I guess in baseball terms I'd be called a free swinger.
Generally we like to share femme fatale images that haven't been seen around the internet much, if at all. Many of our images are original scans. This cute shot of Bettie Page is an exception. It's been all over the web, but we're using it because we want to stick with baseball today.
We can actually tell you a little about the shot, which other sites don't bother with. It was first published as a gatefold in a July 1957 issue of Swagger, a minor men's magazine that churned along for about a decade before folding. The issue also featured a few other shots of Page, and devoted the rear cover to her, which you see below.
If you hope to buy the issue, you can probably forget it. We've seen it going to more than $100. That might be worth it for some Page aficionados, but for that price we'd skip the mag and just go to a few baseball games. Well, we would if we lived in the U.S. Streaming is the best we can do over here. Enjoy baseball season, everyone. It seems to last forever, but somehow, it's over all too soon.
It's okay to bend me a little but please don't fold or crease me.
We've had a lot of Bettie Page on Pulp Intl., but there's no such thing as too much, so today on the anniversary of her death eight years ago we thought we'd share a favorite shot of her. She was easily one of the most photographed models of her era. Marilyn Monroe and perhaps a few others surpassed her for sheer volume of images. Despite those thousands of Page shots, this photo has an especially joyful quality we think sets it apart. You can see plenty more of Bettie Page in the website, including a couple of sets of images we were the first to put online, like here and here.
You guys keep fighting back there! I'm going to... uh... go for reinforcements!
Above, scans from a September 1955 issue of Man's Illustrated, a magazine published by Hanro Corp. of New York City. The cover art is uncredited, although possibly by Rico Tomaso, in any case very interesting, featuring a soldier paying what we consider less than recommended attention to a battle taking place to his rear. Maybe he's using his binoculars to look for a hiding place. Actually, the illustration is for Reuben Kaplan's “Border Clash,” about fighting in Gaza, and nobody runs away. Elsewhere inside the magazine is fiction from Si Podolin and a short photo feature on Bettie Page, which makes this a worthwhile purchase. Not that we paid much. It was part of a group of twenty mags that averaged out to five bucks each, even when international shipping was included. Score.
She's a real Bettie—no mistake about it.
This tattered but still attractive Lebanese magazine is called Al Arousa, which means “the bride,” we think, and it dates from 1957. The seller says that's Spanish actress Isabel Mestres on the front cover, which shows what he knows—the star of this photo-illustration is obviously American model Bettie Page. There she is wearing the same ensemble at right.
Page used the outfit in a burlesque loop known on the internet as simply, “Harem,” which features her being introduced by an emcee and doing a little hip swaying on a sound stage. It's a short, non-nude performance—two facts that may disappoint some—but if you want to check it out try here. We're thrilled to have come across this magazine cover, and we'll mark it down as our second best Bettie Page discovery.
A very bad end to a very bad night.
The above mugshot shows burlesque queen Bettie Page after being arrested in Hialeah, Florida. In response to an emergency call, police arrived at a local residence to find Page in the front yard battering her former husband Harry Lear. We can’t help but note that if Florida’s Stand Your Ground law had been on the books back then, Lear could have simply shot Page dead, no muss, no fuss. But Florida had a semi-sane legal code at the time, so when the police arrived they hauled her off to the precinct. That was in the wee hours today in 1972.
Bumpy road ahead.
Above, a cover from the Aussie men’s mag Adam, April 1955, with art depicting a tense moment on the road in Lester Way’s short story “…the Dotted Line.” Below are some interior scans, including one containing the immortal Bettie Page, identified by the editors only as “this brunette”. But even if they didn’t name her, they certainly knew of her. By 1955 she was extremely famous. Her image had been used in dozens of magazines, including Playboy in January of that year, and she had appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show, in the burlesque films Striporama, Varietease, and Teaserama, and had acted in two off-Broadway plays. Page is in panels twelve and thirteen below, and you also get other pin-ups, some nice art, cartoons, and an interesting ad.
The vertical expression of horizontal desires.
Nobody really knows where the word burlesque came from—some claim its roots are the Italian and Spanish words “burla," which mean “hoax” and “deception” respectively. We’ve also seen burla translated as “jest.” Whatever its etymological roots, the much loved art of burlesque began in Victorian England as a type of musical variety show that satirized highbrow art forms such as opera, ballet, and costumed drama. On U.S. soil burlesque took similar shape, but also began to incorporate semi-clad dancers. Soon, these sexually suggestive dances became the focus of the performances, and the word burlesque became a synonym for striptease.
Stars such as Sally Rand, Amy Fong and Dixie Evans became celebrity practitioners of the art. The dancers generally didn’t strip totally nude on stage, but a few, like Bettie Page, did take it all off in short burlesque films. Above is a shot of Betty Blue Eyes Howard, and below we have more assorted burlesque photos featuring some of the biggest stars of yesteryear’s striptease firmament. Of special note are Betty Rowland dancing in panel 12, and being escorted into court to face obscenity charges in panel 13, Bettie Page from one of her nude shorts in panel 20, Lilly Christine in panel 21, Lili St. Cyr in panel 22, two shots from one of Nazi Germany’s legendarily decadent mid-1930s burlesque shows in panels 23 and 24, and finally Tempest Storm in the last panel. We hope these images take the edge off those Monday blahs.
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