7/5/11

Vintage Reads #27: The Christina Books


The Christina books lasted through the seventies and the eighties, through several authors at the helm, and through several publishers.  The series is a testament to what a hot chick on a paperback can do.  Every cover was a full color photograph literally begging to be bought.

All the books were purported to be by Blakely St. John; but in fact none were - the name is fictional.  Interestingly, one author revealed his real name cryptically in Christina's Craving (1984) issue on page 46.   I'm not sure how many Christina books were released and the names of all the authors. It'd be a pretty daunting task to find out, considering there were many European Christina books.  And forget trying to build up a collection - there's not that many available on ebay, and they often go for fifty bucks each!

Every cover featured the alluring titular character, Christina Von Belle; a sexually liberated hottie who snorts a lot of coke.  The model used on nearly every cover was Playboy Centerfold Jill Devries. The Christina series began with Playboy Press (which was later bought out), so it made sense to put a Bunny on the cover.  Devries has the distinction of being the first centerfold model to sign her name on the centerfold. 





Devries has the more dubious distinction of being front and center of the Pubic Hair Wars of the 1970s.  Unlike today, where men prefer their ladies shaved to look like prepubescent children; back then, the more hair the better. Playboy, trying to compete with Penthouse, put Devries in the October 1975 issue sporting a triumphant mane of pubic hair.  Indeed, she is considered the Playboy all time record holder for most pubic hair shown in the magazine.  Of course, Hustler and Penthouse soon surpassed it; however, Devries still holds the trophy for Playboy.


Considering Devries' favorite movie is A Clockwork Orange (or at least it was when she wrote her bio in the 1975 issue), she's cool in my book.  And speaking of movies, there was actually a movie adaptation of these novels, believe it or not, in 1984.  It featured our hero Christina Von Belle played by Jewel Shepard.

So, here's some more Christina covers.  There's plenty more out there, but we'll have to settle for these for the time being. Enjoy!
























8 comments:

  1. Believe it or not, when I got married, my wife had a bunch of these! She said she bought the first ones thinking they were romance novels. Some are fairly well written for what they are, some are quite erotic and others are just plain dirty. Some of the material probably couldn't even be published today! One of the pseudonymous authors--I believe he may have written three-- was future bestselling author W.E.B. Griffin. I believe the majority were written by a woman who was a very good "hack" writer. Can't think of her name but her behind the scenes story is/was posted online somewhere.

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  2. When I was a kid I thought all cool single adults lived like this. And believe me, when I grew up, I tried, dammit, I tried!

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  3. Wow, does this take me back. If my parents had known I was reading these at such a young age, they would have stroked out.

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  4. Wow. Simply amazing pics! Christina's Search must be the crappiest cover ive ever seen! :) I really want to become a photographer for a romance / erotic novels now.

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  5. Ha! Christina's Search is pretty awful.

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  6. AnonymousJuly 06, 2011

    I doubt this corresponds to the content of the books, just changing fashions, I guess, but more than half the men hovering in the backgrounds look gay. The scale of masculinity is probably strongest with the race-car dude, dwindling dangerously down the scale to the chap on "Christina's Search"!

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  7. AnonymousJuly 09, 2011

    Hart Williams on how he 'became' Blakely St. James:

    http://hisvorpal.wordpress.com/2007/10/30/christinas-outing/

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  8. Wow, these are great! Jill actually lived in my hometown of Bloomington, IL, for a long time and worked at a head shop there in the 1970s. There was a bong company in town called Thai Bong. There's a great ad they shot (and ran in Rolling Stone for a while) that features Jill and two other hippies (all nude) posing in front of a decrepit barn somewhere outside Peoria. These books are wild! I'll have to start keeping my eyes peeled at thrifts and garage sales. Thanks for the stellar post!

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