Friday, May 16, 2014

FFB: Juvenile Jungle

Okay, it's '50s week for the FFB folks.  I have one for you.

We talk about books now and then that we say are "very much of their time."  Nothing could be truer of Juvenile Jungle.  There's a ton of hep '50s teen slang in John McPartland's "Party for the Kids," and no doubt it helped to fuel the fear of those nasty juvenile delinquents in many an old white male reader's heart (the story appeared in Esquire).  I guess Americans always have to have someone or something to fear, and in the late '40s and a lot of the '50s it was J. D.s as they were often called.  Check out the movie trailer below for a filmic example. (Besides the J.D.s, we had the Dirty Reds, too, not to mention The Bomb, but that's another story.)

 James T. Farrell was a big name at one time, or at least a medium name.  In the '50s, reprints of his books were all over the place, mainly the ones in the Studs Lonigan trilogy.  "Scarecrow" is the oldest story in the book, from 1930, and it's as rough and raw as the stories in the trilogy, which I read when I was in high school.  It's not about the threatening J. D.s like those in McPartland's story, but it's scary in its own way.

Jonathan Craig's "The Bobby Soxer" isn't about a threatening J. D., either.  It's about an attempted rape of an underage girl by an older man, who's arrested and charged.  The story's very short, and it has a nice little snapper of an ending.

Hal  Ellson made a career out of writing about J. D.s, the threatening kind, and "Pistol" is a good example.  No good can come of it when a pistol falls into the wrong hands.  

The next time you want to time travel back to the time of J.D.s and zip guns, give this book a try.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

"You rotten kids stay off my lawn!"

Jeff

Bill Crider said...

Durn tootin'!

Richard said...

Yeah, man, leather and chains, jump in my rod and we'll blast off, maybe run down down chicks, maybe get some kicks.

This is a pretty good collection, as I recall. Wish I still had it.

Jerry House said...

The JDs in my hometown during the Fifties concentrated solely on tipping outhouses.

Todd Mason said...

No editor credited? Wonder if it was Thomas Dardis, Hal Cantor or the other folks kicking around Berkley...

Todd Mason said...

(And, clearly, at least one story is Kid, get off my lawn, and get under me in more comfortable, for me, circumstances.)

Bill Crider said...

No editor credited.