A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan, 1951).
A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan, 1951).
Been a while since we’ve had a Hot Man Bein’ Hot of the Day around here and I thought I’d look to remedy that right about now.
Like fellow rebel-imaged hottie James Dean*, Marlon Brando was a complex cat who looked damned fine deviating from the norm.
“Acting is the least mysterious of all crafts. Whenever we want something from somebody or when we want to hide something or pretend, we’re acting. Most people do it all day long.”
(Interview in the New York Times. July 2, 2004.)
Girls like a boy who plays music.
This picture ain’t just whistlin’ dixie. Marlon Brando holds several patents for drumhead tensioning. That links to one, but the patent office issued others between December 2002 and November 2004.
Girls like a boy who reads.
“With women, I’ve got a long bamboo pole with a leather loop on the end. I slip the loop around their necks so they can’t get away or come too close. Like catching snakes.”
Mr. Brando’s legally wedded snakes:
Mr. Brando passed away on July 1, 2004 at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California of respiratory failure from pulminary fibrosis, brought on by numerous causes. R.I.P.
I promise to revisit Marlon Brando another Hot Man Bein’ Hot etc day because I’ve got loads more pictures.
*On October 1, my Complete James Dean DVD box set arrives, along with an Audrey set. Anticipaaation.
**All pictures via fuckyeahmarlonbrando on the tumblr, a beautiful must for Brando fans.
Delores Wells, Playboy’s Miss June 1960, shares her October 17th birthday with the anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, which stopped the World Series and collapsed the Cypress Structure on the Nimitz Freeway and part of the Bay Bridge, and with the birthday of my dearest old friendoh Big Ben, who I’ve gotten to see twice this month and am super glad of it (a much more cheery connection).
At the time of her Playboy appearance, Ms. Wells was living in Chicago, like a lot of the early centerfolds. She worked as a bunny in the Chicago club. Sources suggest that Ms. Wells made $1,000 per week working at the club, but that her payment for this pictorial was only $500.
The above picture did not make it in to the original spread because Ms. Wells’ pubic hair was slightly visible, which god forbid — until the Pubic Wars of the 70′s.
Ms. Wells eventually wung her way west and appeared in several of the surf-rock propelled, beach party movies that were popular in this era: Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, and Bikini Beach.
Beach party movies came up for us recently in the context of Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month, but I had not taken the time to discuss them because I was trying to stick to my self-imposed edict of keeping the spotlight on Ms. Tate. In this post I am beholden to no such stringency and will tell you all about it.
American International Pictures produced the first “beach party” movie, titled, go figure, Beach Party in 1963. I do not count the Gidget movies. Wikipedia does, but I do not. In my opinion the AIP beach movies were too different to give Gidget inspiration credit, and had a totally different market and theme in mind. Also I have been a huge Connie Francis guy since birth, and even though I know it is stupid and pointless, I bear a grudge against Sandra Dee for being the one who got to marry Bobby Darin. Yes, I know: stupid and pointless.
Following the success of Beach Party, AIP cooked up more films featuring beachy monkey shines, about seven in all, which mainly served as frontispieces for selling the motion picture soundtracks with appearances from popular musicians of the era. (You know — like Shrek movies.)
Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon starred in the majority of the AIP beach party flicks, and players like Ms. Wells appeared regularly as the same “Type” of person, though sometimes with different character names from film to film. The important thing was their recognizable persona. You know, the giggly flirts, the schoolbookish types, the buffed dimwits, etc … and, of course, the ne’er do wells. In the AIP beach party movies, the ne’er do wells were the comically inept Rats & Mice.
Oh, the decorative sex*. Hands-down my favorite shot.
The villains of the story were usually biker Eric Von Zipper (played by comic actor Harvey Lembeck as a parody of Marlon Brando in The Wild One) and his inept gang the Rat Pack, or “Rats & Mice”.
The most popular running gag of the beach party series is “The Himalayan Suspender” technique, originated by Professor Sutwell in Beach Party, in which the forefinger is pressed against a certain part of the skull, rendering the victim paralyzed. The victim of this move (aka “The finger”) was always [Rats & Mice leader] Eric Von Zipper, who learned it from Sutwell and threatened people with it in subsequent films, calling it “The Rats’ Revenge.”
However, Von Zipper’s finger never worked on others, only himself. Once Von Zipper became paralyzed (usually with a big open-mouthed smile on his face), the Rats & Mice would carry him out and declare “Eric Von Zipper will return!”
I am pretty sure one of my girlfriends in high school lay “the finger” on our other friend as he knelt between us in Math class trying to coax my friend to share more of her large water bottle full of vodka mixed with orange juice, from which we’d been healthily improving our outlook on the late morning for at least a half hour. We told him to go away before he made it obvious what was going on, but he was having none of it.
I was particularly concerned about “maintaining” because I was not the kind of student who got in trouble, living a very weird double life in which I outwardly exemplified a golden student and banner citizen and genuinely cared about service to others and studying for tests, yet I also secretly ditched school, drank, and smoked. I was too young at that time to reconcile those behaviors with one another. I was also worried because I was better friends with his sister than with this guy, though he too was a friend, and I looked up to her as a role model, and my opinion at that time was that the less he knew about my bad behavior, the better.
Exasperated and sympathetic to my worries, my girlfriend made hoo-doo signs in the air over our annoying friend’s head and elaborately pressed her index finger to the middle of his forehead, and he did a method face plant from his knees in to the carpet of the classroom.
We thought this was hysterical.
I have no idea how any of this was going on while a teacher was in the room, but that shit would never fly with me. My covertly misspent youth is a mixed blessing for my students: I am empathetic to their desire to break the mold and be bad, and party down and word up and whathaveyou in the process of living their life, man, but I am simultaneously wise to their shenanigans. The hell you are flashing a pack of Marlboros in here, young lady — if the girls’ bathroom during passing period was good enough for me, it’s good enough for you; and you may save your joints for behind the tennis court like everyone else since time out of mind, mister.
Coda about the three characters in this anecdote, as we stand fifteen years later. My girlfriend in this story’s son and my daughter were baptized together five years ago. She works as a physician’s assistant. The guy on whom we lay the finger and I got high a few years later on the state seal the night before he went to join the Marines, or maybe the Air Force. I’d gotten over my hang-up about fearing too greatly the judgment of people I cared about. We stumbled to the Hard Rock Cafe and ate our weight in onion rings, and he told them it was my birthday even though it wasn’t, so we scored free dessert. Later he worked as the music teacher at our Catholic high school in town and is now pursuing a full-time career in Los Angeles as a musician.
I am now substitute teaching at the very church at which we all met, and drive every day past the high school in the story. All that time I wanted to drink and smoke away the trapped feeling of the pressure of living in this town, which shrinks the longer you live here and the more people you know, so that a town of 215k or so can start to feel quite small indeedy, and now I like it just fine. Did I mellow out, or did I sell out? I think the former.
One of the above pictures has made an appearance here before, in the inaugural “Showdown!” edition. I’ve totally dropped the ball on “Showdown!”s. Those were fun. All apologies: will remedy it soon, promise.
Coda to Ms. Wells’ story: the very lovely and talented Ms. Wells continued to work in film and television in Los Angeles. Later, she worked for a while as personal secretary to the late Linda Lovelace, controversial star of Deep Throat. They met at a party at the Mansion in Holmby Hills. I assume her time with Ms. Lovelace ended before Ms. Lovelace’s denunciation of the pornography industry.
Ms. Wells is still alive and kicking and will celebrate her 73rd birthday this coming October 17th, which brings us full circle to the beginning of an entry that it’s taken me four days to write. Again, all apologies — had a lot of dogs in the fire, Stanimal. No reflection on marvelous Ms. Wells or the AIP beach flicks. This post has now reminded me that I need a movie moment on both Deep Throat and the magnificent camp parody Psycho Beach Party. I’ll try to get to that, I swar to gar! All y’all keep on rockin’ in the free world and please forgive me my absences.
*Phrase borrowed with amused admiration from chainedandperfumed right here on the wordpress, then googled and found to be of even more apt camp and vintage. Thanks for the loan, c&p. Truly you are the O.G. of this biz.
The lovely and talented DeDe Lind has come up several times before, and I am totally pumped that she gets her own post! She is an amazing woman who is sweet, funny, and deservedly popular.
This picture has been to Vietnam and the moon and its friendly, upbeat subject just keeps on truckin’. Read on and find out more about the single most popular centerfold model in the history of Playboy!
How did she get that gravity-defying figure? Spaghetti, of course.
Early in the evening, DeDe turns to the kitchen and her principal avocation, with a flair and success in cooking that does the Swedish and Italian roots of her family tree proud. “Like Mom’s, my best main course is a spaghetti dish,” DeDe says.
(“DeDe Girl.” Playboy, August 1967.)
For a quiet woman, DeDe is not without opinions. “I don’t see how we can get out,” she says of the war in Vietnam. “But — perhaps because I’m a girl and I’m young? — The thought of losing our young men way over there is awful.”
Maybe it was that anxious empathy, her sunny spirits, confession of shyness, or maybe a little something to do with the sweet rack and all these adorable girly-girl pictures? — Whatever the cause, DeDe Lind holds the honor of being the undisputed most popular Playmate of all time. She received more mail than any other Playmate before her time and since. Get it, girl!
This popularity was out of control with the soldiers serving overseas in Vietnam. I think a large part of it was her genuine, outspoken empathy for their plight. Dudes seriously flipped out over DeDe Lind, begging relatives to send multiple copies of the magazine in case something happened to their first copy, and writing DeDe truckloads of fan letters. I think that’s actually really cool and a unique and touching cultural phenomenon.
Similar to the pinups in WWII, when young men are far away and fighting for something that 90% of them probably only realize when they get there is far more huge, truly random, and more complex than they possibly imagined, and their comrades are dying around them, I know it’s cliched, but I think it is very valid to get the idea that you have something to fight for. And if that comes from a centerfold of a plucky young gal smiling sweetly in a men’s cardigan, yellow hairbow, and nothing else, then I say go for it!
Ms. Lind’s popularity was such that she has even been to space! True story, non-fiction — on NASA’s Apollo 12 mission in 1969, the nine astronauts who performed the second manned lunar landing in the history of humanity, thank you very much included DeDe’s centerfold in the Yankee Clipper command module. They labeled it “Map of a Heavenly Body.” Hilarious, true, and freaking AWESOME. Nous allons a la lune!
What’s intriguing is that Playboy really massaged the facts of Ms. Lind’s truly interesting life at the time. Yes, everything she says is true, about loving horses and Catalina Island, etc, and all her sweetness and good cheer are genuine, but it was more like a sin of omission. They sort of didn’t mention she was married and had a child.
That often gets thrown around like it is some type of evidence of the magazine’s hypocrisy, but I don’t believe Playboy has any obligation to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about anything, let alone the private lives of the Playmates. Hef was striving again and again with the centerfolds for the Girl Next Door who happens to be naked, and it was a great opportunity for a lot of these women, like marvelous Ms. Lind, to get a jump on their careers — why bum out all those soldiers, for example, using Ms. Lind as an ideal woman in their minds for whom to survive, with all the details?
sidebar: I don’t know if this is an outtake or an airbrushed elaborate fake or what, but that is pubic hair like two or three years before that actually made its wispy, hinted-at debut in Playboy magazine, and almost four years before a Playmate of the Month fully flashed the carpet. If you have knowledge of this shoot and know what’s up, please explain, because I’m pretty surprised.
Says Ms. Lind in a more recent interview about having been in Hollywood during the swinging late 60′s but not being much of a participant:
“I did marry very young. I had a baby. I was a mom. I never got into the hippie or drug scene. … I dated Bobby Fuller. I also knew Jan and Dean. I wouldn’t go so far to say I dated Jan, but, I was friends with him. So, those are the kind of pop stars I liked. They were a little bit cleaner-cut. More American, Apple Pie.”
(“De De Lind Interview.” James, George. Undated.)
Q – Do you remember any film roles you turned down that maybe later you were sorry you turned down?
A – Yes. There was a movie called ‘Candy’. I actually turned it down. I pretty much had the part. The idea of me at the time portraying a young girl sleeping with all actors — it didn’t sit well with me. (Laughs). Because of that I really didn’t want to do the movie.
I was just thinking about doing a Movie Moment on Candy. This clinches it. A famous piece of well-shot, mostly-failed camp, the sort-of-satire’s cast includes Ringo Starr, James Coburn, Sir Richard Burton, and Marlon Brando. And Ms. Lind was right, it was mainly a scandal and flopped, to boot, so good on her for deciding against it. I can’t see someone so sweet and shy having been happy to be part of that glorious and vulgar, hot mess. You’ll see what I mean when I do the Movie Moment. Look for that sometime this week or eventually, maybe! I know myself too well to make promises with actual dates in them. Lord, I am such a lazy person.
Besides hanging out with good pal the lovely and talented Lisa Baker at their place in Boca Raton, Florida, DeDe continues to model and appear at Glamourcon and related events. And I’m happy to say she definitely retains that sunny sense of humor that is clever enough to send up the genre in which she models. Dig that shot above, which comes from her dedelind.com: “Look, Ma, no gag reflex!” Very funny.
You may see more of Ms. Lind’s present doings on her official website or hit her up any ol’ time on the myspace (current mood: amused ), on which some of her top friends are Janet Lupo, Julie Michelle McCullough, and naturally Hef.
Special edit from Ms. Lind: “My Centerfold did not go to the moon. My 2nd. Calendar Photo (Nov. 1969) holding a que stick topless went to the moon and back with Dick Gordon. That photo sold at auction for $17,511.00 this Jan. 2011.” Thanks for the clarification!
The lovely and talented Divini Rae had already come a long way and traveled the world before posing for the centerfold as Playboy’s Miss November, 2003.
Growing up in a home with no running water or electricity, Divini became an avid reader and graduated early from high school. … A vacation to Sydney, Australia led to modeling and voice-over work. (“Divini Inspiration,” Playboy, November 2003)
Negativity, gossip, jealousy, narcissism & hypocritical puritanism.
ITEMS I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT:
A bottle of water at all times, a notepad & pen, dental floss, Chapstick, mango butter lotion & antibacterial hand sanitizer.
FIVE PEOPLE I’D LIKE TO INTERVIEW:
Baz Luhrmann, J.D. Salinger, Marlon Brando, Diane Sawyer & Hugh Hefner, again. (data sheet)
Oh, man. I am so glad I saw this cover of Daryl Hannah. It is hella going to be Daryl Hannah day around here soon. I think about her all the time. Fun facts I randomly can access in my memory banks about Daryl Hannah: 1) She slept with a teddy bear and sucked her thumb well past the age of high school. 2) She and JFK, Jr. had an intricate and complicated nearly-lifelong relationship that spanned the gamut from friends to first sexual relationship to occasional engagement to an eventual bond like brother and sister. His death drove her in to private mourning for several years. 3) She’s never been officially diagnosed, but agrees she is probably borderline autistic, most likely being a rare female with Asperger’s (usually it’s the guys who have that). Wow, I am a huge Daryl Hannah fan. Maybe it’s best we live far apart. ‘Scuse me while I freak out over my freakishness … I just made myself uneasy …