Why Post Mediocre Cheesecake Stereoviews?
I’m doing it for you!
So why post what appear to be – and indeed are (read on) – outtakes from a pin-up photo session? As of beginning to write this, there is one artistic nude series available on Brooklyn Stereography, and two burlesque posts. That’s not a lot, compared to the 42 posts on the Great War, or the 24 travel/sightseeing posts. And yet, of all the topics covered on the site, I get as many emails asking when I’m going to post some more sexy ladies as I do messages inquiring about my Great War posts.
And it gets worse (for me) when you look at the analytics.
According to these stats, the post which gets the most consistent views since posting is “Miss Continentale #1: Paula“. Now granted, those are actually pretty decent for what they are – art nudes by a somewhat talented photographer. But whereas that post took me a few hours to scan and compose at the most, many of the posts on this site took a day or more to execute. In order to write about the Second Battle of Verdun, for example, I had to translate a bunch of information from French into English. And I looked through thousands of views whilst working for two days on my Remembrance Day post. These posts got, and get, lots of hits – but neither has received the daily attention of Paula since her post went live.
I think it’s only natural that a writer wants their deep delves into arcane research to be more greatly appreciated than random low-effort posts made whilst sitting next to their wife on the couch watching reruns of Kung Fu. I know I do. But whilst my first post on the 80th anniversary of the beginning of WW2 garnered thousands of hits within hours of posting, its hits over the month of September have been sporadic. Meanwhile, some acceptable VistaScreen art nudes posted in May get daily love.
So I reckoned “give the reader what they want”. You want pretty ladies? Here are some decidedly mediocre views of some pretty ladies – “A bevy of British Beauties” according to the series subtitle. Although burlesque is an artform in and of itself, and the key word in “art nudes” is “art”, appreciating the female form clearly enters into these posts’ popularity. “Sex sells”, as they say. (Or, as my wife says when I complain about these posts’ relative popularity, “everybody loves tits”.)
The Pin-ups In Question
The images for today’s post come from VistaScreen Series 40 “Glamour Models No. 2”. They were among outtakes from the superior “Glamour Models No. 1” – one of the first 20 sets VistaScreen released. Featuring a variety of models in suggestive, barely-dressed or implied nude poses, these are very similar to “No. 1”. However, they’re clearly the outtakes – while still good enough, the stereography isn’t as sharp, the poses not as good (and often only mild variants), and the compositions and lighting not as good. This is mediocre stuff to be sure. But then, these were gals Stanley Long was recruiting from local art colleges and camera clubs – presumably those that did not deign to shed their clothes. They were not professional models. It’s unsurprising that this is an outtakes set – of the 20 original VistaScreen series, many have one (or two) of these.
So why start with Set 2?
I have five reasons for showing these particular pin-ups right now. The first reason is that I have numerous copies of this set – almost enough to convince me that these were once free in a box of Weetabix. I think I have four complete sets, and 25 or so loose duplicate cards. But don’t quote me on that. I have a lot, we’ll leave it at that.
Secondly, I have one oddball variant that I’ll be displaying at the end, along with two theories for its existence. I think that both theories – mine, and my wife’s – are equally valid. However, I’d be happy to hear any further theories that anyone might have on this oddball. It’s a bit creepy. And I don’t have an analogue in my (single, plus a few loose duplicates) “Glamour Models No. 1” set. Thirdly, this set has the subtitle “A bevy of British Beauties”, which just makes it awesome.
Fourthly, I can assert that these particular scans come from an original printing of the set. There was an original set of pin-ups in the first 20 sets from VistaScreen; this version was printed some time in between that time period and the later date at which what I have dubbed “Supply List #2” was included in every set produced. A page regarding the supply lists will be coming to the VistaScreen tab after I get back from a long weekend in Pennsylvania starting on Thursday. But the absence of text referring to “over 100” sets on the back of the internal packaging is a huge clue here, and the oversized reproductions are proof positive that this was made early on – probably shortly after the first 20 were released, and the first pin-up series was a huge success.
And what’s reason number 5?
Reason number five is something I’m keeping close to my belt. And to that end, I’m keeping this section as a bit of a placeholder. Suffice it to say that I’m in a laboratory right now, and you are my rats. (Please don’t let this put you off. Rats are lovely animals. They’re quite clever, and even friendly under the right circumstances.) But I will – at some later date – fill in my reason here, so long as such filling in is warranted. Meanwhile, enjoy some cheesecake photos in 3D – and then go look at a random post on the blog. Because 3D ain’t all about pretty ladies! And come back in a few weeks – maybe Reason #5 will have appeared by then!
…and a real weirdo.
My theory on this stereoview: Innocent juvenile hijinx
Snooping around one’s parents’ belongings is part and parcel of every young lad’s path to manhood. In doing so, one learns many things – innocent, and less so. I’ll not make mention of what I found in my own snoopings. Meanwhile, I have other VistaScreen cards – particularly Weetabix cards and Junior sets – with childish markings on them. Some were clearly done to try to add to the stereoscopic effect of the card; some were more puerile. Suffice it to say that I was far from the first young boy to add phallic imagery to phallus-free media. So a possible explanation for this is that some boy found his pop’s sexy ladies, and decided to draw a silly smile on them. An innocent prank which also gives Dad a little of the old “haha, I know what you’re hiding amongst the boring chartered accountancy forms!”
My wife’s theory on this stereoview: A hidden (but common) paraphilia
My wife thinks that this is something no less innocent, but rather telling of the times – a homemade attempt at a BDSM pin-up stereoview. This too makes sense. In America, Irving Klaw‘s fetish work with Bettie Page featuring these sort of themes was already in common circulation if you knew the right dingy NYC marketplace. I’ve heard little if anything about wide circulation of BDSM materials in the United Kingdom.
So it’s entirely possible that someone with such interests decided to DIY it. What could be a smile could also be a gag – a common prop in the fantasies of those who enjoy this sort of lifestyle. Honestly, having considered it, I’m guessing my wife was correct – it’s a bit too well-done to be a child’s prank. It seems more likely that someone with something that was then considered a nasty paraphilia (and today is pretty well accepted by most) tried to draw some gags, waited for the white-out to dry, saw how horrible it looked through the VistaScreen viewer, and gave up having ruined only one of their pin-up cards. But who knows? We certainly never will.