I figure Bettie Page fans would also be Mae West fans, especially since Mae West dealt more directly and self-consciously with the issues of sexual equality and sexual power.
Here's what Simon & Schuster has to say about Charlotte Chandler's new bio, based on interviews conducted with Mae in the 80's:
And here's a review for Publishers Weekly:
Actress, playwright, screenwriter, and iconic sex symbol Mae West was born in New York in 1893. She created a scandal -- and a sensation -- on Broadway with her play Sex in 1926. Convicted of obscenity, she was sentenced to ten days in prison. She went to jail a convict and emerged a star. Her next play, Diamond Lil, was a smash, and she would play the role of Diamond Lil in different variations for virtually her entire film career.
In Hollywood she played opposite George Raft, Cary Grant (in one of his first starring roles), and W. C. Fields, among others. She was the number one box-office attraction during the 1930s and saved Paramount Studios from bankruptcy. Her films included some notorious one-liners -- which she wrote herself -- that have become part of Hollywood lore: from "too much of a good thing can be wonderful" to "When I'm good, I'm very good. When I'm bad, I'm better." Her risqué remarks got her banned from radio for a dozen years, but behind the clever quips was Mae's deep desire, decades before the word "feminism" was in the news, to see women treated equally with men. She saw through the double standard of the time that permitted men to do things that women would be ruined for doing.
Her cause was sexual equality, and she was shrewd enough to know that it was perhaps the ultimate battleground, the most difficult cause of all. In addition to her extensive interviews of Mae West, Chandler also spoke with actors and directors who worked with and knew the star, the man with whom she lived for the last twenty-seven years of her life, as well as her closest assistant at the end of her life. Their comments and insights enrich this fascinating book. She Always Knew How captures the voice and spirit of this unique actress as no other biography ever has.
She Always Knew How: Mae West, a Personal Biography Charlotte Chandler. Simon & Schuster, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4165-7909-0Sound familiar? Mae West definitely set the stage for Bettie Page. I think I'd like to learn more about her.
...West carefully constructed and guarded the image of her personality as a woman who enjoyed sex at a time when “skirts had to cover ankles.” She contended she was “never vulgar. The word for me was suggestive.”
Save vs. Death: Rosie the Riveter's safety bra (1943) More on Rosie -- her plastic "safety bra" in full effect!
Save vs. Death: the many faces of Rosie the Riveter (1941-1945)
From the same blog as the Carnival Girl, "Save vs. Death", please do yourself the favor of checking out the amazing "Many Faces of Rosie the Riveter" photo-essay.
Save vs. Death: at the state fair (1950)
Another Carnival Girl!
A recent trip to DISNEYLAND revealed an amazing number of retro-themed products. It seems our community has been discovered by the biggest media company in the world -- and judging from the number of Bettie Page bangs, pinned hair, pomps and the like walking through the place, it's no wonder. The fact that Pixar's John Lassiter has taken over as Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering (among other jobs at the studio) has helped. Pixar, ironically, always seemed to "get" what Disney used to have and lost. So, with his ascendancy comes a renewed reverence for not only Disney's history (such as shifting California Adventure from a celebration of all things that yuppies love about Cali -- like expensive wine -- to an upcoming shift to a 1920's-themed part about how Walt experienced California when he first arrived) but retro pop culture in general. Pics above include lots of tiki-inspired fare and a tattoo-themed Mickey. At the very least it shows that someone else besides Christian Aguilera can make a tattoo-themed t-shirt!
More links showing Pixar's love of retro:
Wall-E teaser posters by Eric Tan
Fan site PLANET BETTIE has a whole gallery of Bettie tattoos -- here's a few, go HERE to see the rest:
The number one movie in the country is a cutting-edge, IMAX-worthy, 3-D, CGI fest that owes its existence to those who toiled in the margins of the film industry back in the day. While the film is funny and frenetic, it is also a great way to lend some contemporary relevance to the monster movies of the past (in an age-appropriate way, of course). Bettie Page used to love stories of the fantastic, and would regularly patronize double-features in Times Square. For generations after, UHF channels were bastions of monsters and horrors on Saturdays after the cartoons ended. Now, while we live in an age where everything is "available", the classic monsters of yore are rarely actually on the TV... you need to hunt them down and bring 'em home.
So, log on to Netflix or run to Blockbuster and treat the family to a "Monsters Who Inspired Monsters Vs. Aliens" film festival in your house! Use this mass-market media blitz to show those near and dear to you that teeny tiny budgets can also have a big impact on viewers' imaginations!
CREATIVE LOAFING gives you the complete run-down on the original monster movies that inspired the characters in Monsters Vs. Aliens:
THE ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN
THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON
Labels: Monsters Vs. Aliens