Intl. Notebook Sep 30 2013
LIFE'S RICH PAGEANTS
Smiles, everyone, big smiles.

The above images show Micheline Bernardini, the former Casino de Paris nude dancer who debuted the garment known as a bikini at a 1946 Paris beauty contest. Technically, hers was not the first. Similar garments appear on figures adorning classical Greek urns—but hey, that stuff is ancient history. The modern bikini is credited to Bernardini and designer Louis Réard. Beauty contests are an interesting phenomenon, don’t you think? They’re ultimately about sex, but nobody is supposed to say they’re about sex. It's a subject we've explored in detail before. But as weird and anachronistic as beauty contests are, we find the photos fascinating, so today we’ve dug up some vintage beauty contest pix. Among the participants below you’ll see Miss Italy winner 1951 Isabella Valdettaro (second photo). The dates on these range from mid-1940s to mid-1950s, except for the final shot which is from around 1935.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 24 2013
LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL
Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum?

We’re at the penultimate page of the Goodtime Weekly Calendar of 1963, and as promised last week here’s a great shot from Ron Vogel of an unidentified model getting her groove on. This just cries out to be repurposed as a 12-inch cover or some kind of concert poster, don’t you think? The image actually brings up lots of humorous possibilities, and we were contemplating something along these lines for a subhead: She’s not the only one who loves beating something between her legs. But then we decided that was just too much. We have some class here.

Among the quips this week is one from a person named Barbette. We had no idea who that was, so off to the interwebs we went for an answer. Turns out Barbette was a famous trapeze performer and female impersonator. He was born Vander Clyde Broadway, and in his aerial act performed in full drag only to reveal himself as a man at the end. As his fame grew he worked all over the U.S. and Europe, selling out storied venues like the Casino de Paris, Moulin Rouge, and the Folies Bergère.
 
His renown extended beyond the realm of performance. He was photographed by Man Ray, cast in Jean Cocteau’s experimental film Le sang d'un poete, was the subject of Cocteau’s essay Le numéro Barbette, and choreographed aerial scenes for Hollywood movies. It’s also possible he was the inspiration for Reinhold Schünzel’s musical comedy film Viktor und Viktoria, which was remade as Victor Victoria by Blake Edwards. Quite a legacy. We aren’t sure if his quip is particularly insightful, but even Barbette had his off days.
 
Feb 24: “A college girl who eloped put the heart before the course.”—G.S. Kaufman
 
Feb 25: “Women think about love more than men; that’s because men think more about women.”—Barbette
 
Feb 26: A woman’s strength is her weakness. She fights by yielding and conquers by falling.
 
Feb 27: :One group of people who live on love are the owners of drive-in theaters.”—Jack Herbert
 
Feb 28: “For every man there’s a woman; but the chances are one may get the wrong number.”—He-who Who-he
 
Mar 1: “Alimony: The high cost of guessing wrong.”—Quin Ryan
 
Mar 2: Every girl should have a husband, not necessarily her own—Hollywood Code
 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 06
1944—D-Day Begins
The Battle of Normandy, aka D-Day, begins with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of northern France in an event codenamed Operation Overlord. The German army by this time is already seriously depleted after their long but unsuccessful struggle to conquer Russia in the East, thus Allied soldiers quickly break through the Nazi defensive positions and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.
June 05
1963—John Profumo Resigns
British Secretary of State for War John Profumo resigns after the revelation that he had been sexually involved with a showgirl and sometime prostitute named Christine Keeler. Among Keeler's close acquaintances was a senior Soviet naval attaché, thus in addition to Profumo committing adultery then lying about it before the House of Commons, authorities pressed for his resignation because they also feared he had been plied for state secrets.
June 04
1939—Journey of the St. Louis
The German passenger liner MS St. Louis, carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps. The event becomes the subject of a 1974 book, Voyage of the Damned, by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts, and is later adapted into a film with the same title, released in 1976.
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