Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bettie Page, Blaze Starr, Gypsy Rose Lee and the Bad Girls Club

Bright and sunny, nothing "seedy" here

I was writing about the seedy world of 1950's Burlesque that our favorite pin-up girl Bettie Page lived in. A place of dark nightclubs, shady characters and organized crime, Burlesque was the low end of the entertainment world. 

Still along with the girls, Burlesque was also the home of some of the most beloved comedians of all time. Abbott and Costello began on the Burlesque stage, so did  Jackie Gleason for that matter.

But still, let's be honest, what everyone remembers best from Burlesque is the women.

Those busty, exotic specimen's of 1940's and 50's woman hood at it's finest have somehow managed to be remembered by the great-grandkids of their original customers.

What's interesting is that back in their day these ladies were considered shocking moral reprobates, but to our jaded current generation they are more like relics of a more innocent time.

Probably the most famous of these ladies, and in fact probably the most famous stripper of all times, was Gypsy Rose Lee.

Gypsy Rose Lee

Gypsy Rose, whose life story was immortalized in the musical Gypsy, was the child of one of the most scary stage mothers in history, a woman who pushed her onto the stage and even added her name to Gypsy's stage name. Eventually though Lee would break away and on her own become not only one of the great Burlesque stars of all time, but also an actress, author and playwright.

Lili St. Cyr

One of the most famous strippers of the 40's and 50's was Lili St Cyr. Dancer, stripper, business woman, St. Cyr was famous in her day for her scandalous social life and six marriages, but went on to form a hugely successful mail order firm selling lingerie, decades before Victoria's Secret.

Sally Rand

Going back a few decades to the early 1930's, dancer Sally Rand and her Bubble Dance were so popular that she was the single most popular attraction at the 1933 Chicago's World's Fair. Arrested multiple times for indecent exposure, the public at large were never made aware that in fact Rand was never nude at all and was in fact wearing a body stocking the whole time.

Tempest Storm

Tempest Storm has proven to be just about the longest lasting person in the world of Burlesque, having begun in the early 1950's and who is still performing today. Storm had had an interesting life, but my personal favorite fact about her is that at one time Storm was married to Herb Jeffries, films first black cowboy movie star.

Blaze Starr

Considered the exotic wild woman of the 1950's, Blaze Starr was just a Southern girl at heart, and her affair with Louisiana Governor Earl Long, helped to finish his political life.

It's easy to romanticize the 1950's, and make the life story of these ladies into more than it was. Mostly these were hard working women in an unglamorous profession. And yet these women were tough and way more in charge of their lives and their pocketbook then the majority of women stuck at home. So really there is much to respect about all of them.

And nice on the eyes too.


  1. Would have made a perfect Superwoman !!

  2. If you want your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (no matter why you broke up) you have to watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Have your ex CRAWLING back to you...?

  3. went to town hall and the gayettee? in toledo ohio when turned 18 and many times after till closed. sure did like those girls. Irma the body , was a big favorite saw her many times.