“Vamp” – Theda Bara

rolfThere was no actress who steamed up the screens
of early motion picture
theatres more than
Theda Bara– – –

She has been called
the original ‘vamp’:

and she really was
the American silent
screen’s first sex symbol.

Theda appeared in more than 40 films,

and although many a1
of them are now lost….

those films that remain
extant show an actress
who totally understood
how to project a personal
sense of smoldering, exotic
sensuality and desirability
through the camera lens.

The ‘vamp’ archetype
is an old one —

Men have almost
an inborn taste
for the idea
of a provocative,
dominant, wanton,
and assertive female,

who uses the power
of her femininity
and sexuality to ‘seduce’
them away from their
sense of ethics and judgement –

mystery—- capable of ‘taking control’
of their resources and their passions,

Even to the point of personal ruin.

Theda played that role
on screen like no one ever had,
and no one ever will—

….even modern literature
has rarely seen such
1aan intense characterization
of this concept —

And in this respect,
her performances have
more affinity for the
psychologist than the
cinema student.

The scripts could be
vastly different,

….. but she always brought
this allegorical aspect
into her characters.

In movies like:
“A Fool There Was”,
“The Devil’s Daughter”,
“Gold and the Woman”,
“The Unchastened Woman”,
and “When a Woman Sins”,

….. she played the head-strongthedabara ambitious female
that would stop at nothing
to get what she wanted-

whether the motive
was a mercenary one,
namely,
$$$$$…..

….. or whether her character
was driven by desire
for the fulfillment
of deeper needs and passions.1916

In the classic films:
“Sin”,
“Vixen”,
and the “Eternal Sappho”,

…. her rendering of the vamp
reflected the idea that sex itself
was subject to the darker forces a2
of the anima and animus
over which a person could
have very little control.

She also played more
classical divas like “Cleopatra”,

and Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet”,

thedabara……but always with that very unique Theda Bara edge.

The costumes used in a
Theda Bara picture were
often very alluring and transparent–

Her beautiful buxom figure,
deep set eyes, and almost
mesmerizing body language
combined to complete the package —

The effect that she had
on audiences can be
partly experienced by simply
looking at posters and publications
from the era featuring her image.sins

Male audience members
couldn’t take their eyes off her,

…… and women would
often faint or scream
during a performance.

Her impact on screen was magnified by the fact that movies were still in their infancy,

….and most audience members
had some degree of difficulty
remembering that what
they were seeing in the theatre
wasn’t reality, despite the
lack of sound or color.

She was quite aware of this effect,
and although she sometimes
tired of the ‘vamp’ role,

she was quoted in the 1920’s as saying:

“I will continue doing
vampires as long as people sin”.

1aWhile some film critics
like to speak of actresses
like the beautiful Clara Bow
as the earliest example
of a silent screen sex symbol,

Theda Bara’s work predates the
“It Girl” by almost 10 years,

….and while Clara’s persona
was one very in tune
with the twenties —
fun loving, perky,
and somewhat even innocent,

Bara’s work was Gothic,bara
darkly Jungian, and cerebral —

— as if nudging the
unconscious mind
where unresolved
fears and lusts,
the by-products of an
unenlightened
industrial age, still lurked.

(and still lurk)

Bara was born in 1885,
in Cincinnati, Ohio,
as Theodosia Burr Goodman,

…..and first appeared on stage
at the age of 23 in a play
called “The Devil” (1908).

Her first film was made in 1914,
in New York, called “The Stain”,

(she made 4 more in
the following year )

…. but within three years,
she, along with most of rest
of the fledgling motion
picture industry, had
moved to Hollywood, California.

aShe retired in 1926, and consequently, never made a ‘talking picture’.

She worked mainly for Fox Studios,

and when the Fox nitrate-film archive in New Jersey burned down in 1937,

—– most of her films
burned with it.

What we have left of her work
are some short previews,
fragments of clips, and
complete copies of only 6 films.

And, of course,
—- these wonderful posters and pictures.

One added point —

henry cliveThere are several very
important pin up art pieces,
that were inspired by Miss Bara —

The top picture on this post
was painted by Rolf Armstrong.

Another, this one on the right,
featuring Miss Bara as Cleopatra,
was painted by Henry Clive.

And, of course,
there was a set of
pictures taken of Marilyn Monroe,
doing homage to Theda Bara
as Cleopatra, as well.

A picture from that series is below.

marilynthedabara

.

So, here’s to beautiful,
sensual women of every age and era !!!!!

Hoy!

.

vamp

 

 

 

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Beware Friday The 13th

jinxHappy Friday
the 13th, Y’all !

Like last year,
(when there was only 1)
you might notice a
distinct paucity
of Friday the 13ths
this year.

That’s ’cause there’s only
two in this whole year.

Today, and
in October —
(on the 13th, of course)lemon

In 2015 there were three of ’em.

It’s probably
just as well, though.

Because ,
no matter how many
turn up on the calendar,

The whole Friday
the 13th claptrap
upsets a buncha folks.

And although I’m meow
not really one of them,

I do understand it hasn’t been
the best of all days
for folks throughout the years —

20 million people are said to suffer
from a serious case of what’s called
paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Oh sure,married

if somebody might come along
and force you to try
to pronounce THAT word,

— paraskevidekatriaphobia —

then,

you really would have
something to be afraid of.

I had a fit just trying to spell it.

The day’s been considered friday13t
a very unlucky one
ever since Philip the Fair
grabbed as much treasure—

— and as many Knights Templars —

as he could find in France
on Friday, October 13, 1307.

He had issued secret
arrest orders to his marshals–

not to be opened
until the early morning friday13
of that day —

and although his treacherous act
brought about his own
downfall eventually,

it still has come down to us
in the Western World
as a very bad day, indeed.

The Airlines plan for less traffic,

Restaurants plan for less tables,

Bars actually serve less booze,dynamo

the Police expect more
domestic disputes,

the Fire Department puts
more firemen on call,

the Hospitals expect
more accidents,

the Stock Market looks
for a downturn,

— and there sure have been
some really archie
crummy, creepy movies
made about the subject, too.

I can’t explain just how
a blood spattered maniac
wielding a noisy
gas powered chain-saw
while wearing a hockey mask
can sneak up on ANYBODY,

— but it must be ladder
possible, I guess.

Ok, I admit–

I don’t do horror movies,

’cause the real world offers
so much pain and degradation already,

I have no desire to watch it for fun.

So maybe this Jason guy
uses some secret potion,
exotic gas or mystical spell
to put his victims asleep,
EPSON scanner imageor at the very least,
make them stupid first —

I dunno.

Just once,

You’d figure somebody
would fight back, or RUN,

—- but, no —

They select a rotten hiding place
in the same exact graveyard
where the maniac likes to
spend all his quality leisure time,

Or they simply stand there13
wide-eyed and screaming
until the crazy guy stalks
right up to em.

Good plan.

Man,

I don’t get it.

It must be the same dynamic
that applies to the mindset
when they roll out
the just barely post-WW II era
Rikujō Jieitai Sherman Tanks 13
to get squished wholesale
by a completely impervious
and totally pissed off
Godzilla on the rampage,

— like so many
empty peanut shells
on the floor of a crappy
and ridiculously overpriced
local ‘steak’ house that doesn’t
know a rare rib-eye
from a well-done one.

Ok,cat
so,

I admit that particular
reference is a little low
and inside….

And somehow,

I think I got totally
sidetracked on food again.

Ahem.

Oh well,

Gimme a good13friday
Godzilla movie,
a tender steak,
and a curvy cutie
for a companion any day-
especially on Friday the 13th.

.

HOY!

fri