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Britain's Answer to Jayne Mansfield

The Ontario Intelligencer
3 December 1957

by Dick Payne

"Something intellectual, with a touch of the risque."

That, reported Ted Douglas of the Windsor Star, was what Wilson Craw of the Peterborough Examiner and Joseph Collins of the Guelph Mercury thought was required fare for our first night In London.

We were all wide-eyed and eager to go, In spite of the fact that It was now Monday evening, Greenwich Mean Time, and most of us had not slept since climbing onto a TCA Super Constellation at Malton Sunday afternoon.

We were so eager to go, in fact, that my room-mate, Douglas, and I decided not to wait for our Peterborough and Guelph friends who had become interested in some other aspect of London life, probably dinner at the May Fair Hotel.


So we set forth to view London. We made our way from Berkeley Square, in the fashionable West End of London, to Piccadilly and down it to Piccadilly Circus. There, down Shaftesbury Avenue, blazed the theatre lights. I spotted Noel Coward's name on one marquee and we made a bee-line for the theatre. The wickets were closed [sic], the play had started.

Douglas and I realized with a touch of panic that what was true of one theatre was probably true of all. We were going to draw a blank our first night in London. Then, down by Leicester Square, we spotted a theatre with some activity around It. Hurrying down there we found it was the Prince of Wales, that the performance started in about a quarter of an hour and that it was a revue. "Pleasures of Paris."

Risque? Looked likely. But intellectual? Well, hardly, but you can't have, everything. So in we went. Good seats in the stalls, cost us 12½ shillings each, or about $1.80.


This revue featured Sabrina. Now in case you don't know, is Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Dagmar, all rolled into one, and a very cood answer, too. On British TV she just stood and heaved her bosom; since this is a reputed 41-inch job above a 19-inch waist the TV producer maybe figured that this was enough work for one little girl. In the "Pleasures of Paris" she was also required to dance. But nobody looked at her legs. She was always giving her audience a profile. And it wasn't banners which went on before.

There were also dancing girls who could dance. And girls who may have been able to dance but were not allowed by the Lord Chamberlain to do so, they, being considered by the British to be nudes, a definition with which a Canadian would not quarrel, although a Parisian might. Nudes must be motionless.

There were also comedians; their jokes sounded new, but one wondered whether they could be. Surely a new joke could not possibly get so dirty.

And, to cap the performance, there was 'Miss Glamor," a colored wench who shook like a bowlful of jelly, only much more attractively. If her dance was not actually obscene, it was certainly so suggestive that even a monk would have got the message.


Douglas said that if the show had been run In Detroit, police would have closed it up. Because of "nudes". Seemed strange, that: one never looked at them after the first five minutes of the show...


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Last modified Wednesday, 05-Apr-2023 10:23 AM

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