Sunday, August 9, 2009

Daily Book Graphics #169 / The Cross and the Switchblade

©1963, twenty-third printing 1968. Cover painting by Lee Gregori


Ron said...

That book--along with Go Ask Alice and a few other cautionary tales--was all OVER my junior high and high school, back in the early-mid seventies. I had no idea it dated back to 1963. Come to think of it, I don't remember anyone actually reading it; the mere idea of it was probably supposed to scare us into the straight and narrow.

Julian Montague said...

That makes sense, 23 printings clearly indicates that it was a book that was given away in massive quantities.

Ron said...

I put it in the same category as "Sometimes God Has a Kid's Face," which I think came along much later and was mailed out in fundraising requests--I'm sure I received at least 3 copies of it in the 80s and early 90s. That one also featured a striking cover, as I recall. I find the whole phenomenon of free religious tomes--which surely includes the Dianetics books, too--fascinating.

IMDB just confirmed my hunch that there was a Cross/Switchblade movie, too (Pat Boone! Erik Estrada!!), which I'm sure was also shown for free all over kingdom come.

I don't mean to obsess about this particular book, but it was truly one of those touchstones of the 60s/70s that is largely forgotten today. Since I'm also very much a judge-the-book-by-its-cover guy, it always shocks/amuses me slightly when something like this pops up in your blog, where my response to it transcends the purely aesthetic/formal qualities of its packaging. (If that makes any sense.)

Julian Montague said...

I remember "Sometimes God Has a Kid's Face,"I think it was mailed to my parent's house or left on our doorstep. The title has been bouncing around in my head for years, it's such an odd concept.

I may have to seek out the Cross and the Switchblade movie!