Saturday, March 30, 2013

What Knockers!

Brandon House Book No. 610, 1963
A glamour girl named Bonnie adorns the cover of a book with the headline: "Women sold their bodies to any comer if he had the mater how bizarre his demand." I won't disagree that, yes, some models did turn a trick or two. Maybe it was predominant in the 1950s. Maybe the 60s. Highly likely the 70s, and even likelier the 1980s, but only the coke days of the 1980s. The childhood years of your maker, baby.

Meet Bonnie Logan, who showed up early in the 1960s and made a splash, after making a slightly different splash in the cool waters of Florida as a singer. She has a faintly and delicately distinct Latina vibe, but she hails from Wisconsin, and those dark curls, feather-shaped eyes and pink lips are closer to the weather-ready features of a winter-bred Canuck. Her magazine appearances generally stayed A-class, but later she could be found in a few instances bucking it up with chicks from the fetish side of the tracks. And why not, with those legs and the aforementioned traits and the certain look that says "I'm a step and a heel ahead of you, man."
Here are some topless shots of the little badger. I find more clothing / lingerie shots, but you can't beat a good reflective surface, though Bonnie's consideration to do so is more than any blogger can handle, and still git out some good thoughts. 

CANDIDA v2 n2, 1960
CLOUD-9 v1 n 5, 1960 (see Terri Higgins
post for cover, it's awesome)

 This could be a "what the shit happened to..." if I were concerned with her current status. Live and well, I trust, and my fondest regards, Bonnie. Once we get to the 1970s, that concerning type of writing can be assumed, but before that, we merely relish the delight of a grainy b&w image in a sleazy mag from ages past. "Glamour Girls: The Illustrated Encyclopedia" ranks her at #335, between Roberta Vasquez and Tami Roche. She may have ranked higher had she made the move from glamour and pinup to film and song, but then what's life without variety? And what's life without Bonnie Logan?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Drag Strip Girl goes Up in Smoke

The beauty mark strikes again. Just a little dab off to the side oughta do it. Marilyn Monroe, Lili St. Cyr the stripteaser, and now, pinup/actress Judy Bamber. She hits the mark just right on the cover of a neat little paperback titled "Motel Girl," by A. E. Oliver. Published by Vest Pocket Books (no. VP104) as part of a double set, including a monochrome slipcase, alongside "Strange Sin," by D. W. Craig (VP103). The books are seriously vest pocket material, taping in at only 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches. But the set together measures, well, twice that. The first two issues (102 and 101) are equally scarce, and when they are found, they are found for premium prices. June Wilkinson adorns one of those issues. Judy was used for this cover in 1962. Who comes to mind when we take in the short blond curls, a full set of lips and its accompanying punctuation, and lithe form? "God Bless You, Lili St. Cyr!"

Here's some more Judy, in what is likely her natural hair color. She was the cover girl for Modern Man Magazine (April 1958), but I have lost the original covers and second leaf of my issue, so all there is to work with is this set of black/white photos, four years before her bleaching. 

Frolic magazine, April 1958. 

I like the way her eyebrows really arch up there, like St. Cyr's did. Judy has a bit of an elongated face, whereas Lili's was more rounded, like a cheeseburger! (num, num). One can barely makeout some tan lines too. Git yer magnifying glass and fog it up breeeathing heavy over this dame. Follow the bikini lines down the cleavage and imagine them finishing somewhere below the shoulders, and witness, her upper bronze stops at the halfway point on her bosom. That, my friends, is the spot and our "X." Start digging.

*top image culled from the 'net. Thanks.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"That's How Much Longer You've Got to Be Alive, and It Isn't Long, My Pretty, It Isn't Long"

May, 1962
Not even negotiably the States' first "super" model, Betty Brosmer had it seemingly all. A crazy hourglass figure, something between 38-18-36, and what they at Novel Books in the early 1960s perceived as 44-26-36. By that time she had married legendary bodybuilder and fitness Maharaja, Joe Weider, so it's possibly the two settled in to a comfortable marriage and decided to have just one more scoop of ice cream before bed. The editors at Novel Books, Chicago based (which equals smut galore, thanks, the Outfit), embellished for all the right reasons, but here they weren't too far off. We'd like to imagine the extreme, and Betty was the extreme in real life, combining the best of fantasy and reality into one compact and teasing blonde with a body to kill and a brain to best entrepreneurs today. I would play chess and lose admirably, but in a tender way, because, again, A Body to Kill.

Jan, 1961
Novel Books published "Men's Digest" in 1961, so naturally they employed the same photography circle, perhaps no more than four or five shooters at one time. Keith Bernard worked there. Keith Bernard shot Betty Brosmer, and she knew how to love the camera, and I imagine Bernard took it lightly and professionally: shaking like a leaf behind his lens. He is credited with the photo for "Bed Crazy," but not for "The Teaser," even though the place and time is right for him to have done both.

Left, the design crew made full use of their poor production and Betty's bodacious curves in one Go. Then they were "The Man's Line," and a year later we can see they dropped that little grab. All we really see is the word "EASE" and aint it the truth? Not much teasing going on here, but her smile and hair-covered fingertips pull us right in. The tease is her intangibility. She's essentially two-dimensional, and the missing dimension is what makes us pick this up fromt a wire rack at a drug store (or a vending machine at an airport). Her magnificent cotton curves look perfect against the black matter galaxy in which she reigns as center of the universe for whoever owns the book.

Orrie Hitt had her in mind when he penned "Bed Crazy" in 1960. What he didn't consider was that his characters could be made real, brought to life on the covers of his novels (something of a ghost in today's mainstream publishing market...when do you see a hardcover novel in a photo-illustrated dust jacket anymore?) by the best in the industry. Here Betty's waist is front and center, second to her bust, in contrast to the layout of "Teaser." The draw here is the abrupt change in composition, manifesting in just under a year, of the cover art. Colors are clearer and less negative in appearance, red and green much easier to look at as image than black, white, red and yellow. They were established to the point that they didn't need to advertise their more accessible product, no longer elating their being "The Man's Line," and no adverts at all in "Bed Crazy." Betty's skin is matte and her hair is glossy, the green top almost a cut-and-paste job. Damnit, the Outfit! Put her in her teasing white slip and call it a day.

Betty's back must be like the yellow brick road, with so much 3/4 twisting and posturing.
Betty is Betty Weider now and can be found at her name DOT COM

Back of "Teaser," somebody finally cast
Betty in gold. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

You Turn to Molasses Before You Turn to Salt

Mid-century American history defines much of our social response to date. With particular attention paid to mid-century American art and photography, and in general, a changing attitude towards women with power, and important beyond, women as equals. How the new "freedoms" were achieved is well documented, in both objective and subjective philosophies, and today's contribution is to fall right in rank.
Mid-century America. The middle of America in its farming boom, midriffs now more meddling than ever, Hollywood in the middle of it's noir phase; all things adding up to the whole lot of nothing we have today. But we do have very distinct sexual attitudes that mid-century America had the audacity to invoke, and Terri Higgins, then Las Vegas dancer cum glamor model, busts through the door with quiet precision.

Bigger breasts became bigger in America, after experiencing heavy exposure in England a full ten years earlier, and Vegas-native Terri (or Terry) Higgins used not only her bust to get to the point: the point that a look could cause hysteria, real and talking to yourself uncontrollably-type hysteria, maybe participate in a homicide, as seen at right in a shoot from Nugget in February, 1959. She taught us that less is more, and when you have so much more, even less is more. The youth in her youth, when her blonde was more lemon than custard, her come-hither more curiosity than beckoning flame, her brow more neighborhood sweetheart than spell-casting nymph. 

Witness two covers below, from 1960-1961, illustrate purposefully how exacting, how pinpoint, and how cold this chick could eye a man up right up to a little warm notion, stepping up then to a sweaty anticipation, and finally, spontaneous combustion.
Tonight Vol 1 No 6, 1961 / Cloud-9 Vol 1 No 5, 1960
A terryfying Terrific figure, 40-23-37, and eyes like a thousand tiny knives on track in the unseen magnetism we can not help but exude. Higgins had the rare gift, and powerful allure, to overwhelm her audience in a way not many (if any) before her had even the notion to consider. Maybe Irish McCalla, maybe Eve Meyer. But at a time when a woman's world was less about vacuuming, and sucking in it's many guises, really, Terri told mid-century America that women can start to take it instead with their own two hands, taking without needing to be told to first. 

A sense of ownership ignites while the commandeering ensues in absolute silence. 
Showcase, 1960, No 1 - June Wilkinson on cover. 
Not only was Higgins well-endowed, so one market could be tackled, her hesitance to make a goofy, post-War pinup clown face, with all the exaggerated expressions (sorry Betty, but no one makes those faces when they're at the beach..), helped her keep true to the upper echelon of the B-movie version of men's entertainment. For the classy guys who listen to jazz records with their dates at home because they couldn't afford to pretend to afford a steak dinner (Playboy). These guys picked up Adam magazine, and listened to wash-tub bands with the rest of the stags in the herd.

Burlesque was tipping its hat as it left, but hardcore pornography was still a decade away, so on the heels of smiles a plenty and before the "if I'm not satisfied soon I'll hurt you" attitude of modern porn, we have gals like Terri, keeping the door to the past locked but keeping the key in her possession. Just as she kept hungry eyes in possession of her own. Even with the tendency to look below the neck of a naked somebody, I keep transfixed in gaze, and know there's no chance of victory in this staring contest.   

Percentage-based, Higgins probably smiled no more than 10% of her time infront of the camera. She managed a few winces, but they really were no more than that. It's this quality which keeps her floated above so many others, and she worked it well before anyone else. It's not a look of discomfort on display, I think, but perhaps it's gathered contentment in the lavender scent of a too-bubbly bubble bath without laughing, without feeling guilty, without surprise, and with so much allure, the foundation of the industry. Only one person of late can I presume to be her successor: 

Terry Higgins, you curves are missed, and few will impact as yours have. You kept your gaze razor sharp, and caked enough mascara on those steely blues to create a mid-century American noir masterpiece. You culled your eyes from Picasso and your bouffant from Monroe. The look hurts, Killa....please may I have another?
Sir! Vol 21 No 1, Sept 1964