“There Is A Scene Involving A Tollbooth, Another Involving Ice Cubes And Still Another Featuring A Shetland Pony”

Mike McGrady, an ink-stained wretch from an era when it seemed like newsprint would flow forever, just passed away. More than his journalistic career, McGrady, to his horror, was best known for Naked Came the Stranger, a trashy 1969 hoax novel that he co-wrote with a couple dozen other Newsday reporters and editors. Meant as a satire of Jacqueline Susann and similar popular writers of the day, it was initially published earnestly under a nom de plume and sold quite well. From Margalit Fox’s New York Times obituary of the late scribe:

“Intended to be a work of no redeeming social value and even less literary value, Naked Came the Stranger by all appearances succeeded estimably on both counts.

Originally issued by Lyle Stuart, an independent publisher known for subversive titles, the novel was a no-holds-barred chronicle of a suburban woman’s sexual liaisons, with each chapter recounting a different escapade:

She has sex with a mobster and sex with a rabbi. She has sex with a hippie and sex with at least one accountant. There is a scene involving a tollbooth, another involving ice cubes and still another featuring a Shetland pony.

The book’s cover — a nude woman seen from behind — left little to the imagination, as, in its way, did its prose:

‘Ernie found what Cervantes and Milton had only sought. He thought the fillings in his teeth would melt.’

The purported author was Penelope Ashe, who as the jacket copy told it was a ‘demure Long Island housewife.’ In reality, Mr. McGrady had dreamed up the book as ironic commentary on the public’s appetite for Jacqueline Susann and her ilk.”


A 1975 adaptation from the director of The Opening of Misty Beethoven:

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