chickenshoot (chickenshoot) wrote,

So many questions for Melvin Powers.

Last year I spotted this book on a table in an antique store. It wasn't with the other books, and we happened to be looking for a table, so it's almost like I was meant to find it.

It's called "How to Use Auto-Suggestion Effectively," by John Duckworth (great name!), but I don't care anything about the subject. I picked this book up because of the inquisitive, turtle-like woman on the cover. See the way her head is tilted, hands carefully (and somewhat uncomfortably) posed. There's that great 60's dress, and then, let's don't forget, there's the fact that she has nothing to do with the subject of the book. Or does she?

After I passed the book two or three times and it made me laugh again, I went ahead and bought it. Now I have it at home to occasionally pull off the shelf and be startled by the picture all over again.

I've since looked over the book and found on the title page:

Cover Model
Blanche Powers --- Los Angeles, California

Well, now I have a name. Now I need a reason for her being there on the cover, serene and all-knowing. Perhaps Blanche Powers is world reknown for her awesome skills in auto-suggestion. If so, her name is conveniently appropriate! I flipped through the book, which was too God-awful boring to actually read, but there was no Blanche anywhere. I did notice, though, that the foreword of the book is written by a Melvin Powers.

A-ha! Melvin's wife? His mother? But why, Melvin? The book belongs to Duckworth---why isn't HIS wife or mother on the cover. Blanche is not even in the book. Did you just think she was cute enough to help sell the book? Gotta admit, it worked on me. I can't stop looking at Blanche. I feel like she's telling me something.

At the end of the book I found that this auto-suggestion book is one of about 200 in the Melvin Powers Self-Improvement Library. Winners like:

Animal Hypnosis
How to Sleep Without Pills
Impotence and Frigidity
Peyote Story
Grow Rich While You Sleep
You Are Not the Target
LSD--The Age of Mind
Juggling Made Easy

Melvin was a damn publishing mogul, and THAT'S why he could choose the cover model over Duckworth. For all we know, Blanche could have been on the cover of a hundred of the other self-improvement books. I can now conclude that Blanche Powers, wife or mother of Melvin, was probably really well taken care of by proceeds from this library. It's almost obvious now that after the cover picture was taken, Blanche turned around and walked back up the path and thru those lightposts to her sprawling mansion.

In "How to Use Auto-Suggestion Effectively" Melvin Powers concludes the foreword with his name and COMPLETE home address. Things were just that informal in 1972. "If you have any questions about that foreword, by God, come see me personally."

I wonder if Melvin still lives there at 12016 Sherman Road with Blanche. Somehow I just don't think Blanche had another 35 years in her, so I can pretty much safely mourn her now. Oh, Blanche, little turtle-woman...
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