|CLICK TO ENLARGE The Senate Investigates Venus and her Strippers School|
Venus, AKA Venus the Body AKA Venus the Body Beautiful AKA Jean Smyle appeared in two films. Dreamland Capers, in which she played herself as a stripper, and Peek A Boo in which she played herself as a stripper. Both were little more than crude films of a typical burlesque show from the 1950s. Venus had a specialty, it was implying the grind on a chair.
Her greatest accomplishment, certainly, was earning her "SA degree" for strip appeal at the School for Strippers. Here is Venus in the center learning to perform while not hitting her head in one of the low ceiling joints they would be appearing in. I found it on the web with no source. Why would she "take classes" at her own school?
The expanding sleaze press of the mid 1940s to the late 1950s were desperate for any material which showed pretty women skirting the censor. A school for strippers was perfect, and the publicity machine churned out several versions of this story. You can search some up yourself, but you will have to edit out pictures of Venus the tennis player (now THAT is a body) and Venus the razor. I have one here published in an entirely different magazine, three years from the above…and guess what? One caption reads "Venus the Body returns for a refresher course." Um hmm. Continuing education. And then AGAIN in a wire story which ran in newspapers across the country, but she is called "faculty member" in that one. There was yet another wire story which reported the tuition was $150 for 15 weeks.
Here is Venus the Body's rear end (really) from one of those little 12 picture "strip" sets in which a model starts out dressed and ends up still dressed, but not quite as much. The sets were sold for about a buck each to lonely guys. I am not sure which lesson number this depicts, not having the degree…but I would assign a degree of difficulty of 10.
Venus apparently compiled her strip secrets into a book I can't find. Checks were to be made out to just plain VENUS on Melrose Avenue, or to VENUS FRANCESCO on Sunset Boulevard. $2.98. There was a third address on Hollywood Boulevard. Maybe they had three campus locations! As you can see here, it was the one on Hollywood which came to the attention of government censors. Actually, the school, if there really was one, which I doubt, appears here to have been in the basement of the New Follies Theater, a burly joint located on South Main Street in Los Angeles…where both of the films mentioned above were shot.
Lillian Hunt took care of the girls at the New Follies…that is queen mom directing the action above. She has been called manager, choreographer, producer, operator, director and even legendary, but what she really did was keep them in line and help with their problems. I would call her a good old fashioned promoter and huckster. Lillian is also said to have directed at least ten films, including the ones Venus was in, as well as Kiss Me Baby (1957) The A-B-C's of Love (1954) and Everybody's Girl (1951)
Lillian Hunt also used the name Mrs. DeVoe and she was married at one time to a comic named Leon DeVoe. Here is Lillian's better half, doped up as a cowboy teaching Venus how to wave a gun, from yet another hard-hitting expose of the school in Uncensored Magazine, August 1954.
If anyone has a copy of the book, I sure would like to see it.