10 August 2008

19 December 2007

24 November 2007

Crate Label-palooza

American consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is directly correlated to the number of pinup girls on produce distributor crate labels. Discuss.

(Here's my pinup crate label collection, en totale):

12 November 2007

Contest Wrap-Up

Yes, there was a Giant Novelty Check involved. Also a small legitimate check, which makes it all worthwhile.

Rather than try to explain what happened on Friday, I'll just suggest you watch the videos:

Whew. Hard to believe this is all over. Well, not completely over -- there is a party to plan!

I'll be back with more pinup scans soon, have to get the collection back into some kind of order first.

Thanks again to everyone who voted for me!

09 November 2007

It's a Major Award!

Elvgren, "Fast Lass (A Winner)", 1965

I won! You like me! You really really like me!

Fox's morning show crew and Apartments.com surprised me this morning with a real-live pinup girl, balloons and a giant check for $20,000!

I'll write more later when I catch my breath. Thanks everyone for supporting me during the contest. I couldn't have done it without you!

07 November 2007

getting ready for my close-up


Finally, a target date: the winner of the video contest will be announced by end of day Friday, November 9.

Also, likely unrelated (but who the hell knows) I'll be on Chicago Fox TV Friday morning 7-9 a.m., doing a live interview in my apartment, talking about my collection. Tune in to see me stutter and stammer. Or just to see half-nekkid ladies. Whichever.

Only 2 more days... stay tuned!

05 November 2007

jury's still out

Elvgren, 1950s (?)

Dear Diary,

Day 17
Still no answer. Somewhere out there a pool of people decide my fate. Faces of stone, no indication of direction. The waiting is exhausting, infuriating. At the same time--I am resigned to my destiny. Finding it difficult to care what happens next. Trying to hold on, trying to care.

The verdict must come eventually... (mustn't it?)

02 November 2007

still no news

Ludlow, late 1950s

Dear Diary,

Day 14
Two weeks later and I still search diligently for clues, for any sign that a decision has been made. No messages on my answering machine, no emails in my inbox, no notices on the web. Perhaps it's hidden in code somewhere? Maybe in a panel in the Sunday funnies?

I keep asking "Why? Why is this taking so long?". A clever ruse to maintain suspense, perhaps? Perhaps. Yet--I grow weary. Losing the will to look, to care, to dress myself. Must find answer soon.

01 November 2007

A Splendid View

Elvgren, 1960s

Dear Diary,

Day 13
Voting ended 13 days ago. No answer in sight. Still searching for... something. Anything. Hope remains, but dwindling. Will report tomorrow, if I have the strength.

31 October 2007

Happy Halloween!

I couldn't find another scan-worthy Halloween Elvgren in my collection, so instead I bring you something I found on the internets recently. Halloween pinup postcards from the 1940s!

Betty Grable

Skylighters.org, "the web site of the 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion" has a great collection of WWII memorabilia, including these fabulous Halloween pinup postcards from the era, as well as a nice archive of many other pinups (mostly photos, but not all).

Thanks Skylighters!

29 October 2007

Riding High

Elvgren, 1960

Elvgren was keen on doing Halloween-themed pinups... I know of at least three. Here's one of them, a sexy saucy witch. I'll "scare up" a couple more for ya later this week.

P.S. I've gotten no word on the contest results yet. I'm as much in the dark as you are. Yeah, no comment on that.

25 October 2007

wait... what?

What was that you said? Something about a contest? A *video* contest? Hmmm, let me think...

Yes, yes. I vaguely remember something about "voting". It was something that lasted for quite awhile, if I recall. I sense that it went on, and on, and on... seemingly endless. But -- it must have ended, because there's no voting happening now.

Yes, it's coming to me now. *I* entered a "video contest"? Yes? Almost two months ago, yes? Hmmm. I wonder what happened with that.

Oh well. I'm sure it'll come to me eventually. Until then, the band will play on.

Buell, date unknown

23 October 2007

no news is... no news

From the official rules:

The Prize Winners will be posted on www.apartments.com/possessionobsession on or about October 29, 2007.

Those are their rules and they're stickin' to them. Not sure what "or about" means, but I assume I'll find out. On "or about" October 29th.

Stay tuned. I'll let you know when--"or about" when--I learn who won.

-Brenda <--desperately hoping there will be no parading of finalists on TV in matching t-shirts involved in the announcement. My dignity is worth more than $500. Possibly even more than $20,000, but I reserve judgment on that.

20 October 2007

Voting Has Ended!

Voting ended at 11 CST last night. Thanks so much for the votes over the past 5 weeks. The Apartments.com people are now crunching numbers and figuring out who won. Winner will be announced Friday, Oct. 26. Stay tuned!

19 October 2007

Layer Tennis Today at 2 CST

Elvgren, 1942, litho

Coudal's Layer Tennis Match Four happens today at 2:00 CST. Tune in to watch the excitement as my friend and designer Naz Hamid battles Chris Glass for title of fastest, cleverest draw in the WWWest.

Nobody's Fool

Moore, 1951, Esquire calendar

Well kids, we made it! The last day of voting! After 5 lonnnnng weeks, and much loyal voting from you and annoying prodding from me, you only have one more day to vote.

Thank you all for your support through this contest. It means a lot to me that you all liked my collection enough to vote for me every day.

I'll probably continue this blog after a brief hiatus, so keep me in your feeds if you like what I've been posting.

Voting ends at 11CST/midnight EST tonight, so get your vote in early! Winners will be announced a week from today, October 26, stay tuned.

Thanks again! And don't forget to vote today:

Have you voted for my video today? Say YES to Sexy! Vote now!

18 October 2007

FYI on the voting site

Don't panic -- they just randomized the order of videos so you don't know who's in first place, and are hiding vote counts and page views (also FYI: those numbers have always been page views, not video views). I could still be in the lead. The only way to be sure is to cast your votes today and tomorrow!

Only one day left to hear me bug you about voting! We'll all have a reason to celebrate (I hope)! Voting ends tomorrow, Friday Oct 19, at 10:59CST/11:59EST.

Have you voted for my video today? Say YES to Sexy! Vote now!

October is a lovely month

Vargas, Esquire Calendar, year unknown

Just a pretty Varga girl, turnin' heads.

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17 October 2007

Keeping Posted

Elvgren, 1949, calendar litho

"Keeping Posted", get it...?

This is one of my favorite Elvgren images. I used it as a change of address card the last time I moved. It was a big hit.

Have you voted for my video today? Say YES to Sexy! Vote now!

Votes are hidden, but they still count!

Just a short note to let you know I haven't forsaken you, a post avec sexy lady will be coming later.

Also to let you know vote counts are now hidden on the site but rest assured, your votes are still being counted. So please keep voting! Thanks!


More later...

16 October 2007

The Eye Opener

By 1948, Gil Elvgren was in high demand as an artist and well known by name. In 1948 Brown & Bigelow introduced this little gem as yet another medium on which companies could advertise. Note the "Designed by Gil Elvgren" tagline on the inside, and the sketch of the artist at work.

Elvgren, 1948-49, Brown & Bigelow

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Technical difficulties

My computer went up in a puff of smoke (literally) this morning, so I'll be delayed in posting. But never fear, there will be babes!

Until then, please occupy your time with voting.


15 October 2007

rosy cheeks

Ballantyne, 1956, Artist's Sketch Pad

This image is in the same calendar as the How to Bowl image I posted earlier. I couldn't figure out what it was doing in the middle of all those pages with babes, but then I noticed the date. Joyce Ballantyne was a cheeky broad.

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14 October 2007

The Doctor's Holding Me for Observation

Mozert, 194x, mutoscope

Just a pretty, curvy redhead from Zoe Mozert. Love the warm tones in this one.

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13 October 2007

Something for the Boys

Vargas, June 1943, Esquire calendar

I feel bad about the blurry picture yesterday (fixed with a better scan), so I'm putting up another pretty Varga Girl to brighten your Saturday and start your weekend off right.

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12 October 2007

Pistol Packin' Mama (new improved scan)

Vargas, March 1944, Esquire

This Esquire gatefold image was a popular one among the pilots who painted pinups on the nose of their bombers in WWII. I love the cheesiness of the title/poem and props (sorry, the pic is too blurry to see the poem). As always, it's a great pinup too.

We're goin' into the last week of votin', pardners! It's been a long 4 weeks, one week to go!

I really need your votes this weekend--all of them--so if you're packin', vote 'em!

Have you voted for my video today? Say YES to Sexy! Vote now!

11 October 2007

Silk Stocking Stories

Driben, January 1938

Another Driben cover, for your pleasure.

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10 October 2007

Victory for a Soldier

Vargas, June 1942, Esquire

Anna Mae Clift--Alberto Vargas' wife, favorite model, the love of his life and the embodiment of the American female beauty that enchanted him--was also the first Varga Girl, and the inspiration for many Varga girls that followed.

While Vargas would have been happy to paint Anna Mae for the rest of his life, in 1941 his publisher at Esquire insisted he use a new model, a petite 15-year-old redhead from Illinois named Jeanne Dean.

Jeanne Dean (1925-1993) became Vargas' primary model from 1941-1942. In 1943 she went to Hollywood to seek her fortune as an actress, but in 1946 returned to modeling for Vargas. It is her face, figure and fiery hair you see in all of the redheaded Esquire Varga Girl images, including my favorite one (in my video it's the one in the peach matted frame in my bedroom) "A Little Girl Grows Up".

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09 October 2007

just a pawn

Withers, date unknown

Ted Withers (?-1964) spent 25 years in Hollywood before coming to work for Brown & Bigelow in 1950. I don't know a lot about him, other than his skills were greatly admired by his fellow B&B artists, including Gil Elvgren and Rolf Armstrong.

I posted this today because, people, it's time for strategy. At exactly midnight last night I watched as my opponent's votes went up by 30 in a span of 10 minutes (60 if you count the 30 that went in a few minutes before that). I know how that happened... do you?

If you want to help me win, keep checking my score and don't get too lax when I have a lead. All it takes is one industrious person to turn a 40-vote lead into a 20-vote deficit in a matter of minutes. I watched it happen last night.

Since I can't change the rules of the game, I'll have to protect my queen by getting a 100+ vote lead. I hope you can help me with that.

It's your move.

Have you voted for my video today? Say YES to Sexy! Vote now!

08 October 2007

not as nice as they used to be

Crandall, 1949, True Magazine

I don't know anything about Bradshaw Crandall except what his signature looks like (hey, that's something). The internets don't know much either. I'll post more here about him when I find out more.

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07 October 2007

friend pimpage

In my video, along with all the vintage stuff on my walls and in my curio cabinet, you see a few things in my collection that are modern but retro--inspired by vintage pinup art. I wanted to let you know where you can get those things, in case you're jonesin' to be surrounded by gorgeous babes too (and really, who isn't?). Here goes:

This isn't totally related, except that my friend Liz is one of the two founders of the site:
a 200-word op-ed I wrote for A Brief Message about collecting and design


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Come As You Are

Petty, 1941, Esquire

George Petty (1894-1975) was Alberto Vargas' predecessor at Esquire magazine. He's known primarily for the "Petty Girl", his leggy, airbrushed pinups that appeared in Esquire between 1933 and 1941, and later in 55-56.

Petty was born in Louisiana, studied briefly in Paris, but his roots, like other artists, are in Chicago. After his family moved to Chicago he worked for his father's photography studio, later assuming the family business when his father died, and opening his own illustration studio in Chicago in 1926.

The world was introduced to the Petty Girl in Esquire magazine in 1933. She was an instant hit. Petty's first model was his wife, then later his daughter, but he was known to use several models to compose a single painting.

Petty's pinups often had extra-long legs, shortened torsos and small heads, which Petty believed emphasized the best parts (ahem). Another of his signature techniques was to draw outlines only of shoes, telephone handsets, head wraps and other props, drawing the viewer's focus to the beauty of the woman in the painting.

By 1940 Petty became a celebrity and was in high demand. His relationship with Esquire became strained, and in 1941, after Esquire contracted Alberto Vargas to create pinups for the magazine, Petty left Esquire. He would later return to create two calendars in 1955-56.

Even after Petty left Esquire, the Petty Girl, alongside the Varga Girl, remained important to American culture and troop morale during WWII, often reproduced by pilots on their bombers--the Memphis Belle being the most famous use of a Petty Girl as nose art.

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06 October 2007

McClelland Barclay

Barclay, 1930, Saturday Evening Post

I don't know much about McClelland Barclay (1891-1942)--his era came a decade or two before the WWII pinup era--but Wikipedia tells me he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (there's that Chicago connection again), painted lots of magazine covers, military posters and advertising art.

I have this ad in my collection just because I like it. She's a beauty, dontcha think?

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05 October 2007

Inside the mind of a TV Guide stylist

Every few years you'll see modern advertising that's trying to invoke pinups of the past. Camel has done a lot of pinup art in their advertising, and mostly...? failed miserably. They did a calendar a few years ago that involved badly photoshopped versions of badly scanned Elvgren classics. When they've gotten their own illustrator to do original pinup paintings, the poses were awkward and the girls just didn't have that special spark. And they were too skinny. Natch.

In June 2003, at the height of Sex and the City popularity, TV Guide ran a special series of covers featuring the SATC girls as pinups. I saw it out of the corner of my eye at the checkout and was prepared to roll my eyes at the weak attempt, but when I picked one up and looked at it, I immediately recognized the vintage pinups they were emulating. Their stylist really captured the poses and expressions and lines and contrasts, while not copying 100% an actual painting. I was really impressed. The girls do look a *little* stiff, but they are pinups after all.

Next to each cover I'm showing the image I believe was the primary inspiration for the shot, although I do recognize elements from other, similar images as well. I'll spare you the details.

I've wanted to do this for awhile, and now this blog is the perfect excuse. Enjoy the SATC/pinup mashup!





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04 October 2007

I got The Shoes

What, you thought I was kidding?

a little press

Apparently Chicago media is a harder market to interest in this contest than Boston or Tulsa media, so I've only been contacted by one reporter so far. And she was from Columbia College :) Luckily, I have many internet-famous friends and friends-of-friends, so I'm still getting some media love, just not MSM. Which is fine with me.

Here's a link to the Columbia College story about my collection.

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Yours for the Basking

Frahm, date unknown

Art Frahm (1907-1981) isn't really remembered as one of the most skilled pinup painters. Like many, he lived in Chicago and worked during the 40s and 50s. He was a devotee of Sundblom, like Elvgren and others. And he achieved a certain amount of notoriety--at least in this decade--because of his campy paintings of women whose panties have fallen down around their ankles.

But Frahm's skill in depicting beautiful women was limited to painting their figures. Their faces were usually stiff, expressionless, doll-like, not unlike Elvgren's earlier work with Dow.

I actually don't have any of those famed "panties falling down" images in my collection, partially because they're silly (and not in a good way) and partially because the artistry was never really there for me. This litho is an exception. The face still seems a bit plastic, but the overall image is very appealing. She's a classic pin-up girl.

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03 October 2007


Al Moore, 1949, Esquire

college student? librarian? teacher? (does it matter???)

P.S. I want those shoes.

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02 October 2007

Mutual Admiration Society

Medcalf, 1953, calendar litho

From The Pin-Up Files:

Medcalf's pin-up work, like Elvgren's, set standards for artistry and imagery for his contemporaries. When Medcalf joined the staff of resident artists at Brown and Bigelow on March 18, 1946, he hoped to get some pointers from his two idols, Elvgren and Norman Rockwell, who were both contributors to the firm. When he met both men at a Christmas party that year, he was therefore stunned and flattered when they asked him how he imparted such a finished glow to his work.

Bill Medcalf's artistry could even been seen in the "roughs" or "prelims" he did before painting the final, larger pinup painting. I lucked out by finding a printed litho version of a black & white prelim featured in the trading card set "Painted Ladies" (in fact, I found three of them). You can see slight changes in pose and details, but both are gorgeous images.

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01 October 2007

How to Bowl

Ballantyne, 1956, Artist's Sketch Pad

Brown & Bigelow regularly commissioned popular pinup artists on their roster--including Macpherson, Munson, Withers, Ballantyne and others--to do "Artist's Sketch Pad" calendars like this, with one primary image and related sketches in the background.

I found this calendar at an antique store in my neighborhood (for you Chicagoans, it's the one just south of the Damen el), and even though the pages are unsigned and there's no artist name mentioned on the cover page, I knew it was Joyce Ballantyne's work by the faces. The subject matter is also a giveaway... she loved painting nature scenes and sports scenes, and this calendar has an ice skater, a bowler, a fisherwoman, a guy in a health club locker room (something for the ladies, I guess), a boater, a swimmer, a hunter... you get the idea.

With the somewhat comic and patronizing portrayal of women in the poems and images, it's a little hard to believe a woman conceived them; I prefer to think she was under the thumb of some misogynistic advertising art director and had no choice. It could happen.

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30 September 2007

Sunday 6:00 CST: server's back up!

They got the server back up a few minutes ago, so get your votes in now!

Sunday morning: video site is down

Ack! The video voting server went down about 8:30 Sunday morning. No idea when to expect it back, so hold onto that vote and check back later today.

Miss January Double Gatefold

Vargas, January 1946, Esquire Magazine

A "gatefold" is like a centerfold, except that instead of being attached to the magazine in the middle of the print (staples in the navel), it's attached at one end and then folded into the magazine. Most of the vintage Vargas pieces you'll find are gatefolds, or calendars published by Esquire that were collections of the gatefolds from the previous year.

This gatefold is rare because it was the only Varga Girl double gatefold Esquire published. It was attached at the end and then folded twice into the center. It's REALLY BIG, as you can see in the photo. The reverse side has small versions of all the Varga Girls for the coming year (or possibly the calendar for that year; not entirely sure), the "Varga Varieties of 1946: Esquire's 'round the year revue; Twelve to the bar, just for you".

The model in this painting is Jean Dean, Vargas' favorite redheaded model. I'll tell you more about her in future posts.

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29 September 2007

Wring Us for Work Well Done

K.O. Munson, 1953, folded business brochure

Another Munson, this one without the sketches in the margins. "Wring Us", get it?

They just don't write advertising copy like they used to.

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28 September 2007

message to new visitors

Welcome! I bet you want to know what's going on here. Besides sexy babes, that is.

I'm a finalist in a video contest, for my video about my pinup collection. First prize: $20,000!!!

I need your votes to win. You can vote once a day per unique email address through October 19. I need all the votes I can get--it's a tight race so far--so I'd love to have your vote(s) every day!

You know what to do. The babes will be here when you get back.

P.S. Subscribe to this blog's RSS if you want a handy-dandy daily reminder + link + sexy babe.

men don't make passes...

This is a clipped out page from an Esquire calendar, late 1950s. I don't know who the artist is, and I can't read the signature. The style looks a bit like Al Moore to me, but the sig says "Al Tarter" or something similar. Can any of you illustration buffs enlighten me?

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P.S. To all the voters out there: you guys rock!