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.
Mary Sundae (spelled Sundae here) & Yvette Dare: vintage newspaper ad, from 1938, promoting Mary appearing at the Gayety Theater in Minneapolis, MN. The Yvette that was also appearing (top, right corner) is Yvette Dare who later became famous for working with macaws. As stated, before working with parrots, Yvette performed what was known as a muff dance — which is similar to a fan dance, but with a large fur muff.
Verne Hamel: vintage 8x10 photo dated 5 March 1930
Verne Hamel was a student at the University of Wisconsin and had the lead part in the Harefoot Club’s Easter show entitled Button, Button. All parts in the play, regardless of the character’s gender, were portrayed by men. Verne makes a lovely showgirl, don’t you think?
Sally Rand: vintage 7x9 news service photo dated 18 January 1937.
I have also posted a scan of the snipe - or news service information - attached to the back of the photo regarding Sally starting her own factory to manufacturer the clear balloons used in her act.
Sally Rand: vintage 8x10 photo
Sally is shown posing with one of the large, sheer latex balloons she used for her ‘Bubble Dance’. In the mid-1930s, Sally started a factory to manufacturer her own balloons for her act. It was her attempt to keep control of her new act, since she complained that others were copying her famous fan dance. Sally always claimed to originate the fan dance, but a Ziegfeld dancer Faith Bacon counter-acted this claim.
Stuttering Sam (Mary Dowell): vintage 5x11 news service photo dated 2 August 1940
This 6 foot tall beauty was the daughter of the Chief of Police of Fort Worth, Texas. When Billy Rose’s Casa Manana came to Forth Worth, Mary - soon the become Sam - went to see about securing a showgirl position for her sister and, despite Mary’s speech stutter, Rose hired both sisters on the spot. It was while working as a showgirl that Mary acquired the knick-name Stuttering Sam, and she used it as her stage-name hence forth. Sam was such a successful showgirl, that when Casa Manana closed, Billy took Sam back to New York city with him and made her the star of his new club The Diamond Horseshoe. Sam was also a talented writer and eventually quit work as a showgirl and became a press agent for Billy Rose. She would go on to write television scripts in Hollywood, write her own cook-book and become a newspaper columnist in her hometown of Fort Worth.