Books by Jim Linderman

Books by Jim Linderman
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Rose La Rose Burlesque Contralto True Burlesque

Rose La Rose isn't sitting on a garbage can here, it is the pedestal Bruno of Hollywood placed her on especially for the cover of my 50 cent (marked down to 35 cents with a grease pen) copy of Cavalcade in 1952.  Bruno of Hollywood was operating out of a studio in the Carnegie on West 57th Street, Manhattan, not Hollywood, but by now we should know burlesque had as much smoke and mirrors as magic.  Rose was the "undisputed" queen of burlesque, which means it WAS disputed, or she wouldn't have to print it in her printed ballyhoo.  The stag she made was called "Tops in any League" for some reason. 

Offspring of the ultimate "show biz mother" stripper Rose La Rose traveled the circuit with her mother for 18 years.  I'd say her mom was either devoted or demented…but then it was a different time.  Rose was born in 1919, so she came of the first baby boom… the one after the "war to end all wars" which didn't.   Rose La Rose was really Rosina De Pella, a nice italian girl, and Mother De Pella was Jennie.  A good mom, that Jennie.  She let little Rosina drop out of school at 15 to  work at Minsky's burlesque as a cashier.  Where she was soon put on the boards, of course.  One of the Minkskys ( there were a few) is credited with "discovering" Rose, but that means he encouraged her to undress in public.

Rose was in an act which included "Stinky" Fields.  No comment there.  

In "Tops in any League" Rose dispels any notion the old timers never went topless. You have to endure some bad antique jazz…turn the sound down, it has nothing to do with her moves anyway.  In fact, Rose claimed to be the first burlesque dancer to use the classics on stage.  Rigoletto, Clair de Lune and the William Tell overture (!)  Let those canons GO Rose! 
Rose was arrested for the peel more than once,  but her gig was lucrative.   At one time she was bringing home $2,500 a week, although you must realize that was showbiz hype, and some went to her two agents Lou Miller and Milt Shuster…and then there was Mom.  Initially,  Rose hated the name Rose La Rose, so she worked under the name Connie Ray  (or Connie Rae) until big bag of wind Walter Winchell ran a story revealing her real fake name.  It brought crowds, so Connie gave in and had Rose become her legal name.  Not long after, Damon Runyon "dreamed we nominated Miss La Rose for President."  Well…this year the Republicans did worse.

She was no crooner…one review in 1950 said her "sultry contralto" was her least attractive feature.  That means her voice likely ranged from the G below middle C (G3) to the G two octaves above middle C (G5).   Which translates to "shut up and dance" unfortunately.

Double Rose was married double times.  One of her husbands, a toy manufacturer, would play harmonica at home and insist she strip to it.  Rose told the judge "Finally I got tired of doing this every night.  When I didn't want to do it, he would keep me up until all hours by playing weird tunes on the harmonica."  Divorce GRANTED!  1942

During the early 1940s Rose toured in a show called T.N.T of Teasers.  Later, in the 1950s she performed a "Polynesian love dance" on stage.

Rose ended up in Toledo, the hotbed of Ohio grime, and opened her own place, The Old Town Theater.  She later added The Esquire Theater to her holdings, prompting the officials of Toledo to fear a burlesque blitz…so they shut her down.  She had to complain to the feds who let her reopen.  She is also reported as the owner of the "urban revival-doomed" Town Hall Theater.  Rose had a plan to dance a few gigs, but settle down at her base in Toledo.   Mom died around the time she purchased a building.   Rose became a good citizen, speaking at local events, but sadly passed away young.  Age 52.

Her memory is in good hands HERE.

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Queen of the Strippers Honey Holiday Phony Name Phony Boobs True Burlesque


The True Story of Honey Holiday (ALL of them)

Perhaps I should start this post by saying Honey Holiday ended up marrying a Texas millionaire worth 32 million dollars.  At least so claims the man who gave Honey her stripper name…Larry Saunders, one time booking agent for Baltimore's notorious block.  Larry also says a good stripper's career can last about as long as a football running back.   Larry gave some 50 dancers their stage names…including Fanne Fox, the burlesker caught with a drunken Representative Wilbur Mills in the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. Fanne Fox was really Annabelle Battistella...but neither of them have anything to do with Honey, though it was this event which led a reporter from the Associated Press to Larry, I suppose...which gave him a moment of fame.  The story was picked up by a few local papers.
(St. Petersburg Times July 3, 1975  AP wire story) 

Unfortunately,  neither Larry or the reporter provide Honey's REAL name, so I have to spend a few grueling minutes looking her up.  

Hmmm…looks like Honey also used the classy handle "The Sex Kitten" while dancing her way to success…and also "Honeypot"  according to the cover of the smut rag I am looking at.  She was one sweet nectar…WHOA!  I haven't found her name yet, but I can tell you she was no blonde…and had little shame as well.  Oh oh…what's on top isn't real either.  Honey has those implants which went in before the technique was perfected (which was not yet actually…but these are some kind of rock.) 


Here is an article which paints the picture I'm looking for in words, but again, no real name.  A old-timer from the Bronx reminiscing in front of the crumbling Gayety Burlesque, where "pictures advertised Amber Mist and Honey Holiday, local sex kittens" it says.  Well, 1979, possible.  But that is hardly Texas high society glamour…did the millionaire toss her out?  Maybe she was in Miami for that "holiday" in her name and decided to give it one more shot on stage…right on sleazy Collins Avenue before they cleaned it up.   
(Milwaukee Sentinel January 20 1979)

Here is a Honey posing for Irving Klaw 20 years earlier.  She LOOKS the same, kinda, but intoxicated.  Just my opinion.  I'm not a traffic cop or a doctor, but I gotta say she doesn't look too good.  Maybe she spent the night before out late.  Wait..this can't be the same Honey…though both are topped with huge blonde wigs, this HAS to be a different Honey, doesn't it?  A real long shot with a short lens, so I am going to say not our Honey.

There is another Honey Holiday in one of those dreadful "neo-burlesque" shows remembering the glory days, but I don't care about her.  I'll let someone look her up 50 years from now and find this post.

Let's see what else…ACK!  Do NOT use the search strategy I just tried.  There is ANOTHER Honey Holiday and she is not too particular.  Let's pass on this one.

Ahhh…this could be our Honey…you know, the glamorous one.   A woman named Holiday appears in the porn film "Female Athletes" with wasted, drug-addicted John Holmes.  She appears in only one scene and no one has liked her on Google Plus OR Facebook…a bad sign. Wait…brunette…and her first name is Bonnie.  Wrong again.

Here is a Honey Holiday on the cover of Fury Magazine, 1963…and she is a brunette too.  She is also quite pretty.  Not our Honey.

BINGO!  Here she is, in a smut rag on one of those illegal download sites which has paid a clerk minimum wage to scan an entire issue allowing them to violate copyright in massive doses just so you will pay to "chat" with a virtual hooker pretending to cyber…but I don't want to gum up my hard drive with their junk.  Wait a minute while I clear my cache and close the pop-up windows…several of them with unfortunate workers anxiously awaiting my credit card.

Honey Holiday Nude Beach Girls Spy Cam…Nope.  Honey Holiday Dallas Escorts…maybe, but she would be like 90.  I'll pass.  Honey Holiday Female Escort Raleigh North Carolina…Nope. 

I guess that's about it.  Not much there considering she was billed as The Queen of the Strippers.  If anyone out there knows Honey Holiday's real name, I'll be glad to post it.  I hope her millionaire husband is too old to kick my ass.


Sizzles on the Screen, a thrilling Sex-Sational Battle Royal!

Original stag film brochure circa 1960 collection Victor Minx

Mara Gaye and Tana Louise Burlesque and Bizarre Fashion True Burlesque Leonard Burtman

"Tana & Mara" was Tana Louise, one of Leonard Burtman's many wives, and Mara Gaye, a spicy dancer with a Radio City Rockette background.

Gaye worked in legitimate theater, burlesque and pin up circles for decades. She REALLY knocked around. This dame worked with Lawrence Welk for god's sake! The only woman to have worked with both Irving Klaw and the polka playing bubble-master. Her wiki page mentions a fight at Minsky's over who gets to wear an eye patch during a burlesque eyed strippers apparently being the next big thing.

Mara was a former Miss Dallas (what is it with tough women and Dallas...did every woman with a bend move there?)
Mara was Marjorie Helen Ginsberg from the Bronx. It is a LONG way from the Bronx to Dallas, especially in 1935. Mara is a movie waiting to happen. She MAY have even jumped out of a cake for Hall of Famer "Scooter" Rizzuto. Holy Cow! At least wiki says she was a "birthday surprise" for him.

Tana, while not having as impressive a resume on paper, is by far the better known today...even though it seems she vanished. Her fetish photographs were widely distributed in certain underground circles. Tana did some photos with Klaw too, and percolated in the pin up and dress up fetish underground quite prominently...some have even said she was the Bettie Page before there was a Bettie Page.

Tana is best known for the extraordinary material she generated for the Exotique Series of books and pamphlets which were reprinted by publishing behemoth Taschen back in 1998. You can browse their catalog HERE. The material is truly demented and deviant in a harmless way...and I can not imagine any fashion historian not owning the complete set. I wonder if they keep it behind the checkout counter at the F.I.T library?

Just for the record, I haven't cribbed any of these images from the Taschen volumes.


Their contributions appear to me, as an outsider with vanilla taste, increasingly influential, so bizarre or not, the whole bunch of them were artistically and culturally important, to say the least. The Museum of Sex in New York City recently exhibited some of Mara's memorabilia.

Do NOT confuse Tana Louise with Tina Louise, the one who was stuck on an island with Gilligan. That Louise sued Tana for swiping her name (sorta) according to gossip columnist Walter Winchell in his March 23, 1959 column.

The Tana, Mara, Lenny collaboration in the fashion business is pretty funny, as it appears while they went into business, it was really only to sell catalogs! According to ground-breaking historian and writer Robert Bienvenu they priced the costumes high so no one would actually buy one (since they didn't have an inventory) and they really just wanted to sell the pamphlets! I am not sure they even had anyone lined up to make the costumes, and the few which were produced appear in photo after photo...I guess you could call it early leather recycling.

Burmel Publishing was a collaboration of Lenny Burtman and Ben Himmel, hence the name. Burmel was just one of many names...Selbee was another. Lenny is pretty well known today, having taken his particular proclivities all the way from the 1950s to the 1980s, but less known is this unusual venture into
costume and fashion design from the late 1950s. Or at least pretending to go into the fashion business, I guess.

The ads here were published in their own magazines and digests, including rare offshoot of Exotique titled "Exotica" which you can dig around for. I have numbers two and three, and yet one site I find claims they only published one. They also published the ads in the obscure "Female Mimics" magazine, another of Burtman's efforts. There is also an image here from a mail-order brochure which was distributed in the late 1950s or early 1960s.The bizarre costumes they created, real or not, with the help of illustrators Gene Bilbrew, Eric Stanton (and who knows who) have certainly become influential. Just ask Lady Gaga's designers or those of her far more talented progenitor, Madonna.




Various images from material in the Victor Minx collection, circa 1955-1965 (No date in original objects)


The Best of Blaze Starr True Burlesque and Blaze

I am not sure what the weather will be for Halloween, but I can not think of a better costume for ANYONE than the Amazing Blaze Starr.  To survive "the life" is enough, but she is still cooking with serious a trip through the amazing Blaze Starr Website will prove.  Need signed photographs for your hubby?  Buy BLAZE

I Love Blaze so much I had her draw me a self-portrait.  (See below)

There is Burlesque and there is Art.  There is also The Art of Burlesque.  Above is the Art of the Burlesque, and a wonderful treasure as well.

In the meantime, and AFTER your cyber visit to Blaze's Place, here are but a few of the remarkable costumes the true queen of burlesque came up with during her working days.
If it is cold, wear a body stocking.   

Blaze Starr Self-Portrait Collection Jim Linderman
True Burlesque is a weekly series by Jim Linderman / Editor of Vintage Sleaze the Blog

Dolores Del Raye Lost Queen of the Spit Curl True Burlesque

Dolores Del Raye, originally from Mexico, or maybe even further south, as one unreputable source claimed Brazil,  but then one reporter in Miami definitively reported she "comes from the Dunes in Las Vegas."

Heh!  Barrump!

Maybe that was a joke used by her "putty-nosed, baggy pants buffoon" Billy Ainsley, who headed her show.  Billy was an old Vaudeville clown, who once busted his back when a prop chair was pulled out from under him on stage.  He ended up, apparently, in a house in Columbus, OH with a dog named Dukey.  Why am I padding this story with patter about a buffoon?  Because no one wrote about Dolores.

But Dolores did make a stag film titled "St. Louis Woman" so I guess she really was from everywhere.  Most of the time when she was shown in a magazine she was called "exotic" which was the 1950s burlesque promotional word for "not white" as unappealing that is.  Not only that, the layouts usually say things like "fiery" or "crazy" and made fun of her diet (enchiladas and tortillas) and said not to miss her bullfighter dance.

Racism isn't pretty, even in spit curls.

Miss Del Ray appeared often in the pages of the regulars.  Adam, Follies.  Rogue.  But most of her pictures appear in cheaper crap like the Tri-S and Hale rags.  She was a stripper, not a model.

Peak years of dancing 1955 to 1960, and yes, she performed with a big red cape she swirled around her like a bullfighter.  She also wore a tiara atop her spit curls on special occasions. 

Her biggest role was in color on the cover of the bible of burlesque, Cabaret Magazine, in May 1957, where, of course, she was referred to as "savage"  instead of a woman.

Dolores is often seen on tumblr or pinterest, but no one ever adds content.  When they do, they just crib the crap from the few men's mags who ran her publicity photos and tell two sentence lies.  They just use her.  That would not come as anything new to the performer.  No one knows where she ended up.

She may have "appropriated" her stage name from Dolores Del RIO, a legit actress who was famous.  Dolores Del Raye was not.  Today you can see her dance on the Something Weird DVD Grindhouse Follies #21.


True Story of Weldon Kees, Poet and Painter, and Loarli Lily Ayers, Burlesque Stripper

Lily Ayers was really Icel Condon.  What kind of name is Icel?  Who cares.  She was also the famous Lorali, as shown here, and The Princess of Peel.  Nice!

More?  Just plain Rochelle in piece of crap film called "Everybody's Girl" and just plain Lily in "B-Girl Rhapsody" which no one really lined up for either.  So much for Hollywood.  By the way, in both films, Icel plays….wait for it..a stripper! 

Lorali was one of Lillian's girls.  You can read more about Lillian Hunt, AKA Mrs. Devoe HERE on True Burlesque.

Was Icel pretty.  HELL yes. Talented?  Eye of the burlesque beholder.  In 1955 the New York Times called her a "curvy blonde stripper" and if she was good enough for the paper of record, she was good enough for me.  Why would the esteemed paper review a stripper?

Additionally, Harper's magazine, in a profile of  poet and artist Weldon Kees in 2004 called Lily "the most famous stripper in Oakland"  and I think she was.

Who was Weldon Kees?  Influential critics have been asking that far longer than I have been wondering who is Icel Condon.  Wendell created a burlesque review in 1955 which featured  a stripper reading poetry…ICEL!   Cool!  Unfortunately Weldon died (by suicide) shortly before he could become a really cool beatnik, but he sure could paint.  I mean GREAT paintings.  I mean, let me look up the prices and suffer for one great.

Author James Reidel has written a book about Mr. Kees, and he is also fortunate to own the astoundingly beautiful painting above.  I cribbed it from Wiki 

As Icel is the unknown stripper, Wendel is the unknown painter…and poet…and filmmaker…and jazz musician…and MORE. I am seriously humbled.  This guy was REALLY the king of all media.

Plus, he picked the hottest stripper on the PLANET (ok…in the Bay area) to perform for him.


Top photograph taken by Keith Bernard and manipulated by Hollywood Confidential 1955 (quite possibly without the photographer's permission) Collection Jim Linderman 

Painting by Weldon Kees property of James Reidel, from Wikipedia.

Sally Rand Arrested in Body Suit and Long Underwear, Dies Broke True Burlesque

Super Stripper Sally Rand AKA Billie Beck AKA Hattie Helen Gould Beck meets with admirers of her "bubble dance" an an unknown flowery event.

Sally became a chorus girl at age 13.

Rand went from Ringling Brothers Circus to summer stock with Humphrey Bogart.  Whether she had Humphrey whistle is unknown.

Mega-showman Cecil B. Demille (legendary director of "The Squaw Man" twice) gave her the Rand name after the Rand McNally atlas, but whether she went around the world with Cecil is unknown.

Demille made over 50 films before a good one, but many are lost forever.  He wore his trademark "director's fancy boots" tucked into his pants, even when giving radio performances when no could see them.  Film critic Pauline Kael called the blustery Mr. De Mille "a sanctimonious manipulator" but again…whether he was manipulated by the bubble dancer is unknown. 

Sally was arrested doing the bubble dance in 1933, FOUR TIMES ON ONE DAY and to capitalize on the crime, rode "naked" on a white horse through the streets of Chicago, but in reality was covered with a body suit.  When I learned it was all a ruse, MY bubble burst.  She was arrested again over ten years later, again for being nude, but this time she was really wearing long underwear.  Show  Biz…it's illusion.

Despite enormous fame, beauty and twenty five films (including Main Bait, Golf Widows, The Texas Bearcat, Getting Gertie's Garter and A Girl in Every Port, Sally died penniless.  In fact less than penniless, with enormous debt.

Fortunately legendary performer and massive P-hound Sammy Davis Jr. stepped up and paid her burial expenses.

Original signed photograph of Sally Rand, No Date Collection Victor Minx.

Books and Ebooks by Jim Linderman are HERE

Mickey Cohen and his 18 year old Date Sandy Hagen or Claretta Hashagen and Gangster Squad

"Very sophisticated" (Los Angeles Times) Sandy Hagen AKA "Claretta Hashagen" bubbles up in the bath around the time of being taken into custody in connection with a murder in 1959.  The murder, which took the life of book-maker Jack Whalen, occurred in Rondelli's nightclub in L.A in which mobster Mickey Cohen was eating pasta.

Mickey, for a short, ugly little guy, got plenty of poontang.  Among his consorts?  No less than Candy Barr and Tempest Storm (at least I think so… Tempest is still alive, God bless her, so I'll only IMPLY it, as Wiki does) and also Liz Renay, AKA Pearl Elizabeth Dobbins (who served time in prison rather than rat on Mickey once.)  Pearly also later did a "mother-daughter" burlesque act with her own offspring, Brenda…who committed suicide at age 39.  THAT sounds like a story for me, but I'll do it later.  Isn't there some kind of law against stripping with your own Daughter? Creepy.

But if this post is to be about Mickey Cohen's consorts, I would be sitting here all day.  Back to young Sandy...certainly one of the prettiest "model/dancer" dates Mickey ever had.

Sandy (or Sandra in some accounts) was at a table with Micky when the shooting went down.  I guess she earned her "sophisticated" title as she was smart enough to escape the joint in Micky's caddy, driving it HERSELF, with a bunch of Mickey's jewelry.  I say apparently, as Sandra also refused to answer any questions.  FOUR TIMES.  She had also been handed a money order for $800 bucks made out to Mickey, and since that kind of paperwork was of interest to the feds, Mickey must have crumpled it up along with his keys when he told Sandy to hit the road.  Who knows…at the time of the shooting, Mickey said he went under the table to take care of his dog. 

This 18-year old was in big trouble.  Not only that, according to Paul Lieberman's book Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob and the Battle for Los Angeles" she had 290 names in her address books when she was arrested.  I don't know if they were all named "John"  but I DO know to collect that many names by age 18 has to be some kind of a record.  I think MY "special" address book has around 30, and I'm old.  290! 

Hagen stuck around a while, long enough to be meet Mickey as he was released from jail for various things…but seems to have vanished a few years later.  Despite her beauty and remarkable skills as a "business woman" and jewelry moll, she seems to be missing in action today. In 2008,  Larry Harnish, editor of the once great but defunct "Daily Mirror" blog lamented loosing track of her but published some beautiful photographs.

I would say this would make a good movie, but I guess it has been, though the troubled thing is on hold due to an unfortunate scene they shot.  I think Gangster Squad will be released in 2013, and it certainly sounds like a great movie.  Whether they cast anyone as Sandy Hagen, or even put her in the film will be revealed when it comes out.  Until then, read the book I guess. 

I would love to know where Ms. Hashhagen ended up, and there are a few good leads.  It seems a shame to drop the story here…but no one is paying me to do this blog and I have to rake the lawn.  Here is another bubble photo instead.

Jim Linderman books and ebooks are HERE

(Photographs of Sandy Hagen taken from Sextet Magazine 1960)