There are many interesting, historical bits to discover in the Bunny Yeager Archive at the University of Miami Special Collections. Bunny Yeager was clearly the “world’s prettiest photographer,” and was into “finding regular girls around Miami,” in the 1960s. She had famously photographed Bettie Page in several exotic locations across Florida too.Continue reading
In 1949, Bettie Page moved to New York with aspirations of becoming an actress. It was there she met one of America’s first ‘fetish’ photographers, Irving Klaw. From 1952 to 1957, Page worked as a model for Klaw for both his photographs and films, earning her the media nickname, “The Queen of Bondage.”Continue reading
“She (Gloria Pall) was quite openly in touch with her sexuality, and that was an incredibly dangerous thing to do. We don’t have too many stories for that time that illustrate that, and Gloria’s does.” ~R.H. GreeneContinue reading
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.”
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.
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.”
For me, Bettie Page & Bunny Yeager epitomize iconic American pinup photography. Not just of the 1950s… Ever. In 1954, Bettie Page was working with Irving Klaw in NYC and decided a break was in order, so she headed south to Miami for relaxation and fun in the sun. That’s when fate struck. Bettie met Bunny, and the rest is pinup history. Bettie Page never looked better than in the capable hands of Bunny Yeager (herself a former model) who arguably shot the best and most famous images of the black-banged beauty– like the epic Jungle Girl shoot (shot at the Africa USA safari Park in Boca Raton), and the game-changing image of Bettie posing nude in a Santa cap for Playboy magazine in 1955.
“When I first saw Bettie in the nude, I was pleasantly surprised; she looked great. She walked into the room on tippy-toes, like she was wearing high heels, which made her look taller and more natural at the same time. The first thing I noticed was that for some reason when she was nude, she did not seem naked. I had never seen anyone with an allover tan and she looked like the perfect doll or mannequin. Bettie was a true nudist and maintained her glorious golden olive color by sunning herself everyday. She would lie on the banks of the miami River. Maybe it was her tan, or maybe it was her attitude– she seemed completely at ease.” –Bunny Yeager, excerpt from Bettie Page, Queen of Curves
Betty Brosmer was the highest paid supermodel of the 1950s – winning more than 50 beauty contests before the age of 20 yrs old, posing for more than 300 magazine covers, and stunning men and women alike with her insane hourglass figure (38″-18″-36″)! You litereally could not go anywhere without seeing her image in a magazine, on a record album, or store window display. She married the fitness icon Joe Weider in 1961, and joined his fitness lifestyle empire. Together they co-authored several books on bodybuilding, and founded the International Federation of BodyBuilders. Check out this trove of photos of Betty Brosmer in her stunning prime.
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.”
“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…
Miami, 1954– Bettie Page, Kathleen Stanley, and Bunny Yeager. Photographer Bunny Yeager was assigned to do some catalog photos of a line of petticoats and one of the models didn’t show up. Bunny jumped in, taking off her clothes and putting on a petticoat, and took this shot using a self-timer on her camera.
Bunny Yeager knew from an early age that her life’s desire was to be a model, and set out by studying the “come hither” poses of classic painted pin-up art, and snipping pictures of sexy screen sirens Betty Grable, Jane Russell, Rita Hayworth, etc., that were hoarded away in her growing collection of scrapbooks. Right after high school Bunny Yeager made it official. “I took a modeling course from an agency with the finest reputation in Miami,” she recalled.
In case you missed it over on the TSY facebook page I’ve been obsessed with the below piece of work for quite some time, and finally posted it up and asked the beloved The Selvedge Yard clan for help in identifying the artist. It took about all of 2 seconds.
As a kid, my healthy diet of Happy Days, Sha Na Na, and flicks like The Lords of Flatbush deeply engrained a love of greaser culture and style that will surely remain until I die. “Bad Girls” by James Alfred Meese slays me with every viewing. Obviously the cover art was intentionally as lurid and enticing as possible to get you to part with your money and buy the “pulp” paperbacks that were named after the cheaply produced paper they were printed on. Here are a few other fine examples of pulp art, which really peaked in the ’50s & ’60s, in my humble opinion.
Bad Girls — paperback cover art by James Alfred Meese, 1958
Bad Girls– They prowl the fringe of the underworld for kicks — cover art by James Alfred Meese, 1958
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
(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.”