|Femmes Fatales||Oct 21 2023|
You don't know jack-o'-lantern.
How many people have made jack-o'-lanterns without knowing anything about them? Plenty, we bet. The term comes from an Irish myth about a man named Stingy Jack (sometimes Jack the Smith, Drunk Jack, or Flaky Jack), a folkloric deceiver whose lies and tricks resulted in him having to wander the world after his death, admitted to neither Heaven nor Hell, lighting his way with an ember inside a hollowed out rutabaga. We don't know if rutabagas were ever used for jack-o'-lanterns, but if they were the switch to pumpkins was a good one. Rutabagas aren't scary. Unless you have to eat them.
Posing with en enormous plaster jack-o'-lantern is U.S. actress Anne Nagel, whose Hollywood career spanned about twenty-five years. She acted in (including uncredited appearances) about a hundred films, among them the crime dramas Bungalow 13, Escape by Night, Armed Car Robbery, and The Trap. Nagel is a good femme fatale choice for this time of year because her personal life was even scarier than these photos. Her first husband committed suicide, she allegedly had problems with alcohol, she never accumulated much money despite her many screen performances, and she died of cancer at age fifty.
Here's the most frightening story of all. In 1947 she filed a $350,000 lawsuit against a surgeon who she claimed removed some of her reproductive organs in 1936 without consent when he performed an appendectomy on her. Could you even imagine? Nagel said she had no idea until shortly before filing suit more than a decade later, but the surgeon countered that Nagel knew exactly what he was going to do. We don't know how the case turned out, but given the era we bet she didn't win. These photos, no longer very scary after hearing that story, are from 1940.