Gilda (Shirley Jean Rickert): vintage 8x10 news service photo
Shirley Jean Rickert briefly appeared in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) comedies as the ‘blonde girl’ as shown on the right. Later she would go on to work as a chorus line dancer in many Hollywood films, including Singing in the Rain. In the early 1950s, when large productions musicals fell out of favor in Hollywood, she began dancing in burlesque billing herself as Gilda & Her Crowning Glory (referring to her lovely long, blonde hair).
Ann Corio: vintage 8x10 photo
Ann was born 29 November 1909 to Italian immigrants in Hartford, Connecticut. She was still in her teens when she began working as a showgirl, and was soon an extremely popular feature dancer. She appeared at Minksy’s in New York and was a crowd favorite at the Old Howard Theater, in Boston, MA. In the early 1940s, Ann left burlesque and moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. Ann would go on to appear in 5 films: Swamp Woman (1941), Jungle Siren (1942), Sarong Girl (1943), The Sultan’s Daughter (1944) and Call of the Jungle (1944).
Like many others, Ann Corio retired from burlesque when she felt the shows were becoming less classy. Two decades later, to celebrate the heyday of burlesque, Ann Corio and Michael Iannucci developed and produced the show This Was Burlesque. It debuted in Boston, MA, in 1961, but by 1962 the show was a huge success in New York city. Various version of the show ran for almost 30 years; it was on Broadway twice, toured the country and spawned two HBO specials. Another result from the legendary This was Burlesque show — Ann Corio and Michael Iannucci were married, and they remained married until here death in 1999.
Valerie Parks: vintage arcade card
Valerie was a popular burlesque dancer from the 1940s well into the 1950s. She was married to John McCallister who was a caterer from Philadelphia, PA. They had a son, named John, born in 1949.
Baby Lake: vintage 4x5 Irving Klaw photo
Baby was a well-known chorus girl and dancer at the Latin Quarter club in New York and Miami. She also posed for many photos which were sold through Irving Klaw’s Movie Star News mail-order business.
Sally Rand: vintage 8x10 photo
Sally was born Hattie Helen Gould Beck in Elkton, Missouri. She studied dance as a child and as a teenager, briefly worked as a chorus girl at the Empress Theater in Kansas City, but her sights were set on Hollywood. Once in Hollywood, young Helen acted in plays and in silent films and briefly used the name Billie Beck. It was when she met famed director and producer Cecil B. DeMille that she got her now famous stage name - Sally Rand. Reportedly, DeMille was inspired by a Rand McNally atlas. Sally was a successful silent film actress, appearing in over 20 films, but she spoke with a lisp and her Hollywood career ended when ‘talkies’ became popular. In need of re-inventing herself, Sally became a burlesque dancer and most famously appeared at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. Sally went on to produce her own shows, including the famous Nude Ranch at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco in 1939/40, and to own her own club - The Musicbox in San Francisco. Not one to slow down, Sally continued to perform her famous fan dance right into the 1970s.
Dardy Orlando & Harold Minsky: vintage 7x9 news service photo date 6 January 1952.
Dardy, who was Lili St. Cyr’s half-sister, is pictured at show rehearsal with her husband Harold Minsky. Even after having two children with Harold, Dardy did not give up show business. Instead, she continued to help Harold develop burlesque shows, and was an integral part of the Minsky business.