Femmes Fatales Feb 18 2017
WINDOW DRESSING
She had a torso like no other.

And here's a photo to soothe any frayed nerves after our commentary in the previous post. You're looking at Georgine Darcy. She had a mildly successful career in show business, but only one role of hers really matters—Miss Torso from Alfred Hitchcock's top notch thriller Rear Window. If you haven't seen it don't be scared. Darcy is not nicknamed Miss Torso because she ends up dismembered or anything like that (no, that's a different character in the movie). Darcy is so named because James Stewart watches her dance, dress, flirt, and do other fun things with her perfect body. Yes, he's a voyeur, but he's wheelchair bound and bored. If it were us, we'd have no excuse at all.

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Femmes Fatales Feb 15 2017
ASAKA TO YA
She wouldn't have believed it at the time, but she hadn't reached her peak.

Above is Japanese actress Mayumi Asaka, who was born in 1955, first appeared onscreen in 1966, and tallied about fifteen roles up until the year 2000. That's about one every two years, which is perfectly fine, but nothing to amaze and awe. But since then she's been a beast, appearing in about eighty movies and television shows, often in recurring roles, pushing her credits up toward a hundred and fifty from the time she turned forty-five. The top shot is from the late-1970s, a decade during whose entirety she accumulated exactly two roles. If she wasn't thinking about quitting show business at that point we'd be surprised. The second shows her recently, still looking great. Perseverance paid.

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Femmes Fatales Feb 8 2017
LUXURY HILTON
She gets a five star rating.


The above photo shows Fay Hilton, who was, well, nobody in particular celebritywise, just an unusually beautiful woman, unrelated to the famous Hiltons, who modeled for noted lensman Peter Basch and whose shots have survived to be auctioned off at high prices. This one of her wearing bikini bottoms that seem juuuust about to be defeated by gravity was made around 1965. 

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Femmes Fatales Feb 4 2017
BERYL OF FUN
Hah hah, don't worry about my gun. Worry about my mood.

Above, a photo of German actress and dancer Taina Béryl, aka Taina Beryll, aka Tayna Beryll, happily playing with a sidearm, which given a choice is better than her unhappily playing with it. Her name is often spelled "Tania" around the internet but that's incorrect. As a dancer Taina-not-Tania Béryl performed at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, and in cinema was seen in such productions as Une blonde comme ça, L'inconnue de Hong Kong, and Berlin, cites with los Espias. 1963 on the image.

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Femmes Fatales Feb 1 2017
HER BODYGUARD
It's hard to get past my defenses—but I'm worth it.

This person standing with a suit of armor—possibly occupied by her protector—sure looks familiar. She's Yumiko Tatsuno and you may remember we just mentioned her two days ago because she was in the 1975 roman porno flick A Bakeneko Toruko furo, aka A Haunted Turkish Bathhouse. Well, what a coincidence. This shot of her on a February calendar page was shot by celeb photographer Takeo Sano and is from a 1974 issue of Heibon Punch. We have more from this calendar upcoming.

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Femmes Fatales Jan 27 2017
A CAT'S STARE
Trust me, I can do this for a long, long time.


Lauren Bacall gives the camera the look she made famous, and which gave male filmgoers palpitations. Ironically, the look came about because in her first film To Have and Have Not she was so nervous her head was shaking, so she kept her chin down to suppress the tremors, which required her to look from under her eyelids. Or so the story goes. This particular photo was made for her thriller Confidential Agent, and it dates from 1945.

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Femmes Fatales Jan 25 2017
IT'S A CINCH
Actually, I cook the most fattening foods imaginable. I just wear a belt reinforced with high tensile steel.

We don't have to tell you why American model Betty Brosmer became famous, right? She and her wasp waist were photographed for over three-hundred magazine covers, and she had to be hospitalized and resuscitated each time. Well, not really. Brosmer wore a corset for long periods, which eventually reshaped her waist to give her the hourglass that was popular during the 1950s. It was called “waist training,” which ranks as one of the funnier rebrandings of torture ever, right after “enhanced interrogation techniques.” It was thought to be harmless back then. Not so today, though many celebrities still do it. But assuming a woman did herself no harm, once she stopped wearing corsets her waist would return to its normal size in hours or days. The two photos here showing the eighteen-inch results of Brosmer's diligent training are from around 1955. 

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Femmes Fatales Jan 23 2017
SOME LIKE IT MARILYN
Ha! Caught you looking at my ass. I knew you didn't really care about art history.

It's difficult to find a photo of Marilyn Monroe that stands apart. So many were made, and of course she looked good in all of them. But this unusual shot of her checking out a book on Spanish artist Francisco Goya shows the most photographed person of her era in an interesting and slightly different way. It's from 1953.

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Femmes Fatales Jan 18 2017
QUALITY OF LEITH
It's best not to get a head of yourself.

American actress Virginia Leith had a perfectly respectable show business career, appearing in the thriller Violent Saturday and on hit television shows such as Baretta and Barnaby Jones, but what she'll always be remembered for is her turn as a decapitated head in the 1962 schlock sci-fi flick The Brain that Wouldn't Die. Have you seen that one? You really should check it out. It's a hoot. In the film Leith is beheaded in a car accident and her scientist fiancée just can't let go. Well, looking at the rest of Leith at top, now we see why. We don't have a date on the photo, but we're guessing it's from around 1955.

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Femmes Fatales Jan 14 2017
GREGG, INTERRUPTED
Sherwood be nice to enjoy the same good fortune she did.

American actress Gregg Sherwood pretends to have been caught mid-change in her dressing room in this photo from around 1950. If you look up Sherwood anywhere on the internet you're almost as likely to see her described as a socialite. Though she had a reasonably active showbiz career and had appeared in movies, on stage, and in magazines, she gained her socialite status by marrying rich—in her case automotive heir Horace Dodge, Jr. At the time she was thirty and he was fifty-three. The couple indulged lavishly, appeared in the society pages, and generally lived the high life, but finally hit the rocks in 1961. Dodge initiated divorce proceedings but died in 1963 before the split became final. Because of this Sherwood inherited $11 million, which would be $85 million and change in today's money. We have a feeling she led an even more lavish lifestyle from that point forward, and really who would blame her? As her husband proved, you can't take it with you. We have another photo of Gregg we found inside a 1947 issue of Police Gazette, and you can see that here.

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 21
1947—Edwin Land Unveils His New Camera
In New York City, scientist and inventor Edwin Land demonstrates the first instant camera, the Polaroid Land Camera, at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. The camera, which contains a special film that self-develops prints in a minute, goes on sale the next year to the public and is an immediate sensation.
1965—Malcolm X Is Assassinated
American minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam, who shotgun him in the chest and then shoot him sixteen additional times with handguns. Though three men are eventually convicted of the killing, two have always maintained their innocence, and all have since been paroled.
February 20
1935—Caroline Mikkelsen Reaches Antarctica
Norwegian explorer Caroline Mikkelsen, accompanying her husband Captain Klarius Mikkelsen on a maritime expedition, makes landfall at Vestfold Hills and becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. Today, a mountain overlooking the southern extremity of Prydz Bay is named for her.
1972—Walter Winchell Dies
American newspaper and radio commentator Walter Winchell, who invented the gossip column while working at the New York Evening Graphic, dies of cancer. In his heyday from 1930 to the 1950s, his newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, he was read by 50 million people a day, and his Sunday night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people.
February 19
1976—Gerald Ford Rescinds Executive Order 9066
U.S. President Gerald R. Ford signs Proclamation 4417, which belatedly rescinds Executive Order 9066. That Order, signed in 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, established "War Relocation Camps" for Japanese-American citizens living in the U.S. Eventually, 120,000 are locked up without evidence, due process, or the possibility of appeal, for the duration of World War II.
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