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James Montgomery Flagg was an early master of pen and ink, but he was much more. Born in 1877, he grew up along with the reproduction technology that allowed artists to select the pen as the illustrative tool of choice. Charles Dana Gibson, who pioneered 11215_jmf1many of the techniques that Flagg would draw upon, was ten years older. Others born within a year of Flagg include Stanley M. Arthurs, Ivan Bilibin, Walter Appleton Clark, Fanny Y. Cory, Frank Leyendecker, Norman Price, Harry Rountree, Frank Schoonover, Everett Shinn, J. Allen St. John, Sarah Stilwell, and J. Scott Williams.

A true child prodigy, Flagg sold his first illustration, to the prestigious St. Nicholas Magazine no less, at the age of twelve. You can read about his early encounters with the editor in a 1915 article in The Century.

This early sale proved not to be a fluke. By the age of 15 he was on staff at both Life and Judge, the premier humour magazines of the day. Below left is an 1894 illustration from Life. Below right is an early drawing from Judge, probably circa 1905.

11215_jmf3It’s kind of hard to imagine today, but the teenage Flagg grew up in the company of some of the most respected magazine editors of the day. Drawing was his passion and the traditional pastimes of youth were of no interest to him. Although he spent several years in art schools, most notably the Art Students League (1894-1898), his real education came from the material that passed over the desks of the editors of St. Nicholas, Judge and Life. These he was allowed to study and the lessons he learned from them were more valuable than all of his schooling. Those same publishers made use of the young Flagg for his earliest magazine covers are from 1895 and ’96.

From 1898-1900 Flagg studied painting in England and France. His first book was Yankee Girls Abroad (1900). That same year he had a portrait accepted to the Paris Salon, but he felt that painting was not his forte and returned to illustration. Above left is an image from the January 1902 issue of Harper’s Monthly – perhaps the only work he did for the magazine.

Most of the early years of the century were still spent at Judge and Life and Harper’s Weekly – Life released four collections of his "limericks" (just clever poems, really) in 1904. By 1905 he began to illustrate books again. At right is one of the plates from An Orchard Princess from that year. These early efforts were mainly paintings, despite his focus on pen & ink at the humour magazines. It wasn’t until about 1906 that his recognizable pen style appears in his book illustrations. A good example is show below from Simon the Jester (1909).


Flagg was a rakish fellow whose cocky self-assurance served him well in the highly competitive illustration markets. Stories abound of his deeds and misdeeds. Susan E. Meyer in her excellent James Montgomery Flagg relates how he persevered in his 11215_jmf2attempts to break into the Scribner’s Magazine market. He was finally, so the story goes, asked to tackle an assignment that had stumped three other artists. Flagg supposedly solved the problems of this difficult Voodoo storyline and became a regular contributor.

All well and good, except I’ve checked all the Scribner’s from 1904 through 1907, when he is an established contributor to the magazine, and there doesn’t seem to be any JMF Voodoo story. In fact, his first appearances in 1906 are rather pedestrian. But it makes a great story…

Flagg was outspoken and lived a bohemian style of life. Despite a marriage that lasted from 1899 until his wife’s death in 1923, he was known for his cavorting around town with pals like John Barrymore. He was close friends with many of his contemporaries: Arthur William Brown, Walter Appleton Clark, Ham Fisher, Rube Goldberg, etc. Flagg was a founder member of the infamous Dutch Treat Club in 1906 (its president in 1913), a loose association of creative types that turned into an organization still going strong today.


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Mylène Demongeot (born on 29 September 1935 in Nice, Alpes-Maritimes) is a French actress, who has appeared in 72 films since 1953. She was born Marie-Hélène Demongeot in Nice, Southern France.

Demongeot gained fame and adulation for her portrayal of Abigail Williams in the Franco-East German production The Crucible (1957), for which she was nominated for BAFTA Awards for Most Promising Newcomer to Film. The blonde actress has performed in adventures like Vengeance of the Three Musketeers (1961) as Milady de Winter and in comedies like Fantômas (1964) directed by André Hunebelle. In the US she has co-starred with David Niven in Otto Preminger’s Bonjour Tristesse (1958). She was also nominated for César Awards for Best Supporting Actress in 36 Quai des Orfèvres (2004) and La Californie (2006).

She was married to director Marc Simenon from 1968 until his death in 1999.

Selected filmography
Frou-Frou (1955)
It’s a Wonderful World (1956)
The Crucible (1957)
Bonjour Tristesse (1958)
Upstairs and Downstairs (1959)
Vengeance of the Three Musketeers (1961)
Il ratto delle sabine (1961)
Doctor in Distress (1963)
Fantômas (1964)
OSS 117: Mission for a Killer (1965)
36 Quai des Orfèvres (2004)
La Californie (2006)

Here’s a gallery of Mylène Demongeot images, 98 all told:The-gallery

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10975_koko_01Born Cora Walton in Shelby County, Tennessee, Taylor was the daughter of a sharecropper. She left Memphis for Chicago, Illinois in 1952 with her husband, truck driver Robert "Pops" Taylor. In the late 1950s she began singing in Chicago blues clubs. She was spotted by Willie Dixon in 1962, and this led to wider performances and her first recording contract. In 1965, Taylor was signed by Chess Records where she recorded "Wang Dang Doodle," a song written by Dixon and recorded by Howlin’ Wolf five years earlier. The song became a hit, reaching number four on the R&B charts in 1966, and selling a million copies. Taylor recorded several versions of "Wang Dang Doodle" over the years, including a live version at the 1967 American Folk Blues Festival with harmonica player Little Walter and guitarist Hound Dog Taylor. Taylor subsequently recorded more material, both original and covers, but never repeated that initial chart success.

10975_koko_02National touring in the late 1960s and early 1970s improved her fan base, and she became accessible to a wider record-buying public when she signed with Alligator Records in 1975. She recorded nine albums for Alligator, 8 of which were Grammy-nominated, and came to dominate the female blues singer ranks, winning twenty five W. C. Handy Awards (more than any other artist). After her recovery from a near-fatal car crash in 1989, the 1990s found Taylor in films such as Blues Brothers 2000 and Wild at Heart, and she opened a blues club on Division Street in Chicago in 1994, but it closed in 1999.

Taylor influenced musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland, Janis Joplin, Shannon Curfman, and Susan Tedeschi. In the years prior to her death, she performed over 70 concerts a year and resided just south of Chicago in Country Club Hills, Illinois.

In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service said that Taylor owed $400,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest. Her tax problems concerned 1998, 2000 and 2001; for those years combined, her adjusted gross income was $949,000.

Taylor died on June 3, 2009, after complications from surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding on May 19, 2009. Her final performance was at the Blues Music Awards, on May 7, 2009. – Text from Wikipedia 


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Two Fat Ladies is a BBC Two television cooking programme starring Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson. It originally ran for four seasons, from 1996 to 1999. The show was produced by the BBC and has also appeared on the Food Network and Cooking Channel in the USA, and on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Australia.
The show centres on Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson, travelling the United Kingdom, and in one case Ireland, on a Triumph Thunderbird motorcycle and Watsonian GP-700 "doublewide" sidecar driven by Paterson. They travel to various destinations, such as an army camp or an all-girls’ school, where they prepare large meals, often with unusual ingredients. Both ladies were very fond of strong flavours, often using anchovies, garlic, and seasonings quite liberally. The recipes are gleaned from an older time and tradition when rendered fat and drippings, raw eggs, and unpasteurised milk products were commonplace. They emphasise the importance of using fresh ingredients of the very best quality, eschewing supermarkets for farms and roadside markets.

Related articles:
Jennifer Paterson aka One Fat Lady
Two Fat Ladies and why we love them by Mecca Ibrahim
Two Fat Ladies : Cooking Channel
Clarissa Dickson Wright: Confessions of One Fat Lady
Two Fat Ladies – Videos on YouTube
Two Fat Ladies on Facebook
Two Fat Ladies Recipes on BigOven

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Bette Davis was born on April 5, 1908 in Lowell, Massachusetts as Ruth Elizabeth Davis. Her parents were Harlow Morrell and Ruth Augusta (Favour) Davis.10946_bd_01 Bette’s sister Barbara was born a year later. Bette’s parents separated in 1915, and although Bette’s mother had difficulty affording it, she placed both girls in boarding school in the Berkshires. The family moved to New York City in 1921 and Bette’s mother worked there as a photographer. Bette’s dream of becoming an actress took hold after seeing Rudolph Valentino perform in the movie “The Four Horsemen” and Mary Pickford in “Little Lord Fauntleroy” in 1921. Bette’s mother had once possessed the same dream, so she encouraged her daughter in her pursuit.
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5457958821_128b420d7d_oRuth Brown (January 30, 1928 – November 17, 2006) was an American pop and R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, composer and actress noted for bringing a pop music style to R&B music in a series of hit songs for Atlantic Records in the 1950s, such as "So Long", "Teardrops from My Eyes" and "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean". For these contributions, Atlantic became known as "The house that Ruth built" (alluding to the popular nickname for Old Yankee Stadium).

Following a resurgence that began in the mid-1970s and peaked in the eighties, Brown used her influence to press for musicians’ rights regarding royalties and contracts, which led to the founding of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. Her performances in the Broadway musical Black and Blue earned Brown a Tony Award, and the original cast recording won a Grammy Award.Contents

Early life
Born Ruth Alston Weston in Portsmouth, Virginia, she attended I. C. Norcom High School, a historically black high school. Brown’s father was a dockhand who directed the local church choir, but the young Ruth showed more of an interest in singing at USO shows and nightclubs. She was inspired by Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. In 1945, Brown ran away from her home in Portsmouth along with trumpeter, Jimmy Brown, whom she soon married, to sing in bars and clubs. She then spent a month with Lucky Millinder’s orchestra, but was fired after she brought drinks to the band for free, and was left stranded in Washington, D.C.


Blanche Calloway, Cab Calloway’s sister, also a bandleader, arranged a gig for Brown at a Washington, D.C. nightclub called Crystal Caverns and soon became her manager. Willis Conover, a Voice of America disc jockey, caught her act and recommended her to Atlantic Records bosses, Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Brown was unable to audition as planned though, because of a serious car accident that resulted in a nine-month hospital stay. In 1948, however, Ertegün and Abramson drove to Washington, D.C. from New York City to hear her sing in the club. Although her repertoire was mostly popular ballads, Ertegün convinced her to switch to rhythm and blues. His productions for her, however, retained her "pop" style, with clean, fresh arrangements and the singing spot on the beat with little of the usual blues singer’s embroidery.


In her first audition, in 1949, she sang "So Long", which ended up becoming a hit. This was followed by Teardrops from My Eyes in 1950. Written by Rudy Toombs, it was the first upbeat major hit for Ruth Brown, establishing her as an important figure in R&B. 01929_rb_03Recorded for Atlantic Records in New York City in September 1950, and released in October, it was on Billboard’s List of number-one R&B hits (United States) for 11 weeks. The huge hit earned her the nickname "Miss Rhythm" and within a few months Ruth Brown became the acknowledged queen of R&B.

She followed up this hit with "I’ll Wait for You" (1951), "I Know" (1951), "5-10-15 Hours" (1953), "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" (1953), "Oh What a Dream" (1954), "Mambo Baby" (1954) and "Don’t Deceive Me" (1960). She also became known as "Little Miss Rhythm" and "the girl with the teardrop in her voice". In all, she was on the R&B charts for 149 weeks from 1949 to 1955, with 16 top 10 blues records including 5 number ones, and became Atlantic’s most popular artist, earning Atlantic records the proper name of "The House that Ruth Built" – Text from Wikipedia 

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01921_ra_04   Images found at:Free-Car-Brochures
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Alfred Leslie Buell (1910–1996) was an American painter of pin-up art. He was born in Hiawatha, Kansas in 1910, and grew up in Cushing, Oklahoma. He attended some classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, which, in concert with a trip to New York City, decided him on a career in art.

In 1935, Buell and his wife moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he joined the Stevens/Hall/Biondi Studio. By 1940, he had opened his own studio. During this period, he did a number of pin-ups for the Gerlach-Barklow calendar company. Buell also did work for several other calendar companies in the early 1940s.

During World War II, Buell was rejected by the draft, so he spent the war painting a variety of popular and patriotic pin-ups for Brown & Bigelow. After the war was over, he began contributing to Esquire’s Gallery of Glamour.

Buell returned to Brown & Bigelow in the late 1950s. He continued to paint glamour and pin-ups until about 1965, when he retired from commercial art. He remained active until he was injured in an accident in 1993, after which he remained in a nursing home until his death in 1996. Text from Wikipedia 

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Charles Gates SheldonCharles Gates Sheldon was born in 1894 in Worcester, Massachusetts, and spent most of his life in Springfield, Massachusetts. He drew most of his life and contributed artwork to his high school yearbook. He studied at the Art Students League and then on to Paris to study under the father of poster art, Alphonse Mucha, famous for his artwork on Job cigarette papers and Sandra Bernhard theatre posters.

Sheldon started contributing hat, glove and fashion artwork to Ladies Home Journal shortly after leaving high school. He quickly moved on to creating advertising for clients such as Fiberloid plastic hairbrushes, Fox Shoe Company, La Vogue lingerie, and Gainsbourough Hair Net which were portraits of famous Zigfeld Follies stars.

As so many of the illustrators of his time, Sheldon was also a very acomplished photographer and often photographed his models as well as drawing them.

Charles Gates SheldonBy 1921 he was contributing high fashion portraits to Woman’s Home Companion and Theatre magazine. Famous women all over the world arranged to sit for portraits in his studio in Carnegie Hall in New York. He created cover art for the Christmas issue of Colliers in 1924 and a Halloween issue cover for Saturday Evening Post in 1925. Newspaper clippings at the time announced that Charles Sheldon would create covers on Saturday Evening Post every other week from Norman Rockwell, but actually only did the one.

At the same time he started doing dramatic movie star portraits for the covers of Photoplay movie magazine, now known as US magazine. Now all the movie stars were arranging to sit for portraits including a sitting by Gloria Swanson arranged by Joseph P. Kennedy. Sheldon moved to Screenland movie magazine in 1929 as well as many of the others such as The New Movie, Motion Picture, and Movie Classic. By 1936 most of the magazine covers were changing to colour photography and the illustrators were becoming obsolete.

John Breck was starting to advertise his shampoo product and contracted with hometown artist Charles Sheldon to continue his delicate, dreamy, pastel portraits for the Breck Shampoo Company. He no longer signed his artwork for Breck and is known to have created 109 portraits for them until his retirement in the late 1950’s. He died in 1961 at his home in Springfield with his beloved summer gardens.

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Charles Gates Sheldon Charles Gates Sheldon Charles Gates Sheldon Charles Gates Sheldon Charles Gates Sheldon
Charles Gates Sheldon Charles Gates Sheldon Charles Gates Sheldon Charles Gates Sheldon Charles Gates Sheldon


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Text: Wikipedia 
01858_hockneyDavid Hockney, CH, RA, (born 9 July 1937) is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer, who is based in Bridlington, Yorkshire, although he also maintains a base in London. An important contributor to the Pop art movement of the 1960s, he is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century.

David Hockney has also worked with photography, or, more precisely, photo collage. Using varying numbers of small Polaroid snaps or photo lab-prints of a single subject Hockney arranged a patchwork to make a composite image. One of his first photomontages was of his mother. Because these photographs are taken from different perspectives and at slightly different times, the result is work that has an affinity with Cubism, which was one of Hockney’s major aims—discussing the way human vision works. Some of these pieces are landscapes such as Pearblossom Highway #2, others being portraits, e.g. Kasmin 1982, and My Mother, Bolton Abbey, 1982.

These photomontage works appeared mostly between 1970 and 1986. He referred to them as "joiners". He began this style of art by taking Polaroid photographs of one subject and arranging them into a grid layout. The subject would actually move while being photographed so that the piece would show the movements of the subject seen from the photographer’s perspective. In later works Hockney changed his technique and moved the camera around the subject instead.


Hockney’s creation of the "joiners" occurred accidentally. He noticed in the late sixties that photographers were using cameras with wide-angle lenses to take pictures. He did not like such photographs because they always came out somewhat distorted. He was working on a painting of a living room and terrace in Los Angeles. He took Polaroid shots of the living room and glued them together, not intending for them to be a composition on their own. Upon looking at the final composition, he realized it created a narrative, as if the viewer was moving through the room. He began to work more and more with photography after this discovery and even stopped painting for a period of time to exclusively pursue this new style of photography. Frustrated with the limitations of photography and its ‘one eyed’ approach, he later returned to painting.

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000_gwGerda Gottlieb Wegener Porta (15 March 1886 – 28 July 1940) was a Danish illustrator and painter best known for her erotica.

She grew up originally from the provinces as the daughter of a clergyman. She moved to Copenhagen to pursue her education at the Royal Art Academy, and married fellow artist Einar Wegener (later Lili Elbe) (1882–1931) in 1904. After moving to Paris in 1912, she found much success both as a painter and as illustrator for Vogue, La Vie Parisienne, Fantasio, and many other magazines. As she found fame in Paris, Gerda also developed a following in her home country. She held exhibitions at Ole Haslunds gallery in Copenhagen at regular intervals. Her career relied on a phenomenal talent but perhaps even more so on her notorious diligence, and the advantages that her unusual marriage brought her.

038_gwLili Elbe, who by many at the time was considered a more talented artist, toned down his own work and profile to help his wife in her artistic endeavors. Posing for Gerda in women’s clothes, Lili became Gerda’s favorite model, and eventually came out as a male-to-female transsexual woman. She had the first publicly known sex reassignment surgery in history in 1930. Her partner supported Elbe throughout her transition. The Wegeners’ marriage was declared null and void in October 1930 by Christian X, the King of Denmark at that time.

In 1931, Gerda Wegener married the Italian officer, aviator and diplomat Major Fernando Porta (born 1896) and moved with him to Morocco (specifically Marrakech and Casablanca). She divorced Porta in 1936 and returned to Denmark in 1938. She held her last exhibition in 1939, but by this time she was largely out of fashion. She died in July 1940

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  To the gallery:To-the-gallery

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One of the earliest guitar heroes, Duane Eddy put the twang in rock and roll. "Twang" is a reverberating, bass-heavy guitar sound boasted by primitive studio wizardry. Concocted by Eddy and producer Lee Hazlewood in 1957, twang came to represent the sound of revved-up hot rods and an echo of the Wild West on the frontier of rock and roll. Eddy obtained his trademark sound by picking on the low strings of a Chet Atkins-model Gretsch 6120 hollowbody guitar, turning up the tremolo and running the signal through an echo chamber. Behind the mighty sound of twang, Eddy became the most successful instrumentalist in rock history, charting fifteen Top Forty singles in the late Fifties and early Sixties. He has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. No less an authority than John Fogerty has declared, “Duane Eddy was the front guy, the first rock and roll guitar god.” Eddy’s influence is widespread in rock and roll. A twangy guitar drove  Bruce Springsteen‘s "Born to Run," and twang echoes in the work of  the Beatles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Dave Edmunds, Chris Isaak and many more.
01735_eddy2Eddy was born in Corning, New York, in 1938. While in his early teens he moved with his family to Phoenix, where a demo tape found its way to the hands of Hazlewood, then a local disk jockey. Together, they hit upon a magic formula centered upon Eddy’s unique playing style, which involved picking single-note melodies on the low strings. Eddy took pains to compose strong, dramatic melodies and to vary his style. Elements of country, jazz and gospel found its way into his instrumentals, which bore evocative titles like "Cannonball," "Rebel Rouser" and "Forty Miles of Bad Road."
On record, he was backed by such esteemed session musicians as saxophonist  Steve Douglas  and keyboardist Larry Knectel. The Sharps provided background vocals and rebel yells.
Eddy’s album titles typically punned on the word twang: The “Twangs” the “Thang” (1960), Twistin’ and Twangin’ (1962), “Twangin’” Up a Storm! (1963). His first album, Have ‘Twangy’ Guitar – Will Travel, was a bonafide rock and roll milestone. It charted for 82 weeks, launched five instrumental hits, and was one of the first rock and roll albums released in stereo. In 1999, it was reissued on CD in a 40th anniversary addition with extra tracks.
01735_eddy3In the early Sixties, Eddy had much success providing theme songs for movies (“Because They’re Young,” “Pepe”) and TV shows (“Peter Gun,” “The Ballad of Palladin”). He also demonstrated his breadth by recording material in a more countrified vein (“Twang” a Country Song), cutting an album of surf music (Surfin’ With Duane Eddy) and even covering Bob Dylan’s songs in an instrumental vein (Duane Eddy Does Bob Dylan). Still, the hit streak ended abruptly in 1963, as Eddy became another casualty of the Beatles and the British Invasion bands.
While the glory years of 1958 to 1963 are long gone, the sound of Duane Eddy’s guitar has reverberated through the decades. Ironically,  George Harrison  and  Paul McCartney were big fans of Eddy’s and, he recorded with both of them in later years. Eddy was recruited to play on McCartney’s “Rockestra Theme” in 1987, and Harrison played on Eddy’s self-titled comeback album from 1987, which also featured James Burton, Ry Cooder, Steve Cropper (of Booker T. & the M.G.’s), John Fogerty and David Lindley. Eddy’s mid-Eighties comeback began some club dates in L.A. and brief West Coast tour with Ry Cooder in 1983. In 1986, the British avant-garde instrumental outfit Art of Noise recruited Eddy to perform on a remake of “Peter Gunn,” which became a Top Ten hit in Britain (and just missed the U.S. Top Forty).

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In general I’m not a great Mercedes fan but these vintage 280’s reach something in me somehow. Enjoy the images of these classics that opens in a Windows Live Writer gallery when you click a thumbnail, you can even download the lot if you feel like it
– Ted.

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Alberto Vargas (9 February 1896 – 30 December 1982) was a noted Peruvian painter of pin-up girls. He is often considered one of the most famous of the pin-up artists. Numerous of the original Vargas paintings have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Born in Arequipa, Peru, Joaquin Alberto Vargas y Chávez moved to the United States in 1916 after studying art in Europe prior to World War I. He was the son of famous Peruvian photographer Max T. Vargas. His early career included work as an artist for the Ziegfeld Follies and for many Hollywood studios. Vargas’ most famous piece of film work was that for the 1933 film The Sin of Nora Moran, which shows a near-naked Zita Johann in a pose of desperation. The poster is frequently named one of the greatest movie posters ever made. He became famous in the 1940s as the creator of iconic World War II era pin-ups for Esquire magazine known as "Varga Girls." The nose art of many World War II aircraft was adapted from these Esquire pin-ups.

In 2004, Hugh Hefner (founder and Editor-in-Chief of Playboy) wrote "The US Post Office attempted to put Esquire out of business in the 1940’s by taking away its second-class mailing permit. The Feds objected, most especially, to the cartoons and the pin-up art of Alberto Vargas. Esquire prevailed in the case that went to the Supreme Court, but the magazine dropped the cartoons just to be on the safe side". A legal dispute with Esquire over the use of the name "Varga" resulted in a judgement against Vargas and he struggled financially until the 1960s when Playboy magazine began to use his work as "Vargas Girls." His career flourished and he had major exhibitions of his work all over the world. The death of his wife Anna Mae in 1974 left him devastated and he stopped painting. The publication of his autobiography in 1978 renewed interest in his work and brought him partially out of his self-imposed retirement to do a few works, such as album covers for Bernadette Peters and The Cars. He died of a stroke on December 30, 1982, at the age of 86.

Many of Vargas’ works from his period with Esquire are now held by the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas, which was given those works in 1980 along with a large body of other art from the magazine.

At the December 2003 Christies auction of Playboy archives, the 1967 Vargas painting "Trick or Treat" sold for $71,600, a record for his work.

His work was typically a combination of watercolor and airbrush. His mastery of the airbrush is acknowledged by the fact that the highest achievement in the community of airbrush artistry is the Vargas Award, awarded annually by Airbrush Action Magazine. Despite always using figure models, his images would often portray elegantly dressed, semi-nude to nude women of idealized proportions. Vargas’ artistic trait would be slender fingers and toes, with nails often painted red.

Vargas is widely regarded as one of the finest artists in his genre. He also served as a judge for the Miss Universe beauty contest in 1956-58.


Text found at Wikipedia:Wikipedia My Picasa Vargas Gallery:Vargas-Gallery

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Born Delores LaVern Baker in Chicago, Illinois. She is occasionally referred to as Delores Williams because of an early marriage to Eugene Williams; in the late 1940s he was identified in RCA Victor record company files as "D. L. McMurley." She was the niece of blues singer Merline Johnson and was also related to Memphis Minnie.

01560_laverne3She began singing in Chicago clubs such as the Club DeLisa around 1946, often billed as Little Miss Sharecropper, and first recorded under that name in 1949. She changed her name briefly to Bea Baker when recording for Okeh Records in 1951, and then became LaVern Baker when singing with Todd Rhodes and his band in 1952.

In 1953 she signed for Atlantic Records as a solo artist, her first release being "Soul on Fire". Her first hit came in early 1955, with the Latin-tempo "Tweedlee Dee" reaching #4 on the R&B chart and #14 on the national US pop charts. Georgia Gibbs scored the bigger hit with her version of "Tweedle Dee", for which Baker unsuccessfully attempted to sue her. LaVern did manage to get in a jab, however. When LaVern was flying to Australia, she took out flight insurance at the airport and sent it to Gibbs with a note: "You need this more than I do because if anything happens to me, you’re out of business."

Baker had a succession of hits on the R&B charts over the next couple of years with her backing group 01560_laverne2The Gliders, including "Bop-Ting-A-Ling" (#3 R&B), "Play It Fair" (#2 R&B), and "Still" (#4 R&B). At the end of 1956 she had another smash hit with "Jim Dandy" (#1 R&B, #17 pop). It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Further hits followed for Atlantic, including the follow-up "Jim Dandy Got Married" (#7 R&B), "I Cried a Tear" (#2 R&B, #6 pop in 1959), "I Waited Too Long" (#5 R&B, #3 pop, written by Neil Sedaka), "Saved" (#17 R&B, written by Leiber and Stoller), and "See See Rider" (#9 R&B in 1963).

In addition to singing, Baker also did some work with Ed Sullivan and Alan Freed on TV and in films, including Rock, Rock, Rock and Mr. Rock & Roll. In 1964, she recorded a Bessie Smith tribute album, before leaving Atlantic and joining Brunswick Records, where she recorded the album "Let Me Belong to You," as well as a hit duet single, "Think Twice," with Jackie Wilson.

In the late 1960s, she became seriously ill after a trip to Vietnam to entertain American soldiers. About that same time, a friend recommended that she stay on as the entertainment director at a Marine Corps night club at the Subic Bay Naval Base in the Philippines, and she remained there for 22 years.

LaVerne Baker–Jim Dandy

LaVerne Baker-Love me right
LaVerne Baker-Substitute!


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01554_willisFritz Willis (1907 – 1979). Initially a deceiving artist, His works having an almost unfinished look at times, and yet when you look closer, the detail is truly intricate. For the most part, the works of Willis are based on the semi clothed erotic, even when he paints a nude, it is rare they don’t have some form of modesty protector to hand (even if the item isn’t currently doing much protecting). Worthy of note is his occasional addition of sketched and uncoloured images forming part of the background of the final painting It is a style others have used, but Willis seems to have such a grasp of the erotic, that even these sketched parts of the image can be alluring. These same sketch areas can be in the form of a replication of the final coloured image (albeit without colour) effectively showing the base design of the works completed look, or in some cases the sketches are of the main model in slightly different poses and positions. Whatever his reasons for this, they can often be thought provoking.

Another artist from the Brown and Bigelow stable, with links to both the advertising sector and the obvious calendar links that so many pinup artists provide works for. Willis also had artwork featured in Esquire magazine. Many claim the majority of his best work is allegedly from the 50’s period, but to my mind, best is a subjective issue that only an individual viewer can identify. Willis handled ad work for Pepsi, Quality Papers, Max Factor, Purex, Sunkist, Crown Zellerbach, SpringMaid Sheets and others.

He also did story work for Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Redbook, Collier’s, and covers for Ice Follies programs from 1952-1969. At least one movie poster, "On Our Merry Way." An author himself, he wrote instruction books for Walter Foster (Art Secrets and Shotcuts, The Nude, Faces and Features, The Model, and a number of children’s books (Cancan, Jelly and George, Muffin, Me Too, Amber – the Story of a Good Little Dog).

To a Willis Picasa gallery:


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27 Alphonse Mucha in his studio, 1894

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Alphonse Maria Mucha, first name from the Czech Alfons (24 July 1860 – 14 July 1939), was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, best known for his distinct style and his images of women. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements, and designs.

Alphonse Maria Mucha was born in the town of Ivančice, Moravia (today’s region of the Czech Republic). Although his singing abilities allowed him to continue his education through high school in the Moravian capital of Brünn (today Brno), drawing had been his first love since childhood. He worked at decorative painting jobs in Moravia, mostly painting theatrical scenery. In 1879, he moved to Vienna to work for a leading Viennese theatrical design company, while informally furthering his artistic education. When a fire destroyed his employer’s business in 1881 he returned to Moravia, to do freelance decorative and portrait painting. Count Karl Khuen of Mikulov hired Mucha to decorate Hrušovany Emmahof Castle with murals, and was impressed enough that he agreed to sponsor Mucha’s formal training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

Mucha moved to Paris in 1887, and continued his studies at Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi. In addition to his studies, he worked at producing magazine and advertising illustrations. Around Christmas 1894, Mucha happened to drop into a print shop where there was a sudden and unexpected need for a new advertising poster mucha_060 for a play starring Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris, at the Théâtre de la Renaissance on the Boulevard Saint-Martin. Mucha volunteered to produce a lithographed poster within two weeks, and on 1 January 1895, the advertisement for the play Gismonda by Victorien Sardou appeared on the streets of the city. It was an overnight sensation and announced the new artistic style and its creator to the citizens of Paris. Bernhardt was so satisfied with the success of this first poster that she entered into a 6 year contract with Mucha.

Mucha produced a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewellery, carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what was initially called the Mucha Style but became known as Art Nouveau (French for ‘new art’). Mucha’s works frequently featured beautiful, strong young women in flowing vaguely Neoclassical looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed halos behind the women’s heads. In contrast with contemporary poster makers he used pale pastel colors. The 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris spread the "Mucha style" internationally, of which Mucha said "I think [the Exposition Universelle] made some contribution toward bringing aesthetic values into arts and crafts." He decorated the Bosnia and Herzegovina Pavilion and collaborated in the Austrian Pavilion. His Artmucha_099 Nouveau style was often imitated. The Art Nouveau style however, was one that Mucha attempted to distance himself from throughout his life; he always insisted that rather than adhering to any fashionable stylistic form, his paintings came purely from within and Czech art. He declared that art existed only to communicate a spiritual message, and nothing more; hence his frustration at the fame he gained through commercial art, when he most wanted to concentrate on more lofty projects that would ennoble art and his birthplace.


At the time of his death, Mucha’s style was considered outdated. His son, author Jiří Mucha, devoted much of his life to writing about him and bringing attention to his art. In his own country, the new authorities were not interested in Mucha. His Slav Epic was rolled and stored for twenty-five years before being shown in Moravsky Krumlov and only recently has a Mucha museum appeared in Prague, run by his grandson, John Mucha.

Mucha’s work has continued to experience periodic revivals of interest for illustrators and artists. Interest in Mucha’s distinctive style experienced a strong revival in the 1960s (with a general interest in Art Nouveau) and is particularly evident in the psychedelic posters of Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, the collective name for two British artists, Michael English and Nigel Waymouth, who designed posters for groups such as Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.

mucha_009 It is a strongly acknowledged influence for Stuckist painter Paul Harvey whose subjects have included Madonna and whose work was used to promote The Stuckists Punk Victorian show at the Walker Art Gallery during the 2004 Liverpool Biennial.

The Japanese manga artist Naoko Takeuchi released a series of official posters depicting five of the main characters from her manga series Sailor Moon mimicking Mucha’s style. Another manga artist, the 1962 born Masakazu Katsura has also mimicked Mucha’s style several times. Comic book artist and current Marvel Comics Editor in Chief Joe Quesada also borrowed heavily from Mucha’s techniques for a series of covers, posters, and prints.

Fantasy artist Quinton Hoover also uses a style reminiscent of Mucha’s Art Nouveau. The band Soilent Green used a picture by Mucha for the cover of their album Sewn Mouth Secrets.

One of Mucha’s paintings, Quo Vadis or alternately Petronius and Eunice, was the subject of a legal dispute in 1986. The judgment handed down by Richard Posner describes parts of Mucha’s life and work biographically.

Among his many other accomplishments, Mucha was also the restorer of Czech Freemasonry.

On 24 July 2010, he was honored with a Google Doodle in memory of his 150th birthday.

Here’s my Alphonse Mucha Picasa album – 95 images in all


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Born Robert Edward McGinnis in Cincinnati, Ohio, he was raised in Wyoming, Ohio.

McGinnis became an apprentice at Walt Disney studios, then studied fine art at Ohio State University. After wartime service in the Merchant Marine he entered advertising and a chance meeting with Mitchell Hooks in 1958 led him to be introduced to Dell Publishing began a career drawing a variety of paperback covers including Edward S. Aarons, Erle Stanley Gardner, Richard S. Prather, and the Michael Shayne and Carter Brown series.McGinnis later did artwork for Ladies’ Home Journal, Women’s Home Companion, Good Housekeeping, TIME, Argosy, Guideposts, and The Saturday Evening Post.He was main title designer for The Hallelujah Trail (1965).

McGinnis’s attention to detail was such that when he was assigned to do the artwork for Arabesque he requested Sophia Loren’s tiger stripe dress be sent for him for a model to wear so he could get the right appearance.

In 1985 McGinnis was awarded the title of "Romantic Artist of the Year" by Romantic Times magazine for his many romance novel paperback covers. Since 2004, McGinnis has created cover illustrations for the Hard Case Crime paperback series.

He is a member of the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame. McGinnis is the subject of a documentary film, Robert McGinnis: Painting the Last Rose of Summer, by Paul Jilbert.

121 of McGinnis’ pin ups and cover illustrations

A  list of all my online galleries


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Born Elaine Bookbinder, February 25th 1945 in Salford, Elkie Brooks has become one of the most successful and respected singing talents in the UK. Her career has spanned nearly five decades, produced 19 studio albums, and received numerous awards and accolades; Elkie is back on the road for what promises to be another very special tour.

As a 15 year old with a passion for the blues, jazz and great artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Elkie left her childhood home to pursue dreams of becoming a singer.  Early professional engagements included appearances with the Eric Delaney Band and British Jazz hero Humphrey Lyttelton

On signing to the famous Decca label, Elkie released her first single Something’s Got A Hold On Me in 1964. Several more single releases followed but Elkie’s association with Decca soon ended and Elkie spent the next few years appearing on package tours with various artists including The Animals and even The Beatles.

In 1970, her career took on a whole new direction after meeting guitarist Pete Gage and together they formed rock fusion band, Dada. The group worked well but changes were brought about with the arrival of another future star by the name of Robert Palmer. With this new addition, Dada became Vinegar Joe. Robert, a good looking, talented young man proved the perfect foil for the equally brilliant Elkie.  Their raunchy, rocky and outright sexual live performances became legendary, securing them a record deal with the Island label.

And the rest is rock’n’roll, blues & jazz history.

Listen to these 20 videos spanning most of Elkie Brooks’ nearly 50 years as a blues, jazz and rock singer  The first 10 hereAnother 10 here


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Just as I think the series I Jaguar E-Type is the most beautiful sports coupé ever made I think the Rover P5b 3.5 litre coupé is the most beautiful four door coupe ever made.

The final iteration of the P5 appeared in September 1967. Now powered by the 3,528 cc (3.528 L; 215.3 cu in) Rover V8 engine also used in the 3500, the car was badged as the "3.5 Litre", and commonly known as the 3½ Litre. The final letter in the "P5B" model name came from Buick, the engine’s originator. Rover did not have the budget or time to develop such engines hence they chose to redevelop the lightweight aluminium concept Buick could not make successful. They made it considerably stronger which added some weight but still maintained the engine’s light and compact features. The Borg Warner Type-35 automatic transmission, power steering and front Lucas fog lights were now standard.

Output of 160 bhp / 119 kW was claimed along with improved torque. When compared to its predecessor, the aluminium engine enabled the car to offer improved performance and fuel economy resulting both from the greater power and the lesser weight of the power unit.

The exterior was mostly unchanged, apart from bold ‘3.5 Litre’ badging, a pair of fog lights which were added below the head lights, creating a striking 4 light array, and the fitting of chrome Rostyle wheels with black painted inserts. The P5B existed as both the 4-door coupé and saloon body style until end of production. 

One of the curiosities of the P5B is that the nearside trim of the front wing is a different length to that of the offside.

9,099 coupés and 11,501 saloons had been built when the P5 series ended in 1973.

Rover P5 at Wikipedia
Rover P5 at Google
Rover P5 at YouTube
Rover P5 at MotorBase
Rover P5 at AutomobileDeLux

From the Norwegian magazine "Illustrert" – No 46 – 1960

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