Sunday, December 06, 2009

Strano... Molto Strano

Apparently there are some - gasping he clutches throat in horror - bare breasts of the female kind in the new production of Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman at the Metropolitan Opera. However the management has announced that the offending bosoms will not be shown in HD during the popular screenings in world cinemas next week but will be discreetly blacked out. Given that it is a live broadcast let it be hoped that there will be no "wardrobe malfunctions".

For some reason this little tidbit reminded me of a story a friend told me more than 30 years ago. Sally was a puppeteer and worked for the Krofft Brothers. Back in the 1960s they created a travelling show called Les Poupées de Paris. It was a success at two World Fairs and played around North America for several years. It was a marionette version of the Folies Bergere or Lido de Paris shows so popular in Las Vegas at the time. It had elaborate - waterfalls, ice rink, fireworks, revolving stage I mean elaborate - production numbers, big names voicing it - Pearl Bailey, Cyd Cherisse, Tony Martin, Bing Crosby, Liberace, Jayne Mansfield - and, of course, topless showgirls in the tradition of the great French revues.

Sally toured the United States with the show and worked the controls of three of the danseuses nues Pat, Toni and Rueby - all of the showgirls had English names another great tradition of the French Music Hall - as well as the Jayne Mansfield puppet. But in addition to controlling the puppets she had one task that she described - rightly so - as the most bizarre thing she had ever done in her life. Putting pasties on the puppets!

The laws in many of the cities they toured decreed that during matinee performances bare breasts of any sort must be covered. Thus every matinee day she would laboriously apply little tinsel stars to little wooden breasts and just as laboriously removing them for the evening performance. And so were the morals of places like San Fransisco (?) kept pristine and unsullied by exposure to wooden nipples.

Strano, molto strano!

06 decembre - San Niocla di Bari

3 comments:

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

stupid americans..sigh*

Willym said...

YDG: Not just 'mericans. I remember an African dance troupe being forced to wear bras in Toronto and the police being on hand to make sure they did! I think its a general North American thing - Calvinism and Puritanism at their finest.

Willym said...

Oh and by the way the only bras they could get back then where white... talk about strange!