Ziegfeld Girls: Classic Elegant Erotica
August 10, 2006 9:19 PM   Subscribe

"It is not easy to pass the test that qualifies a girl for membership in a Ziegfeld production..." Hundreds of photos of Zeigfeld Girls (including many large and high-resolution scans), collected and displayed for your viewing pleasure. Sumptuous . Sensual. Dazzling. [The last three links are work safe. The first two and the site itself are not. Some background on Ziegfeld and his Follies here for those not familiar.]
posted by LeeJay (38 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Forgot to add: I found the site through the wonderful Vintage Sex Livejournal community.
posted by LeeJay at 9:28 PM on August 10, 2006

There's a great thing somewhere about how LaGuardia shut down tons of Burlesque Halls, but Ziegfeld was allowed to stay open--apparently those with money were exempt, as usual. (i'll have to find it)

And Comstock and his crusades against vice ensured he tangled with Zigfeld as well....

wonderful stuff! : >
posted by amberglow at 9:37 PM on August 10, 2006

Wonderful, thank you.
posted by rhapsodie at 9:37 PM on August 10, 2006

this tells a little of it all -- and it all serves as a reminder that each generation ends up fighting for freedoms and pleasures against those who would legislate against it all.
posted by amberglow at 9:40 PM on August 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

What Makes A "Ziegfeld Girl"
by Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.
(1925 newspaper article)
posted by amberglow at 9:44 PM on August 10, 2006

From amberglow's great link:

Mayor LaGuardia even appointed a "burlesque czar" to oversee the prosecutions and "end incorporated filth."

Awesome. I want to be a burlesque czar.
posted by LeeJay at 9:46 PM on August 10, 2006

Eleanor Roosevelt?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:48 PM on August 10, 2006

is that her debutante pic? it's definitely her i think, and i'm sure she went to see them. everyone used to go to his spectacles, and he did new ones every year for decades.
posted by amberglow at 9:51 PM on August 10, 2006

And incidentally, it's ZiegFELD, not ZiegFIELD (one hears it mispronounced).
posted by QuietDesperation at 9:51 PM on August 10, 2006

She was a winner that became the doggie's dinner.

Sorry! I'll stop now.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:55 PM on August 10, 2006

One last thing: the group of photos in the "2005-02-25" gallery looks to be homegrown late-nineteenth century pr0n. In other words, "Unsafe for Viewing at Your Place of Employment/Servitude." (As was mentioned in the original post.)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:04 PM on August 10, 2006

On a related note, here's a link to an NPR story on Doris Eaton Travis, the Oldest Living Ziegfeld girl.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:10 PM on August 10, 2006

Eleanor looks like she's high as a kite.
posted by smackfu at 10:16 PM on August 10, 2006

These must have been taken recently and doctored to look like old photos. Everyone knows that there were no porns or immorality back then.
posted by redteam at 10:49 PM on August 10, 2006

Wonderful vintage pics LeeJay. They are both innocent and sexy. So many of the girls have the same body and facial type.

The credit for the idea of the Folies actually belongs to the woman who became Ziegfeld's wife. A charming French-born actress named Anna Held suggested the idea for the Ziegfeld Follies. Ziegfeld married Anna Held in 1897, and she inspired him to create a musical revue like the ones she had seen in Paris, featuring pretty chorus girls, chic costumes, and comedy.

A little about Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. and his life.
posted by nickyskye at 10:52 PM on August 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Pictures of Anna Held and two of Ziegfeld's male stars: The Great Sandow (streaming video) and Will Rogers (one of my culture heroes).
posted by nickyskye at 11:11 PM on August 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Great post! Funnily enough, I looked at the links before reading the comments and immediately thought "this reminds me of Vintage Sex."
posted by nonmerci at 11:28 PM on August 10, 2006

Women used to be so hot. Nowadays, they're all so skinny and bleh. :-(
posted by nlindstrom at 11:33 PM on August 10, 2006

Peruvian and famed glamour painter Joaquin Alberto Vargas y Chavez [NSFW] was discovered by Flo Ziegfled in 1919 and worked for over a decade as the Follies official artist. Vargas' wife of 44 years, Anna Mae Clifton, was a showgirl for the Greenwich Village Follies.
posted by cenoxo at 11:34 PM on August 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Awesome. I've been looking for a pic to Rasterbate to put on my wall. Here are a ton of choices!
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:19 AM on August 11, 2006

Excellent post: thanks, LeeJay!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:23 AM on August 11, 2006

Can't find a link strangely, but I believe he also had a cocktail named after him - the Flo Ziegfeld. 2 parts gin, 1 part pineapple juice, shaken over ice and served in a sugar rimmed martini glass. It's surprisingly tasty and far less sickly than it sounds.
posted by bifter at 5:03 AM on August 11, 2006

Oooo Louise Brooks. <3
posted by beerbajay at 5:05 AM on August 11, 2006

Very nice.
posted by OmieWise at 5:56 AM on August 11, 2006

I don't mind looking at a healthy willowy girl, but I like how these gals are nice 'n' round without being too zaftig. I think "broad where a broad should be broad" is how Dad might've put it (if Mom was out of earshot!).
posted by pax digita at 6:43 AM on August 11, 2006

I'd comment, but I don't know how to reproduce in print the lusty growling sounds what I been making.
posted by Sailor Martin at 7:57 AM on August 11, 2006

"Oooo Louise Brooks." <3 posted by strong>beerbajay

The glorious Louise Brooks appears to have a vestigial third nipple?

Completely fabulous post (also the Vargas link from cenoxo).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:24 AM on August 11, 2006

I can not properly express my appreciation for the "large and high-resolution scans". Maybe a low "mmmmmmm" sound would suffice, the one I just made when I clicked on the first picture and it took up the width of the screen *and* I got to scroll down for more of the lusciousness.
posted by redsparkler at 9:13 AM on August 11, 2006

Fantastic. Thanks.
posted by melixxa600 at 9:14 AM on August 11, 2006

I wonder if that's a mole you're seeing?

Oh, and how's this: "Rowrr!"
posted by pax digita at 9:28 AM on August 11, 2006

Thanks for the refreshing reminder of the days before the "ideal woman" was a Botoxed, plastiqued, Photoshop illusion. Your links should be required reading for all the "sharp knees" crowd so they know what real women look like.

And is that George Bush I spotted in one of the Vargas pictures?
posted by Enron Hubbard at 9:41 AM on August 11, 2006

These photos are gorgeous. I love the costumes, and how the girls seem so nonchalant posing. And thanks for the Vargas links, cenoxo - his life was interesting story.
posted by meringue at 2:43 PM on August 11, 2006

My grandfather's girls (nsfw & sound)
posted by caddis at 4:42 PM on August 11, 2006

Buddy Ebsen
posted by pracowity at 6:29 PM on August 11, 2006

Wonderful stuff, and a great post.
posted by malaprohibita at 6:30 PM on August 11, 2006

caddis, thanks for the link! God, they were all so beautiful. And thanks to everyone else who contributed to the thread. There are a lot of great links in the comments.

Does anyone happen to know what the name of the very familiar song playing at that Grandfather's Girls site is? I've heard it plenty of times before but never knew the name.
posted by LeeJay at 7:44 PM on August 11, 2006

caddis and cenoxo, Wonderful additional links and embellishing the thread. Interesting to learn about Vargas.

LeeJay, The song is a sizzler by Gershwin, from Porgy and Bess, Summertime:

Summertime and the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin', and the cotton is high
Your Daddy's rich and your Mama is good lookin'
So, hush, little baby don't you cry...

An exceptional rendition via American Idol of all places.
posted by nickyskye at 8:15 PM on August 11, 2006

LeeJay, The song is a sizzler by Gershwin, from Porgy and Bess, Summertime

*smacks forehead* Oh good Lord, of course it is. I did know the name after all. I even have the cast recording somewhere around here. I must be very very tired. Thanks nickyskye.
posted by LeeJay at 8:47 PM on August 11, 2006

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