[Continued from Bettie Page invents the Modern Bikini]
With Bettie Page being a rockstar of modeling and bringing her own sense of impeccable fashion to the
shoots…it was no wonder that she soon became a sensation amongst the men’s magazines at the time. Keep in mind that ‘men’s magazines’ didn’t exactly mean porn because…porn magazines really weren’t a thing yet. Hugh Hefner was just coming on the scene but had not yet sparked that aspect of the sexual revolution.
Bettie Page soon was being paid to do a variety of girly magazines such as Titter, Wink, Eyeful, Flirt and Beauty Parade. She wasn’t posing nude but in scantily clad outfits in photo spreads that featured here playfully in silly stories. This was 1951.
“I used to take air baths, because you know that air baths are very good for you. For 15-20 minutes a
day I would take air baths. And I have done that every day since I was a teenager. So I didn’t feel squeamish at all with posing nude…it was exhilarating.”
Once she was invited out to Dickie Heinlein’s farm where he took some nude photos of her. Someone called the cops because …I have no fucking idea why (you see a naked girl in the woods…why would you immediately call the police???) Anyway, the cops showed up and tried to ruin everything. One of the cops said a rude comment about Bettie and she marched up to him and got in his face saying, “Don’t you talk to me like that!” She was gutsy!
Later, when they tried to charge her with indecent exposure she flat out refused to plead guilty because, “I was not indecent.” That’s how awesome she was! <3 Anyway, they reduced the charge to a fine of ‘disorderly conduct”.
It was the 1950 and a lot of people didn’t like what she was doing. Hell, it was taboo to talk about sex at all. Mailing a nude photo was a federal offence. And there were anti-pornography commissions cracking down.
But the unabashed Bettie Page went on unabated. She met up with Irving Claw and they had a great time taking photos together. He was selling photos through mail order and went on to make 16mm films as well. When Claw advertised photos of Bettie wearing a leopard skin bikini, holding a whip with a cigarette* dangling from her mouth his sales skyrocketed.
*-Bettie hated cigarettes and smoking — the cigarettes used in photos were always unlit. She also didn’t drink often and only got drunk once: on a photo shoot.