Today is the birthday of the legendary burlesque performer Ann Corio (1909-1999). In the 30s she was one of the top paid Minsky stars, earning $1000 a week plus a percentage of the house. After the final crackdown in New York, she moved to Hollywood where she became a pin-up model and a star of a chain of B movies with the best titles ever: Swamp Woman (1941), Jungle Siren (1942), Sarong Girl (1943), and The Sultan’s Daughter (1944).
Her name remains very well known today thanks to her Broadway show and book This Was Burlesque, various incarnations of which existed from 1965 through 1985. Here’s a clip from one of the editions:
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.