Wednesday, January 28, 2015

True Burlesque Gypsy Rose Lee Murder Mob Mayhem and Mother! Gypsy

Not too many celebrity authors will find their book is still in print 75 years after publication, but Gypsy Rose Lee's is…and it has a blurb from The New Yorker which reads "Pure ozone to those tired of ordinary oxygen."  Not only that, unlike, oh…say media whore and best-selling fake history writer Bill O'Reilly, she actually wrote it herself!
Mother Finds a Body was notable stripper Gypsy Rose Lee's second murder mystery.  The first publication was in 1942.  It isn't unusual for a peeler to get in trouble...on the contrary.  But Gypsy's problems were the lurid problems of true crime and mayhem.  It was first anthologized in Triple Detective Magazine in the same year, from which the lurid drawings and cover above come.  It followed her first novel, The G-String Murders which is probably better known, so I'm doing this one.  I think Gypsy did actually write the thing, as she was bright as a burlesque spotlight beam and could type.  I've seen the picture of her typing and you can too!  

Gypsy had a few names, as all strippers do.  Rose Louise Hovick or Ellen June Hovick depending on who you believe.  Another thing Gypsy did common to strippers was eloping at age 15.  I could almost save that phrase and cut and paste it into my burlesque posts. 

Gypsy's first successful dancing was apparently "marathon" dances, which were common around the Depression.  The last couple standing wins the prize and a pair of exhausted feet.  The grueling contest prepared Gypsy for years of hoofing…nearly naked on stage but standing tall.

Another notable thing Gypsy did was get pregnant from the film director Otto Preminger,  a filmmaker way before his time and one who challenged convention often.  The resulting spawn, her son Erik Lee Preminger, untimely donated her papers to the Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library, which apparently has the actual manuscript for this book.  Preminger also wrote the introduction to the current edition HERE on Amazon. 

Jim Linderman is author of ten art and photography books, you can browse them HERE

Monday, January 26, 2015

Lilly Christine True Burlesque What Killed the Cat

Lilly Christine isn't a bad stripper (excuse me, "belly dancer") name, especially when your real handle is Martha Theresa Pompender. Known far and wide (at least from Bourbon Street to Dumaine) as the Cat Girl, she is shown here tanned,  flexing and greased.  Lilly was born in 1923 and lived only 42 years. It was rumored she committed suicide, but it was Peritonitis which killed the 37C-22-35 cat. Guess what contributes to Peritonitis? Having a washboard stomach (diffuse abdominal rigidity) and excess flexing of one's hips. Clearly the Cat had some serious workplace disability. These moves do not come without flexing the abdominals. And that's what the Cat did. 

Tribute to Lilly Christine by Jim Linderman Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Battle of the Burlesque Queens True Burlesque

World-weary true burlesque vets cop some extra change performing in a stag reel.  Circa 1950 brochure from the book SMUT BY MAIL: VINTAGE GRAPHICS FROM THE GOLDEN AGE OF OBSCENITY Now Available as an instant PDF Download for $8.99. 

Monday, December 29, 2014


The First Elvis Impersonator Elvira Presley!

Complete with guitar-shaped pasties, Elvira Presley hits the stage in 1957 in the not-so legendary stripdump "The Near and Far Club" operated by Al and Mal Warner in Los Angeles.  They were looking for a sensational act to celebrate a club makeover, and when they heard of a model who looked like the "Mississippi Peckerwood" Elvis, they convinced her to put on levi jeans and then immediately take them off on stage!  Complete with Elvis gyrations which even Ed Sullivan would have enjoyed!

Elvira was thus not only the first Elvis Impersonator, she was the first with 38-28-37 measurements!  Like the (then prince, future king, finally dead) real Elvis, she came from Mississippi. 

The act began with the house orchestra playing "Don't Be Cruel" while Elvira made her entrance with a guitar.  As the band continued performing without paying royalties to the illegal immigrant Colonel Tom Parker, Elvira pops out of her Levis to "Blue Suede Shoes" and then out-hip-shakes the hip shaker with "Hound Dog" while tearing off her bra revealing sequins shaped like a Nashville guitar-shaped Swimming Pool!

Elvira became the first to set the standard Elvis Impersonator patter.  When interviewed by the press, her answers are filled with "I hope he would be flattered" responses, but she avoids the "it's not an imitation, it's a tribute"  banal platitude adopted by every single Elvis imitator since.  It was an imitation for sure.

Uncredited Photographs appeared in Modern Man Magazine 1957


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

True Burlesque Cavalcade of Burlesque

True Burlesque Cavalcade of Burlesque.  A Quartet of Issues 1953 - 1954 of the House Organ of Burlesque.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

True Burlesque Burlesk Bounces Back from Tab the Pocket Picture Magazine 1952

Today on True Burlesque, a classic article on the performers from 1952.  It had to be scanned before it turned to dust.  The piece, which contains a wonderful photo of burlesque cipher Lily Lamont (more about Lily Lamont HERE) and a 21 year old Tempest Storm, both likely taken by Russ Meyer. Also, a rare image taken by Weegee.  Without breaking the spine too much. here you go! 

Also shown Lily St. Cyr, Lily "CAT" Christine (making the layout a trio of Lilys) and much more.  The piece was written by Alec Wynn for Tab The Pocket Picture Magazine, November 1952.  It is a shame this periodical is not available on the web...considered disposable in the 1950s, every issue is full of source material for popular culture researchers.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

True Burlesque Everyone Needs a Dance Partner

Spice up your act with a partner.  True Burlesque the Blog