Actress Marian Martin in a Satan-themed burlesque cape. Martin actually played a dancer named ‘Pinky Lee’ in the 1943 film, ‘Lady of Burlesque’ which was based on the novel ‘The G-String Murders’ written by strip tease queen Gypsy Rose Lee. Martin was not a burlesque performer, but her costume is in the satanic burlesque spirit of this post.
Of the many fun things that comes along with being a part of the diverse compendium that is Dangerous Minds, those rare days when my feet hit the floor, and I have no idea what I’m going to write about that day, are not among them. Which is why I try to stockpile posts concerning the guy who should have built my hotrod, Satan, for those kinds of days. Because let’s face it—Satan is a big crowd pleaser among DM’s readership.
Burlesque performer Diane de Lys in a publicity photo for her show ‘The Devil and the Virgin,’ 1953.
I hate to admit it, but sadly I know very little about the world of burlesque despite having a few friends who actually work in the field professionally. So the discovery that dancers back in the 1920s and 1930s (and beyond) used an unusual prop—a costume that was split into two distinctly different styles that was used for a “1/2 and 1/2” style of dance performance was sort of new to me.
One side would feature a “normal” kind of stage dress, and the other could be anything from a man or a maybe a gorilla (apparently, after King Kong was released in 1933, the popularity of girl/gorilla acts skyrocketed. Go figure). Or in the case of the images in this post, Satan himself! That said, I’d personally love to see this trend return to the burlesque stage (if it hasn’t already). Many of the photos you are about to see also feature burlesque performers all dolled up like the devil dating as far back as the early 1930s. They are also slightly NSFW. YAY!
H/T: To the burlesque treasure trove that is Burly Q Nell.
Burlesque performer Pat-Z and her 1/2 and 1/2 devil routine.
‘Dance with the Devil,’ 1940s.
Dancer Diane Parker (perhaps classified as more of a ‘stripper’) and her ‘1/2 and 1/2’ routine in which Satan is about to stab her in the throat.
Burlesque performer, Bernadette Phelan.
Burlesque performer Patti Wayne in character as ‘The Devil’s Mistress.’
Burlesque performer Gene Gemay and her ‘Devil Dance.’
Burlesque performer Diane de Lys, in a publicity photo for her show ‘The Devil and the Virgin,’ 1953.
‘Dance of the Devil Woman.’
Burlesque performer Marcia Edgington in Sizzle Magazine, 1959.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Peek inside Cecil B. DeMille’s bizarro 1930 master-flop, ‘Madam Satan’