ALICE DENHAM | SLEEPING WITH BAD BOYS IN NYC’S 1950s BOHEMIAN DAYS

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Alice Denham — writer, Playboy centerfold, film actress who left a vivid chronicle of her literary and sexual adventures in her 2006 memoir, “Sleeping With Bad Boys: A Juicy Tell-All of Literary New York in the Fifties and Sixties.” 

“Manhattan was a river of men flowing past my door, and when I was thirsty, I drank.”

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Ms. Denham came to New York in the early 1950s, fresh from the University of Rochester, with two things on her mind: literary fame and romance. The city held forth the promise of both, in abundance. “New York in the fifties was like Paris in the twenties.” 

A stunning beauty with a talent for repartee, she made her way easily into Manhattan’s literary salons, and her presence did not pass unnoticed by a long list of editors, publishers, film producers, actors and writers — most of whom made a play for her, quite a few successfully.

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Her conquests, she said, included the actor James Dean, a close friend until he fell hard for the Italian actress Pier Angeli; the authors James Jones, William Gaddis, Evan S. Connell and Philip Roth; and Hugh Hefner, whom she had persuaded, in a clever gambit, to feature her as a centerfold and reprint, as part of the package, her first published short story.

“Of course he was no egalitarian,” Ms. Denham wrote. “But he possessed one of the finer male characteristics I was aware of: He liked my writing.”

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DANCER & MOTORCYCLE RACER PATTI WAGGIN | SHE STRIPPED AND SHE ROARED!

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A young Patti Waggin presenting 1950 AMA Grand National Champion, Larry Headrick, with a trophy. His career prematurely ended in 1950 when he was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle on the street. The accident shattered Headrick’s left leg, making it impossible for him to race again on the dirt ovals. The rider from San Jose, California, was tragically forced into retirement just has his career was taking off. via

“If there’s one word to describe shapely Patti Brownell, it’s excitement. The young lass lives by it–and for it. Into her existence, Patti packs a triple life: During the day, she’s a student at California’s Chico State College: at night she draws tremendous crowds into the cafe where she presents her whiz bang strip act: and on her off moments, Patti is a death-defying motorcyclist. As far as our luscious blue-eyed blonde is concerned, there’s nothing unusual about her life. Patti’s been winning trophies for motorcycle riding since she was 14. She loves the sport.

Show business is also old hat for Patti. Her mother and father were adagio dancers in vaudeville, and it was only natural that they should teach their little girl the art. Patti wanted a college education, and she was able to pay her way with her show business savvy. As for the future, Patti wants a home in the country, four kids–and lots of motorcycles.”

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“Bumps are nothing new to luscious Patti–either on a motorcycle or in the strip tease profession.” Born Patricia Hardwick in 1926, she also used the stage name Patti Waggin. Her 2nd marriage was to Chico, CA local legend, Bill Brownell, a well-loved motorcycle racer. Not sure who her 1st husband was…

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BLAZE STARR & TEMPEST STORM | BUSTY BAD GIRLS OF BURLESQUE

September 1955– American burlesque performer Blaze Starr poses for American painter Joseph Sheppard in his studio as he finishes a 4’X6′ portrait of her. Starr wears a semi-transparent bra and panty set with high heels. –Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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(Above, left) 1954, San Francisco, CA– Designer James Berry strips tape and jersey form from the body of Burlesque queen Tempest Storm in preparation for a mannequin of the buxom striptease in San Francisco, where a celebration will mark the 1,000,000th dollar she has drawn through box offices to date. The completed mannequin will adorn the theater marquee where she appears as part of the event.  (Above, right) ca. 1954, Hollywood, CA– United Press Hollywood correspondent Vernon Scott muses over his tape measure after checking the dimensions of stripper Tempest Storm’s curves.  Scott interviewed the 24 year old strip queen in regard to the one million dollar insurance policy she has taken on her body with Lloyd’s of London. She said she took the policy, “to protect my million dollar income.”  She claims she amassed the million dollars in only four years of shedding her clothes on burlesque stages. Also, she is afraid she might injure herself as she did recently. For Lloyd’s of London, she listed her measurements as follows– neck, 16 inches; wrist, 6; ankle, 9; bust, 41, waist, 24; and hips, 34. She shed a sweater for her press conference but when gawking reporters asked if she’d ever visited a nudist camp, she blushed. “I shouldn’t say not,” she exclaimed. “That wouldn’t be nice at all.” –Images by © Bettmann/Corbis

Legendary stripper and burlesque dancer “Blaze Starr” was born Fannie Belle Fleming in 1932, in West Virginia. She ran-away when she was fifteen yrs old, and ended up in Washington, D.C., where she was discovered working as a hat-check girl by her first manager Red Snyder– who convinced her to strip. It was Snyder who gave her the stagename “Blaze Starr.” Their time together would be short lived after he tried to rape her. With her fiery red hair, and voluptuous 38D-24-37 figure, and sultry, energetic and captivating stage presence (her stage routines included a comedic exploding coach gag and having a large trained black panther untie a ribbon on her costume which made it fall to the floor), Blaze became a major headliner at the “Two O`Clock Club” in Baltimore, Maryland and earned the nicknames “Miss Spontaneous Combustion” and “The Hottest Blaze in Burlesque.”

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