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The REAL Ugly Bettie (Page Imitators) "GET ME THE GIRL WITH THE BANGS" vintage sleaze

There may be more Bettie Page imitators than Elvis and Michael Jackson combined, but I am most interested in the ones who didn't even wait for color photography. Presented here are a collection of "low rent Betties" from the 1950s. Back when Bettie ruled the pulp sleaze underground, her influence was so great any dame with an inclination to model "got a leg up" if she had the hair. Drop the bouffant, Chop the bangs and Drop the skirt. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but some of these faux foxes lack the Page perk. Just a few of the most blatant and obvious examples here...trust there were more. The one with painted eyebrows is shown twice because she represents the concept of epitome.

How did Ms. Page get her bangs? Photographer Jerry Tibbs suggested them because of her "high forehead" thus making both fashion history and an icon.

The most famous contemporary, and possibly most beautiful fake Bettie is Dita Von Teese, who has taken the look to the bank. Dita is a nice Michigan girl with the last name of Sweet. (True) The worst contemporary fake Bettie Page is the always not quite hilarious Kathy Griffiths, shown here doing her best to be both funny and sexy at the same time. I'm not sure either worked.

By the way, retro raunchy rebel rockabilly chicks? Don't get me wrong...I love the look. So does Beyonce. The REAL Bettie? Above with Irving Klaw.

(Which I am more than happy to post.  Thanks!)

Though lots of people label her (now) as a Bettie lookalike, the fact is that Kevin had a thriving pinup/nude career -- with bangs -- BEFORE Bettie came along. Consider this comment on page 43 of Richard Foster's Bettie bio:

> Yeaman was a fan of another black-haired cheesecake model, Kevin Dailey [sic...
> though I'm not sure the "i" belongs there]. He first heard of Carr's studio after
> a Yale graduate told him about a new talent who resembled Dailey, named Bettie Page.

Kevin had her own share of magazine cover shots. Worked for Klaw and the camera clubs, among her gigs. Still has a fan following.

A few more of Kevin:


Kevin's regularly mistaken for Bettie. Some dealer on eBay keeps hawking a stereo slide set as Bettie that's actually Kevin.

See my published books

Bilbrew Digest Paperback Covers Rare Vintage Sleaze Art

Nice! A group of quite obscure early Digest covers done by Eugene Bilbrew have turned up on the bookseller site BEET. Several I have never seen. "Justin Kent" author of a few, was the pseudonym of a prominent writer. These covers would date early in the African-American artist's career, circa 1955 or so...and if I am not mistaken represent some of the material confiscated in the New York City busts of Times Square merchant Eddie Mishkin. Bilbrew's original work was not saved as far as anyone knows...reprints abound, but that virtually none of his original drawings seem to exist is a shame, especially from this period. Creative, unique, accomplished and inept at the same time! In other words, perfect.

The tape marks are likely original...done in the shop to prevent prospective purchasers from flipping through the goods (and also to find out how "little was revealed" inside. These books, despite splendid outrageous graphics on the front, were quite tame.) Likewise the price markings...they not only indicate the 1955 cost, but may also reveal the stockboy's disdain for the clients...or for his job!

More information on Eugene Bilbrew in several of my other posts.

Vintage Sleaze DeCarlo (The Other DeCarlo)

Everyone with the slightest interest in cartoons, comics or good girl art knows Archie Inker Dan DeCarlo did a good number of pretty hot pin-up girls before the popular series, thus rendering the question "Betty or Veronica" superfluous...NEITHER! I'll have one of those full-figured prescient dames instead. Books of his pre-Archie pinup works have been published. But how many know about this sunken eyeball man? Obviously a speed-driven perv in one work, and a hungover fellow with his hungover friend at the beach in the other...are these by the same fellow who put Jughead in a Jalopy?

"Beach scene" from Nymph Magazine number 6, 1956 (Back Cover) Wake Publishing

Vintage Sleaze Cheescake CLICK and Charlie, the Coney Island Click Consumer

Charlie proudly Carries Click! It isn't often one finds a picture of vintage sleaze "in situ" but here we find a happy consumer proudly displaying his August, 1938 issue of CLICK, a monthly photo pulp which put girls in cheescake on the cover. Now we know why. It worked! Maybe Charlie hopes he won't seem out of place in his duds on the beach if his reading material has a swimsuit? Summer in New York. A beautiful thing.

Also posted on Dull Tool Dim Bulb the blog

Original Snapshot, Anonymous 1938 Collection Jim Linderman

Vintage Sleaze Jefferson Machamer (Book Review from the Past)

Once you see a Jefferson Machamer drawing, you can spot another all the way across the room without your glasses on. (That is if you can FIND one...I've looked over a year and only found the one here) He must have been a wonderful fellow, as he was willing to teach others his craft for $3.00 (The price of his book "Laugh and Draw with Jefferson Machamer" when it was published in 1946) I don't think he sold many, as it is fairly hard to find today, but if you are an aspiring artist or just enjoy spending some time with a book, this is a good 'un. I hadn't seen it (or owned it) before bestowing the first annual vintage sleaze "Lead in his Pencil" award to him last year, if I had I would have also added a cash prize! Since he passed away in 1960 the check would have to be posthumously deposited, but still. As you can tell, I'm a shameless fan of his work, and if my posts generate any interest in his work my work is done. He doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry! Sheesh. Just one more example why the web is only good for last weeks gaffes.

As I wrote on my first Machamer post HERE his career was considerable, lengthy, productive and even legitimate. He published work in Collier's magazine as well as hundreds in the Humorama line of gag books. One brief entry on the Fantagraphics site claims artist Gary Panter is a fan...who wouldn't be? Some collectors say his women looked like men...with the shoulders he put on them, it is a good point, but let's just call them healthy. Maybe his models "pumped-up" before posing like every Hollywood glamor boy does before going on camera.

Over 100 large sized pages and every one crammed full of tips, examples, jokes, clever asides, advice and wisdom, this book is due for reprinting. Until then, used book dealers have a few around. Find one with a dust jacket!

Laugh and Draw with Jefferson Machamer Greenberg Publisher 1946 (OP)

Original Drawing "The Date Caper" by Jefferson Machamer, circa 1955 Collection Jim Linderman

Vintage Sleaze Cranked by Hand The Melton Viewer

Since every photographic technological advance is initially applied by taking naked pictures of women (pretty much true) it is no surprise that back in the 1950's, there came a time for man to grab it by the hand...the Melton Viewer, that is. A tiny, cheap, imported, hand-cranked film viewer which gave many a onastic view of jittering, jumping woman flesh for the very first time. There truly is one born every minute. As you can see, the maker and seller offered plenty of tiny 50 foot films to satisfy your cranking needs. Collect them all!

Images from "Filmfare" brochure for Melton Viewer Circa 1955 Collection Victor Minx

Vintage Sleaze Women Cartoonists! Pioneer Dame Drawers

Women cartoonists are not as common as men. Men cartoonists get their start doodling war scenes in their notebooks during math class, and I am going to GUESS woman cartoonists start with fashion drawings. Before calling me sexist, how many women do you know who drew pictures of Japanese Zeros attacking an aircraft carrier? At any rate, there are plenty of women cartoonists and plenty are good. The Women's Cartoon Index lists many, and provides numerous links to syndicated strips and such...even more fun is "Friends of Lulu" which is a very lively site...awards, splendid examples of women's comics and much more.

Unfortunately, less common are women vintage sleaze cartoonists! My Bi-coastal pair of dame-drawn gags here include Janey Wilcox from Los Angeles and Helen Case from New York. I wish I could tell you more about them, but maybe someone will get in touch and provide some information. Helen Case seems to have specialized in Mary Tyler Moore-ish women of a liberated nature for 1963...liberated of most of their clothes, anyway. Another example is shown HERE. "Janey" was actually Jane E. Wilcox. The splendid drawing of show girls and a diminutive doorman was drawn in 1966.

Helen Case 1963 Collection Jim Linderman

Jane E. Wilcox 1966 Collection Jim Linderman

Vintage Sleaze Russ Meyer The EARLY Years as a Glamour Photographer Unsung Hero of Photography

No site devoted to sleaze of any kind can ignore Russ Meyer, but what can you aDD? That the legendary film maker has particular tastes is well-known, and why not? He worked with some of the "biggest" stars in Hollywood, and I am not talking about Roger Ebert. We have learned to love them all.

Tura Satana, Kitten Natividad...he turned tough busty broads into cultural icons and inadvertently became a feminist by virtue of his early depiction of female empowerment, even if they were hardly role models. After all, Gloria Steinhem never drove over an old man in a wheelchair, a scene from Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill! (a masterpiece of film editing which makes the shower scene in Psycho seems tedious) He was also the most auteur of all the auteurs. Not only writing, shooting, directing and distributing his films, he owned them...right up to the end which made him a wealthy man.

But how many know Mr. Meyer was an accomplished photographer? 

Lord knows a considerable bounce is essential to his films, but he worked "still" as well. In his early career as a photographer, Meyer shot no less than three Playboy centerfolds, did the still photographs for the James Dean film Giant and this nice set which turned up in a British magazine titled "Foto" TEN YEARS before his films were made. 

Foto magazine, despite showing less skin than a typical Victoria's Secret show, somehow ended up on the British Censorship of Publications Acts in 1956! Go "figure."




Vintage Sleaze Laughs Less Than Deluxe Ceagee Comics

All these examples, I believe, were published by the Ceagee publishing company in the 1940's, although none have publisher imprints or dates. The same size and format of the famous Tijuana Bibles (or 8-pagers as they were also known) they contain dirty jokes and racist humor, but of a more gentile nature than the X-rated ones. They each have something of a formula...a gentle racist joke, a gentle "boner" joke, a "whoopsie" of some type, maybe a effeminate man in some situation, some women conspiring to get a fur coat and of course, the housewife home alone and a plumber. Each page has an illustration, but many are blurry and appear to have been handed down and passed around before, so the print bleeds and some are virtually indecipherable. Some have been cribbed and a new punch line typed in. Curious little giggles probably traded at drinking establishments, carnivals and such.

Group of Ceagee Publications, circa 1935-1935. Collection Jim Linderman

Vintage Sleaze on Artslant Site

I was recently named "Blogger to Watch for" by Artslant.com, the contemporary art network, an honor I do not take lightly! I have posted a handful of my more "artful" postings with them for about a year, they are listed HERE

Vintage Sleaze Devil Girl, Devil Girl Who Invented Devil Girl?

Who invented Devil Girl? Gosh, who invented the devil? I guess the origin would go back to Adam and Eve, though drawings of 20th century Devil Girls seldom seem to be holding an apple.

R. Crumb drew likely the most famous Devil Girl. She was originally named Cheryl Borck and she drove him crazy. It is no accident his wife, cartoonist Aline Kaminsky Crumb, looks just like her. She was subsequently turned into a chocolate bar wrapped so beautifully one hated to open it. (at least until after the previews were over) Too bad you did...Kitchen Sink, who manufactured the Choco-Bar is defunct and the original bars are now collectable. Mr. Crumb also sculpted the evil thing, shown here splayed like an acrobat.

One Devil Girl who obviously meant business was perched atop the logo for Satana magazine and was likely drawn by Eugene Bilbrew. Bilbrew was art director for the Lenny Burtman magazine from 1961 until he was replaced by no less than Eric Stanton.

There have been several films with the name, the best of which WOULD be "Ed Wood's Devil Girls" if it were real. It isn't, it is a contemporary fake film based on one of his novels, but you can see the trailer on youtube. There are over 400 20th century devil girls on photobucket. Generic Devil Girl images are big business...stock image and clip art examples litter Myspace profiles like pollen. Search devil girl on Google images and you'll return over 9 million examples, including tattoos and a few average built women in halloween costumes. Artist COOP has made a career out of her. I do not know if the term devil girl is synonymous with a devil woman.

Mud Flaps devil girls are probably the most famous and familiar example...at least I think she is a devil girl, I don't tailgate. That silhouette has probably traveled more miles than the space shuttle, but the person at the wheel is likely not a scientist.

My favorite Devil Girl appears on the cover of an obscure book titled "Sexsations" published in 1954 by Shepsel Press. I say obscure not because it is hard to find. It isn't, so it must have sold well 50 years ago. But I can find nothing about the publisher anywhere except that they also published "13 Elegant Ways to Commit Suicide" five years later. There are numerous splendid cartoons in the book but none are identified by artist. Odd. There is also no author credited. I guess in 1954, it might not have been a good idea to put your name on a book called Sexsations.

In addition, I have personally known a few devil girls.