Femmes Fatales Jul 9 2017
LEIGH'S WAY
Rule number 1: don't leave fingerprints. Rule number 2: if you have to wear gloves, make them fabulous gloves.


This promo photo shows U.S. actress Leigh Chapman, who after appearing in about fifteen films during the 1960s transitioned into a career as a screen writer. Probably her most significant screenplay is 1974's Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, which starred Peter Fonda and Susan George. She mainly wrote for television, penning six episodes of Wild Wild West, and episodes of Mod Squad and Walker, Texas Ranger. This shot of her dates from around 1965.

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Femmes Fatales Jul 5 2017
LANDIS SURVEY
Perfect as far as the eye can see.

Seems only fair, since we just showed you photos of Carole Landis dead, to show photos of her alive too. Her death photo is the lasting impression many have of her, for obvious reasons, but as a performer she was well regarded, racking up more than fifty screen roles. This image of her on a Southern California beach is undated but probably comes from around 1940.

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Femmes Fatales Jul 2 2017
THE LADY ASTOR
Getting Mary-ed was one of the most important decisions of her life.


Above you see a Paramount Pictures promo image of U.S. actress Mary Astor made around 1930. Astor is remembered by movie fans for her role in 1941's The Maltese Falcon, but she had been in film for more than twenty years by then. We often note show business name changes. Astor's real name was Lucile Langhanke. Would she have been as successful using that name? There's no way to know, but we doubt it. To us, Langhanke sounds like a cut of meat. Like something from the middle ages. Gimme a langhanke and an ale! And a roasted Maltese falcon too! Acting is hungry work! But instead she appropriated the family name of a strain of British royalty and her career took flight, so it seems Mary made the right choice. 

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Femmes Fatales Jun 29 2017
FROM A TO AZIZI
Whatever the language, the meaning is clear.

Despite her exotic name, Azizi Johari is American, born in New York City and raised in Seattle. Her movie career consisted of bit parts, with her most noted appearances coming in the 1976 John Cassavetes film The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and the 1981 blaxploitation b-movie Body and Soul, which was a remake of the 1947 film noir classic. She originally gained recognition in 1975 as a Playboy model, appearing as the magazine's Playmate of the Month in June 1975, but the above photo was used on the front of Players magazine in 1978. Oh, and on the subject of her name, “Azizi” is Arabic and means “precious,” while Johari is a Kiswahili word that means "jewel.” She's well named.

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Femmes Fatales Jun 26 2017
TIFF IMAGE
Of course I know it isn't raining in here. But I can't take a chance on anything ruining this hair-do.


This is an unusually cool shot, we think. In addition to its compositional elements, the pattern on the dress and umbrella are the same. Fashionistas take note—that's how it's done. The star of the photo is U.S. actress Pamela Tiffin, née Pamela Wonso, who was noticed for her beauty—a producer spotted her having lunch in the Paramount Pictures studio commissary—but became an award nominated performer. We've featured her before, and you can see those images here. 1966 on this one.

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Femmes Fatales Jun 17 2017
STEN-OGRAPHY
The shorthand version is her talent never translated.

This promo photo shows Ukrainian actress Anna Sten, who's someone we've talked about before. She was a big star in Europe, but an inability to conquer her heavy accent curtailed a ballyhooed attempt at Hollywood success. It's a story with a fascinating footnote, which we talked about here. The image dates from 1932.

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Femmes Fatales Jun 15 2017
MUSICAL MANSFIELD
The girl can't help it, but then who'd want her to?


Jayne Mansfield shows her horny side in this promo for her 1956 screwball comedy The Girl Can't Help It. The movie is an underrated classic which we highly recommend for about ten compelling reasons, all of which we explain here.

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Femmes Fatales Jun 11 2017
COFFEE FOR ONE
Personally, I find that I can't wake up in the morning without stimulation. What about you?

Elvire Audray was one of the more faces famous in 1980s Italian b-cinema, appearing films such as Lys, Nosferatu a Venezia, and the cannibal movie White Slave, which we discussed a while back. Here she gets her day off to a good start in a couple of photos made around 1985.

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Femmes Fatales Jun 9 2017
THINKING CAP
It's the cloche that makes the woman.


Bette Davis is wearing a cloche in this elegant promo shot, knitted in such a way that it looks a bit like a brain. At least to us. This is actually appropriate, because Davis was considered one of Hollywood's brainy set. It couldn't have been easy for her. She said intelligence was a hinderance for women in Hollywood—and the world in general—in the sense that it generated resistance from entrenched male authority. She commented in a 1965 interview that there was “deep resentment from the male side of the business.” She didn't let it stop her though, and became one of the industry's biggest stars on her own terms. We don't have a date on this image, but it's an early one, probably from around 1933. 

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Femmes Fatales Jun 4 2017
A LANG TIME COMING
Never try to copy the uncopyable.


U.S. born actress Barbara Lang was one of many actresses promoted as a Marilyn Monroe type, but it was wishful thinking. She only looked like Monroe in shots like this upnose angle from a 1957 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer promo. However, Lang was beautiful and talented in her own right and went on to star mainly on television, including on series such as 77 Sunset Strip and The Thin Man. After a short career and a turbulent personal life she died in Los Angeles in 1982 aged fifty-four.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 17
1953—NA Launches Recovery Program
Narcotics Anonymous, a twelve-step program of drug addiction recovery modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, holds its first meeting in Los Angeles, California.
August 16
1942—Blimp Crew Disappears without a Trace
The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappears on a routine patrol over the Pacific Ocean. The blimp drifts without her crew and crashes in Daly City, California. The mystery of the crew's disappearance is never solved.
1977—Elvis Presley Dies
Music icon Elvis Presley is found unresponsive by his fiancée on the floor of his Graceland bedroom suite. Attempts to revive him fail and he's pronounced dead soon afterward. The cause of death is often cited as drug overdose, but toxicology tests have never found evidence this was the case. More likely, years of drug abuse contributed to generally frail health and an overtaxed heart that suddenly failed.
August 15
1969—Woodstock Festival Begins
The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, which was billed as an Aquarian Exposition, takes place on a 600 acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York. It would run for three sometimes rainy days and feature thirty-two acts performing at all hours of the day and night. Today the festival is regarded as one of the greatest events in popular music history.
1977—Radio Signal Arrives from Deep Space
An unidentified radio signal, nicknamed the WOW Signal for the notation a scientist made on a computer readout, is briefly detected by the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) project's Big Ear radio telescope. Despite a month of searching the same section of space, the signal is never found again.
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