As a 25-year-old seventh seed at Wimbledon in 1949, Gussie Moran made jaws drop and flashbulbs pop at the usually staid All-England Club in London when she showed up for her first match minus the knee-length skirt considered proper for women at the time.
She lost the match, but her striking fashion statement appeared on magazine covers around the world, the British press dubbing her "Gorgeous Gussie."
"She had no idea what she was getting into," Neworth said. "She definitely liked fashion and was very attractive, but she was very naive and hadn't traveled much."
Moran was ranked as high as fourth in the United States, would be a doubles finalist at Wimbledon and reach the singles semifinals at the U.S. Open, but would always struggle to be known for more than the skirt and the "Gorgeous Gussie" moniker she got from the British press.
"Gussie was the Anna Kournikova of her time," tennis great Jack Kramer said in 2002 in the Los Angeles Times, which first reported her death. "Gussie was a beautiful woman with a beautiful body. If Gussie had played in the era of television, no telling what would have happened. Because, besides everything else, Gussie could play."
In the 1960s she was once on a helicopter crash in Vietnam that left her with chronic pain and anxiety. The accident was the beginning of a downward spiral for Moran. For years, it seemed, her career and personal life were constantly in turmoil. She was sexually assaulted in 1975, leaving her battered and depressed. Broke, she worked anonymously in the Los Angeles Zoo’s gift shop for a time. She survived the last two decades of her life on Social Security after selling all the mementos from her tennis career, including her famous lace panties.
As a bonus today, this restoration/recolorization of a British magazine cover. The picture was in pretty bad shape. Original herehttps://i.imgur.com/8iRPWDy.jpg
I had to take extreme measures to get rid of all that noise. No programs do a perfect job at that. When it removes lots of noise it blurs the image too much.
That Gussie Moran became a sex symbol following the panties incident in 1949 is not so hard to believe by looking at this picture. She really was a very beautiful woman. She is actually wearing the dress and panties (minus the red items) that she wore the year before at Wimbledon.
It asks "What next Gussie?" because she had just recently decided to leave the International Tennis Tour. She Accepted a $87,000 contract from Jack Kramer and Bobby Riggs to join them and Pauline Betz for a series of professional matches. They wanted Moran on-board mostly for her sex appeal, despite the fact she hadn’t won a major tournament. That amount would be estimated at almost $900,000 today. Unfortunately for them, sometimes the arenas were half empty.
Making an exception this time only for the most beautiful woman in the world for the year 1942. That year Ava Gardner (19) married Mickey Rooney (his first of 8 wives). She was not yet a successful actress. Rooney the highest-paid actor and biggest male box-office draw in the world for three consecutive years — 1939, 1940 and 1941 — was catnip for some of Hollywood’s most beautiful women (Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland...). “He went through the ladies like a hot knife through fudge,” said Ava Gardner.
In 1943, when Gardner had had enough and tossed him out of their home (apparently, Rooney had been showing off his little black book of mistresses to buddies — with Gardner in the room!), she received an unwelcome visit from Eddie Mannix, employed by MGM’s top brass to keep their stars’ private lives out of the tabloids. He explained to Gardner that if she went public with her husband’s antics, she could kiss any chance of Hollywood stardom good-bye. In exchange for her staying mum, the studio gave her career a big boost. That happened in 1946 with her role of femme fatale Kitty Collins in "The Killers". It is regarded today as one of the best movies of the Film Noir genre. 1946, the beautiful Kitty Collins »»»»» https://i.imgur.com/kyJFr52.jpg
1935, a funny pose from a funny lady. Dorothy Lee, (May 23, 1911 – June 24, 1999) was an American actress and comedian during the 1930s. She appeared in 28 films, usually appearing alongside the Wheeler & Woolsey comedy team. They were a duo of comics inspired by vaudeville just like Abbot & Costello. She became so identified with Wheeler & Woolsey that she seldom appeared apart from them. Perhaps it didn't help her to last as a movie actress. In the early 1940s, after Robert Woolsey had died, Bert Wheeler was struggling to re-establish himself as a solo performer, and asked Dorothy Lee to tour with him in vaudeville. She immediately interrupted her private life to help her old friend and never again appeared on the big screen.
Geez! The net in those days was much higher than today's 42 inches high at the posts (1.07 metres). It seemed to be 4 or 5 inches higher back then.
Recently Nadal said it could be a good idea to raise the net a bit since the players are taller than ever, which gives the very tall servers an unfair advantage with a low net. In the old days with the wooden racquets, it was OK to play with a higher net since the players weren't hitting the ball half as hard as they are today and the serve & volley was the preferred style.
Mildred Davis (February 22, 1901 – August 18, 1969) was an American actress who appeared in many of Harold Lloyd's classic silent comedies. She was the one Lloyd chose to replace Bebe Daniels as his leading Lady and girlfriend. Daniels was not willing to retire to be a stay-at-home mom. On February 10, 1923, after they had starred in fifteen movies together, Mildred Davis married Lloyd. After their marriage, he announced that his wife would not appear in any more motion pictures. Four years later, after much persuasion on Davis' part, and much grief, she received her husband's consent for her return to the screen in Too Many Crooks, still a silent movie and her last ever role. They had two children and a third was adopted, Peggy Lloyd - see post #17 and 21 of this thread.
Note: You might ask yourself why there are so many pictures of actresses and models in this thread. The reason is that there are a lot more nice vintage images of them holding a racquet that survived to this day. They were photographed in professional photo shoots much more often than tennis players for many reasons. Before WWII it was very difficult to shoot a good on court picture of a player in action. The portable cameras, lenses and films were not good enough yet. It was used mostly for still photography and were very expensive. The pros were using large Glass Plate Transparencies (much better than films) for a single shot each time. Those cameras were huge and needed to be on a tripod, so prefect for still portraits but not very practical at a sporting event with difficult lighting conditions. Further more, shortly after WWII, color photography became affordable to the general public thanks to Agfa.
Daisy Speranza was a French Tennis player who won the French Championship in doubles four straight times with Jeanne Mathey from 1909 to 1912. Colorized from what seems to be the only existing picture of Speranza. Circa 1910.
Original Monochrome picture here https://i.imgur.com/oYk9GSY.jpg Note: The Original is actually an example of a Glass Plate Transparency I was talking about in the preceding post.
Queen of the 1944 Tournament of Roses, Naomi Riordan. She was 17 in September of 43 when some 1,000 young women between the ages of 17 to 21 from the Pasadena area were interviewed for the honor of serving as a member of the 26th Tournament of Roses Royal Court. The seven finalists, including the Rose Queen make up the Royal Court. Together they attend over one hundred events in the Southern California area and preside over the Rose Bowl Parade and Game on January 1st (American College Football). Last month the 2020 and 102nd Queen was elected. https://tournamentofroses.com/events/royal-court/
Here is the list of all the Rose Queens since 1905 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queens_of_the_Rose_Parade
Naomi Riordan was born on August 25, 1926 in Muskegon, Michigan. It appears she is still alive today. She would be 93.
Four years after this picture was shot, she became a Theater and TV plays actress in the very firsts years of television in the U.S. (1948). Before that year, only a few thousand rich people owned a television set. Her most important role was to play the wife of James Dean in "A Long Time Till Dawn" (1953) Kraft Theater (TV Series) shortly before Dean became a Hollywood Icon and tragically died in 55 in a car crash.
The French called her La Divine, or The Goddess. Suzanne Lenglen dominated women’s tennis from 1919 to 1926, the year she turned professional. As well known for her fashion sense as her game.
This picture was part of a photo shoot from December 1926, used by I.Magnin & Co. (a California-based high fashion department store), and for Lenglen's first North American Tour after she turned Pro. See this advertisement about the event https://i.imgur.com/rWFCBqH.jpg
She is wearing, as usual on the courts, the creations of the famous French Couturier Jean Patou.
Debbie Reynolds (April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016) was an American actress, singer and businesswoman. Her career spanned almost 70 years. Her film career began at MGM after she won a beauty contest at age 16 impersonating Betty Hutton. Reynolds wasn't a dancer until she was selected to be Gene Kelly's partner in Singin' in the Rain (1952). Not yet twenty, she was a quick study. Twelve years later, it seemed like she had been around forever. Most of her early film work was in MGM musicals, as perky, wholesome young women. She continued to use her dancing skills with stage work. Later in her life she owned her own casino in Las Vegas with a home for her collection of Hollywood memorabilia until its closure in 1997. It was the Hollywood Greek Isles Hotel & Casino, now known as the Clarion Hotel and Casino.
She was the mother of actress Carrie Fisher who became famous with her role of Princess Leia in the first Star Wars Trilogy. Debbie Reynolds died of a stroke on December 28, 2016, one day after the death of her daughter Carrie.
As a bonus today, this restoration (not a colorization) of a very nice vintage image from 1960.
Delaware Punch is a fruit-flavored soft drink created in 1913. Its formula uses a blend of fruit flavors, with grape being the most prominent. The brand is currently owned by Coca-Cola. It is not carbonated, and is caffeine-free. It was named for the Delaware grape cultivar first grown in Delaware County, Ohio, and the drink therefore has no affiliation with the state of Delaware. The beverage is difficult to find now, but is still served in some restaurants in Houston, in certain grocery stores in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.
Note: For the pictures with a very smooth gradient like this one, the PNG Format has to be used because it's a lossless format. The JPEG Format is a lossy compressed file format that would add some noticeable compression artifacts to the gradient and most of the sharp contours. It's fine for most pictures and should be used for its smaller file size but for some pictures like this one the PNG format does a much better job. A PNG can be a couple of megabytes in file size though if saved without any compression. This one is only 568k with medium lossless data compression. There is the new WEBP format introduced by Google that is better and gaining in popularity. It combines the advantages of JPG PNG and GIF, but as far as I know, no images hosting sites accept it yet without converting it to another format, so I can't post that format here for now. https://bitsofco.de/why-and-how-to-use-webp-images-today/
Anyone else miss this lady? We've seen her thousands of times for several years, on the header of this Forum before the change.
It can only be found in black & white as far as I know. Original HERE
... and now a word from our sponsor.
Donna Loren was the one-and-only "Dr Pepper Girl" from 1963 to 1968. She was signed to a long-term contract with the soft-drink company to sing all television and radio commercials, do all magazine and billboard advertising representing them in every capacity, sometimes sharing the spotlight with American Bandstand’s Dick Clark. This relationship led to her touring in Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars with other popular acts like The Supremes and singing solos in the popular Beach Party films starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. Later, she became the starring female vocalist on the popular 60's American live rock ‘n roll TV show "Shindig" as well as appearing in various singing and acting roles in popular TV shows like Batman, Gomer Pyle, The Mothers-In-Law, Red Skelton, Milton Berle. Her years with the company posted Dr Pepper's largest sales gains in their history to that time. Donna has released over 20 singles, an LP and 2 CD's.
NOTE: the numbers 10 - 2 - 4 stood for the best hours to drink one. They claimed it was when people's blood sugar is low.
(Restored from a faded color original of 1965)
July 1st 1977, Virginia Wade combs her hair before meeting the Queen. Minutes earlier Wade had won the Wimbledon Singles Championship for the first and only time, by defeating Betty Stove of the Netherlands 4–6 6–3 6–1.
During that summer Queen Elisabeth was celebrating the 25th anniversary of her accession to the throne (Silver Jubilee). Apparently she was bored by the match for she's not a tennis fan, but she was pleased to present the Venus Rosewater Dish to a British tennis woman.
Description from a catalog: The old reliable and always popular “Dreadnaught Driver” has been further improved by being made slightly shorter and further strengthened by binding the shoulders with vellum. Sturdy, rugged strength, yet graceful lines combine to make a weapon that will withstand crashing, smashing strokes and drives and give added speed and power to your play. Prominent in national, collegiate and local tournaments this model has helped many champions to supremacy. The frame is of special second growth ash with beveled edges. The throat is walnut. Shoulders are heavily reinforced on either side and are bound with attractive trimming gut. Double center stringing gives added strength and speed. Trimming gut holds main strings in place, giving additional strength. “America’s Foremost racket”is just the model for your game and worthy of your skill.
In the year 1934 It was sold at 12.00$, which would amount to 235$ US + taxes in 2020. So it was a racket most people couldn't afford shortly after the great depression of 1929.
Harry C. Lee & Co. began making tennis rackets, golf clubs and baseball bats in 1898. Their store and factory was located at 10 Warren Street in New York City. They were one of Althea Gibson's sponsors. She has been using the Dreadnought-Driver and at other times "The Bat" (another great racket model from Harry C. Lee). After she retired from tennis, she used their golf clubs from 1963 to 1977 as a pro golfer and was probably still sponsored by Harry c. Lee & Co. if they were still in business.
I'm not sure about the date this picture was shot. The racket is not one of the first offerings of this model from the 1910s, but the original picture looks very old. So I'd guess it was shot in the late 30s or early 40s. Another clue is given from the history of the photographer, George Marks. He opened his New-York studio named Black Box in 1936. He was making commercial pictures of women mostly for advertisement and magazines. He appeared in Life Magazine in December 1940.
See hundreds of retro-americana photos from him here.
Some low resolution pictures colorized quickly, because I'm bored.
1- Carling Bassett 1984
2- Gussie Moran kissing Bobby Riggs when she signed a pro contract in 1950.
3- Model Peggy Goldsmith 1940s
4- Crochet Pattern dress in the 1930s
5- Katharine (Kay) Stammers 1939. She was an offensive player. She was more successful in Doubles, winning three Slam Double Titles.
6- Chris Evert 1974 lifting the old RG Trophy, her first of seven RG Singles Championship.
7 & 8- Two models from the 1920s
Some more low resolution pictures, worth to be colorized, but would suffer to be enlarged. There are lots of those.
1- Betty May Nuthall (June 1927) was an English tennis player. She was the first non-American since 1892 to win the singles title at the U.S. National Championships and the last British female player to win it until Virginia Wade in 1968. 2- Sara Shane (circa 1952) was an American actress who starred in films and television in the 50s and 60s. 3- Ginger Rogers (circa 1950) Her love and talent for tennis came in handy at many celebrity charity events. 4- The book cover of "Helen Wills Tennis-Art-Life". 5- Daisy and Violet Hilton conjoined twins 1927. They were famous in the 20s and 30s for their vaudeville acts at freak shows and music-halls all over America. They died victims of the Hong Kong pandemic of 1968. Their tragic Story 6- Norma Shearer originally from Montreal Canada was a great Hollywood actress of the 1930s. She was fortunate that the audience of the first talking motion pictures liked her voice and her Canadian accent. Others were not as fortunate. Her numerous racy and nude photo shoots as a young model have probably helped her to be noticed in her beginnings, as will be so many other modeling actresses in future decades.
Lastly, a restoration of a picture called "Glamour Tennis Flapper" 1920.
This was probably a photo on paper colorized with water color or ink. The watermark on the bottom right makes me think it could have been sold as posters or postcards. Perhaps at Rolan Garros?