May 27, 1949 (Hollywood, California)|
(Leave your comments, please)
It´s a hot autumn afternoon in late ´40s Hollywood, the sky is a sparkling blue, the sun beating down hot. Photographer Tom Kelley, working as a Associated Press Photographer, is driving down Sunset Boulevard, when he hears breaks screaming and metal crashing. There is a five-car pile-up right outside the La Rue Restaurant.
He pulls his car over to the curb and stops to take a look. No one is hurt, but as Kelley is about to drive away, something catches his eye. A priest is gesturing widly to the blonde who has rear-ended him. The girl (only 22-years old) is garishly dressed in a law-cut, red-and-white polka-dot sundress that´s two sizes too small, and very tall red high-heels. Kelley, unable to resist, shuts off his motor, jumps out of the car and is on his way across the street to investigate.
Kelley puts his hand in his pocket, pulls out a $5 bill and says:
- "Leave the car here, and take a cab. Call the garage later. Pay me back when you back". And he gives her his business card.
The two-hour session produced the immortal photos "A New Wrinkle" and "Golden Dreams," photos that sold millions of calendars worldwide and launched Marilyn into the hearts of countless fans.
In 1951, John Baumgarth creates a calendar featuring a nudie photo of a young and unknown Marilyn Monroe, with the words Your Advertisement Here underneath. It becomes one of the most sought-after pieces of schwag ever. the John Baumgarth Co. sold 6,000,000 copies of it, most of them after Marilyn became famous. The company cleared around $750,000 on the deal.
On March 13, 1952, an article published in the Los Angeles Times revealed that Marilyn was the girl from the famous "Golden Dreams" calendar. Marilyn admited it was her and that she felt nothing was wrong with doing so, that she needed money badly.
In 1953, when the movie studio first learned that the nude pinup hanging in gas stations from coast to coast was none other than its rising star – it was something of a scandal. The press assailed the blonde bombshell with questions. Was it true she had posed with "nothing on"? "Nothin" on but the radio," she replied with a guileless giggle.
At the end of 1953 a new men's magazine appeared on the newsstands. It was an adult magazine targeted to a sophisticated urban male audience. The magazine advocated a philosophy that was very new to the postwar 50's. It was that sex is a natural, wholesome and healthy human act -- not something to hide or be embarrassed about. Sex was an activity a normal single man might share with the girl next door.
The first issue of Playboy magazine sold over 54,000 copies -- a surprising number for a new magazine with no advance publicity. The profits from this first edition furnished the funding to continue publishing for a few more months. Indeed, Hugh Hefner did not date the magazine because he was uncertain there would be a second issue. He didn't know the magazine would become an icon of America's cultural history.
The startling sales of that first Playboy edition can be attributed to Hefner's good fortune of finding an exceptional centerpiece photo to lure America's males to the newsstand. Kelley's calendar photo of the nude Marilyn Monroe was that image - the image that launched the magazine that brought sex out of the closet into the glaring light of day.
Hefner bought one photo from Kelley, published it as his first centerfold, and American culture has not been the same since. Marilyn Monroe and Hugh Hefner showed us that sex is as natural as eating and sleeping - and maybe even fun and a little frivolous. Sex became more than mere procreation - a seismic shift in attitude for the dark, repressed 50s. Mr. Kelley died Sunday in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at 72. He had Cancer.
- "A New Wrinkle"
- "Golden Dreams"
- A new image of Marilyn by Tom Kelley
source: Tom Kelley in Everlasting-star Community
more information: The Lady on Red; The Original Marilyn Monroe Calendar 2006 Edition; Marilyn Monroe Red Velvet Collection