Femmes Fatales Sep 29 2023
Hi, I heard there are some enormous veggies around here.

We've been looking at this image for a few years, and while it's often said to feature U.S. actress Anita Page, there's an amazing amount of disagreement about that. Many sites say this is actually an actress named Marie Hopkins. The debate is a fascinating microcosm of internet behavior. We've seen people called stupid over their opinion. Well, we'll try to weigh in, and hopefully not in a stupid way, about whether this is Page or Hopkins.

Some sites, splitting the difference, essentially claim both, saying this is Marie Hopkins posed as Anita Page, or Marie Hopkins posing under the pseudonym Anita Page. Here's the problem with that: there's no Marie Hopkins listed in cinema or stage databases. There's a Miriam Hopkins, from the right period, but even so, this is probably not her. For clues toward an answer we're turning to the pros—i.e. professional brick and mortar galleries.

Black & Whites Gallery is no longer around, but from its London locale during the 1980s and into the 1990s it staged shows by renowned photographers such as Richard Sawdon Smith and David Leslie Anthony. That gives it at least something resembling reputability, because when galleries with actual street addresses sell art with mistaken attributions or under false pretenses, it has a way of turning into a reputational problem that's hard to shake among the habitués of the gallery scene. This is not nearly as true of online sellers.

So for the record: Black & Whites Gallery, once located at 50-52 Monmouth Street, London, sold limited lithographs of this image and identified the subject as the actress Anita Page, shot by Clarence Sinclair Bull in 1929. Is that 100% definitive? Maybe not, but it's getting into the neighborhood. You can see a previous Page here.

Femmes Fatales Jul 11 2023
What's happens next only she knows for sure.

Above: a cool 1928 MGM promo image of top tier U.S. actress Anita Page, who featured in such films as West of Zanzibar and The Broadway Melody. Her career straddled the silent and talkie eras, and she was a star in both. This is a great and sexy shot, a bit eyebrow raising at the time, we'd guess, thanks to that wandering left hand that could be up to anything. You can see more of her here, and we'll show you more of her soon. 


Vintage Pulp Apr 4 2016
What do they expect? It's called the City of Brotherly Love.

Above is a cover of the early tabloid Philadelphia Briefs published today in 1934, which caught our eye because it has a nice drawing of actress Anita Page, along with an Easter Bunny that seems to looking up her skirt. Bad, bad bunny. But it was added to the original shot, as you see below. Briefs was one of the purest early examples of the American tabloid form, with its reporting focused mainly on big city dangers faced by upstanding young white women, among those perils the predations of darker races—often referred to in the parlance of the Depression years as “sepias” or “ebonys.” To quote: “White, sepia, and ebony wrapped in erotic embrace. White girls in their teens abandoning their ivory bodies to ebony clutches as boy and girl friends cheer drunkenly.” Interesting, no?
This style of reporting served a specific purpose. As James H. Adams put it in his book Urban Reform and Sexual Vice in Progressive Era Philadelphia, the goal was to, “demystify the city through the use of cultural archetypes and narratives that defined why the city was evil, the threat that the city posed to orderly society, and the measures that reformers needed to take to clean up the urban space.” In other words, Briefs created negative, often transparently ridiculous stories that had the effect of convincing readers that barriers maintaining the structure of contemporary society were under siege. These tales of white girls and brotherly love would distress many people even today, so you can imagine the outrage in 1934. See more Briefs here.


History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 24
1915—Ship Capsizes on Lake Michigan
During an outing arranged by Western Electric Co. for its employees and their families, the passenger ship Eastland capsizes in Lake Michigan due to unequal weight distribution. 844 people die, including all the members of 22 different families.
1980—Peter Sellers Dies
British movie star Peter Sellers, whose roles in Dr. Strangelove, Being There and the Pink Panther films established him as the greatest comedic actor of his generation, dies of a heart attack at age fifty-four.
July 23
1984—Miss America Resigns
Vanessa Williams, who had been crowned Miss America and was the first African American woman to win the prize, resigns her title after Penthouse magazine purchases and slates for publication a series of lesbian-themed nudes Williams had posed for when she was younger. After resigning she files a $500 million lawsuit against Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione but later drops the suit.
July 22
1992—Cocaine Baron Escapes Prison
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, imprisoned leader of the Medellin drug cartel, escapes from a posh Colombian jail known as La Catedral after he learns authorities intend to move him to a real prison. His taste of freedom doesn't last—he's killed in a shootout a year-and-a-half later.
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