Friday, December 12, 2008

Goodbye Bettie Page

Everybody's favorite pin-up, Bettie Page, passed away yesterday. She was 85-years old. She had suffered a heart attack last Friday and had been in intensive care. Actual cause of death is said to be pneumonia.

I think just about everyone who is into spanking is familiar with Bettie. The spanking and bondage photos she shot with Irving Klaw are very well-known, and for many of us, they were the first spanking photos we had ever seen. Irving Klaw used a lot of models in his photos, but there was something about Bettie that stood out and captured our imaginations. Bettie thought that maybe it was her smile.

She may have been right, to a certain extent. Bettie had some acting aspirations that never amounted to anything, but she did know the value of the right facial expression for the situation. I always thought that was one of the things that set her apart from the other models she worked with.

According to Bettie, people were always saying that she was a sexual innovator. Funny thing is, she never thought of her pictures as sexual. She was just doing her work and having fun in front of the camera with friends. She was very free in front of a lens, just letting herself go, throwing herself into whatever the shot may be. She loved the camera, and the camera certainly loved her back.

Whenever I think of Bettie Page, the spanking photos come to mind, of course. But the one photo that stands out in my mind was her Playboy photo when she was Miss January, 1955. Bettie was kneeling at the base of a Christmas tree, hanging some ornaments, with a little red Santa hat on her head--and nothing else. As she reaches out to put an ornament on the tree, she's facing the camera, giving us a big smile and a wink as if she's letting us in on a joke--sort of, "Kind of silly, isn't it? Me, naked, decorating a Christmas tree? But at the same time, isn't this just FUN?"

Of course, there's a little bit of symbolism here that shouldn't be missed. By being under the tree, Bettie--in all her glory--could be seen as being our Christmas present. It was just what we wanted--and clearly, one of the best we ever got.
Goodbye, Bettie Page. You're right--it WAS fun! And God bless you......


CJ said...

Very nice tribute,Dr. Ken.

Anonymous said...

Very good tribute, Dr. Ken. I am sorry to hear that she has passed away. She is most famous for her photos and things like that. In fact, my boyfriend has one of her posters in our bedroom! She will forever be remembered and thanks for sharing. She will be sorely missed.

spankingbarbie said...

So sad when I heard. She was an inspiration to women everywhere as someone "real" and oh so sexy. She will be missed...and I enjoyed your beautiful tribute to her.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Ken:
Thanks for doing this very special tribute on Bettie. I always admired her. I think she was a trail blazer. I enjoy your posts, and am always waiting for your next one! Btw the pictures you picked are gorgeous.
Take Care
Andrades Girl

Radha said...

I agree, the pictures are fantastic! Yet again, I learn something new when I come to your site, Dr. Ken. As I am unfamiliar with Bettie Page, your tribute, to me, was quite informative and heart-warming.

What fun!

Dr. Ken said...

CJ--thank you.

Pest--your boyfriend has excellent test. :-)

Barbie--Bettie was about as real as they come. She never really understood the hows or whys of her fame. She only modelled for 7 years--1950 to 1957--and figured her photos would have been forgotten long ago. She always said she wasn't trying to be shocking, or a pioneer, and she didn't think of herself as liberated or ahead of her time. As she put it, "I was just myself"--which, come to think of it, may be another reason for her continued popularity.

Andrades--I'm glad you enjoyed it. I already had most of the pictures on my hard drive, but I had to go looking for that last one--odd, since that's the picture I remember the most! (And, as you can imagine, the picture wasn't hard to find...)

Radha--Maybe it's because I'm older--practically ancient, even (but not too old to warm a few bottoms, so careful with the comments, everyone!)--but it always surprises me when people DON'T know who Bettie Page is. I was listening to the radio on Friday, and the talk show host asked her two co-hosts if they knew who Bettie Page was. They both said, "No." One of them, for a few moments, thought the host was referring to someone local.
When the host asked the guy running the board, though, his response was a big, "Oh, sure!"
That made me smile....

pammie said...

Great post, Dr. Ken. I just discovered your blog linked to another one that I read regularly. I had planned to do a Bettie tribute, but yours was so well done that I just linked to it. I also added your blog to my blog roll.

I read your profile. Ironically, I am a 57-year-old spankee looking for a spanker. :-)


Michael said...

Great tribute, Dr. Ken. I agree about Bettie's facial expressions making her pictures a cut above the rest. Fare thee well, Bettie.


Dave said...

excellent tribute indeed, Dr. Ken.

Valdor said...

A really lovely and heart warming tribute, Dr Ken. Thanks for the great pictures too. The last one was a real surprise and yet so right for the time of year!

"She always said she wasn't trying to be shocking, or a pioneer, and she didn't think of herself as liberated or ahead of her time."

How true. I read that she even disapproved of the word "notorious" in the title of the Gretchen Mol film. She didn't think of herself in that way at all.

Mina said...

Nice tribute Dr Ken, she was a beautiful woman and will be remembered for a long time to come.


Dr. Ken said...

Pammie--geez, now if you only lived in Minnesota....*G*

Michael--I think too many models--then and now--forget about those little details. The right facial expression can be the difference between a really good photo and a mediocre one.

Dave--thank you!

Valdor--Oddly enough, that was one of the things that was special about her--the fact that she didn't think she was special at all. Her fans, of course, beg to differ.

Mina--that she will. Thanks for the comment!