The resurrection of Lazzaro.
So, last week we mentioned that we had found the best calendar of all time at the Denver Book Fair. Above is the first image we’re posting from it, a tinted shot of Sophia Loren’s famous nude scene in 1951’s Era lui... sì! sì!, in which she appeared as Sophia Lazzaro. By 1953 she had begun acting as Loren, leaving the Lazzaro screen name behind forever. Her nude scene was never a secret, exactly, but until the internet came along stills from Era lui appeared only in porn and scandal magazines—and, apparently, obscure calendars. So thank you world wide web for making formerly impossible-to-find nudity readily available via a mouseclick or two.
This calendar—The Goodtime Weekly Calendar of 1963, printed in the U.S. by Good Time Publishing—has a nude or pin-up image for every week of the year, and in addition, a joke, quote, or pithy saying for every day of each week. The sayings are illegibly small on our posted image, so we’ve transcribed them below. But don’t thank us until you read them. While a couple are mildly amusing, most aren’t, and one is simply incomprehensible (March 14). We hope they improve as the year continues, but if they don’t, think of them anthropologically—i.e., try to value them as artifacts of an older culture that we're going to study for whatever insights we can glean. And if that doesn’t interest you, well, you can just look at the pretty photos. We’ll post one calendar page per week, along with its text, until we run through all fifty-two.
March 10: “Sophia Loren has been awarded an Oscar for Two Women. By gosh, she certainly is.”—Bob Hope.
March 11: Figures don’t lie; that’s why an honest man believes in good sizes.
March 12: “A gossip always gives you the benefit of the dirty.”—Sam Cowling.
March 13: Anybody who still says the sky’s the limit is way behind the times.
March 14: “Tips from outer space: Tired of chimps and dogs and men—try us with a woman.”—He-who Who-he
March 15: “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.—Henry Cooke.
March 16: “Beauty contests didn’t start in Atlantic City or any other city; they began when the second woman arrived on Earth.”—Mitch Miller.
Fear of a black hat.
Swedish actress Anita Ekberg was known for her bombshell body (Bob Hope once quipped that her parents received a Nobel Prize for architecture), but we think this shot showing just a shoulder and part of her face underneath a black bowler is one of the best we’ve seen of her. It dates from 1965.
Imprisoned by the chains of love.
Promo photo of New Orleans-born actress Dorothy Lamour, née Mary Leta Dorothy Slaton, who made many films but is remembered for playing opposite Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in seven zany Road movies. This image was shot during the making of Road to Zanzibar, 1941.
All the boys loved Mandy Rice-Davies.
The infamous Profumo Affair exploded onto British front pages during the spring and summer of 1963, outing Secratary of State for War John Profumo’s affair with the call girl Christine Keeler, and leading directly to his humiliation and resignation. More than a year later the other call girl at the center of the scandal—Mandy Rice-Davies—was promoting a tell-all book about her time in the sex trade. It was called The Mandy Report and on the cover of Confidential from May 1964, we see Rice-Davies holding the book and looking pretty darn pleased with herself.
The Mandy Report was actually rather cleverly formatted as a tabloid-style magazine, and inside Rice-Davies claimed to have spent quality time with the likes of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Robert Mitchum, Bob Hope, George Hamilton and many others. Mostly, the men denied it, of course, but to paraphrase Rice-Davies herself: “Well, they would, wouldn’t they?” Call us prejudiced, but we tend to believe women about situations like these, even when they happen to be trying to drum up sales.
We don't know how many copies The Mandy Report eventually sold, but the fact that it's still widely available online might be an indication that it did okay. Later in life, Rice-Davies stayed in the spotlight, acting in film and television. That’s her below, relaxing on a beach on Majorca circa 1963, and if you're curious you can read a bit more about the Profumo Affair at an earlier post, here.
Jet magazine discovers twins under the skin.
Two pages from Jet magazine, featuring Eartha Kitt, Bob Hope and others, with interesting content you can read for yourself, circa 1950s.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1942—Battle of Stalingrad Begins
The Battle of Stalingrad, perhaps the most pivotal event of World War II, begins. It lasts for more than six months, spread across the brutal Russian winter, and ends with two million casualties. The Russian sacrifice reduces the powerful German army to a shell of its former self, and as a result Nazi defeat in the war becomes a simple matter of time.
1979—Alexander Gudonov Defects
Russian ballet dancer and actor Alexander Borisovich Godunov defects to the U.S. The event causes an international diplomatic crisis, but Gudonov manages to win asylum. He joins the famous American Ballet Theater, where he becomes a colleague of fellow-defector Mikhail Baryshnikov, and later earns roles in such Hollywood films as Witness and Die Hard.
1950—Althea Gibson Breaks the Color Barrier
Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American woman to compete on the World Tennis Tour, and the first to earn a Grand Slam title when she wins the French Open in 1956. Later she becomes the first African-American woman to compete in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
1952—Devil's Island Closed
Devil's Island, the penal colony located off the coast of French Guiana, is permanently closed. The prison is later made world famous by Henri Charrière's bestselling novel Papillon, and the subsequent film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
1962—De Gaulle Survives Assassination Attempt
Jean Bastien-Thiry, a French air weaponry engineer, attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle to prevent Algerian independence. Bastien-Thiry and others attack de Gaulle's armored limousine with machine guns, but after expending hundreds of rounds, they succeed only in puncturing two tires.
1911—Mona Lisa Disappears
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, aka La Gioconda, is stolen from the Louvre. After many wild theories and false leads, it turns out the painting was snatched by museum employee Vincenzo Peruggia.
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