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Tana Louise in Performance In Motion In New York In the 1950s Vintage Sleaze The Rare Tana Louise

CREDIT UPI Photograph 1958 as shown following:


A magnificently human and rare photograph of Tana Louise in action, for some reason taken by a UPI photographer in 1958.  As such, one of the very few of the dancer that I know of taken during a dance performance.  October 19, 1958.  As the original caption reads, Ms. Louse was shaking it in a New York Cafe as yet unidentified. 

Why was a UPI stringer sent to photograph Tana on that date?  Or even at all? Her then consort, the fetish innovator Leonard Burtman would not have his inventory confiscated by the Feds until 6 months later.  We can be thankful the group of photographs (only one shown) turned up on eBay, as to my knowledge they were never published.  They aren't posed publicity or pin up shots…but of a working woman putting on quite a show.  Much more common are the photos Lenny and his buddy Sam took of Tana dressed in gear which was as the time, to say the least, unconventional.


 Tana Louise (and wares) "Catalog C-4" No Date Burmel Publishing
Tana had been on the road quite a while by this time.  Some tough places too.  I find one note putting her at the Rainbow Inn in Miami as the "White" act along with the "Big Colored Revue"  which might give some perspective.  She performed also with the Ebony Follies there as early as 1950.  As you can see, she was still at it 8 years later in the Big Apple.
Tana Louise Publicity Photograph circa 1950
Obviously  (unlike the woman who replaced Tana as the fetish photographer's model of choice, Bettie Page) Tana could DANCE.  I am not aware of a film showing her performance, unfortunately. Certainly Leonard Burtman would have filmed Tana at some time, and it is quite possible she was married to him at the time the photo above was taken.  As far as I know, the story of how they met has not been told or documented…though the best source I have found, by FAR, is the dissertation of Robert Bienvenu, certainly the most interesting and pertinent text produced to date on early fetish material and climate which produced it.  Interestingly, as Burtman was well into publishing by 1958,  it would appear Tana still had to dance for a living.

There are thousands of untold stories from the golden days of sleaze, as this blog proves, and that there have been over 800 posts here already only indicates how many more are to be told.  Yet, from this writer's perch, Tana Louise is the MAJOR untold story of the 1950s.  A story not even scratched.