Bettie Page & Other Paper Pinup Fantasies

There obviously some errors in the text — the misspelling of Bettie Page as “Betty Page” and frankly, I am completely lost in the description of this paper doll for playboys…

Vintage Bettie Page Paper Doll by Lou Magila 1954

However, this post is not about the text or even the fact that you almost expect one of the options to be a smooth Barbie-doll-esque image to make Bettie go bottomless; it’s about the art of Lou Magila.

Jim Linderman of Vintage Sleaze doesn’t like this artist — or at least the guys’ works. But I have to vehemently disagree.

As a woman, I often find the most real thing about a man’s fantasy is the image of a pinup or media babe inserted into some sketchy scenario. Like the pornos with the world’s luckiest pizza delivery dudes, the scene isn’t as important as just getting to the babe.

Yes, a lot of attention is being brought to the fact that the women in the photos do not even look like the women who posed for them; but the only thing faker than the photoshoped objects of desire are the scenes and situations in which men place the perfected images of women. Is there anything wrong with that? No; they are fantasies after all. (Expecting them to be real is another matter entirely, and one at the very definition of “sanity”.)

So what’s wrong with cartoons, illustrations, comics that capture that luscious and ludicrous point of view? There’s something rather charming about the obviously juvenile approach to just sticking the woman into the simple bare lines. It makes me feel like the artist was aware of how simplistic fantasies are. I don’t know Magila; maybe he was self aware, maybe not. But like a lot of art, you just look at it and get impressions. My impression is that this artist was aware.

Did Magila rip-off other artists? Maybe he or the publisher paid for the rights; maybe not. Maybe, like the altered artists, digital artists, bloggers,etc. of today, artist and publisher alike just figured if they had their hands on something that meant it was in the public domain. Or perhaps they felt that there were enough changes to defend Maglia’s work as derivative. So far, the answers to those intellectual property rights are as unclear as the artist’s level of awareness of the simplicity of male fantasies.

I hope Linderman continues to suss things out.

Dance, Ballerina, Dance (Remembering Kathy Keeton; Gone To Soon & Forgotten Even Faster)

Have you heard about the big Bob Guccione auction that’s being held today?If you haven’t, get over there and look now! This post will be waiting for you when you get back.

Among the erotic offerings from the estate of Penthouse founder, there are Kathy Keeton items up for auction. Who was Kathy Keeton? For starters, Keeton was Guccione’s longtime girlfriend and eventual wife. But she ought to be remembered for far more than that.

Bob Guccione And Kathy Keeton

Remembering Keeton just for her relationship with Guccione would be like simply dismissing Keeton for her beauty. True, Keeton, was beautiful; a ballerina who ended up on the burlesque stage stripping and with small parts in British B-movies, she was beautiful in face and form. But along with those attributes she was damned smart.

vintage nude topless Kathy Keeton Framed Photographic Portrait

Mother Of A Stripper

keeton Spy Who Came in from the Cold 1965

Kathy Keeton was one of the first women in magazine advertising sales. Sure, she was working for Penthouse; and that might upset a few women (then and now) who find all sexuality degrading to women. But at that time, there were few women in magazine publishing — other than Ms, of course. Keeton would help shape the future of Penthouse, especially the US edition, by directing the publication’s marketing efforts; she would co-found, write, and work for OMNI; run Viva: The International Magazine For Women; found a newsletter called Longevity which would become an international magazine; author books; as well as play a fundamental role in strategizing the long-term plans for the company, General Media Communications Inc., which published the magazines. Through it all, Ms. Keeton was noted for her leadership and advancement of women in publishing, including Anna Wintour (Vogue) and Nancy LeWinter (of Mode).

kathy keeton vintage ad for viva

More than a magazine publisher, Keeton knew media in general and was among the first to see the potential of what we now call digital media. She was instrumental in Penthouse’s move to video and, later, the Internet. As early as 1992, Keeton was onto something that many publishers today are struggling to get:

She dreams of eventually putting her magazines on disks. “Niche magazines are the future,” Keeton says. On the high-tech side, she adds: “Knowledge is a key commodity now. Publishers are sitting on a gold mine of software.”

At the time of her death in 1997, 58 year-old Keeton was both president and chief operating officer of General Media Communications Inc. and vice chairman of the holding company that oversaw the publishing arm, General Media International. This was in addition to not only battling breast cancer but the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as well. (Keeton wouldn’t die from cancer, but rather from complications during intestinal obstruction surgery.)

Since Penthouse would beat Playboy in sales (and, subjectively, in other areas as well), it’s a shame that Guccione doesn’t have a bigger name than Heffner; but worse still is how so many have forgotten about Kathy Keeton. Even the official Guccione Collection website has little about her.

I hope to do more research & writing on Keeton; until then, here’s a quick list of her films: Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (Man in a Cocked Hat in the US, starring Peter Sellers, 1959), Expresso Bongo (1959), Too Hot to Handle (released in the United States as Playgirl After Dark, starring Jayne Mansfield, 1960), and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (starring Richard Burton, 1965).

Kathy Keeton's Ballet Notebook

Kathy Keeton's Ballet Ephemera

Kathy Keeton's Ballet Notebook Journal

A Geriatric Problem: Vintage Advertising For Little Blue Pills

A vintage advertising blotter, likely from the 1930s — 1940s, which focuses on a male geriatric problem.

etsyxanthinux

The blotter reads as follows — and it should be noted that the print gets smaller as it goes along (which is cruel in many ways for an aging male, I say):

A GERIATRIC PROBLEM

One of the problems of middle age is loss of sexual power in men who are still capable of raising a family. In such cases and effective aphrodisiac may be indicated.

POTENT APHRODISIAC

XANTHINUX (Cole) stimulates masculine potency through the spinal cord, just as a strong cup of coffee stimulates the thinking centers of the brain. The result is a firmer, more vigorous erection and orgasm.

Reports from various physicians show that XANTHINUX not only boosts male potency but also has a euphoric action.

Because of its strong aphrodisiac action, XANTHINUX is not recommended in cases where sexual intercourse should be curtailed; elderly men with severe cardiac conditions or arteriosclerosis.

Samples & Professional Literature on Request.

From the Cole Chemical Co., St. Louis 8, MO. U.S.A.  [Printed in U.S.A. (form) 549.]

Further research shows that Xanthinux was a combination of strychnine (yikes!), caffeine, and theophylline. Big shocker here: in 1963, medical reports on Xanthinux state that there’s “no evidence that it acts as a sexual tonic.”

Plus there’s that whole strychnine-poison thing.

However, culturally speaking, I do find the reference to “men who are still capable of raising a family” a line that’s absolutely missing in today’s recreational & romantic messaging about ED. Which, naturally, speaks extra loudly in today’s world of restricted women’s rights.

See also this vintage pharmaceutical advertising blotter  for women.

Women’s Yellow Pages

Women’s Yellow Pages of Greater Milwaukee, 1995-1996. (Please refrain from jokes about “fingers doing the walking” among the women of Milwaukee. Thank you.)

milwaukee womens yellow pages

Today, Yellow Pages & phone books in general seem so quaint…. And women themselves today? Not exactly “quaint”, but certainly undervalued. So I was amazed to find out that such Women’s Yellow Pages still exist in some areas.

Related: My article at Collectors Quest regarding the history of telephone books.

Looking Back At Vikki “The Back” Dougan (A Biography)

Collecting vintage smut, as I do, I know who Vikki Dougan is; but I’ve been surprised a number of times by both the lack of recognition this iconic beauty has and the lack of information about her. So, ever obsessed as usual, I set out to correct the situation.

Vikki Dougan: you may not recognize her from the front, but you likely recognize her backside — hence her nickname, “The Back”.

dougan signature cleft

In Persistent Pop (July 21, 1974), John Russel writes of how inspirational images of Vikki Dougan were to English pop artists:

A particular prominence was assigned, for instance, to ads which featured a young actress named Vikki Dougan. In memoirs of the period, individual ads featuring Miss Dougan are traced from house to house in ways that recall the hunt for a respectable provenance which plays so large a part in the authentication of Old Master paintings. Of an Esquire photograph of Miss Dougan, Richard Hamilton remembers: “I first saw it decorating a wall in [Alison and Peter] Smithson’s home. I gained my own copy from a student’s pinboard in the interior-design department of the Royal College of Art. Lawrence Alloway gave me the data on her; the photograph had impressed him sufficiently to make him regard it as a file-worthy document. It turned up again recently as one of a group of pin-ups in a painting by Peter Phillips.”

Her images were not only collected by English pop artists, but even inspired works, such as Richard Hamilton’s $he (1958-61).

$he 1958-61 by Richard Hamilton 1922-2011

This biography attempts to fill in some of the blanks about Vikki Dougan.

Before she earned the notorious nickname (and a plethora of puns), Vikki Dougan was born Edith Tooker in New York in 1929, to her parents Wilber and Mary (nee Dougan) Tooker. Legend says that in 1946, at the age of 16, she becomes both a Miss Rheingold finalist (but is disqualified for being underage) and the wife of a William Symons, the owner of a local photo studio.

Vikki’s big break came in 1948, when she (as Vikki Stappers Dougan) won the eighth annual New York Skate Queen competition. In promoting the ninth annual event, the following was mentioned in Billboard (April 2, 1949):

The purpose of the event, a joint promotion of Empire and The New York Journal-American, is to select an ideal girl roller skater and glorify her for a year. Judging will be based on charm, beauty and personality, with no points whatsoever for skating skill. Contestants must only appear on skates. …Professional skaters models and actresses are banned.

(Vikki, as Queen, and finalists followed up in 1949 by heading the “first ever” fashion show, sponsored by the Roller Skating Institute of America (RISA), in which they modeled “30 attractive rink costumes, loaned for he occasion by the Lence Company,” according to Billboard, March 1949.)

Winning the 1948 skating title would launch Vikki’s pretty face and figure into work as a model — and into gossip Walter Winchell‘s gossip columns, linked to DJ Art Ford. Note that in this 1948 “Look Pink” ad for cosmetic company Cutex, she is even credited — but as Vikkie Dougan, “New York model and prize-winning skater”.

1948 vikkie vikki dougan cutex ad

In 1949, Vikki Dougan the “’48 Beauty Queen of Figure Skating” is featured in a comic-strip-style ad for Camels cigarettes, meeting Betty Lytle, one of America’s top-ranking women’s roller skaters. (Skates would be sold with Lytle’s name.) This appears to be the last mention of Vikki Dougan the skater; probably to great relief of Lytle, Dougan, and everyone else.

1949 vikki dougan skater comic ad for camels cigs

All this attention unsettles her husband, Bill Symons. At some point after their daughter Debbie is born in 1950, he is said to have walked-out on their marriage. Dougan gets a divorce in Mexico and (per Winchell’s column in February of 1952) Vikki establishes residency in Florida while working as a cover girl at Ciro’s, in Miami Beach. Also about this time, she is signed to agent Louis Shurr.

vikki-dougan-in-sleepwear-fashion-photo-by-nina-leen-may-1952

Vikki Dougan Gleason Girls photo by Lisa Larsen 1953

In the October 26, 1953, issue of Life, Dougan appears not only on the cover, but in the feature article Careers Aplenty: Vikki Dougan models, acts, designs, mothers. In this article, Vikki is listed as 21 years old and is accompanied in the photographs by her three year old daughter, Debbie. The Life article lists Vikki as having started in modeling at age 13 (as Deirdre Tooker), studied at Betty Cashman studio, and appeared weekly in Jackie Gleason’s TV show — along with the clothes designing, mothering, etc. Life also mentions that Vikki “once caused a stir in fashion circles by using wigs to change her appearance and help her get more modeling jobs” — something also featured in Life (July 28, 1952).

life october 26 1953 dougan cover

LIFE Oct 26 1953 vikki dougan mother

LIFE July 28 1952 wigs

wigs page 2

March 29, 1954, Dorothy Kilgallen mentions Vikki Dougan in her column:

Vikkie Dougan, the pretty blond model who made such a hit with Frank Sinatra in Florida recently returned to New York to discover that thieves had cleaned out her apartment. They took her dresses, jewelry, mink coat… and black wig!

May 28, 1954, there are the gossip reports that Vikki, “the young model, who made the cover of Life recently” had posed as Miss General Electric earlier that day.

Flexees girdle lingerie ad 1955 Vikki Dougan

George Shearing Quintet Velvet Carpet  Capitol T720 dougan 1956

Dougan continues to model (including the 1955 Flexees lingerie ad and on the cover of the George Shearing Quintet’s Velvet Carpet LP), be seen on Gleason’s show — and be mentioned in the gossip columns. In 1956, it was rumored that Gordie Hormel asked her to marry him. She appears as a show girl in Back From Eternity. On April 27, 1956, Winchell On Broadyway reports that Vikki Dugan, “the ‘Away We Go’ gal with the Jackie Gleason show”, signed with MGM. Or did she? On December 21, 1956, Dorothy Kilgallen reports that Dougan “is the first girl to be signed to a Batjac (John Wayne) contract since Anita Ekberg was given her big opportunity.”

In January of 1957, there are reports that Dougan has a role in The Great Man. (She would play Marcia, the new receptionist.)

vikki dougan the great man promo feb 1957

March 29, 1957, Erskine Johnson‘s Hollywood Today column is titled Vikki Dougan Reverses Trend And Backs Into Film Career:

vikki dougan corpus christi times march 29 1957

February 13, 1957, Hedda Hopper reveals that she, Louells Parons, and Hub Keavy are to “pick Miss 8 Ball of 1957. The choice has narrowed to Venita Steenson, Carolyn Jones, Vikki Dougan, Kipp Hamilton, and Adrienne Alison, all beauties. But we’ve go to decide on one, O, dear.” Vikki Is New Ca-rear Girl In Hollywood, by Lee Belser, is so full of puns that they couldn’t publish this on April Fool’s Day and instead published it on April 2, 1957.

lee belser on vikki dougan in anderson herald bulletin april 2 1957

Through this time, Vikki “The Back” Dougan makes the rounds in men’s mags, including pictorials in the April 1957 issue of Nugget.

dougan in nugget april 1957

May 7, 1957: Hollywood gossip columnist Harrison Carroll reports that Vikki has been made queen of the California Chiropractic Association’s “Perfect Posture Week.”

In Clothes Make The Act — And The Actor (Oakland Tribune, May 19, 1957), Lloyd Shearer writes a piece that seems to be tailor made for getting The Back out of negative press. In his article, Shearer begins by discussing this “new trend in show business” whereby talent draws on fashion and “practically any female “name” can earn “5,000 a week and up if her attire clicks with the press.” The piece appropriately finishes with Vikki Dougan & her dresses, stating that it was Milton Weiss (Hollywood publicist who’d worked with Anita Ekberg) who was, umm, behind Dougan’s look.

His first move was to have three expensive dresses made for her — without backs. He then titled his client “The Back” and had her appear at previews and parties in her plunging creations. Soon local photographers zeroed in on Miss Dougan’s bare spinal column, and gagsters began originating such cracks as, “Vikki Dougan makes the best exits in town.”

Finally Vikki was banned from someone else’s preview party because her backless formal was drawing too much attention. The incident received proper press coverage. Today Vikkie — born Edith Tooker in Brooklyn — is riding toward fame on the strength of her clothes, what there is of them. It’s a trend, all right.

You might not want to put too much stock in that story tho; it changes, as you’ll soon see.

However, Dougan’s back does make a splash, landing her tail in the June 1957 (Vol. 4, Issue 6) of Playboy.

vikki dougan in playboy by sam baker

vikki dougan playboy june 1957 article

dougan wirephoto pictorial in playboy

As noted in that issue of Playboy, the photo that really started it all was a wirephoto which came from Dougan’s appearance at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s 1957 awards banquet. On July 10th of that year (some Old Guard Hollywood retaliation, perhaps?) Mike Connolly reported in his column, “New Hollywood game called True Or False: Guessing whether Vikkie Dougan got her idea for backless dresses from watching and old Marlon Brando movie…” (In reference to Sophia Loren in A Countess from Hong Kong.)

The Playboy feature was followed-up quickly by a pictorial in Esquire (August 1957).

vikkie dougan in esquire 1957

Around this time The Limeliters would record a song by Cal Grigsby (pseudonym for Malvina Reynolds and Lou Gottlieb) entitled Vikki Dougan, in which they sing of Vikki’s “callipygian cleft” and beg her to “turn your back on me”.

These photographs (undated, circa 1950s) taken by Life staff photographer Ralph Crane capture America’s love-hate with Vikki Dougan & her notorious backside.

disapproving of the back dougan life mag

vikki-dougan-photo-ralph-crane-life

vikki dougan life

ralph for life the back

Vikki the back Dougan vintage vikkie dougan in sheer black nightie Ralph Crane photo for Life vikkie dougan black nightie Ralph Crane photo vikki dougan black back

In October of that year, press for Hollywood Queens Of Tomorrow, including an AP photo — in which Vikki is not shown from the back:

Fifteen young actresses for whom stardom is predicted wait to go on stage in Hollywood Friday at the fifth annual Deb Star Ball, sponsored by the Hollywood Make-up and Hair Stylists. Several thousand movie people were in the audience at the Palladium. Left to right: Joan Blackman, Peggy Connolly, Patricia Craig, Vikki Ddougan, Dolores Hart, Diane Jergens, Barbara Lang, Ruta Lee, Jana Lund, Carol Lynley, Erin O’Brien, Joan Tabor, Joyce Taylor, Rebecca Welles and Gloria Winters.

hollywood queens of tomorrow deb ball october 12 1957

Ten days later, Vikki Backs In, Helps Maxie Promote Ice Cream Breakfast (by George Flowers, Independent-Press-Telegram, October 20, 1957).

vikki dougan backs in independent press telegram oct 20 1957

On the 21st of that month, Vikki the starlet appears at the annual Publicists’ Association Ballyhoo Ball. This is the famed party where Greta Thyssen had a cheetah on a leash, Joan Bradshaw brought a lion, and Errol Flynn and Maura FitzGibbons were arrested on drunk charges; Vikki “Lady Godiva” Dougan was on an artificial horse.

The November 1957 issue of Modern Man carries photos of Dougan (by David Sutton).

Vikki Dougan Photo by David Sutton  Modern Man November 1957

December 22, 1957, Dougan uses giant scissors for the ribbon-cutting opening of a Safeway Market in Tarzana.

vikki dougan opens grocery store van nuys valley news dec 22 1957

In 1958, Dougan attempts to change her image. It is noted; but still does not please. On March 24, 1958, Harrison Carroll accuses Dougan of wearing “a shapeless sack (looked like a nightgown) over a satin sheath.” On March 27, 1958, Vikki Dougan was reported to be at the Oscar Award Ceremonies — but still not pleasing anyone:

A bizarre note was added by eager starlet Vikki Dougan, who arrived in gaudy makeup and flapper costume.

Poor Vikki can’t win!

In his June 2, 1958, column, Earl Wilson asked Vikki “about the alleged practice of Hollywood gals calling guys for dates.”

“No, but suppose you’re going with an actor and you say after a premiere, ‘I’d like to go to Mocambo’ and he says, ‘But I can’t afford it.’ So you say, ‘I don’t want to embarrass you but couldn’t we go it I paid the bills?'”

It happened to her, she said, “and strangely enough, if men accept it, they resent it.” Vikki said she may be a sexbomb in the papers but she’s had three dates in a year. “The men you go with want to get married,” she added. “The trouble is, they never say when.”

Meanwhile, photos of her continue to circulate in the various men’s mags.

dougan Adam vol 2 no 12 1958

vikki dougan wet in lingerie

May 23, 1959, Harrison Carroll uncovers Dougan professional and relationship news.

If she listened to Lili St. Cyr‘s estranged husband, Ted Jordan, actress Vikki Dougan soon will be displaying even more epidermis than in those backless gowns that used to make Hollywood night clubbers gasp.

Jordan, who just started to date Vikki, tells me she would be great in a genteel strip act.

“She reminds me so much of Lili,” he says. “They have the same nose and mouth, the same beautifully arched back. Vikki is not quite as tall as Lili, but, otherwise, their measurements are about the same.

“And I heard Vikki sing. She’d really do great in night club work. I know the ropes and I could help her.”

I checked with Vikki. She’s not convinced, but she’s listening.

dougan carroll column may 23 1959

Despite roles in three other films (The Tunnel of Love, The Rebel Set, and Here Come the Jets), Vikki’s career clearly wasn’t moving forward enough. (As if the helpful offers from Jordan didn’t tell you that!)

Doris Day retrieving husband Richard Widmark from Vikki Dougan tunnel of love

The backslide was noticed.

In October of 1959, “Remember Vikki Dougan?” is the headline. Not only has she fallen out of the press, but apparently work of any kind. She, and her nine year-old daughter, have been living off a $40 weekly unemployment check for the past eight months.

remember vikki dougan ogdon standard examiner oct 25 1959

A similar article runs in November of that year, in which Dougan says the reason she wore a backless dress in the first place was to avoid posing “in bikinis and other cheesecake.”

backward dougan career independent press nov 15 1959

The ever-helpful Erskine Johnson’s got Dougan’s back again at the tail-end of January of 1960, allowing the actress to spin more tales about her notorious backside.

February 22, 1960, Vikki Dougan (misspelled “Vicki Dougan” in the photo caption) is one of the judges for the Miss Pasadena Contest.

miss pasadena indendent dougan judge may 27 1959

But then crickets chirp and Dougan disappears until August 28, 1960. Then photos of Vikki and former Texas Christian football player tuned actor, Jim Sweeney, appear over the AP and are widely picked up — primarily because he places the diamond engagement ring (along with a friendship ring) on the toe of her left foot. Days later, on September 3rd, she (as Edythe A. Tooker) marries James R. Sweeney; he’s 25, she’s 24.

ring proposal toe dougan

The Pacific Stars & Stripes reports that “Vikki Apparently Needs No Direction” on the set of Peter Gunn (The Candidate episode). (September 16, 1960; photo of Dougan with caption about her appearance on Peter Gunn from San Antonio Light, October 23, 1960.)

pacific stars and stripes sep 16 1960 vikki dougan peter gunn

san antonio light oct 23 1960 dougan gunn

Dougan appears in episodes of Michael Shayne (Murder Is a Fine Art) and Sea Hunt (Amigo) in March of 1961. But it’s rather silent, again, until November 20, 1961, when promo photos and pun-y lines about Dougan doing the twist at New York’s Peppermint Lounge appear.

november 20 1961 vikki dougan twister

On November 26, 1961, Walter Winchel reports that Vikki had “told chums she will sue Leo Guild for including her in his soon-due book Hollywood Screwballs which mentions Oscar Levant, Bing Crosby, F. Sinatra, and Jayne Mansfield, who aren’t suing.”

Earl Wilson’s December 1, 1961, column mentions that Vikki Dougan has “posed in a nightie on the subway for the cover of Subways Are For Sleeping.” (A Percy Faith LP.)

dougan subways are for sleeping

September 9, 1962, columnist Connolly quips, “Vikki Dougan, who used to pose in backless gowns, is slamming out a slim volume of verses to be titled “Purple Mud.” Vikki tells me it will be a backless book.” (If anyone show me a copy — or even prove it wasn’t just a joke, please do!)

Vikki appears once again in Playboy; this time the December 1962 issue, in “Playboy’s Other Girlfriends”. (She would also reappear in the January 1989 issue in “Women Of The Fifties”.)

dougan playboy december 1962

January 18, 1963 Vikki appears in Los Angeles court to divorce Sweeney, claiming he deserted her after going through her $10,000 savings. The divorce is granted and she accepts a $1 per month alimony.

On June 3, 1963, Earl Wilson reports that Vikki plans to open up a Hollywood barbershop for men.

“Remember Vikki Dougan, Hollywood’s gift to the world of backless dresses? She just signed for a feature role in Hootenanny at MGM,” reports Connolly on July 22, 1963. (She did appear in 1963’s Hootenanny Hoot.) But that didn’t pay the bills; August 11, 1963, Wilson says, “Backless Vikki Dougan now works for a cosmetic company.”

In its January 1964 issue, Cavalier runs a “The Back Is Back” pictorial which features 12 nude photos of Vikki Dougan. Dougan initiates a lawsuit against publisher Fawcett, stating that she posed nude for photos for Playboy, but later backed-out, and they did not have her permission to publish them.

dougan the back nude in january 1964 cavalier

There are a few scattered gossip “spottings,” but nothing much of note until February 22, 1967, when Harrison Carroll reports:

Despite the fact that she took along four wigs, my scouts spotted actress Vikki Dougan at a Houston prizefight with famed attorney Melvin Belli. And they looked just as affectionate as they did recently at Scandia. Can’t blame Melvin. Vikki is a beauty. Understand the two also were in Chicago together and visited Hugh Hefner.

Also in 1967, she would appear in Hotel. And there were reports Dougan, along Sugar Ray Robinson, was part of the cast of Tony Randall & Mickey Rooney’s Las Vegas rendition of The Odd Couple at Casear’s Palace.

In November of 1969, the Fawcett/Cavalier lawsuit is settled out of court. Vikki says the magazine paid her $75,000 to settle; Fawcett Publications, Inc., says it didn’t pay that much.

March 21, 1974, Earl Wilson’s It Happened Last Night column focused on “Shutterbug Respect” and mentions that Vikki Dougan (still haunted by her notorious back-side views) “has joined the profession.” (The profession of photographers, that is.)

And after that, Vikki Dougan seems lost — save for those who fell in love with her image. Along with inspiring pop art, Vikki and her sexy back would be the inspiration for Jessica Rabbit.

Here’s a 2009 interview with Dougan, in which she dishes about Jessica Rabbit and Sinatra:

I’d love to know more, so, if you know something — if you know Vikki! — please do share.

No Subsidy For Cupid, Stupid (Lessons In Pay Equity & The Value Of Teachers, From 1948)

I found this article, Subsidy For Cupid: Request for Salary Differential for Married Teachers Is Unsound, in the December 10, 1948, edition of The Wisconsin State Journal.

The first line reads, “The board of education has been asked to establish a permanent salary differential of $600 annually for instructors who are married.” This had me thinking that the proposed salary adjustment would remove $600 a year for married teachers; you know, because married women are therefore little women who do not really need a salary anyway. But then we get to the second line. “The request comes from the recently-organized Madison Schoolmasters club, whose members are married teachers in the city’s school system.” Surely this club would not be suggesting they cut their own salaries?!

Read on:

This type of a salary differential is based upon a poorly-thought-out idea, upon a misconception of the purposes of a salary structure, and is suggested without foresight.

Teachers’ salaries, like all others, should be based upon value received. All teachers should be paid decently, and The State Journal has pushed hard for a minimum teachers salary law that will attract qualified men and women to the profession.

[Hear that, Scott Walker, et al.?]

But in any good system, workers’ salaries are set with an eye on the value of the individual worker. The scales are based on training and background, efficiency, ability to cooperate, and perhaps seniority.

Unmarried teachers should not be penalized because they happen to prefer to remain unmarried.

[The picture becomes a bit clearer now…]

Taxpayers should not be asked to grant special subsidies to teachers who prefer to get married, any more than they should be asked to subsidize teachers who choose to buy automobiles or houses or trips to Europe.

[I am astounded at the suggestion that at any time in our history a teacher could afford a trip to Europe on their own salary!]

By all means, school salaries should be substantial enough to allow a teacher to get married if he wishes.

A-ha! So here it is! We are primarily speaking of male teachers! You know men, they have to take care of the little woman, the kids, the bills, the dog… No woman has to do that.]

But he shouldn’t get a bonus for walking to the altar, or for accumulating other personal obligations. Those matters are up to the individual.

***

There is good reason for teachers — particularly those who are married — to oppose the plan.

During a depression, boards of education must cut expenses, If that married-teacher salary differential were on the books, the inclination of money-conscious school board members would be to hire instructors whose personal status didn’t require payment of that extra $600. That would man less job-security for the very people who would need it most.

While the ending line nearly eradicates my hopes of some sort of gender equality, the lines before it certainly are felt in the pink ghetto and by women at every level during the rough economic times. When talking heads speak of how women are faring better, their 77 cents to a man’s dollar means a twisted sort of job-security.

Father’s Page

Found inside a 1940 Nabisco Shredded Wheat cook book, a page for fathers. Don’t worry, it means all men. All men were called “Father” or “Daddy”, even by their wives. And grown men who weren’t married parent? Oh, society wondered what was wrong with them. While we’re stating at this, the sepia-toned photo makes it appear as if Father is on a cordless telephone. (The opposite page promotes the “new” salted Triscuits.)

More Women In The Pages

Another woman for the women’s pages is Miriam Baker Nye. Known simply as “Miriam” — often used just like that, in quotes — she wrote a regular column for rural women entitled From the Kitchen Window which ran from 1953-1981 in the Farm Weekly. (The Farm Weekly was a publication of The Souix City Journal and Journal-Tribune newspapers of Souix City, Iowa, which served “all Siouxland.”) This scan of page 16 of Here’s How The Farm Weekly Serves You presumably shows the regular header for her columns.

Her recipes and ideas from that column would later be published in book form in Recipes and Ideas “From the Kitchen Window” (1973). (If there aren’t any copies at Amazon, check eBay.)

She would also author But I Never Thought He’d Die: Practical Help for Widows (1978) after the death of her husband, Carl Baker. (Three years after Mr. Baker’s death, Miriam would marry Methodist minister Reverend John Nye and become Miriam Baker Nye.)

Sexism In Collecting Vintage Valentines

Today we celebrate Valentine’s Day. I wrote about why many collect old Valentines at CQ; but wanted to share this one from my own collection.

As a feminist, I obviously take issue with a woman professing “I’d like to be your little homebody.” And there she sits, knitting socks, with the ever-present female-as-feline domesticated cat.

Since these little vintage Valentine’s Day cards were, then as now, passed out in schools all over the USA, it’s only natural that you’ll find some cards not only signed by boys but presented to boys. Still, the fact that Edgar signed this gender stereotype card to Ralph makes me take pause…

This literally is how gender stereotypes have been passed along — and it’s just another example of the rote mechanical nature of boys getting the task of forced Valentines sending over with.

More of my vintage Valentines here and here.

Be My Racist Valentine: Native American Edition

A vintage die-cut Valentine greeting card that children passed out to one another in school, featuring a Native American mother and child — and including racist, stereotypical, “Indian” puns.

I’d like to make a reservation on you to be My Valentine! We have heap fun!

Interestingly, there are two signatures on the back; proof that someone had trouble spelling their name. Dennis or Denise? I am not certain.

As I’ve said, I can’t keep them all. And as a white woman, I probably should not keep this one. You can buy it here.

Sign Of The Times, 1970

In this photo, veterans protest the Cassius Clay VS. Oscar Bonavena match at Madison Square Garden in December 1970.

Their signs read, “GI’s fight & die at $5 a day; Clay gets million; Remember Pearl Harbor” and “Boycott Clay Bonavena fight; Remember Pearl Harbor.”

Muhammad Ali would triumph a year later, when the Supreme Court would reverse his conviction and uphold his right to be a conscientious objector against the Vietnam War.

I’m Wishing You A Happy New Year Early — With Old Women In Watery Graves

I never can wait to share things, and this time of year is difficult enough for me — so you get this gem weeks early. Reading simply, “With Good Wishes,” this antique postcard features the roly-poly heads of women inside the 1908 — the numbers look a lot like floating coffins. Floating coffins of women’s heads, featuring lots and lots of hats. Thankfully, this was a few years before the Titanic; but it doesn’t really minimize the creepiness, does it.

Copyright 1907, The Rotograph Co., N.Y.; card number appears to be I 5 339.

Found at Exit 55 Antiques; may still be available there, and they will ship, so call them if interested.

UPDATE: Harold Ackerman, the man who runs Rotograph.org, was kind enough to identify this postcard as XS 339; my interview with him is here.

Antique Sexist Postcard

Nothing’s new in terms of mocking wives, as this antique (circa late 1800s – 1910s) proves.

Here’s to our wives —
They keep our hives in little bees and honey.
They darn our socks, and save life’s shocks,
And they also spend our money.

Desperate To Be Obscene

EBay seller LadiesOnFilm carries a large number of vintage risque and nude images from publishers of adult magazines from the 60’s through the 90’s. It’s rather clear that many of them are the unused outtakes; but then, I guess “outtakes” are in the mind of the viewer.

It’s funny how often the “bad” pictures seem more natural than the “good” pictures. I find this photo of Carol Newell (by Ron Vogel, 1968) charming. It’s how a woman sits on the stairs, relaxed, not worrying about the planes of her face and the contours of her body… There’s no arching of her back while pointing her toes. That’s how the real girl next door sits.

The women struggle to look natural in odd poses. While the props are often dated and hysterical, it’s the desperate poses for the sake of sexual puns which are far funnier. I can just hear the photographer saying, “That’s it, that’s it, baby. Now just crawl along the floor and choke that plaster snake statue…”

I’m not saying that no simply nude woman has ever taken a bad photo, but they are far more beautiful than those photographs which overreach — either in physicality or in attempts at innuendo.

50 Shades Of Humiliating

Fifty Shades Magazine

When I spotted the cover of the Fifty Shades magazine leering at me from it’s in-your-face product positioning in the check-out lane at a local grocery store, I immediately broke out into a grin of disbelief. Here? In Fargo, North Dakota?! How utterly fabulous!

In a world where human sexuality is taboo — and women’s rights to have it is steadily shrinking, I was so giddy with the mere idea of the magazine sitting on display so blatantly, so defiantly, that I pounced on a copy. And unable to contain myself, I dared to speak aloud.

“I bet you’ve seen a lot of these leaving — and with old ladies like me,” I said to both the male cashier and the bag boy precisely at the moment the cashier was scanning the publication.

The cashier managed to avoid eye contact and comment via hyper-focus on his check-out duties. The bag boy, caught off guard, looked to see what I was speaking about as it was handed to him and he awkwardly, loudly, replied, “Umm, we must have just got these in; I haven’t seen them before now.” Followed by profuse blushing as his brain caught up with what his eyes were reading.

It was rather anticlimactic.

Even though I’m not sure what I was expecting or hoping for.

But if buying this magazine was anticlimactic, it was a major disappointment to read it.

Filled with pages of uncredited “articles” which were so bland it would make the much disliked and even hated Cosmo seem intelligent, Fifty Shades just left me feeling sad, yet again, about the sad state of magazines for women.

In Underwary, feminist platitudes serve to bolster mocking men — while focusing primarily on male pleasure: “It’s your body,” “Men don’t understand lingerie,” “He will blow it,” “Instead of letting him navigate the world of satin and lace all alone, surprise him and say you’re going shopping together. He’ll think you look great, you’ll feel great, and everyone will benefit. (But mostly him.)”

Oh, and don’t forget to exercise and diet too.

Because it’s important for women to focus on their appearance even during fantasies.

*heavy sigh*

Now, I’ve never ready any of the 50 Shades books, so as an ethical reviewer I can’t say anything about how “true” the magazine is to the “steamy series”. But that won’t stop me from having an opinion — an educated opinion — regarding the reaction to the books.

As a woman, I’ve not only taken a rather long road to my own personal sexual discoveries and satisfaction, but along the way I’ve uncovered and pondered our historical and cultural cues regarding sexuality — these being, largely, the reasons it was such a long road. And as a collector, I’ve been documenting this as a part of women’s history as well. The short story is that this whole Fifty Shades thing is not new. Not in terms of books; not in terms of shock and backlash either. We have a lot of dumb rules and taboos about gender and sex (NWS).

For those reasons, this Fifty Shades magazine will not be tossed out but rather saved as part of my collection. As will my scarlet letter “A”. (I got mine! Did you get yours?) The difference, obviously, is which one I believe in, like, admire…

The biggest question then is, do I leave some sort of notes about that so that my kids or future people know why I saved these things, what kind of person I was?

Vintage Political Trick Or Treat

The Mondale-Ferraro campaign used the Halloween “Trick Or Treat” theme to get some votes in the bag:

Trick:

For those with under
$10,000 a year,
23 Billion LESS!

or

Treat:

For those with over
$80,000 a year,
35 Billion MORE!

(These are the Congressional
Budget Office projections
for the years ’83, ’84, ’85)

If these figures SPOOK you

Vote Mondale-Ferraro for America

Scarlet Letters

A Woman Living Here Has Registered to Vote

The scarlet letters of this authentic suffrage poster read, “A Woman Living Here Has Registered to Vote Thereby Assuming Responsibility Of Citizenship.” Because that’s what voting is, a responsibility of citizenship.

Whether or not the makers of this poster (which also appeared with blue lettering) intended to draw references to Hawthorne’s work or simply skimped on one-color ink printing, there’s resonating poetry here. Even Especially today.

We women and men who understand the realities of the issues need to exercise our responsibility to vote and help others access their right to vote. And we need to know the facts, share the facts.

Fact: Being a woman is not a pre-existing condition and ought not carry financial penalties for individuals and entire families.

Fact: This current attack on women is real, and, like those before, it’s about control — economic control which is fear-based and reactionary backlash.

Fact: Access to health care and, yes, even abortions, are constitutional rights — access to a clinic should be as easy as access to a church or other religious institution, not thwarted by acts of tolerated domestic terrorism.

Martha Plimpton explains the arithmetic — which is as good here at it is for jobs the economy:

Only twelve percent (12%) of US counties have an abortion provider. You read that right. (When I tell another woman who considers herself informed that very figure, it invariably leaves her agape and amazed. See, we aren’t paying attention, sad to say.) But 1 in 3 women will have an abortion at some point in her life. Think about that. Then do the math. This isn’t about luxury. This isn’t about some rare procedure that a woman can get if she really puts her mind to it or has the money. This is something 1 in 3 women feel they must do, and will do, at any cost. So, rich women will travel. Poor women will die.

Talk about literally killing the middle class.

We cannot be meek; “the meek don’t make it.”

A Is For

We need to be loud.

We need to be angry.

“Angry,” that’s just another thing “A” is for, like autonomy, allegiance — and action.

That scarlet letter “A” — or red ribbon “A” is the symbol of A Is For, an organization started by Lizz Winstead, Martha Plimpton, and others.

I just donated and can’t wait to wear this scarlet letter proudly.

Now These Are The Sort Of Political Buttons I Can Collect

I have a modest number of vintage political items in my collections… Some Nixon stuff. Some ERA stuff. I’ve even made some buttons or pinbacks too. But now I’m coveting all the union pins and pro-union pinbacks. The way things are going, one day I very well may be sitting with a young grandchild, fingerless or worse from her “work”, and I may need proof of the once-upon-a-time stories I’ve been telling her about the days when workers and even children were protected by unions.

I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to dig out pieces from my own collection; but here are a few pro-union pinback buttons I almost bought.