Paperback publishers double down on a legendary model.
Bettie Page has long been an inspiration in multiple media, and you can include paperback art on the list. These two covers for authors Day Keene and Jack Moore, published in 1959 and 1962 respectively, use Page's instantly recognizable form to draw the eyes of newsstand browsers, a tactic we assume was a wild success. We love both of these. There are even others from the period. The artist on both of these is the legendary Unknown, by far the most prolific mid-century paperback illustrator of all time. We'll doubtless run across more from the same genius later.
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 headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1920—U.S. Women Gain Right To Vote
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified despite heavy conservative opposition. It states that no U.S. citizen can be denied the right to vote because of their gender.
1958—Lolita is Published in the U.S.
Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita, about a man's sexual obsession with a pre-pubescent girl, is published in the United States. It had been originally published in Paris three years earlier.
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.
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.
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