A literary hoax for the ages.

A literary hoax for the ages.

Credit:

Dell. Studio 360.

“Together like garden snakes, they contorted, moaned, gasped, clenched and throbbed.”

In 1969, the erotic potboiler “Naked Came the Stranger” climbed The New York Times bestseller list. According to the back cover, it was written by a “demure Long Island housewife” named Penelope Ashe. Except ... that wasn’t the whole story. Harvey Aronson, Marilyn Berger, George Vecsey and other former Newsday staffers reveal the real story behind this literary caper.

Some of the co-conspirators pose outside of the Newsday headquarters.

Some of the co-conspirators pose outside of the Newsday headquarters.

Credit:

Time

“Naked Came the Stranger” excerpts read by Lorraine Mattox. “Stranger Than Naked” excerpts read by Greg Tannen. 

Special thanks to Harvey Aronson, Irene Virag, Corinne McGrady, George Vecsey, Mal Karman, Barry Abisch and Jay Shah.

Bonus Track: “Naked Came the Stranger” – The Movie
Harvey Aronson, Stan Green and Tony Insolia on how the book was adapted into a movie.

Mike McGrady and Harvey Aronson on the front page of The Independent on August 7, 1969.

Mike McGrady and Harvey Aronson on the front page of The Independent on August 7, 1969.

Credit:

The Independent

The photo of Billie Young (and her Russian wolfhound) that was used on the book jacket.

The photo of Billie Young (and her Russian wolfhound) that was used on the book jacket.

Credit:

Lyle Stuart, Inc.

The New York Times reviewed the book, August 3, 1969, not aware that it was a parody.

The New York Times reviewed the book, August 3, 1969, not aware that it was a parody.

Credit:

The New York Times

"Naked Came the Stranger” reached #3 on The New York Times best-seller list on Nov. 2, 1969.

"Naked Came the Stranger” reached #3 on The New York Times best-seller list on Nov. 2, 1969.

Credit:

The New York Times

(Originally aired June 8, 2017)
 

Related Stories