Mansfield gets top billing but the rockers steal the show.
Above is a vintage Japanese poster for Jayne Mansfield’s 1956 musical comedy The Girl Can’t Help It. They don’t make ’em like this anymore—a gangster hires a boozing agent to transform his girlfriend into a star, but the girlfriend has no talent, and the agent falls in love with her. This might be Mansfield’s most important movie due to the role it played in popularizing early rock music. For example:
And the unbeatable Fats Domino.
Though they aren't rock and rollers, the lovely Julie London and the amazingly beautiful Abbey Lincoln, who you see just below, also put in appearances. The Lincoln number is especially wonderful, and it's well-staged too, with the backdrop of deep violet curtains set against her crimson gown.
The only uncute thing about this exceedingly cute movie is poor Jayne Mansfield’s bazooka bra and strangling corset, the latter of which producers have cinched her into in order to give her a twenty-inch waist. It's cringe-inducing. Otherwise, awesome stuff.
, The Girl Can’t Help It
, Jayne Mansfield
, Tow Ewell
, Little Richard
, Eddie Fontaine
, The Chuckles
, Gene Vincent
, Eddie Cochran
, The Treniers
, The Platters
, Fats Domino
, Julie London
, Abbey Lincoln
, poster art
, movie review
Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay ride into the gossip columns.
Jayne Mansfield rides off into the night with her new husband, Hungarian bodybuilder and former Mr. Universe Miklós Hargitay, better known as Mickey Hartigay, after their wedding in Portuguese Bend, California, today in 1958. In addition to riding off with Mansfield, Hargitay rode into the pages of the tabloids. As a noted figure in the fitness and bodybuilding world, he had been moderately famous before, but now, as a superstar’s husband, his every excursion, utterance, change in appearance, and career rumor was exhaustively documented and sold to the public. The marriage lasted six years, which is not bad by Hollywood standards, and the pair had three children, one of whom is actress Mariska Hargitay. See more on Mickey here.
Tiger, by the time I’m done with you I’ll need this sheet to wrap up your dried out body and dump it in the river.
Who else could this be but
Jayne Mansfield ? June Wilkinson? She goes unidentified on this Technicolor lithograph, but there’s no doubt. The image is entitled “Lady in Red” and it dates from early in her career—1955. See another Mansfield Wilkinson lithograph here.
Update: John wrote in, saying, "I think that's a cheesecake shot of June Wilkinson not Jayne Mansfield. BTW I've seen Jayne's first films. They were B&W crime/caper films shot around Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Jayne is good in both as a moll (what else?) but she wasn't a platinum blonde yet.
John is right. Mansfield was blonde in her 1955 Playboy
centerfold, but she wasn't platinum at that point. We got another e-mail about this from Tom, and he also suggested this was Wilkinson. So we got to thinking about it and now agree this is indeed June Wilkinson. The e-mails were 95% convincing, and it's the pose that finally settled it. This laughing/head-thrown-back position was a June Wilkinson trademark. See below and here
We have another Technicolor lithograph this fine Sunday and this time it’s Jayne Mansfield. She appeared on at least three of these. Though the photo itself is famous and the bosom-hugging pose is one she used throughout her career, the actual pin-up, which was produced in 1965 by Corp. A. Fox, is rare. See more Technicolor action here.
Even in decline Confidential had eyes and ears everywhere.
Liz Taylor and her tan star on this cover of Confidential published this month in 1964. The magazine was just a shadow of its former self by this point, but the inside stories still manage to raise eyebrows and give the impression of tabloid spies in every corner of Hollywood. Simon Lee Garth’s exposé accuses Richard Burton of being an abusive drunk, but that was not a scoop—other tabloids had written the same. But elsewhere, investigative journo Beverly Hillis (nice, right?) shares the amusing story of Elvis Presley throwing a party at which only women were invited. Apparently “swivel hips”, as Confidential refers to him, paraded around in a series of bizarre costumes and generally acted the fool, prompting some (but crucially not all) of his guests to leave in a huff. In another story Jack Asher writes about bottomless swimsuits worn by gay men as a response to the topless women’s suits that had appeared on European beaches, and also tells readers the fashion house Lanvin Paris had begun selling a bottomless suit for women. We don’t buy that one for a minute, but there are some interesting photos of women wearing breast-baring dresses. Elsewhere in the issue you get tabloid fave Jayne Mansfield and her husband Mickey Targitay, Peter Sellers sexing himself into a heart attack with Britt Ekland, Barry Goldwater playing dirty politics, and an impressively tasteless graphic of Malcolm X. All below.
, Lanvin Paris
, Richard Burton
, Elizabeth Taylor
, Mickey Hargitay
, Jayne Mansfield
, Peter Sellers
, Britt Ekland
, Barry Goldwater
, Malcolm X
, Elvis Presley
Precisely when it’s scarcest is when you want it the most.
Jayne Mansfield, Mickey Hargitay, Elvis Presley, Eartha Kitt, and more. This issue of Whisper published this month in 1965 tells tales about some of the most popular stars of the day. And then there’s Hayley Mills, former child star who was trying to make a full-grown career for herself where breaking from type often involves shocking the public. In Mills’ case, she planned to star in the film Candy, which was to be an adaptation of the banned satirical novel Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg had based on Voltaire’s Candide. Considered one of the sexier novels of the time, it touched on homosexuality, masturbation, interracial relations, and seemed like a disastrous choice for wholesome Hayley Mills. But if she actually wanted to change that image what could do it? Candy could. Whisper warns Mills away from the role: “We’ll bet her fans—and the moviegoing public at large—won’t buy it.” Dire words, indeed. But in the end, Mills never got the role. It went instead to Swedish actress Ewa Aulin.
Whisper also discusses the infamous relationship between Sammy Davis, Jr. and Kim Novak, and ponders whether Novak is still carrying a torch for Davis. Journalist Pete Wallace doesn’t interview Novak, but manages to score quotes from many acquaintances—or so he claims. The upshot? Novak’s life has been a shambles ever since the relationship ended, but Wallace, trying to reason from afar with Novak, explains that Sammy dropped her for both their sakes because of the forces—studio, family, the American public, and eventually the Mafia—that were arrayed against them. But Wallace also sympathizes. He writes: “If the one man she ever really loved walked out on her (never mind that it was for the best of reasons) how can she trust herself to anyone less?” Who could ruin you for other men forever? The Candyman could. We have nineteen scans below of all that and more, and many more issues of Whisper to come.
If you think I’m having a good time now, you should see how much I enjoy it when the water isn’t fuh-reezing.
Above, the cover and some interior scans from the Dutch cinema magazine Cheerio! #117, featuring an eclectic selection of international stars, 1956.
, Venetia Stevenson
, Jayne Mansfield
, Elsa Martinelli
, Sophia Loren
, Marcelo Mastroianni
, Anita Ekberg
, Doris Day
, Belinda Lee
, Martine Carol
Is it just us, or does something about this pose make you think about scoring?
We’re back on schedule with Goodtime Weekly and a page for today in 1963 featuring none other than Jayne Mansfield, who's making her third appearance for the calendar. After being lensed twice by Bernard Wagner, here and here, British photographer David Hurn gets a shot. We love the pose because it looks like she’s signaling a touchdown or a field goal—appropriate this first weekend of playoff football in the U.S. (which is something we can watch live thanks to the wonders of the internet). We doubt Hurn was thinking of sports when he suggested the pose. More likely he simply said, “Um, Jayne, I can’t see your breasts with the fabric bunched up like that. Can you raise your arms? Higher? Perfect.” The result was an image that’s quite famous, which is to say, it’s one of only three from the calendar that we’ve seen before. That doesn’t surprise us. Hurn is a significant photographer who shot everything from political events to the Beatles, and is still kicking around today. He also shot this amazing image of Jane Fonda for the film Barbarella. Okay, we're off. Enjoy the games, everyone.
Jan 6: A good sermon is one that goes over your head and hits the others.
Jan 7: Another blue Monday. Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody could make both week-ends meet?
Jan 8: “A wolf is a guy who dreams of girls running thru his mind—they wouldn’t dare walk!”—Rod Brasfield
Jan 9: A diplomat looked at Jayne Mansfield and sighed: “I only wish the UN were in such good shape!”
Jan 10: “Jayne Mansfield always looks like she’s trying to smuggle something into the country.”—George Burns
Jan 11: “Every girl has a sense of value; buy her something expensive and see how much you’ll receive.”—He-who Who-he
Jan 12: “I don’t take gifts from perfect strangers—but nobody’s perfect.”—Zsa Zsa Gabor
How to be nude and fully clothed at the same time.
Above is a shot of Jayne Mansfield from Bernard Wagner showing the actress in a nude evening dress that covers her bits with a few stars and sparkles. We also love the Paris street-style matte painting behind her. Since we had both the name of the model and photographer, we were able to do an extensive search on the web and did not encounter this shot anywhere, which means we’re going to claim that this is the first time it’s appeared online. Always a proud moment. The weekly observations are below, and we’re guessing that the quip for November 27 has something to do with typesetting, but we couldn’t find any references to “Mansfield type” anywhere. Anyone have a clue on that? Drop us a line.
Nov 24: This is also true for a common cold: Sometimes the eyes have it and sometimes the nose.
Nov 25: Thanksgiving Day. Did you hear about a woman who sewed a zipper on her turkey?
Nov 26: “That’s true about Jayne Mansfield. She does use two dressing rooms.”—George Burns
Nov 27: Some places won’t hire Mansfield type anymore. The reason: They can’t get close enough to the machines.
Nov 28: “Many kids claim their dates are cheaper-ruined.”—Bob Banner
Nov 29: “Two hearts may beat as one but the mouths eat separately.”
Nov 30: “Most women don’t want you to kiss them. They just want you to want to.”—Jerry Lester
Update: Here's an e-mail we got from a reader named Lisa that may solve the mystery of the non-sensical quip.
This might be too old to care about, but the author thought that "Some places won’t hire Mansfield type anymore. The reason: They can’t get close enough to the machines" was a joke about typesetting. But it seems more likely that there's just a typo in the line. It should read "Some places won't hire Mansfield to type anymore." Then the second sentence makes sense.
Thank you, Lisa. It's amazing how long we can look at something and still simply not see things like that. That's why the extra eyes of readers are so important to us.
Update two: Here's Lisa again, with an even better take on this.
Well, I was basking in my typo-spotting glory on Facebook when a couple of friends pointed out that the joke is just as likely--maybe *more* likely--to be "some places won't hire Mansfield types anymore". Then the "they" in the second sentence is referring to "Mansfield types," which makes even more sense. And that's how vintage materials research is done, folks! Sorry to force a potential new update on you.
No worries, Lisa. We're flattered that anything we do would cause you to bask. What are you wearing right now? Never mind. Now that you've got us seeing the line in all its myriad possibilties, we might as well throw a third option—"Mansfield's type"—out there as well. That will certainly cover the gamut. Er, we think.
Hush-Hush says they didn’t want her even in the nude, but is that true?
The story probably fueled ten million fantasies. Marilyn Monroe had stripped naked on the set of her last movie Something’s Got To Give. Monroe was eventually fired, the production was scrapped, and the footage was archived, but if it had been released, she would have been the first Hollywood actress to appear unclothed onscreen since the 1920s. It’s interesting, isn’t it, to reflect upon the effect a minority of prudes had on Hollywood? Because of them, Monroe’s unreleased scene, and Jayne Mansfield’s later nude scene in 1963’s Promises, Promises, merely brought American cinema back to where it had already been four decades earlier.
In the movie Monroe’s character is in a pool and calls up to a window where Dean Martin resides. Martin is married and Monroe is disrupting his life, so when he sees her, he tells her to get out of the water. She complies and Martin realizes she’s nude. It's a standard sex comedy oops moment. Monroe began the filming of the scene in a body stocking, then removed that and wore a flesh-colored bikini bottom. After the scene she posed for some publicity shots for several surprised photographers, and during that period removed even the bottoms. Some sources say she also shot the scene nude, but most say the bottoms came off afterward.
Hush-Hush was not the first magazine to break the story of Monroe’s peel down. Life had done that in June 1962, accompanied by a couple of titillating photos. By the time Hush-Hush told the tale Monroe was two months dead. The blurb MM—Even In The Nude They Didn’t Want Her wasn’t strictly true. The production company Twentieth Century Fox most certainly did want her. A hospital stint prior to production had caused her to shed twenty-five pounds, bringing her to a weight she had never reached in her adult life, despite exercise and dieting. The newly svelte Monroe looked good and Fox was getting her cheap—$100,000.
By most accounts, Monroe knew her career was in trouble. She was making one tenth one what Elizabeth Taylor was making at the time, and was determined to remind people they were still dealing with possibly the biggest sex symbol who had ever lived. She knew that if she stripped she might be falling into the same old trap of making it easy for people to not take her seriously, but if her career really was finished she was determined to go down swinging. In the end her stunt was irrelevant. Her health problems had made her thin, but they lingered and caused numerous costly production delays, causing Fox to finally give up and pull the plug. That was June 1962. Two months later she was gone.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1937—Chamberlain Becomes Prime Minister
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who is known today mainly for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 which conceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany and was supposed to appease Adolf Hitler's imperial ambitions, becomes prime minister of Great Britain. At the time Chamberlain is the second oldest man, at age sixty-eight, to ascend to the office. Three years later he would give way to Winston Churchill.
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".
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