Midge Miller: vintage 8x10 photo
Midge started her burlesque career as a chorus girl at the Grand Theater in Saint Louis. In 1946 she won a strip contest at the theater and was given a feature spot in future shows at the theater. This photo was used to promote an appearance by her at the French casino in Chicago, IL.
Evelyn “$50,000 Treasure Chest” West: vintage 7x9 news service photo dated 22 October 1959
Evelyn is shown protesting a burlesque style show by actress Marie Wilson in Saint Louis, MO. Evelyn was a master of publicity stunts which had previously included insuring her bust with Lloyd’s of London for $50,000 (hence the Treasure Chest moniker) and once even throwing tomatoes at actress Anita Ekberg. About Marie Wilson’s act, Evelyn stated “She should stick to acting and leave the stripping to a pro.”
Patti Paget: vintage 4x5 Irving Klaw photo
Patti was a popular burlesque dancer in the 1950s, a popular pin up model for Irving Klaw’s business, and also appeared in Klaw’s 1956 film Buxom Beautease.
Barbara Curtis: vintage 4x9 new service photo promoting Barbara’s appearance in the burlesque revival show the Wonderful World of Burlesque.
Barbara was both a striptease artist and a talking woman — a woman that performed speaking part in the comedy skits. She married comic Al Anger 29 September 1952 at the Folly Theater in Kansas City, MO. Al was a first cousin to the Marx brothers, and he had previously been married to Margie Davis a burlesque dancer that used the stage name Justine Vain.
Chorus Girls - Jean Kennelly, Ronnie Haigh and Virginia Jennings: vintage 8x10 photo dated 16 September 1936
These lovely ladies were chorus girls at the State Lake Theater, located at 190 North State Street, Chicago, IL. The State Lake Theater was part of the Orpheum burlesque circuit.
Nanette Carmen: vintage 8x10 photo
Recently a seller on eBay has been listing photos of Nanette Carmen, but using the incorrect name of Vivian Lee. When asked, the seller did not know the background on the photos and was listing them under the name Vivian Lee because one of the photos in the group s/he purchased had that name on it — but it was a photo of a different dancer. I actually own a large portion of Nannette’s scrapbook from her career, and according to the clippings and flyers she saved, she only ever danced under the name Nanette. Also, many of the photos from the collection the person was listing were signed to ‘Nannette’ or ‘Nanny’, and some of the ones I purchased are actually stamped ‘Nanette Carmen’ on the back — though they were listed as Vivian Lee. Nanette is frequently billed as being of hispanic/latin descent, but I do have a newspaper clipping for her appearing with the ‘Asian Cuties’ dance troupe. Again, she was billed as Nanette Carmen, so it was not a case of her using a different stage name when dancing with a troupe.
Zaza: as scanned from the May 1942 issue of It magazine.
Zaza hailed from Dunkirk, New York and was a talented dancer in revue style shows of the 1940s. She specialized in what was then termed ‘Oriental’, hula, jive and acrobatic dancing.
Mary Mack - The Naughty Girl Next Door: vintage 8x10 news service photo dated 5 January 1943
Mary started traveling the burlesque circuits as a headliner in the late 1940s. Not sure if it has something to do with the moniker “The Naughty Girl Next Door”, but one of her acts included a prop house that could collapse and fold down for easy traveling. She lived outside of Louisville, KY and in 1953 opened a small diner, called the Twig and Leaf, in Saint Matthews, KY.
Lois DeFee: vintage 7x9 news service photo dated 15 May 1936
Lois strikes a pose to show off her 6’4” muscled frame. At the time of the photo, Lois was working as a bouncer in New York city at the Dizzy Club, and said that she had the most trouble dealing with drunken female patrons. Lois would also work as a bouncer at the famous New York night-spot Leon & Eddie’s, before being approached by Harold Minsky to perform in burlesque. Under the tag-lines “Queen of the Amazons” or “Superwoman”, Lois went on to have a long and successful career in burlesque.