Wow. It really was a different era. Yet the front cover typeface and graphic art looks strangely contemporary. Shame the rest was an embarrassment even in 1960!

  4. What was considered “smut” in 1960 almost certainly would not be so considered today. I remember (yes, I’m really that old!) books being banned in both Boston and Dallas, and when my mother tried to check out James Joyce’s “Ulysses” from the public library, the librarian had it hidden in her office and told Mother that it was smut and that it would give her nightmares. Gads.

  5. The most disturbing thing about this to me is that apparently interracial kissing is smut, but intraracial kissing wouldn’t be (why mention the races of the people in the movie otherwise?)? Yikes!

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