She was one trip to the hairdresser away from international fame.
This nice image starring none other than Bettie Page was printed by its photographer, who whose name—Blackthorn—you see at lower left on the full scan. This is exceedingly rare, thus there's little information about it, or the photographer. We can tell you, though, that it's an early Page image, which we deduce from the fact that she's not wearing her trademark straight hair and bangs, a look which became so famous that wigs of it are still sold today. Legend goes that she went for bangs because a photographer told her she needed to hide her shiny forehead. We think Page looks better without the bangs, and we don't think there's a thing wrong with her forehead. Because of the hairstyle, if we had to guess, we'd say this shot is from 1949 or 1950, just before her memorable transformation. We have a few interesting Page items in the website, but for our money, the best is here.
When you choose an inspiration choose the best.
Above you see a cover from Beacon Signal books, circa 1960, for All Woman by Matt Harding. The woman in this case is the legendary Bettie Page, rendered by illustrator Jack Faragasso. Page appeared on vintage book covers several times, either in photo or painted form. We've shown you examples of both types here and here, and you'll notice one of those covers is also by Faragasso. Clearly he had an affinity for Page, and there's a reason. When he was attending the Art Students League of New York in 1951 he shot nude photos of her. This was before she was well known. Faragasso later published those images in a book, but as far as using them as inspiration for paperback covers, he did it only twice. We'll keep an eye out for more Page covers. For that matter, we'll keep an eye out for more Faragasso covers too.
Dude, your mom is, like, totally babesville.
We mentioned last week that Bettie Page often starred on book covers, and here she is again on Alan Bennett's Savage Delinquents, published in 1959 by Bedside Books. This one is juviesploitation, and it deals with a disaffected seventeen-year-old girl named Lissa who falls in with a gang and soon learns it's like, nowhere, man. Page was thirty-six the year this was published, with the photo dating from a bit earlier, but still it speaks to her popularity that her image could sell this book when she was old enough to be the main character's mom. See more Page paperback art here.
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, especially the top image by Jack Faragasso. 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.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1981—Ronnie Biggs Rescued After Kidnapping
Fugitive thief Ronnie Biggs, a British citizen who was a member of the gang that pulled off the Great Train Robbery, is rescued by police in Barbados after being kidnapped. Biggs had been abducted a week earlier from a bar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by members of a British security firm. Upon release he was returned to Brazil and continued to be a fugitive from British justice.
2011—Elizabeth Taylor Dies
American actress Elizabeth Taylor, whose career began at age 12 when she starred in National Velvet
, and who would eventually be nominated for five Academy Awards as best actress and win for Butterfield 8
and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles. During her life she had been hospitalized more than 70 times.
1963—Profumo Denies Affair
In England, the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, denies any impropriety with showgirl Christine Keeler and threatens to sue anyone repeating the allegations. The accusations involve not just infidelity, but the possibility acquaintances of Keeler might be trying to ply Profumo for nuclear secrets. In June, Profumo finally resigns from the government after confessing his sexual involvement with Keeler
and admitting he lied to parliament.
1978—Karl Wallenda Falls to His Death
World famous German daredevil and high-wire walker Karl Wallenda, founder of the acrobatic troupe The Flying Wallendas, falls to his death attempting to walk on a cable strung between the two towers of the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Wallenda is seventy-three years old at the time, but it is a 30 mph wind, rather than age, that is generally blamed for sending him from the wire.
2006—Swedish Spy Stig Wennerstrom Dies
Swedish air force colonel Stig Wennerström, who had been convicted in the 1970s of passing Swedish, U.S. and NATO secrets to the Soviet Union over the course of fifteen years, dies in an old age home at the age of ninety-nine. The Wennerström affair, as some called it, was at the time one of the biggest scandals
of the Cold War.
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