The Art of Petticoat Punishment
by Carole Jean
Part 40 - Lenny Burtman Publications
Leonard ‘Lenny’ Burtman was the one of the premier publishers of Fetish, Female impersonation and Petticoat Punishment during the mid 1950’s thru the 1960’s. Some of the many corporate names he and his partners published under were Burmel Publishing, Kaysey Sales, Selbee Associates, S-K Publishers and Unique Publications.
According to Wikipedia, Burtman was born in Nebraska in 1921 and lived in California between 1941 and 1950. During this time he worked in the electronics industry and trained at California Institute of Technology. In 1949 he encountered legal problems concerning the transport of false securities, after which he moved to New York to start a new career. On arrival in New York, he began to work as a professional photographer (reputedly doing some work for Irving Klaw – possibly female impersonator photographs- CJ) prior to becoming a magazine publisher.
In 1955 Burtman as Burmel Publishing (Leonard BURgman and Benedict HimMEL - CJ) began publishing Exotique, which ran for 36 issues from 1955 to 1959. Exotique was widely distributed and was one of the key fetish publications of the late 1950’s. It featured art by Gene Bilbrew, considerable cross dressing, female impersonation and beautiful girls in fetish wear. One of these girls, Tana Louise, was a burlesque striptease artist and fetish model who became famous for her involvement in Exotique both as a columnist and a model. She also married Burtman.
Burmel Publishing experienced police problems from local New York Authorities, the FBI and the Postal Inspection Service. New York officials prosecuted Burtman and Himmel and convicted them for obscenity. Burmel Publishing Company closed following this conviction (later reversed) and ownership of Exotique was transferred to Kaysey Sales under president Seymour Grasberg. The magazine continued with issues 37 and 38 under the title ‘New Exotique’. The magazine, under Burtman and Himmel’s new company, Selbee Associates, became ‘Masque’ and 4 issues were published before the magazine was discontinued in 1961.
Selbee, Leonard Burtman's new company, published a numbered series of one shots that ran from C-1 (Connoisseur) thru C-24 (Mistress of Desire) and at least 14 other titles such as Queens in Drag, Midnight Nurse and Devils in Skirts.
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In 1964 Leonard Burtman, under the corporate title S-K Publishers, issued ‘Bizarre Life’. After a two year delay the publication began again as a magazine. In 1966 Bizarre Life re-appeared as a new publication. Volume 1, number 1 of this ‘Bizarre Life’, was published by Unique publications. Bizarre Life gave its address as Toronto but listed its ‘editorial offices’ at 1733 Broadway in New York City – Burtman’s office.
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