DiscoverYou Must Remember This101: Jayne Mansfield (Dead Blondes Part 9)

101: Jayne Mansfield (Dead Blondes Part 9)

Update: 2017-03-28


More famous today for her gruesome car crash death than for any of the movies she made while alive, Jayne Mansfield was in some sense the most successful busty blonde hired by a studio as a Marilyn Monroe copy-cat. Mansfield’s satirical copy of Monroe’s act was so spot-on that it helped to hasten the end of the blonde bombshell, paradoxically endangering both actress’ careers. But she did manage to star in Hollywood’s first rock n’ roll movie, Hollywood’s first postmodern comedy, meet The Beatles, experiment with LSD, cheerfully align herself with Satanism for the photo op, and much more. 

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yes remember this is sponsored by The Great courses plus sign up today and get the first full month free by going to my special URL The Great courses plus dot com slash remember there were also sponsored by Smith and Noble get twenty percent off your window treatments at Smith and Noble dot com slash remember the uh the the the or the are well to another piece of You Must Remember This The podcast dedicated to exploring the secrets and or forgotten histories of Hollywood's first Century Parks Canada where I'm your host for a long one and today is another installment in our ongoing series Dead blinds the the or the effects The The The The The The and the no shock to see you Crest the the the the the last week we concluded a series of episodes on Marilyn the female star who more other defined the decade of the nineteen fifty Jayne Mansfield was one of a series of stars various studios in an effort to compete with the money and ultimately culture changing supernova that was Marilyn these so called Marilyn copycats had varying success on their own merits Kim Novak became a legend Mamie and Jayne Mansfield became part of a punchline in pulp Fiction The The The comeback from the back and find a way for you we're looking at anything on hunting buddy Holly's much awaited Lucius Amro Section six which ones to main roads that his mom wrote the letters in the know CJ ministry Seamus of Madoff's from a smart the Mansfield experience was unique because from the beginning of her stardom she wasn't so much a substitute for as a parody of her Mansfield was college educated she spoke multiple languages she wasn't an innocent who was preyed upon by a vampire industry she was a natural brunette and naturally extremely curve HS and she had shaped herself into a blonde before heading to Hollywood because she sensed an opportunity she offered herself up to the industry believing she was smart enough to play the dumb blonde and still maintain control and she might've been able to hold onto that control in another era maybe even just ten or fifteen years later that Mansfield was both a product of the nineteen fifties and a victim of tiny she was the last in a long of lawns hired by Fox the studio that by the early nineteen sixties as we discussed in our last episode on Monroe was in transition and in trouble to some extent or another all the studios were and none of them would be in the business of signing and molding contract stars for much longer Jane was one of the last to get in under the wire and though she wasn't responsible for the collapse of the studio system her larger than life walking cartoon of the blonde bombshell may have accelerated the end of that type at least at that stage of Hollywood's evolution join us won't you for the story of Jane Mansfield the As you may have guessed from listening to this podcast I love discovering the great courses plus there's so much to learn from their wonderful award winning experts about all kinds of topics as a member I have unlimited access to watch their entire library there over a thousand lectures and more are at I can learn people and places my photography and cooking skills and am you should one is a course called The Secrets of Great Mystery and suspense fiction this course has several lectures for women in the from Lady Detective they're also lectures on dime psychopaths and Mind hunters true crime century Great courses plus you'll get the first full month free by going to my special The Great courses plus da com slash remember Get started Today you'll love a sign at the Great courses last da com slash and band The Great courses class dot com the ER bar and Vera Jane Palmer in nineteen thirty three the future Jayne was an excellent student at her Dallas when she found herself pregnant at age seventeen she married again off again boyfriend Paul Mansfield and then completed her high school degree after giving birth to a daughter Jane senior college studying drama but also chemistry and posing nude for art class when began making a splash around fifty three Jane became inspired to follow suit her husband had just been discharged from the Army with the and he agreed to move the family out to Los Angeles and give Jane's bed for stardom sex on the She was screen tested who declined to offer her a contract then she at Republic Pictures the B grade studio that had helped launch the careers of Carol Anderson John air Jane that she wasn't the prettiest girl in the casting office Jane not been the prettiest girl before then she met Jem hire a publicist to agree to take her on the Iran masterminded to gimmicks that helps chain get her face in the newspaper the first he found her skimpy Santa Claus costume and had Jane eight pre Christmas visit in costume to every newspaper and then in January fifty five are chio pictures through a junket for the three D Jane Russell movie underwater in Silver Springs Florida according to reporter Lloyd Shearer in order to win over a mostly male press are kao shi Howard Hughes had populated the gym get with dozens of attractive females including legitimate actress is like Debbie Reynolds less established starlet under control dark AOL and what share or if a Mystic Lee referred to as clones several commercially minded girls who are majoring Business Administration they conducted night school in their own apartments and the quote Tom heavy blonde sat down next and introduced herself as Jane already giving off the vibe of the proud career arrest bashful figure work or ambition Mansfield told Cher or that she was sitting next to him because she had asked one of the publicity man which man could do the most good for her future the share to mirror and told her she'd been hacked he was just a writer but surely there was something he could do for her she said I've just got to become a screen the Shearer observe her quote jiggling her and bust obviously talented and he told her that Kenya Act to which Jane Mansfield shot back The Ken acts as it turned out Jane Russell the star of the movie that occasion the junk it was delayed in New York and would show up a full day late Mansfield son opening and took a According to share or she cleverly use that one day to steal the spotlight by posing in a tiny bikini for every photographer she could find the Mansfield struck Shearer adds quotes Self exploit a day of the bizarre intelligence and determined soon after the ten K Jain pose for Playboy for the first and after photos appeared in the February nineteen fifty five edition of the magazine Jayne Mansfield was signed to a contract at Warner Brothers The the publicity stunts had worked in that Jane had used the attention drawn by her body to land a career opportunity she wanted her husband had enough I began to not like what I saw and I told her that Paul Mansfield later remembered I just couldn't stand the attention she was receiving from other men I could see myself as a Mr. Jayne Mansfield and that really wasn't what I'd stop for my life a few months later Paul Mansfield would leave his wife and young child Hollywood broke up our marriage Jane would later say adding that the specific culprit was quote my desire for stardom I was a real bitch after we came to Hollywood the Warner Brothers never did much with Jayne Mansfield which in retrospect was a much of a surprise of all of the studio's WB had the least amount of expertise with blonde bombshell this video Doctor after a few months finally she was often a part on Broadway in a new written by George Axelrod the playwright behind the recent play turned smash Marilyn Monroe film The Seven Year itch Will Success spoil Rock Hunter was a modern Hollywood satire dealing with an actress named Rita Marlowe who is transparently modeled on when the show opened at October nineteen fifty five Jane became an instant Broadway star she insured her ubiquity in Manhattan by offering shop owners an autographed five by three blowout print of her body with an exclusive pose for each store about halfway through the smash hit displays year Jane spent an off night at another show in nineteen fifty six sixty three year old Mae West the groundbreaking writer and comic actress behind nineteen thirties hit movies like I'm No Angel and She done Him wrong hand it started to film in thirteen years but she continued pushing boundaries on the stage Jane went to see May's show at New York's Latin Quarter nightclub in which May performed in front of what she called a wall of man scantily clad body builders everyone one member of the wall was a former Mr. Universe named Mickey Harte A after the show Jane went backstage and was introduced to me the he was as exaggerated character of masculinity as Jane was of femininity they fell and something like love at first sight Will Success spoil Rock Hunter coz twentieth Century Fox to take an interest in Jane she was so good at mocking Marilyn that the studio got the idea that she might be a suitable replacement for her or at the very least hiring a girl who would become famous for her to race of impression of Maryland might humiliate the real into being more compliance law Marilyn was in England making the second of two films that she would produce the prints in the show girl Fox signed Jayne Mansfield to a contract and bought the rights to turn in Will Success spoil Rock Hunter into a movie when her play and in September nineteen fifty six Jane headed back to Hollywood Rock Hunter was going to be adapted for the screen by writer director Frank that Ashlyn but first Fox decided to soft launch their new blonde by casting her in another tassel and film The Girl Can't Help it's that Ashlyn had been a cartoonist turned producer of Porky Pig and bugs Bunny shorts turned Marx Brothers gag writer turned director of live action comedy features starring Bob Hope and Martin his two Jayne Mansfield movies established Mansfield screen persona fully perhaps to fully she'd never find equivalent vehicles for her unique talents again The The The Girl Can't Help It was a satire of celebrity featuring Jane as the girlfriend of a gangster who is determined to turn her into a singing star to that and he hires a publicist played by Tom you all of the seven year itch to promote her it also featured on screen performances by fats domino Little Richard and other emerging rock stars making it one of the first real rock'n'roll movie it's Elvis Presley had only made his film debut a couple of months before Will Success boil Rock Hunter was a post modern satire one of Hollywood's first but it was still a Hollywood movie of the nineteen fifties which meant it also still had to be propaganda for Hollywood movies but the big screen experience to offer that TV couldn't and so the play which sadder as the movie was adapted so that the movie while poking plenty of finance fields movie career would otherwise spare Hollywood to focus on the advertising and television both The Girl Can't Help It and Rock Hunter were shot and Cinema scope and both included gags mocking the inferiority of television in comparison to a beautiful white screen both films anticipate a surge in nineteen sixty sensibility even as they remain fundamentally fifties at their core they are sweet rather than vicious in their mode of critique the way that makes something like the apartments which dealt with similar material as Rock Hunter three years later feel like a lecture in comparison before working with cash and Jayne Mansfield was famous enough to have her photo in Nice my newspapers and magazines but only a tiny percentage of people who saw those photos only those who had seen her tiny parts in a few Warner Brothers movies and those we've been in New York to see her single Broadway show had actually seen her act guided by Tash lens cartoon sensibility Jane became something like a real life Jessica Rabbit if Jessica Rabbit usually had a smile on her face there's a sequence in The Girl Can't Help It about fifteen minutes into the movie in which she walks down the street almost in slow motion as Little Richard's version of the title song plays on the soundtrack she passes an ice delivery man who finds that his product turns to water in passes she smiles at a milk man and once he gets a look at her from behind the top pops off his bottle and white fluid starts hurting down his hand this scene is a joke about Jane's body the more than that it's a joke about the air as attitude toward such women the Milk Man gag is just a literal icing with the media was telling supposed to feel every looking at legs are in the news in Will Success spoil Rock Hunter Mansfield performs a spoof on Marilyn she's going to New York to be in seclusion and start her own production company her next film is a drama about two Russian brothers which is the clear joke about Marilyn's stated desire to star in a brother's car mods off movie but the film also draws on Jane's own career as a target for mockery there are multiple not necessarily flattering reference as to the Girl Can't Help It and a film that she made later cast them for me here Jane's excessive femininity is both a joke in itself and used as a tool to make fun of a modern sent into a tailspin by the cultures tug of war between repression and teasing to elation Jane swivel her hips squeals happily to punctuate sentences poses with her head thrown back into the side of that sort of like he's trying to look at her own by listen to this scene where she's talking to her maid played by Joan blind The vocal similarity to Marilyn is stand in the I i did i done to boon Gould who keep me in the Hat and the like I mean the wonderful AC DC peeling but that is not love I now Tony Randall plays rock the mask elated man who wears an apron to cook breakfast for the nice he's inexplicably single parenting and frets about his image to his secretary slash girlfriend there's a scene in which he calls Jane the titular head of her own production company and she throws herself on him he barely lets her You're hurting me he cries but he's so overwhelmed by her sheets that a bag of what seem to be already popped popcorn explodes in his pockets the Iraq venture doesn't suggest that the cartoon of sexuality is a suitable romantic there's a scene in which rocks also blind also banging girlfriend Britt and so have been thrown into a wave of insecurity by the mere presence of Rita Marlowe just in order to screw with Rock the implication is that smart women know better than to let the cultures panic over bombshell blondes affect the way they feel about themselves because bombshell are so patently ridiculous and passions movies James bombshell is a walking punchline and a catalyst for mocking men for falling for her in that sense the peak Mansfield persona is rather unlike Marilyn who even in her sex comedies never suggested mention the critically about their powerlessness in the face of her body in this way Mansfield was more like Jean Harlow in fact strictly in terms of the persona they both put forth on screen and comedies Jayne Mansfield as directed by Frank Castle and was perhaps more like Jean Harlow then Marilyn ever manage to be this is still early career but she are so good at punching the bombshell bubble that you can imagine two things happening after this that anyone would want a sincere blonde bombshell and that want Jayne Mansfield do anything else at this crucial moment in her movie career another star that might have tried harder to conform to the image being sketched for her by the studio Jayne Mansfield seem determined to complicate that image it would be quite accurate to say that she wanted to percent herself as she really was because she was still actively joining up publicity stunts she was absolutely game about inventing excuses for the press to pay attention she loved being the star and loved playing the part in her oft times so much that at one point she threw shade at an unnamed possibly for buying into quotes this new fad of blue jeans and sweaters I would allow myself to be seen on hair up and no makeup as one blind actress did in Beverly most shockingly in some interviews she hinted at an awareness of sexuality as a construction she claims she was totally unaware for sex appeal and then and virtually the next breath say things like men want women to be paint helpless and do lots of briefing at the same time Jane refused to play just a dumb or just a wanton sex hot after filming Rock Hunter she went on the ad Sullivan Show the way she played lead violin in front of a group of four this was perceived as something between a miracle and a freak show one of the male backing her up was quoted as saying the violin is very tough and any girl with a big bust who can play that well is amazing she also defied the studio when it came to her personal life Jane was still seeing Mickey Harte A and she wanted to marry him but Fox for bits was bad enough that their new sax star had a child which she refused upon off or hide they wanted to promote the illusion that Jayne Mansfield was a swinging bachelor acts as though the sexual fantasy she was selling what it work if men wasn't really available to them so they on fake dates stars said that the gossip columns and photo spreads would be full of the idea of Jane about town meanwhile she was sneaking off to see Mickey Harte A whatever she could although she couldn't see him at all when Fox wouldn't let him accompany her to the San Francisco location shoots of Kiss them For Me Stanley Dunham comedy in which Jane was second to build behind fifty three year old Cary Grant's Mickey stay home in Beverly Hills and Bill Chaney heart shaped swimming pool nor was Miki allowed to accompany European tour meant to promote Brock Hunter which had the effect of turning into an object of tabloid fascination nearly worldwide by the time she returned probably writing an ego high from the media Jane was confident enough in her stardom to defy her studio she announced at a press conference that she Mickey Harte A whether anyone else liked the marriage took place on January thirteen nineteen fifty eight months later Jane began headlining a nightly show at the Tropicana in Las Vegas this is not something she had been reduced to because Fox wouldn't give her a movie although the studio did advise against it but the nightclub act was something Jane really wanted to do her vision of her own celebrity was without question ahead of its time she approached the media much more like a modern reality star than a nineteen fifties but unfortunately for Jane it was the nineteen fifty at everything she was doing to feed her celebrity from marrying Mickey and pregnant to returning to the Vegas stage just a few months after birth thanks to the magic of diet pills was distracting her from making movies Kiss them For Me had bombed she had been a hit film since Will Success spoil Rock Hunter in nineteen fifty seven and now it was nineteen fifty nine and the most notable thing Jayne Mansfield was doing was getting photographed at a gala in honor of Sophia with her breasts spilling out so far out of her dress that her right nipple was captured for posterity the Italian actress lawyer and appears in this famous photo sitting next to Mansfield her eyes locked on the slipping nipple with what appears to be disapproval slash on her face and then suddenly it was the sixty s The chain had here dinner I will wash Western had filmed two movies in Italy including a ludicrous Hercules movie in which she starred opposite her muscle man has banned but she was still waiting for another Hollywood heads the summer of nineteen sixty two Jane was dropped by Fox she figured she abandoned her feet but soon thereafter Marilyn died just over a JFK was assassinated and right after that the Beatles had Jane should have been better equipped to deal with upcoming Youth quake the light of nineteen fifties contract stars after all The Girl Can't Help It had been one of the first rock'n'roll movies and had an impact on John McCartney who started playing music together shortly after the movie came to Liverpool but that was way back in nineteen fifty seven and Jane hadn't done much movie wise of note cents her whole persona had been in response to a cultural moment that had ended when the Beatles came to Los Angeles for the first time in nineteen sixty four Paul told reporters at a press conference that he wanted to meet Mansfield which may have been a joke much of what came out of the Beatles as mouse wasn't to be taken literally but this message got to Jane and a meeting did happen Chris Hitchens a journalist who is following the Beatles around claimed that Jane showed up at the house the band was renting unannounced and that was John had thoughts of seducing her he was turned off when Jane tugged of hair and asked Is this real John pointed to Jane's chest and passed the same
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101: Jayne Mansfield (Dead Blondes Part 9)

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