Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sally Rand, Vintage Tease Fan & Bubble Dancing

Here we present the star attraction of the 1933-34 Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair. In this clip we see here doing not her famous fan dance but the sensually art deco bubble dance...
Born Hattie Helen Gould Beck dancer Sally Rand began her career as a chorus dancer at the tender age of thirteen in Kansas City. While still a teenager Sally ran away with a carnival drifting west to Hollywood and the movies. By then Hattie had changed her name to Billy Beck and she found steady if not spectacular work. Including some time working in the stock company of the great director Cecil B. Deville who gave Hattie her more famous name.

Sally’s movie career ended with the advent of the talkies due to her lisp. She went back to dancing which was her first love anyway. A resourceful gal looking for a steady work she combined this love for dance with the average mans desire to behold the female form and began experimenting with various forms of tease dancing.


In 1932 while working at the Paramount Club in Chicago Sally developed her fan dance that would bring her fame and fortune.  She was to become the mistresses of appearing to be naked and her big splash came at Chicago’s Century of Progress World’s Fair held in 1933 -34. For her arrival at the gates of the fair she recreated Lady Godiva’s ride that along with her ensuing performance resulted with her being arrested four times in one day. At her trial the judge threw the charges out and in his decision said.

"There is no harm and certainly no injury to public morals when the human body is exposed, some people probably would want to put pants on a horse.
. . .
When I go to the fair, I go to see the exhibits and perhaps to enjoy a little beer.  As far as I'm concerned, all these charges are just a lot of old stuff to me.  Case dismissed for want of equity."

-- Superior Judge Joseph B. David - July 19, 1933

Even after the charges were dropped powerful forces sought to keep her from performing but her popularity was so great that they couldn’t stop her. When the fair reopened in 1934 she   presented the dance featured in this video the less risqué bubble dance. 



Sally did more road work for a few years before returning  to southern California.  There she briefly returned to the movies before moving to San Francisco. In 1939 she presented “Sally Rand's Nude Ranch” at the Golden Gate Exposition in San Francisco.  It featured women wearing cowboy hats, gun belts and boots, and little more.  Afterwards she took over The Great American Music Hall and started her own burlesque house and continued to perform for many years.

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