Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lifting the roof from the sex cauldron

96 King's Cross

This 1972, "lookalike", light porn cheapie paperback novel attempts to cash in on the popularity of prime time Australian television soap opera, "Number 96". It turned up in the mail by a reader of my blog entries and website dedicated to "Number 96", for which I'm grateful - for completist reasons only, of course. The novel, "96 King's Cross" by one Ricki Francis, was published by Scripts Publications of North Sydney in 1972; described as the "risque arm" of publishing company Horwitz. Francis also supposedly novelized the raunchy Aussie movie "Alvin Rides Again", although she wasn't credited.

Some characters seem loosely based on "Number 96" characters: Emma Rawlins, like Vera Collins, is a high class prostitute. And there's the obligatory homosexual couple, Jay and Lee, who fill the same controversial niche as Don and Bruce. I love how this book - and all eight of the official Arkon "Number 96" novelizations, in fact - featured pink spines, perhaps attempting to emulate Mills & Boon romance novels.

Strangely enough, Horwitz had another imprint, Stag Publishing Company, that released an original novel called "Number 96" in 1976, which was based on the TV show! (That one was supposedly penned by Carl Ruhen, who later did the early "Young Doctors", "Sons and Daughters" and "Neighbours" novelisations, although his name doesn't get credited in the "Number 96" book itself. For another coincidence, Carl Ruhen's pseudonym, Peter Brand, shared a collection with Ricki Francis; his "Devil's Outriders" was printed in the same volume as Ricki Francis' 1972 novel "Bikie Vengeance", in the 1977 reprint for Scripts.)


Therin of Andor said...

Stop Press!

Several of the eight "Number 96" novelizations from Arkon were credited to one "Marina Campbell". That name is revealed to be a pseudonym of Tasmanian author Anne Harrex, the stepdaughter of Helen Lawrence, according to "The bibliography of Australian literature, Volume 3" by John Arnold & John Hay (University of Queensland Press).

Ian McLean said...

A few years ago, I located Ms Harrex, so I have a fun interview to share with you all... OneOfTheseDays.