Archive for the 40s Category

Madge Meredith, Playing Witch, 1946

Posted in 40s, Photogravure, SFW on 2 August 2011 by redwitch1

This Madge Meredith press photo was released while Trail Street—a “solid Randolph Scott Western”—was in production. Since the film was released on 19 February 1947 and the snipe was released for use on All Saint’s Day [aka All Hallows or Hallowmas]—the day following the big night for witches (i.e., All Hallows Eve or Halloween)—then I am assuming that this photo was circulated in November 1946 . The full snipe reads:

Bewitchin’ is the word for the well-dressed woman come All Saint’s Day. In proof—Madge Meredith all dressed up in a witch’s brew of a hat specially concocted by Designer Edward Stevenson, who threw into the pot a yard or so of night-black gaberdine, cooked it up into a tall, tall crown with a swoop of a brim (the better for riding whirlwinds) then added an old broomstick tipped with broomstraw yellow feathers. Madge, to add to the gaiety of the seasons, adds joak-o-lantern [sic] earrings. When she is not playing witch, Madge is engaged in playing a co-starring role in RKO Radio’s “Trail Street”

Here are the “joak-o-lantern earrings”:

And here is a broom-shaped hat pin. Or rather, a broom-shaped hat pin that has been painted onto the photo. (What this looks like to me, is a standard artist’s paint brush being used as a hat pin that has been “touched up” to look more like a witch’s broom).

I did a post in February of a 1922 postcard which included a “broom-shaped hat-pin thing”, and another in March of a 1912 postcard. I said in the first post that I had a few of these, and that I would post them all, and now I have! So, here they are:

[broom-shaped hat-pins from 1912, 1922, 1946]

Ann Miller, Captivating Witch, 1949

Posted in 40s, Photograph, SFW on 23 July 2011 by redwitch1

The two pictures of Ann Miller in this post are from a series of four, listed (on the snipe) with the serial numbers “3359, 3360, 3361, 3362.” The first picture here is an original, the second is a reprint, and I am not sure what the appropriate serial numbers are for each of them. The snipe on my original photo reads:

The Atomic Age of Witchery … Ann Miller is the captivating Halloween Miss who has pumpkins and black cats for her mascots in this beauty study. The young dancing star, under long-term contract to Metro-Goldwyn–Mayer will soon be seen in the techicolor musical “On the Town,” in which she shares top billing with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, Jules Munshin and Vera-Ellen. The musical was directed by Kelly and Stanley Donen and produced by Arthur Freed.

If you look at the Wikipedia and Imdb entries for Ann Miller, you will find that she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was inducted into the International Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2004: that is, she was very talented.

Miller started young (at 14, pretending to be 18), could tap at an extraordinary speed (she was considered a child dance prodigy), wore costumes that emphasized her lithe figure and long dancer’s legs (her measurements were, apparently, 35-22-34), was a famous for her appearances on Broadway as in Hollywood films, and married three times (unhappily).

She said that she difficulty maintaining relationships with men due to her being an Egyptian queen in a past life (Queen Hathshepsut) and having been accustomed to executing any men who displeased her. This may have been wishful thinking, because she seems to have married arseholes.

One, a piece of scum who does not deserve to be memorialised with a name, beat Miller up when she was nine months pregnant, throwing her down a flight of stairs and breaking her back. Miller had to give birth with a broken back and auditioned for Easter Parade (1948) in a steel back brace!

This press photo dates from a few years later, October 1949 I think, when Miller was 26, though the film it mentions as have been directed (past tense) by Kelly and Stanley Donen, On the Town, did not have its premiere until 8 December 1949 in New York.

Ann Savage Riding a Gun! 1944

Posted in 40s, Halloween, Photograph on 18 June 2011 by redwitch1

Ann Savage—declared an “icon and legend” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2005—played the role of a femme fatale in the classic film noir Detour (1945), and starred in more than twenty films between 1943 and 1946. After appearing in Esquire in 1944, she became a favorite with the troops “making numerous personal appearance tours at various military bases in order to raise war bonds” according to IMDB. (For a better bio, see here.) So I am guessing this rather wacky photo dates from late 1944 or 1945.

Ann is sitting on a WW1-era fixed, naval anti-aircraft gun—probably 20mm—a bit similar to this one. Since she is dressed as a witch I guess we are to imagine she is flying it. Which would be difficult, seeing as it is bolted to the ground/deck. Her witch outfit is comprised almost solely of a hat. The rest, like last-week’s press photo is all pinup: a short-all-over one-piece black outfit with fishnets and heels.

Of course, if we are not going to be too literal-minded, we might imagine the gun is her(?) enormous and deadly phallus (i.e., one she controls and wields) or that it is—for her—an enormous dildo or vibrator (i.e., one she “rides” for sexual pleasure). Both options are pretty weird, but I am guessing it is the latter, and that the “troops” Ann entertained with this image were being invited to identify with the enormous and deadly phallus/dildo. Disturbing. And at this point it should be clear that you’d be well-advised to back out of any room containing either the photographer, the distributor of the photo or said soldier.

* * * * *

I said last week that I had completed my series of WW2 and earlier press photos. I was wrong. I found a few more. This one is all over the internet already, usually on enormously-long pages made up almost completely of images taken (without acknowledgment) from this site. Or, at least, pages only containing one or two images that are not on this site, and many images that are only on this site.

Acknowledgments are nice people: and it is in the interest of all bloggers and others to acknowledge where they have filched images from because, without acknowledgment and encouragement, people like me might actually stop spending all their time and money trying to find new material (i.e., images of thing not already everywhere on the internet) and then scanning and giving said images away. For free. Capisci?

Nancy Gates, 1943

Posted in 40s, Halloween, Photograph, SFW on 12 June 2011 by redwitch1

This is, unfortunately, only a reprint of a Nancy Gates Halloween press photo, but it is a very high quality one and I wanted to round out my series of press photos from before the end of WWII before I move on to other topics.

Gates (b. 1926) arrived in Hollywood in 1941 and was contracted to RKO at the age of fifteen. Over the next decade she appeared in a score of films‚including The Magnificent Ambersons and Hitler’s Children, before taking on a long series of bit-parts on TV.

The costume and props in this photo are as basic as you can get (as you can see below). In fact, the costume is comprised solely of a besom/broom and a cauldron: the bats and JOL are only “atmosphere” and the silk button-up shirt and short-shorts are simply pin-up requirements. Gates is very cute, but she looks both young and awkward among the props in this pin-up outfit. I am assuming this photo was taken in 1943 or 1944 when she was 17 or 18.

There is a second photo in this series, where Gates has her right hand on her hip and she is leaning on her broom. So far I have only seen reprints of both photos, but I am holding out for an original. With luck the snipe on an original photo will provide a more accurate date. Until then …

Leggy Lucia Carroll, 1941

Posted in 40s, Photograph, SFW on 4 June 2011 by redwitch1

This Lucia Carroll press photo was probably released in 1941 rather than 1940, but both are possible. Lucia Carroll (fl. 1940–55) appeared—uncredited—in a series of films in 1940 and 1941, appearing in her first credited role in January 1942. None of her films are particularly memorable and so she has not attracted a Wikipedia entry.

Digging around, I find that in May 1941 Carroll appeared in a photo-shoot in Life of a Leslie Charteris novella: The Saint Goes West: The Mystery of the Palm Springs Playboy. As Burl Barer writes, Carroll portrays Ginny, one of “the luscious women in the life of playboy Freddy Pellman.” In Life, Carroll is described simply as “an attractive redhead”—but, as usual, it is the “beautiful blonde” (Marjorie Woodworth) who gets all the best shots.

With this photo in front of us, it is hard to understand why luscious, leggy Lucia Carroll didn’t get more time in front of the camera. She certainly makes for an eye-popping red[headed] witch in this figure-hugging, diaphanous black outfit, with its split skirt and pendulous sleeves.

Of course, the angle of the photo helps, looking up—as we are—along one long, bare leg, which draws the eye up over Carroll’s narrow hips, tiny waist, not-so-tiny bust (emphasised rather than concealed by a snow-white bra), to a defiant face, looking into the distance off-camera. The hat is a masterpiece: I love these witchy hats with calico undersides, which radiate pleats like a devilish halo (like this one, and Gale Robbins here). It is a shame they went out of fashion …

Fabulous Four Witches, 1941

Posted in 40s, Halloween, Photograph on 7 May 2011 by redwitch1

Here we have four, fabulous Paramount starlets, thrown together for this Halloween press photo. All four were early in their career (thus “starlets“) but the four did not appear in any single Paramount film together. Of the four, three had long careers and two achieved significant fame. Read the shout and guess who appeared in the most films:

Well, Hobble My Goblins, It’s Halloween Again

And the date calls for the traditional observance.
So Here we have Paramount starlets Barbara Britton, Ella Neal, Eva Gabor and Katherine Booth for the event.

And the answer: Barbara Britton (51 titles on IMdB + a star on the Walk of Fame), Ella Neal (16 titles), Eva Gabor (79 titles + a star on the Walk of Fame) and Katharine Booth (61 titles).

Eva Gabor, the “good Gabor” among the three Gabor sisters, only married and divorced five times. Apparently, “Marriage is too interesting an experiment to be tried only once”! (Eva is the blonde above, right.)

There are some interesting details in the photo. Note the masks on the ground at the front two of our starlets. Here we have an echo of the “OMG the hag is a hottie” theme (which I discussed here and here).

The JOL above is one of two candy containers, decorated cardboard horns etc, which are all very nice too—if you can drag your eyes away from all that silk and starlet skin on show. No doubt the Advertising Advisory Council of Hollywood Approved of this photographic enticement to a roll in the hay with a leggy witch (or four) on the basis that it was morale-boosting.

This press photo was released on 12 August 1941, rather early in the year for Halloween, and pretty much the nadir of WW2 for the Allies. It was at the time when Axis-controlled territory in Europe was a its “maximal expansion” (as Wikipedia puts it). So, if Paramount thought the Allies need a morale boost, they were almost certainly right!

I Married A Witch, Some Press Photos

Posted in 40s, Movies, Photograph, SFW on 30 September 2010 by redwitch1

You have seen the pre-film pictures of Veronica Lake (here), the pre-press promotions, including heralds (here), so now you are ready to see fifteen of the ca. one hundred and fifty Press Photos issued for I Married A Witch (1942).

[1 Jennifer is rescued from the hotel fire by Wooly. She is draped in his coat, not buck-naked as she is in the book (see the original illustration of this scene here)]
[2 Wooly takes Jennifer home]

As you can see from the codes written on many of them, some of these photos were re-issued in 1956. Since the 1942 issues are over a hundred a piece, and the 1956 issues are printed from the same negatives, I have bought either whenever I could, and whenever they were affordable. Which is not often. Still, I don’t want to think about what I have spent.

[3 Wooly isn’t happy that Jennifer has appeared in his bed, in his PJs (what an idiot)]
[4 Jennifer slides down—and then up—the stair-rail in said PJs. This is the image that was used in promotional advertisements]

I have seen series numbers from 1956–1 to 1956–99 (stills from the film, some posed) and P2745–519 to P2745–554 (press photos, posed off set). I guess the P2745 off-set series actually contains about fifty or sixty photos (P2745–500 to P2745–560-ish).

[5 Jennifer is knocked out …]
[6 … and is given the love-potion she had prepared for Wooly]

So, like I said, about one hundred and fifty photos, which you might spend $100 each on (or about $15,000), and years trying to get them all.

[7 Wooly doesn’t know what to do]

Why would you do it? Well, just look at them! Sensational costumes, very cute actor, add a bit of nostalgia for WWII-period films, and that would be enough. But, not only is this film fun to watch, it is probably one of the most important influences on the representation of the modern witch. As I have said before

According to Marion Gibson (see here), the influence of this novel can be seen in John van Druten’s Bell, Book and Candle (a play, written in 1948, performed and published 1950, filmed 1958), Bewitched (TV sitcom, 1964–1972), Sabrina the Teenage Witch (comic, 1971–83; TV animation, 1971–74; film, 1996; TV sitcom, 1996–2003) and Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic (novel, published 1995; film, 1998). Undoubtedly, this list could be extended.

[8 this is a posed photo, not a scene from the film]

All of which is enough reason for me to keep collecting; and for you to stay tuned. And next week, you get to see the big-ticket items!

[9 Ah. that dress]
[10 Posed photo, hag vs sexy witch]
[11 The loving couple; Lake in that dress again …]
[12 … in all it’s glory (though Lake seems unhappy: perhaps she is tired of being posed?)]
[13 happier, and casual (perhaps she has finally been allowed to see herself in the mirror?)]
[14 Veronica Lake, Sultry Witch, OMG]
[15 Veronica Lake, Sexy Witch, with many a leering JOL. Who can blame them?]

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