In a certain way, I feel like every book in my library has a story...just as every object has a story, too.... Here above...quite a few Broadway scores. And mixed in with these complete scores are three invaluable Stephen Sondheim songbook volumes...and a wonderful book on Sondheim, the musical theatre genius of the late 2oth century. Here is another case where I have two copies of the same book...one was a gift and I honestly don't mind having two copies...lol....One can never have enough books on Sondheim, either....He is my 'Musical God'.....
Going back to Bettie Page....and the question of why I have this book about her in my library....here below is the story.....Back In The Day.....the summer of 1953, I was working at The Sea Cliff Summer Theatre...(my third summer there, the first two I was an apprentice and acted in some plays, and in 1953 I worked in the Box Office and also acted in some more plays....)..Bettie Page was an apprentice, that summer. Being an apprentice in Summer Stock was, in those days, something that almost every want-to-be-actor, director, set designer, etc., had to do as not only a right of passage, but it was a fabulous learning experience and brought you in contact with real working actors and directors and producers, and it was a way to get your Equity card, which made you a "professional" actor, in the eyes of 'the business'. But it was a rather exploitive job because basically you were pretty much a 'slave', of sorts....You recieved no pay and you had to somehow pay for your own room and board....And you went through this for the privelage of working 20+ hours a day doing everything from building and painting sets, to cleaning toilets, and working the shows at night, either backstage or out front....this took real dedication and a true desire and passion for the theatre, and enough money to subsidize your summer of slavery....In order for Bettie Page to do this, she had to be able to take two days off a week to 'go to work', in the city...(Sea Cliff was about 25 miles outside of Manhatten, on Long Island....). Thinking about this later, I realized how wonderful and cooperative it was on the part of the Producers to let her do that and how dedicated she was and how much she wanted to be in 'the theatre', to take on all that she did. None of the rest of us knew what it was she was doing away from the theatre on those two days, and some of the apprenti resented that she seemed to have been given this special dispensation.
It was my friend Sammy who told me what it was she was doing....and I admit at the time, it was kind of shocking. I was only 22 and very naive...Plus, it seemed like it was very out of character. Bettie was this wholesome 'girl-next-door', girl....I couldn't quite imagine the girl I knew posing with whips and chains half naked....and sometimes, all naked! That's how stupidly naive I was. None of us knew she would become the incredible icon that she did. I remember seeing sometime in the late seventies, I think, a series of paintings in a gallery, all of Bettie, in the kind of Petty & Varga poses we all knew from Esquire Magazine. Her image was unmistakeable...the black hair and bangs and that beautiful open smiling face....And she certainly did have the most beautiful body....though none of us working at Sea Cliff saw that....lol...Well, maybe one or two of the fellas did.Then in the eighties we all began to see a lot of things for sale with Bettie's image on them...pins and picture books, etc. The "icon" status had begun in earnest.
Back in the late eighties or early nineties I think it was, a writer named Karen Essex wrote a very extensive article about Bettie Page in a paper here called LAWEEKLY, and in the article she asked anyone who had ever known Bettie to contact her---Karen Essex, I mean---as she was planning on writing a book about Bettie. I wrote Karen Essex a letter mentioning my knowing her slightly at Sea Cliff and Ms. Essex called me and interviewed me and asked me if I had any pictures of Bettie or Sea Cliff, etc. I had some pictures of Sea Cliff but none of Bettie...Anyway, Karen Essex quoted me for her book and I bought the book when it came out....So there you have it.
I went to Amazon to get the front cover image of this book and they said there were seven copies available, starting at $89. When I looked to see how expensive the top price is among these seven, the most expensive book---"still shrink wrapped..." was $197. plus change! Who knew? I'm glad I bought the book when I did! (lol)
It feels like I will be doing some more of these Bookshelf Posts....Maybe not as quickly as the first three, but very soon, because there are a lot more books and and a lot more story's to be told, too....
More To Come.......
Books and beauties. Up close and personal.
Oops. Here from Michele's this evening.
I am thoroughly enjoying this tour.
"Who Wrote That Song?" ~ oh, I will have to find that. How far does it go...year~wise, that is.
How cool about Bettie Page! Wait until I tell my daughter Emma. She will flip! She bought me a Bettie Page bobble head, which is what is on MY bookshelf.
That sculpture is incredibly powerful. Wow.
And hey ... thank you SO MUCH for helping the hounds!!
Here by way of michele AND my own blog...
Hello Michele sent me :)
that was fascinating. Being a bibliophile myself, I love hearing about books and why people own them. I heard of Bettie Page after I came online and found I didn't dare use my real name to chat give it's Betty and somehow a lot of guys had the idea that Bettie and Betty were the same and instead of just thinking of her as being about seductive photos, they thought of her as easy.
Naomi, I like knowing that Bettie Page tried or wanted to be a legitimate actress at some point. I am sure she made much more money with the pin-ups, and it must have been hard to get out of something like that, once you started. Good post!
She sure was a beauty & in those days, stars were in their natural beauty. No plastic surgery or airbrushing photos, right? She's healthy, too. Not too thin.
That picture of the 'illegal operation' has got to be 1 of the most disturbing and sobering picture I have ever seen. Talk about a picture speaking 1,000 words.
I love this book series you're doing.
A house isn't a home without laden bookshelves. Here from Michele's tonight.
great pics of Bettie Page! Some time ago there was a program on about her too. Eventually, someone tracked her down but she wouldn't let anyone photograph her.
Wow! More books, Naomi! Another great post. I just dropping by to say hello, and I will return soon to read calmly. See you soon! Many hugs!
Naomi:just to let you know i have got the last two comments but not the one about my driving instructor. Will be back later - I don't want to miss this. My goodness!
Michele sent me back again. I took a look at your earlier book posts - wow! you do have a lot of books. I thought we had a lot, but I can't match your collection. And probably won't, because I have to rely on the library more and more for financial reasons. I'm very grateful for the library :)
Back again Naomi. I skimmed through last time and my eyes nearly popped out of my head as I thought Bette was you. She does have a lovely curvaceous body and fantastic legs. I thought that's something I never did - pose in the altogether and then I remembered. I did once, for a French painter.
I just love this bookshelves post and it kind of take me down the memory lane too. Like when I sneak peeked at Bettie when I was young:-)
You really have a vault of treasureable books and stories there Naomi and sharing it with us is a great thing to do!
I love all of your books. We don't have nearly the variety that you have but we are getting there. I loved learning about Bettie. Embarrassingly enough, I didn't know who she was until I read this. Now I find I have the need to go read some more on it. Thanks for sharing.
AS IS MY HABIT, I READ AND RE-READ YOUR WONDERFUL STORIES. THE BOOKSHELVES-PART 3 POST IS ANOTHER ADDITION TO YOUR FASCINATING LIFE IN THE WORLD OF THEATRE AND THE PEOPLE YOU KNEW. CAN'T WAIT TO READ MORE ABOUT THEM ALL.
I'M ALWAYS GLADDENED WHEN I LOG ON EVERT DAY.
Naomi, I think I've finally met someone who has more books than I do. That is saying something. How great to have all those shelves. My dad could make you a built in for those CD's; he made an oak one for my house in Mississippi.
Michele sent me back tonight, Naomi. Thanks for your visit; I laughed at your comment about looking for a letter opener on ebay. Like yours, my house is filled to overflowing, and I suspect neither of us needs to buy anything new! LOL
Thanks for your visit via Michele. Glad I know you now.
I relate too well with this post. I got too many books that are lying all over the place. Under the bed, on chairs, in corners etc etc.
Got too many other stuff too. Time I did something about that.
I feels good to kbnow that I am not the only one with too many things!
Fascinating. I adore reading your personal reasons for your books.
Loved reading the background between the arts of all types and your book choices/gifts. I always leave here with new interesting info. Love your personal twist.
That art image makes such a powerful statement here, I can only imagine seeing its impact in a gallery!
Hi there OOLOTH...
When I strated to read, I thought WOW, your researching the Cactii name, BUT, then we, my wife looking over my shoulder, wondered what the hell I was looking at... lol lol lol...
Here from Michele's tonight...
So THAT'S the rest of the story, huh? I googled Betty Page, as you instructed, and I was wondering what your connection to her was. She actually looks thin compared to a Marilyn Monroe type body. Page looks lovely in the photos, and I'm sure it was shocking to hear that she was posing nude or nearly nude. Today, it's not as shocking, but back then, I'm sure it was.
Hi Naomi! I feel the same, like every book in my library has a story to tell and to remember! Books are always the great companion!
There will be a Part 4? I am looking forward to read news stories!
Have a nice Sunday!
That was a fascinating story about Bettie Page, Naomi !
And the Sunset western garden book is my BIBLE for plants ! That and Village Nursery and Hines and Roger's Gardens !!! Gardens are such wonderful creations depending on the amount of sun or shade and the soil and....
Happy Sunday to you ! I will think of you amidst your beloved books, and smile !
Michele bade me to return, Naomi! I can't get enough of your books.
Hi again Naomi ! Hines (for blue point junipers) and Village (for Pittosporum tenufolium and annuals)and Rogers Gardens (for roses and camellias) are all nurseries / souces for plants for me around here !
Totally agree on Sondheim--what a freaking genius. A favorite bit, fitting for today:
It's a hit, it's a hit, will my folks have a fit? After all of that baloney they made me go through: All that, "Honey, not that he's a phony, but what does he do?"
Will their faces be stony when they see on their Sony someone handing the phony a Tony Award.
Naomi, here I am again! Thanks for the visit and nice comments. The Triangle refers to Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and all the samll towns in the 3-4 county area. I am old enough to be their mothers, but we seem to have fun (at least I do).
As to 30 hours in my days? No, not lately...LOL. I used to be a barrel of energy and in constant motion, but nowadays, only my fingers (typing here) are in motion!!
Oh dear, this is too much for me to comment, unless writing a short novel.
May we do talk a
together next year, when we will cross the north pond once again (this winter-we're going down to the silverland - Argentina for our Silver wedding). i.e. next Summer Michigan and California for family and friends + BC.
We have never been to Southern CA. And we would love to see your wonderful garden - live...
PS. My collection of BD's are mostly from Belgium and in French. I have my fav Store in Ixelles, now part of southern Bruxelles..
We are both a bit tired after Anna's event - 40 years celeb since graduation - me chauffeur and staying where I did - people in and out from 4 months to 79. plus the "hit in the rear". Have to what's needed regarding the Insurance and fic my car... that means: Monday will not be a normal working day.
T and A
"I feel like every book in my library has a story...just as every object has a story, too...."
It does. And I love the way you tell every single story here. Ms. Page would doubtless be proud that you have written her story so beautifully.
(Sorry for the late return from Michele's. I'm woefully behind on my commenting because Blogger blogs don't allow me to comment from a mobile device like my iPAQ or my smartphone (I just got a Motorola Q for work.) I was in Toronto with our son, so I ended up somewhat hobbled while away. Please forgive me!)
I watched a documentary on Bettie once and it was fascinating. She certainly was one of the first sexually liberated women....or not afraid to show her body. I couldn't imagine being that brave in that time. And her bangs are still very copied today. How cool that you knew her. She is indeed an icon.
I said it before and I'll say it again ... I've very jealous of your library :)
I really enjoyed this tour of your books Naomi! Fascinating about Bettie Page too!! You are lucky you went ahead and got that book!! LOL
The Dick Jacobs book, "Who Wrote that Song?" is indeed a wonderful one. Before the onset of GOOGLE, we copy editors used it at work for our fact-checking. I still often just sat and perused it, even when not having to check anything!
Naomi, Naomi, Naomi.... what incredible memories you have! I think this is what I am MOST jealous of with you! I am VERY nearly 50 years old and have really very few "memories"... but your mind is just FULL with these FABULOUSLY rich, wonderful memories! HOW do you STORE them all??? LOL! ( i guess on your book shelves and such... ) ;) I was very close on my guesses of how you knew Bettie Page!
And a funny thing! My son walked past while I was reading this post. He said MOM! What are you LOOKING at??? You shouldn't be lookin' at THAT STUFF! LOL! So I started explaining to him about YOU ... and about your wonderful life and home and ... everything... AND your connection to Bettie Page (and Bridget Hanley!) and then HE told ME that he learned about Bettie from the Red Octopus Tatoo Shop - where the gal who did his Tatoo has a full wall of Bettie Page art hanging, and has a couple of Bettie tatoos too!
Boy I dont know that Theatre in Sea Cliff! I was there last week and I love that town, its still very artsy there, just expensive! great LI history!
I really enjoyed this about Betty Page...talk about the story "behind" the story.
She certainly was stunning! Do you have any follow up on her? I'm assuming she's passed away?
Name: OldOldLady Of The Hills
Location: Los Angeles, California