Tongolele- tinted vintage postcard
Born in Spokane, WA Tongolele had a diverse ethnicity. Her father was Spanish and Swedish and her mother was French and English. Her maternal grandmother was Tahitian, which makes sense since Tahiti is part of French Polynesia. She began her dance career when only 15 and would go on to become one of the top burlesque dancers in Mexico, and also very active in the Mexican film and TV industry.
Naja Karamuru: vintage postcard, signed on the back
Naja was born in Brazil and she claimed her mother was a Native South American of the Guarany Tribe - now, the accepted spelling is Guarani. According to her bio information, she grew up in the South American jungle, but her quest for an education and love of dance drove her to leave the jungle in pursuit of the ‘big city’. I have no idea how much of this is true and how much of it is just an invented character background.
She was most likely Brazilian though, because she was originally billed as “Brazil’s Answer to Jayne Mansfield”. Also, early in her career she often danced with two large pythons, and in press interviews, claimed to work with a cobra, as well (Naja is the genius for cobras). Later she would marry a wardrobe specialist that made all of her costumes and managed her career as well. Due to the beautiful quality of her husband’s work, she was later billed as “The Girl with the $100,000 Wardrobe”. Early in her career she often danced with two large pythons, and in press interviews, claimed to work with a cobra, as well (Naja is the genius for cobras).
Imogene Robertson (Mary Nolan) - Ziegfeld Girl: vintage, hand tinted German postcard. When fired from Ziegfeld’s, Mary became an actress in Germany under the stage name Imogene Robertson.
She was born Mary Imogene Robertson, most likely in 1902, in Louisville, KY. In the 1920s, Mary performed in the Ziegfeld Follies under the stage name Imogene “Bubbles” Wilson. Mary was fired from the Follies in 1924 due to a high-profile scandal around her affair with comedian Frank Tinney. For two years after that, she worked as an actress in Germany appearing in 17 films under the name Imogene Robertson. She began using the name Mary Nolan when she returned to the United States in 1927 and signed with Universal Pictures. She went on to appear in several american films, but by the early 1930s, her career was in decline due to drug use and a reputation for being difficult to work with. Mary died of an over-dose of barbiturates at the age of 42, her death was ruled to be “accident or suicide”.
Imogene Lee (Jean Carter): vintage arcade card
Imogene Lee originally worked in burlesque under the name Jean Carter in the 1940s. In 1942, she was on Broadway in the show called Strip For Action, which led to brief time with MGM studios. While working with MGM, Jean was in 6 films, but many as an uncredited dancer. In 1951 Jean would return to burlesque, but at that time, she started using the stage name Imogene Lee.