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Bettie Page Gets Ripped OFF! The Case of the Homemade Bikini Theft Vintage Sleaze

Who would trick and steal from a young, fresh-faced aspiring model from the South? In Times Square in 1950s? Virtually everyone...and my obsessive sleuthing has solved yet another Bettie Page mystery.

It is fairly well-known that Bettie Page made her own posing costumes and bikinis. She learned to sew long before modeling and took great pride in her creations. It explains why she was often seen posing in odd crocheted bikinis and colorful suits with curious fringe.

Whatever...a less known tale is how she was ripped-of of her designs in the early 1950s.
"The real Bettie Page: the truth about the queen of the pin-ups" by Richard Foster tells the story: "Once in the early fifties, Bettie was hired for a private photo session by a married couple who wanted to take pictures of her in the self-designed costumes and bathing suits they had heard she made...it turned out that the couple copied Bettie's outfits and used her picture in magazines to promote their catalog."

Humpf. Well, it certainly would not be the last time Ms. Page was taken advantage of. Do a search for "Bettie Page clothing" and count the folks reaping profits from her name. But this one struck particularly hard, as it destroyed the young innocent's faith in others, (and also because she was alive to be angry, unfortunately no longer the case.)

Anyway, I can add a bit more to the story. Like the actual Ad! Here she is, in the October 1956 issue of Modern Man magazine...and there is the young arrival from the south posing in her own handmade polka dots. So who is the sleaze here? Well...certainly not the dotted model with earnest intentions.

Note the address. "Riviera" presumably the sleazy retailers of "pin-up togs" have an address of 39 West 46th Street. Bettie's address at the time? 65 West 46th Street. Literally a few doors down. Bastards.

Other sleazy revelations about the Queen of Pinups on Vintage Sleaze are HERE.
You could also sign up for my "Bettie Page Walking Tour" but what was once an interesting and scary neighborhood has since been fixed by Disney and social engineers with ties to big business. So never mind.


SHADES of Vintage Sleaze FALL Fall 2011 Notes from Vintage Sleaze the Blog

(!) New hyperlinks for the artists who have participated in the Vintage Sleaze "CONTEMPORARY" series. SPREAD IT AROUND TO YOUR ARTIST FRIENDS. If you are, or know, an artist working in any medium who has been influenced by "Vintage Sleaze" of the past, Get in Touch! I have two scheduled and would love more.

CONTEMPORARY VINTAGE SLEAZE is a regular series which profiles artists working today who have been influenced by vintage sleaze of the past. Serious artists are participating in this series, please respect their efforts and intellectual property. Artists who have contributed so far include: Lena Chandhok, Gary Panter, Vanessa Davis, Jane Dickson, Astrid Daley, Antonio Lapone, Leslie Cabarga, Trevor Alixopulus, Paul Swartz, Rebecca Whitaker, Denis St. John, Zahira Kelly, Fairfax and Emery, Elizabeth Watasin, Stephen Adams, Lynn Montone, Mitch O'Connell and more. If your work is influenced by the girlie cartoons or pinup models of the past, we would love to see your work!

(!) 'TIMES SQUARE SMUT' the book (The FIRST fairly comprehensive look at illustrator Gene Bilbrew AND the all-too-overlooked place and time which produced the virtually unseen 42nd street primitive "proto" porn from the 1950s of Edward Mishkin) is being shopped around a bit by a good friend. So hopefully the book finds an above ground publisher! It is certainly a good enough story and I'll get the job done myself if I have to. (Folks have been asking about it) Be patient.

(!) There will be an upcoming exhibition of the Rudolph Rossi photographs in October. This will be the first public showing of these one-of-a-kind hand-painted original photographs of Bettie Page and her friends taken by an early Camera Club member of the 1950s. Some 25 original photographs will be for sale, as will copies of the book. Stay Tuned.

(!) Due to some renewed interest in the Humorama digests of the past, I have collected many of the original essays here done on the cartoonists who sold work to Goodman in the 1950s and 1960s. Previously unpublished biographical material and more HERE on the new HUMORAMA ART site.

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Strip Poker Origin The Game of Strip Poker in Sunglasses.

Strip Poker has only two rules. One. You are in it to win it. 

Two, if you are a woman, the first thing you take off is the bra under your shirt, but leave the shirt on.  You'll LOOK the same, but you'll play harder.  Actually, the only way to keep your clothes on is to fold every hand.  That way you never loose.  There isn't any money at play anyway.

Some accounts trace the origin of the game to brothels in New Orleans, which is wonderful, as the Crescent City deserves it...but with what many Louisianians or Louisaners have done with their weight in the last few decades might give a player pause.  People in New Orleans are HUGE.  The best food in the world, after all.  It also provides them a few extra places to hide cards.

IN England, they sometimes play the game with male participants only!   

Serious players wear sunglasses.  They count as an item of clothing, and you can peek at the opponents without letting them know.  You can save your sunglasses for last if you like! That way, you'll have no problem keeping your Poker Face.


Mitch O'Connell Cartoon Genius of Chicago #17 Vintage Sleaze Contemporary Series


#17 is the great Mitch O'Connell who happens to be the first to participate in "Vintage Sleaze Contemporary" who has done four Newsweek covers (!) He is also the first Chicago artist to get in touch. As Chicago has more interesting artists than the Hamptons on a hot summer weekend, let's hope for more. Plus, Mitch himself is hot, handsome and hunkalicious. HIS words not mine, but I will contribute that he is a genius and very well groomed indeed.

When you click to enlarge, stand back. Mitch is well-spoken, but for now we can have his work speak for him.

Like the coolest homes in the Chicago art world (from Ray Yoshida to Roger Brown and beyond) where Mitch lives is as fun as his work...groaning shelves of fun!
He wears his inspirations well.

Mitch is a whirlwind. Tattoo design. Bigfoot hunter. Group shows, One man shows, Comics...and drawings of Tura Santana, which is a pretty safe way to get your work shown on Vintage Sleaze. There are skateboards, monkeys, beatniks and futuristic skulls from Hell. Big Daddy Roth meets John Waters in a swirling bowl of jiggling pop culture jello. You'll see. The artist's blog is HERE and like everything which surrounds this artist, highly recommended!

Mitch O'Connell WEBSITE HERE

A fascinating video on the artist's creative process documents a piece he created for the Village Voice below. It you are interested in Comics, you will be learning here from a master.

"Contemporary Vintage Sleaze" is a weekly series which profiles artists and cartoonists working today. All art is copyrighted by the respective creator, distributor or publisher and therefore should not be reproduced WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE ARTIST. NO cribbing and I ain't fibbing! Each and every post in the Vintage Sleaze Contemporary Series will link to the artist's portfolio, website, publisher or representative. EACH POST IN THE VINTAGE SLEAZE CONTEMPORARY SERIES WAS CREATED WITH THE ARTIST'S PERMISSION AND CONTRIBUTIONS. Serious artists are participating in this series, please respect their efforts and intellectual property. Artists who have contributed so far include: Lena Chandhok, Gary Panter, Vanessa Davis, Jane Dickson, Astrid Daley, Antonio Lapone, Leslie Cabarga, Trevor Alixopulus, Paul Swartz, Rebecca Whitaker, Denis St. John, Zahira Kelly, Fairfax and Emery, Elizabeth Watasin, Stephen Adams and more. If your work is influenced by the girlie cartoons or pinup models of the past, we would love to see your work.



An Easy Pick-Up and Unintended Effects Vintage Sleaze

Reading Kat Long's recommended The Forbidden Apple: A Century of Sex and Sin in New York City last night, I learned the army's attempts at preventing the spread of VD largely contributed to the problem. Turns out those impressionable young men barely knew how to get laid until the medical brass told them to watch out for a dose...and through scary propaganda virtually TOLD them where to get the job done.


"Easy Pick-Up" matchbook circa 1940 Collection Victor Minx

Go-Go Dancer Big Lulu (Bertha) and Gospel Corn! Vintage Sleaze Country Fried Hee Haw

Remember Hee Haw? There were lots of comely country creatures stuffed into Dukes of Hazard jeans on the show, but the least likely one to have been a "go go" dancer was big Lulu Roman.

That's right. Lulu Roman was a "go-go" dancer.

I have searched the internet cornfield high and extra-wide for a picture of Lulu boot-scootin' in white thigh-highs but to no avail. I guess the light was dim in the places she danced.

It's all right...what if I had turned up photos of George "Goober" Lindsay, Grandpa Jones or Minnie Pearl gyrating instead? (That wasn't another rare Eastern states earthquake, it was me shuddering.)

Since Lulu's schtick on the show was "baby girl" dresses, I am going to suspect her dancing act was similar...so you can picture that instead of an actual picture.

Lulu wasn't your average "go-go" dancer...she was a "go-go" dancer in DALLAS and was born in 1946. I don't know the legal "go-go" dancer age in Dallas, Texas, but Jack Ruby might have. Of course Lulu couldn't have danced in a Ruby club since she has not died a mysterious death.

Anyway, you know what happens to "go-go" dancers when they "go go" Hollywood? In Lulu's case, she created one big Bertha-sized drama of a life with arrests, drugs, an unmarried pregnancy and such. You know...your standard country (and Hollywood) life. Lulu may have been in love with Junior Samples on the show, but what she really loved was drugs. Consequently Hee Haw had to dump her from the show.

Thank God the Governor of Texas pardoned Lulu and thank God she found God. Her corn-fed conversion led to a return to Hee-Haw and later a performance on the ever-tolerant Anita Bryant Spectacular in 1980!

After having her stomach stapled, Lulu now tours as a gospel singer. Oh...I did find ONE picture of Lulu dancing, and here it is. Watch the usually great Buck Owens ruin the Bob Wills / Willie Nelson classic "Stay a Little Longer" to see Lulu briefly bust a move, Square dance style.

Diddling for a Dime Forgotten Master of the vintage sleaze Gag Ed Bortz

Pay phones are gone, but a good gag lasts forever. The Under-appreciated Ed Bortz provides his take on diddling for a dime.

Ed Bortz Postcard 1954 Collection Victor Minx

Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks Eckerd's Censors Lotita Piece of Crap

Let's analyze this rack of books Eckerd's deemed forbidden.
First of all, it is now impossible to search "Lotita" on the web, as Google persists in correcting your spelling...you obviously mean the notorious masterpiece by Vladimir Nabokov titled Lolita, but this was written by a cheap fraud trying to cash in. Lotita is scarce not because Eckerd's pulled them from the shelves. It is scarce because it was a piece of crap. Let the public decide. They did. It's gone. Go find one.

The Girl from Pussycat was likewise a piece of crap, and it was made into a film full of Scandinavian "actresses" which was also a piece of crap. As I check today, The Girl from Pussycat book is ranked #3,654,263 on the Amazon Bestseller's list. There were a bunch of them, all written by Ted Mark. Ted also wrote The Man from O.R.G.Y. I bet they both had a character you could spell the same as "Illya Kuryakin" but not quite. As Neil Young says in one of most meaningful songs "Piece of Crap."

Weekend Wife was by Ben Elliot, who was really Ben Haas writing softcore porn under a fake name. You couldn't keep Ben away from a typewriter. He also wrote under the names John Benteen, Thorne Douglas and Richard Meade. Weekend Wife isn't too easy to find these days either. Repeat "piece of crap" saved text.

Guess who wrote Object of Lust? No, not Mark West as indicated here...Charles Runyon, another typist of great speed. You might know his other handle Ellery Queen, but then there were lots of writers named Ellery Queen, a name as generic as Aspirin at Wal-mart. P.C. and I don't mean "Politically Correct" I mean piece of crap.

The Doctor Spock book way down below is there so you can pretend you aren't looking at the others, or to have something to put on the top of the pile at the checkout stand.

Censored vintage sleaze paperbacks, each with a story to be told Eckerd's didn't trust you to learn on your own.

Original Press photograph 1966 Collection Jim Linderman

Original Cartoon Pin Up Drawings from the Jim Linderman Collection

Over 50 rare pieces from the Jim Linderman collection of original comic art from the 1950s and 1960s are being shown on the website Comic Art Fans HERE. These drawings, from notables such as (shown in order) Bill Wenzel Gene Bilbrew Jefferson Machamer Bill Ward Lew Barrows and others were all published in Men's Magazines over 50 years ago. Have fun!

Jim Linderman collection on Comic Art Fans HERE



The Fifth Sex by Bob Dylan PHD (File under Mystery)

File THIS one under "mysteries" I guess. Bob Dylan, Ph.D writes a forbidden book! One is listed for sale on Abe books, but the description says "musty smell" so I'd wait for the Kindle edition. 1969 Publication date. And you wondered what he was doing after the motorcycle accident?

John Willie Magazine Melodrama Sweet Gwendoline Ad 1959

An advertisement for the John Willie A.K.A. John Alexander Scott Coutts "Magazine Melodrama from Pose! Magazine June 1959. The complete John Willie (and Sweet Gwendoline) story is told in the Belier Press book "The Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline" by John Willie.

Honey Bee Supreme Court Declares Honey Bee NOT OBSCENE! Greatest Moments in Vintage Sleaze #2

Sam Ratner was the distributor of the stag film Honey Bee. For that, he already ranks high on the vintage sleaze list of notables. But that wasn't all...when he was convicted of distributing Honey Bee, an "asserted obscene" movie in San Mateo Country, he didn't like the ruling. He and his business partner Gary Clarence Morton took the case all the way to the Supreme Court!

According to the LA Times in 1972 (the wheels of justice turn slow, the initial arrest was many years earlier) Honey Bee "depicts a girl sitting on a couch and then disrobing." Yeah, well. LOOK AT HER!

Ratner, on the other hand, declared the film was best described "as a nude figure study, rather than anything else." Hmmm...I am not sure if his advertising copy here was a factor in the decision, but he seems to describe his film a bit differently to prospective buyers. Like this: "She'll make you shudder with pleasure. She'll delight you. Her body is sensational and the production is torrid. You won't believe your eyes, and you'll not part with it for any price."

Okay, so maybe Ratner wasn't a beacon of intellectual freedom after all, he was a sleaze! California thought so, they fined him $1000 and gave him a suspended 6-month sentence. If you are interested in the case, don't bother looking on the web, it took me ages! The case against Sam went to the Supreme Court docket in the 1970-1971 SCOTUS.

Guess what? The Supreme Court agreed with Sam! The decision was reversed! Honey Bee is approved and Sam can go home!

That is until a few years later when they got him for tax evasion.

Greatest Moments in Vintage Sleaze is a once in a while entry on Vintage Sleaze HERE by Jim Linderman. The first entry documents Candy Barr's visit to the Warren Commission.  MAKE SURE TO BROWSE AND PURCHASE BOOKS AND $5.99 EBOOKS BY THE AUTHOR HERE

The Government Investigates 6 Inch Heels The Early Irving Klaw


Plenty of government censors didn't like Irving Klaw, that much is well known. One gets the feeling they were hovering over him just waiting for a nip-slip in one of his photographs, which is why he was extra careful to cater to other interests, including the foot fetishist. "Unusual" was not obscene, a dilemma for the suits...so they tried to prove high-heels were.

Here is government testimony from the Interim Report of the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency in which they try to shut Klaw down on the basis of the height of the shoes on his models. Oh, do I wish they had C-span back then.

Hell, now NIKE makes 6 inchers. They make THIRTEEN inchers! Put on your High-Heel sneakers, cause we're going out tonight.
Odd they don't mention other reasons stilettos are unsafe... an unsteady gait, sprains, fractures, tendon problems. Now google, in their creepy but amazing automated advertising software will generated a "related search" for you in case you want to know about TEN inch heels, and they'll also link you right to a film of Lady Gaga falling off hers. That's a good one for the Republicans to debate next. Maybe it will be in Rick Perry's "platform"

Part of a continuing series The Early Irving Klaw on Vintage Sleaze the Blog.

DULL TOOL DIM BULB / Vintage Sleaze Book Catalog and Orders HERE


8-Track Speed Trap A Big Wheeler with a Heavy Load, Don't cha Know Big Buddy Vintage Sleaze

The last thing I want to think about is a hopped-up, speed-driven, horn-tootin' 14-wheeler behind me on the highway while the 8-track is playing "Wife Swapping Swinger's Orgy" but I'm sure it happened. It happened all the time!
There was a wonderful, brief moment in human history when X-rated 8-track tapes consisting of bad actors reading porn were common in big truck cabs. And you were worried about that KID behind you with a hand-held. At least he is driving a tin Ford Fiesta one-handed, not a semi with a load of steel girders.

I don't think accident reports tell the full story too often, but I am going to bet there was at least a few big rigs dumped while the driver was running down the road with more than his mud-flaps flapping.

"10-4 Big Daddy, It's Bean Poppa here, I'm about to Drop the Hammer and Blow my Motion-Lotion, Good Buddy"
Collection of Smutty 8-Track Tapes (Yes...8-Track TAPES) Sheesh! Victor Minx

Dull Tool Dim Bulb / Vintage Sleaze Books HERE