Before “50 Shades”, There Was “Naked Came The Stranger”! Publishing’s Biggest Hoax Undressed!

Naked Came The Stranger

“Forget 50 Shades, Get Naked!”

Forget “Fifty Shades Of Grey”! Have you heard of “Naked Came The Stranger”? If not, be prepared to hear about one of the most shocking bestsellers of all time, and it was all a hoax!

sexual revolution

The “Summer Of Love” Becomes The “Swinging 60’s!”

Here is how it began: in the late 60’s – Newsday Writer Mike McGrady was convinced that popular American literary culture had become so tawdry that even a wretchedly written work could succeed if enough sex was thrown in.

Mike McGrady

To test his theory, in 1966 McGrady recruited a team of Newsday colleagues – reported later as nineteen men and five women – to collaborate on a sexually explicit novel with no literary or social value whatsoever.

That’s Right, NO Literary Or Social Value Whatsoever!

Yes, the goal from the very beginning was simple – to write the worst book ever written, fill it with sex, and see what happens! According to wikipedia, McGrady co-edited the project with his Newsday colleague Harvey Aronson, and among the other collaborators were well-known writers including 1965 Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Goltz, 1970 Pulitzer Prize winner Robert W. Greene, and journalist Marilyn Berger.

Naked Came The Stranger Author

The group wrote the book as a deliberately inconsistent and mediocre hodge-podge, with each chapter written by a different author. Some of the chapters had to be heavily edited, because they were originally too well-written. The book was submitted for publication under the pseudonym “Penelope Ashe” (portrayed by McGrady’s sister-in-law for photographs and meetings with publishers).

Hello Penelope!

Penelope Ashe

The book, of course, was published and became a huge bestseler – no doubt due to the sexual revolution sweeping America at the time – people were eager to taste a bit of forbidden fruit! The publisher, Lyle Stuart, was an independent publisher then known for controversial books, and they smelled a best seller….and they were right!

Naked Came The Stranger book

So Just HOW BAD WAS IT????

So it’s a fair question: just HOW BAD WAS “Naked Came The Stranger?” Well, check out a few of these lines from the book!

• “She was driving, floating actually, toward her new house, floating past the freshly butchered lawns dotted with the twisted golden butts that were the year’s first fallen leaves, past the homes built low and the swimming pools and the kempt hedges and all the trappings that went into the unincorporated village of King’s Neck.”

• “Her skin, the color of India tea at summer’s end, flowed nicely over a slender frame. The breasts were small but she wore them well at age twenty-nine. Her legs were superbly designed. The hips, though trim, were deceptively full.”

• “She knew she had aroused the creature in the torn paint-spattered T-shirt.”

Naked Came The Stranger

• “She was at that moment gently massaging him at his point of greatest altitude with a bottle of pink Johnson & Johnson baby lotion.”


Ultimately, the hoax was revealed…

Book Hoax

Subsequently, McGrady and his collaborators were approached about writing a sequel; they refused. In 1970 McGrady published “Stranger Than Naked, or How to Write Dirty Books for Fun and Profit” which told the story of the hoax.

stranger than naked book

“Naked Came the Stranger” later became the basis for an X-rated film in 1975 directed by Radley Metzger, the legendary sexploitation filmmaker who also filmed XXX-movies under the name Henry Paris.

“Naked Came The Stranger” on DVD!

Check out the trailer for the 1975 filmed version of the book:

Naked Came The Stranger Movie

“Naked Came The Stranger”, the second of the films made by legendary auteur Radley Metzger using the pseudonym ‘Henry Paris’, is a bona fide classic of the true golden age of adult films. Inspired by the notorious best-selling book of the same name, it follows the sexual exploits of radio host Gilly Blake, who is determined to get even with her philandering husband Billy in a series of torrid affairs with their friends and acquaintances.

Naked Came The Stranger movie

Set in swinging 1970s New York, the film features a series of daring escapades taking place at an elaborate fancy dress ball, an exquisite old-fashioned ball room, and even on the top floor of a double decker bus as it drives around Manhattan in plain daylight.

Naked Came The Stranger

This classic adult film was released in two versions: softcore as well as hardcore. It is a fascinating end to a literary hoax that tested the adage that “there’s a sucker born every minute!”

Naked Came The Stranger

Categories: 70's Cinema, Books / Media, Grindhouse, Movies, Obscure Movies, Sexploitation Movies, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. I just finished “Naked Came The Stranger” and the really interesting thing is that the Pulitzer Prize winning journalists managed to write “better” book than 50 Shades of Gray.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. “Naked Came The Stranger”! The Hoax Revealed! « JR-Sploitation!
  2. “Fifty Shades Of Grey” Trailer! How About “Love Machines”! The “50 Shades” Erotic Precursor! « johnrieber
  3. “Fifty Shades Of Grey” Controversy! “The Love Machine!” “Naked” Strangers! Erotic Books To Controversial Movies! | johnrieber
  4. “Naked Came” The Fake Erotic Thriller! “Fifty Shades Darker” Erotic Fiction! – johnrieber

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