Noel Toy - The Chinese Sally Rand: vintage 8x10 news service photo
Noel Toy was born Ngun Yee on 27 December 1918 in San Francisco to parents from Canton, China. In 1939, while attending University of California - Berkley, Noel was hired to perform as a chorus girl at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. Noel performed in the Chinese village portion of the expo’s Pageant of the Pacific, a celebration of the nations of the Pacific Ocean. Charlie Low, the owner of the Forbidden City - a Chinese nightclub in San Francisco - saw Noel at the exposition and approached her about dancing at his club. Noel began performing at the Forbidden City in 1940. She gracefully performed with large ostrich fans, and was quickly dubbed “The Chinese Sally Rand”. Perhaps capitalizing on this nickname, Noel also began performing a bubble dance with a large transparent balloon, another well-known Sally Rand act.
Within a few years, Noel was on the East Coast if the USA, performing in the most popular New York nightclubs including Leon and Eddies, the Stork Club and The Latin Quarter. While performing at Lou Walter’s Latin Quarter, Noel caught the eye of young soldier and actor, Carleton Young and the couple married in December 1945. Once married, Noel quit touring and routinely performing in burlesque and followed her husband into acting. She had parts in several movies alongside actors like Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, and Betty Grable. Though Noel primarily quit acting in the mid-1950s, she would occasionally accept bit parts in shows like Police Woman and M*A*S*H, and a few films as well. Noel and Carleton remained married until his death in 1994. Noel died in 2003, at age 84, and her and Carleton’s ashes are interred together at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Naomi- The Original Match Cover Girl: vintage 8x10 photo
Naomi was married to comic Hap Arnold - not General Hap Arnold who was a pioneer in military aviation. But that may explain why her husband later worked under the name Vic Ames.
Naomi was one of the burlesque dancers that performed in the 1950 film the Strip-tease Murder Case. And according to IMDB, she also had a bit part in the 1958 film Island Woman.
Kim Riviera: vintage 8x10 photo
This photo was purchased at an estate sale and was one of 3 all signed to the same man. Apparently he was a beau of Kim’s because she wrote very personal notes and signed her real name with “Kim Riviera” in quotes.
Rose la Rose- The Queen of Burlesque: vintage 8x10 news service photo dated 20 March 1943
Whenever Rose, and the troop she was traveling with, appeared at the Alvin Theater in Minneapolis, MN they always stopped by the Red Cross to donate blood. Here Rose is pictured meeting Tom Hastings, the co-chair of the Minneapolis Red Cross. A great photo opportunity and a chance to drum up some extra publicity for the show as well.
Satan’s Angel - The Devil’s Own Mistress (Angel Walker): signed, vintage 8x10 photo
Satan’s Angel’s burlesque career began when she entered, and won, an amateur strip contest at the Moulin Rouge night club. From there she began performing in other local clubs under the stage names: satin Angel, Tassel Tossin’ Angel and Angel the Body to name a few. The fiery moniker Satan’s Angel perfectly complemented what would become her signature act — twirling tassel set aflame. Angel has recently retired from performing, but still makes tassels and teaches the art of the fire-tassel twirling.
Tempest Storm: vintage 6x10 nes service photo dated 29 January 1955
Tempest drew quite the crowd when she visited the University of Colorado (CU). Tempest had been invited to the campus by Bob Latham, the editor of the Flatiron - a humor magazine published on campus. Reportedly, there was such a rush of students to see Miss Storm, that one of the door frames leading into the student union build was broken! But not everyone was happy to see her there, as Dr, Ward Darley, then president of CU stated:
This proposal to use University facilities for publicizing a night club entertainer is inconsistent with the dignity and purpose of a state university.