Hollywood’s 14 Most Exciting Females (Screen Album, Nov. 1954 – Jan. 1955)

This post is a part of TMP’s Historical Context series, where I share tidbits from my vintage magazine/book collection.

“Hollywood found a word for it. The word was glamor. What’s the difference, you say, between glamor and beauty? Well, beauty, as the poet tells us, is truth — and Hollywood obviously was not searching for the truth when it discovered the uses of make-up men and wardrobe mistresses, not to mention henna shampoos. What Hollywood was searching for (and found in abundance) was glamor — for glamor, as Mr. Webster tells us, is ‘a deceptive charm, a glorified illusion.'”

With this dramatic introduction, the November 1954 to January 1955 issue of Screen Album launches into its list of the fourteen most exciting actresses in Hollywood history. The list is broken down into four categories based on the traits that Screen Album sees in each actress, or traits associated with their screen persona. The list progresses as follows:

Vampires – “The witch, the vampire, is supernatural; she promises men a kind of sensuality which is, in a phrase, out of this world. She brings men secrets. She appears in elegant nightmares…”

(Image via theatreoffashion.co.uk)
(Image via theatreoffashion.co.uk)

Examples of the “vampire” type:

  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Veronica Lake, who “has obviously wafted down from the cold, dark side of the moon.”
  • Theda Bara, “the original vampire, [who] has just emerged from her mad cave.”
  • Gloria Swanson, who “has plainly been lying under her veils waiting for her lover for a few thousand years.”

Dreamboats – “A girl who doesn’t scratch or bite; a rather quiet Miss, with soft edges; a glamorpuss who comes closest to the conventional idea of beauty — but with what a difference! First of all, though she doesn’t brag about it, you can tell from the look in her eye that she’s been around. You might also notice that her lips are a bit fuller than yours and that her cheeks seemed to be bathed in illustrious shadows. She’s not at all aggressive. She believes that patience is a virtue, though she never has long to wait.”

(Image via Fanpop)
(Image via Fanpop)

Examples of the “dreamboat” type (though, curiously, individual comments aren’t made about each of these ladies as they were for the “vampires”):

  • Elizabeth Taylor
  • Dorothy Lamour
  • Carole Lombard
  • Lana Turner
  • Hedy Lamarr

Bombshells – “How do you make like a bombshell? Start ticking, ladies, and then explode. You can’t lounge around like those lazy-legged dreamboats; you’ve got to be up and at ’em twenty-four hours a night. You’re glamor transformed into pure energy, which is not so pure, after all.”

(Image via Fanpop)
(Image via Fanpop)

Examples of the “dreamboat” type:

  • Jean Harlow
  • Betty Grable, who can always be found dancing
  • Rita Hayworth, who has “a certain animal vigor” even when she’s “just sitting in a room”
  • Marilyn Monroe, who “leans forward aggressively” in conversation
  • Mae West, who’s got her “knee up and hip out” and is “like Coney Island on the Fourth of July”

The issue’s cover girl, Doris Day, does not appear in any of these lists of “types.” I imagine that’s because she didn’t suit any of them, and the compiler of the lists was unwilling to admit that there are, in fact, more than three types of people in the world.

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6 thoughts on “Hollywood’s 14 Most Exciting Females (Screen Album, Nov. 1954 – Jan. 1955)

    1. Ooh, that’s a good idea! Screen Album’s categories are definitely problematic. Not to mention, their descriptions of these women read like bad fan fiction haha. Feel free to make a list on your blog if you’d like, I would love to read what you’d come up with!

      Like

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