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Pinups & PVC Pipes: The voluptuous bathing beauties of the Ridgid Tool Company Calendar


A photo of a 24-year-old Raquel Welch taken by Peter Gowland for the Ridgid Tool Company Calendar in 1964.
 
The man who shot the bikini models featured in the Ridgid Tool Company Calendar, Peter Gowland, was referred to as “America’s No. 1 Pin-up Photographer” by the New York Times in 1954. That same year Gowland was one of the first to shoot photos of a then 21-year-old Jayne Mansfield shortly after the blonde bombshell arrived in Hollywood. He published his first of more than 35 books, How to Photograph Women—a subject that Gowland mastered during his long career—that same year. That’s not to say that Gowland’s talent was limited to being behind the lens, he also built cameras himself (21 varieties to be precise) which led to the development of a twin-lens camera he called the Gowlandflex. The Gowlandflex attracted clients from the FBI to famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.

In addition to images shot by Gowland which made their way to over 1000 different magazine covers, he was also the principal photographer for the famous Ridgid Tool Company Calendar for 40 years. During the calendars 81-year history it regularly featured racy pinup illustrations, most if not all drawn by artist George Petty (who came to prominence along with pinup king Alberto Vargas) before Gowland’s in-the-flesh bikini girls took over as eye candy for Ridgid’s annual calendar—including a 24-year-old Raquel Welch in 1964 pictured at the top of this post. The tradition would endure until just last year when Ridgid officially stopped using girls in bathing suits posing alongside wrenches and motor oil in their calendars. BOO!

Gowland and Petty’s contributions to Ridgid’s girlie tool calendar tradition are worth celebrating. Both men were remarkably talented and experts in their field of work which helped create a unique vibe for the promotional vehicle—as you will see while looking through the large selection of images from both artists taken from the Ridgid calendar as it appeared during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. In case you’re wondering, girls + bikinis = possibly NSFW.
 

A pinup illustration by George Petty for the Ridgid Tool Company Calendar, April 1952.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.07.2017
10:59 am
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Prehistoric cheesecake: A look at the curvaceous cavewomen of B-movie cinema
11.21.2017
08:44 am
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An iconic shot of actress Raquel Welch as a cavewoman in the 1966 film ‘One Million Years B.C.’
 
If my research regarding the long history of actresses playing cavewomen in films is correct, it is likely that actress and Ziegfeld Follies girl Cecile Arnold was the first woman to play a prehistoric chick in Charlie Chaplin’s 1914 silent film, His Prehistoric Past. Decades later, however, movie-goers would be treated to a vast array of like-themed films such as One Million B.C. (1940); Prehistoric Women (1950); One Million Years B.C. (starring the Raquel Welch in 1966); Hammer’s smashing 1967 remake of Prehistoric Women; the bonkers Italian film, When Women Had Tails (1970); and another stone-age hit from Hammer, Creatures the World Forgot (1971). 

I must be honest—I’m very fond of pictorial-style posts, and this one may be my favorite of all that I’ve done here on Dangerous Minds. And that is because the Internet was exceedingly generous when it came to revealing images of vintage, risky-looking cinematic cavewomen. Photos of Hammer girls Edina Ronay and Caroline Munro, actress Martine Beswick, Barbara Bach (the wife of Beatle Ringo Starr), and the enchanting Norwegian actress Julie Ege—are all featured in this post. Over 30 images of sexy fictional cavewomen follow—most of which are NSFW due to the skimpy attire. You’re welcome
 

Actor Charlie Chaplin surrounded by a few of his cavewomen (and a not so sleepy caveman) in the 1914 film, ‘His Prehistoric Past.’
 

Actress Edina Ronay in the 1967 “Hammer Glamour” remake of ‘Prehistoric Women.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.21.2017
08:44 am
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‘Raquel!’: Kooky, camp, and kitsch TV special starring Raquel Welch and friends

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Raquel Welch by Terry O’Neill.
 
In 1970, movie star Raquel Welch starred in her very own TV variety extravaganza Raquel! which was intended to showcase her talents as a singer. Raquel! featured Welch performing a selection of classic pop songs in different locales and hamming it up alongside the old-school talents of Bob Hope and John Wayne, and young buck Tom Jones.

In just over a decade, Welch had gone from cocktail waitress to A-list movie star. She first made her mark as a scientist in The Fantastic Voyage then knocked teenage boys (and dads) for six as a cavewoman dressed in a fur bikini in One Million Years B.C. The media made her name synonymous with the term “sex symbol.” But she was more than just a celluloid beauty, she could act. Welch co-starred with Frank Sinatra in Lady in Cement, proved her mettle by refusing to go nude in 100 Rifles , and confounded critics by starring in Gore Vidal’s tale of a transsexual Myra Breckenridge. Despite all this, Welch was still hailed by Playboy (who else?) as the “world’s most desirable woman.”

Billed as a “multi-million dollar” extravaganza Raquel! seemingly spared no expense (though it reputedly cost nearer the $350,000 mark).  There was a luxurious wardrobe by Bob Mackie with spacesuits by Paco Rabanne, some pop art and space-age set designs and a variety of exotic locations. Welch clocked-up her air miles performing songs to camera in London, Paris (where she sang “California Dreamin’” in view of the Eiffel Tower), Acapulco, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Yucatan, and Big Sur. Though Welch has a passable singing voice—one perhaps better suited to being heard in an elevator—Raquel! was a major success pulling in 58% in the Nielsen ratings. It’s a fine camp confection that has some strange and memorable moments—Welch and Hope (in Davy Crockett hat) singing the Beatles’ “Rocky Raccoon” being just one. 
 
Take a look after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.04.2017
09:33 am
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Bob Hope and Raquel Welch’s unfortunate cover of ‘Rocky Raccoon,’ 1970
12.08.2016
12:46 pm
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Rocky Raccoon sheet music; pictured here are its two very famous composers

There have been countless covers of Beatles songs over the decades, but surely one of the most regrettable has to be the version Raquel Welch and Bob Hope essayed of “Rocky Raccoon,” an original and enjoyable song off of side 2 of The White Album. The cover version Welch and Hope executed wasn’t a record, it was part of Raquel!, a Raquel Welch TV special that aired on CBS in 1970—DM’s Richard Metzger once described it as “a camp time capsule full of Bob Mackie dresses, Paco Rabanne spacesuits and Bob Hope singing “Rocky Raccoon” wearing a Davey Crockett hat.” Welch and Hope had a close relationship, she was a staple of his USO tours, one (perhaps two?) that the troops were always overjoyed to see.
 

 
The western motifs McCartney employed in his ditty provided the producers with an irresistible opportunity to put together a slapstick pastiche sketch à la The Monkees or Laugh-In or Benny Hill. Not that there’s anything wrong with that per se, but the gags are pretty lazy. Welch can’t pass up the chance to do Mae West, and I’m not sure if whatever Hope is doing qualifies as Sprechgesang or Sprechstimme, but it ain’t singing (he sounded better doing “Thanks for the Memory”). Welch’s voice, however, is very nice but she makes no effort to capture the spirit of the original.

John Lennon got the last word on this subject. As Geoffrey Giuliano reported in Blackbird: The Life and Times of Paul McCartney, Lennon’s quote on the subject ran, “I saw Bob Hope doing it once on the telly years ago, I just thanked God it wasn’t one of mine.”
 

 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Raquel Welch in campy 70’s TV variety show (with space dancers)

Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.08.2016
12:46 pm
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Mae West proving she was still ‘Hard to Handle’ at the age of 77

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The incomparable Mae West proving she was still “Hard to Handle” at the age of 77. Here Ms West sings the Otis Redding classic from the 1970 movie Myra Breckinridge. The film, based on the novel by Gore Vidal, and starred Raquel Welch, Farrah-Fawcett and Mae West, but was sadly a flop. Watching this fab little clip, who couldn’t be won over by the incorrigible Statue of Libido?
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Mae West Room in the Dali Theater-Museum


 
With thanks to Tommy Udo!
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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03.08.2012
09:08 am
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Hard-boiled Frank Sinatra: Tony Rome will get ‘em if they don’t watch out

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“Tony Rome” was Frank Sinatra’s hard-boiled detective alter-ego in two films, 1967’s Tony Rome and its 1968 sequel, The Lady in Cement. Bucking the trend of Bond and the sub-Bonds like Our Man Flint (with James Coburn) and the “Matt Helm” series starring his Rat Pack buddy, Dean Martin, the “Tony Rome” movies were much more noirish in their approach, although, natch, this being Ol’ Blue Eyes, there were silly, sexist and “in joke” elements aplenty in the films.

Sinatra was directed in both films by Gordon Douglas (who directed him in Robin and the 7 Hoods) and surrounded by A-list cast members Raquel Welch, Bonanza’s Dan Blocker, Jill St. John, Gena Rowlands and sexy Sue Lyon (who played the title role in Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita).

I have always particularly liked the jaunty theme song to Tony Rome, written and produced by Lee Hazelwood and sung by Nancy Sinatra, you can hear it here.

Hugo Montenegro provided the groovy soundtrack to Lady in Cement, here’s the trailer:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.13.2010
01:31 pm
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The most desired woman: Sarah Palin as Raquel Welch
09.10.2010
02:45 pm
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The original Raquel Welch photo can be found here.

Get off the cross, we could use the wood

Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.10.2010
02:45 pm
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Raquel Welch in campy 70’s TV variety show (with space dancers)
08.04.2010
02:33 pm
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Raquel Welch photographed by Terry O’Neill. Available at the SF Art Exchange.
 
Raquel! was a multimillion dollar 1970 TV variety special starring Raquel Welch, Tom Jones, John Wayne and Bob Hope. It’s a camp time capsule full of Bob Mackie dresses, Paco Rabanne spacesuits and Bob Hope singing Rocky Raccoon wearing a Davey Crockett hat. It was shot all over the world, in Paris, London, Mexico City, Los Angeles, the Big Sur coast and elsewhere. 

A treat for the eyes (in every way) it was. For the ears, not so much. Welch sings a number of pop standards of the day, often with dancers in fully choreographed production numbers. There’s often a thematic disconnect of the material to the visuals, such as when Welch croons California Dreamin’ with the Eiffel Tower behind her. This contributes greatly to the “offness” of the proceedings. One reviewer compared Raquel! to “a community college production of Barbarella.” A highlight is Tom Jones lip-syncing I Who Have Nothing as he gazes longingly at the jaw-dropping sex bomb in front of him.

This first came out on VHS in the early 90s and I used to give it frequently as a gift. I gave one copy to Pizzicato Five’s Maki Nomiya and she later told me that she had a dinner party in Tokyo when she screened it for a group of friends and it went down a treat. That’s how this it should be viewed, in a group, with at least 2 or 3 drag queens in the mix, and a lil’ herbal “entertainment insurance.” It’s a guaranteed recipe for party success! It’s out on DVD now.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.04.2010
02:33 pm
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