April is Jazz appreciation month. What better way to celebrate
The onset of World War II brought the golden age of pin-ups. These scantily clad women served as morale boosters for troops the world over. The 1940s through the 1950s were the height of innocently-naughty calendars, magazines, and pictures that featured these beautiful ladies in clothing-challenged situations. Here are the top 10 most famous WWII pin-ups with lots of images to enjoy!
Hayworth didn’t just pose for sexy pictures and star in popular movies such as Gilda and My Gal Sal, she performed in USO shows and sold war bonds. America’s sweetheart was an all-around supporter of the boys at war.
The US Army Air Force unofficially allowed nose art on fuselages of bombers and planes to serve as mascots or good luck charms. The artists were usually servicemen who were inspired by actresses and popular magazines, as well as models. Sadly, feminist groups petitioned the art and it was officially banned from the U.S. military in 1992.
The femme fatale star of The Barefoot Contessa and The Snows of Kilimanjaro started with an innocent bathing beauty look, but later in her career she evolved into more of a vamp, sporting long black dresses and heels. She married Frank Sinatra in 1951 and divorced 6 years later. Talk about unrequited love; she said he was the love of her life.
Completely absurd positions and damsel-in-distress situations were the focus of the pin-up art ofGil Elvgren. His “girls” were almost humorous subjects who “accidentally” revealed her stocking tops and garters. Oops!
The film noir actress was popular for her wavy, blond peekaboo hairstyle which was often emulated by American women in the 1940s. Her last name was changed from ‘Ockelman’ to ‘Lake’ to in response to her blue eyes.
The Gentlemen Prefer Blondes actress was dubbed “sweater girl” for two obvious reasons. She was so well-endowed in fact, that Bob Hope explained that it was impossible to describe Jane Russell without moving your hands, referencing her hourglass figure.
Alberto Vargas produced pinup art for Esquire magazine for 5 years. His girls were a little less innocent, being considered eroticism and the target for censors. (Google ‘Vargas Girls’ for the good stuff!) Servicemen often requested Vargas to paint their nose art, which it is reported he never turned down a request to do so.
The ever talented Mozert was one of few female pinup artists in a male-dominated field. She had the upper-hand by being able to use herself as a model. She used her modeling talent to pay her way through art school in the 1920s and went on to produce calendars, adverts, movie posters, and novel covers.
Probably the most well-known pin-up during WWII is Betty Grable. She became the top female box office draw and the highest paid woman in America, earning a whopping $300,000 per year. Those legs were insured for a million dollars each!
No one made sexy look more fun than Bettie Page. Her trademark bangs were created by a photographer to hide her high forehead. Today, the jet black hair and high-cut curled bangs are still going strong among many young women.
Curiosity got the better of me and, not to be a buzzkill, but I had to dig up a picture of the late Bettie, who died in 2008 at age 85.