Sometimes I think I read too much noir fiction for my own good.It’s grim, focusing on the baser aspects of human nature.
I need them both…I love Bettie’s curves and vivaciousness, but I also worship Jean’s hauteur tinged with humor. Even though she was a regular at the Stork Club, they had their first date at a luncheonette. At the apex of her career, she made ,000 a year—very good money in the 1950s.Wow, between Rihanna in her tuxedo-like getup and leather gloves…(yeah, go together)… …it really must have been something of an ocular nightmare.So I guess it’s time for us to recall a woman who really could function as a proper muse, right?Bernice gets promoted to work for an impressive man, too, who wants her sexually as well as for her secretarial skills; but she feels humiliated and repelled by his interest in her because he’s Bernice loathes her boss, hates herself, and when she discovers that he’s hidden away over twenty thousand dollars in cash (a lot of money in 1951), she decides that dough will be her ticket to the life she desires.And so, on the opening page of the novel, she’s just pushed her blind employer down a stairway to his death…I often hear his voice in my head when I write in a semi-pontifical, half-cracked pedagogical manner.See his performance as a grifting lecturer in Otto Preminger’s for the prototype.) Anyway, let’s attempt to get back on track…Now, I yield to no man in my admiration for Bettie Page, the most famous pinup model of the 1950s…In my career as a writer for adult magazines, I’m proud to say I first wrote about her back in 1977 for High Society magazine, long before her popular resurgence and elevation to iconic status…I also wrote about pinup artist Gil Elvgren (see my previous post about Barbara Hale) before he was rediscovered for a new audience…my only regret is that I didn’t write even more about both, but just went onto other topics. Anyway, Bettie was vivacious, voluptuous, and saucy, but here’s a rare shot of her I found around the Web that shows her in a different mood…Bernice gets away with murder, but her desire to have a movie-starrish-looking man in her life leads to, as we say in our era, “foolish choices.” She meets a guy who is very bad for her, and starts on a spiral of nightmare that leads Bernice to her just desserts as a murderess.But Whittington (1915-1990) was such a good writer that you feel sadness and pity for Bernice, even though she is a killer.