By Jim Linderman
Jayne Mansfield may have been one of the most photographed women in the world during her brief lifetime, but even fifty years after her death they are “still out there” pun intended. A recent auction reveals numerous unseen and unpublished photographs of the woman who put the blonde bomb in bombshell.
Vera Jayne Palmer was born in 1933 and passed away in 1967 leaving behind a massive celebrity legacy and a plethora of photographs, yet no one complains when more turn up. The photos here are attributed to Milt Palmer, at one time a photographer working for the Las Vegas New Bureau. Other photographers working for the bureau included Don English, Jerry Abbott and Joe Buck. Many of their photos are deposited at the University of Nevada Las Vegas Digital Collections department of the library, who provide free online access to the images, and they do include several images likely from the same events as these dated 1956. Sure enough one of the images here has been dated with a grease pen.
The pictures shown come from original working contact sheets retained by a friend of the photographer, so it is unlikely they are in the archive.
Similarly, the Las Vegas News Bureau, still operating (but incorporated into the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) allows access for non-commercial use of images from the working photographers who documented the growth and splendor of the city. Again, these pictures are not indexed in their collection, but many are. The Las Vegas News Bureau has been working with agencies and planners to promote news and events in Southern Nevada for sixty years. Their online exhibition “A Photo History of Vegas”) contains images dating back to 1905, when the city was established.
Most notable are the bureau’s photographs of the city architecture, but Jayne here was built like a brick too. Although not generally credited with the concept, it was Jayne who invented the Wardrobe Malfunction, and the photo of Sophia Loren miffed at Ms. Mansfield’s breasts has to be one of the most famous photographs of the 20th Century.
Miss Mansfield was victim of more than a tragic accident. A purported nude stag film was openly offered for sale after her death in men’s magazines, but it was mostly a ruse. There were likely several versions of the spurious product, but one consisted of bubble baths and “walking” shots of the actress cribbed from her films with some extended footage. One of the bogus films has been loaded HERE.
We prefer the magnificent clip created with the help of Little Richard, Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent from The Girl Can’t Help It, a 99 minute progenitor to the music video which has never been matched… and never will.
These photographs were outtakes and purchased on ebay recently. Enjoy!
NOTES: While these images are likely not held by the institutions, The Las Vegas News Bureau is HERE and the University of Nevada is HERE. Their copyright claims are reprinted below and may apply to the unpublished photographs shown here. The brochure for the spurious Jayne Mansfield stag film is in the collection of Jim Linderman. Barbara Martine was a little documented West Coast distributor of soft core pornography in the 1950s and 1960s. The Jayne Mansfield Official Site is a Legends property maintained by CMG Worldwide, the exclusive Business Representative for Jayne Mansfield HERE. Images taken from original contact sheets collection Jim Linderman. There are numerous fan pages devoted to the icon on the web, including the Jayne Mansfield Online Fan Club, the lovely Jayne Mansfield and her House of Love and one claiming she was a Satanist which we will allow you to find on your own.
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Nothing promotes Las Vegas better than stunning photography. Download these high-res JPEG images for use in your print or online promotional material. The Las Vegas images displayed are for use in editorial that promotes the Las Vegas area as a travel destination. They are not for commercial use. Photo credit must be given to the Las Vegas News Bureau. By downloading, you agree to use the images in accordance with these restrictions.
Jim Linderman is a Grammy-nominated collector, popular culture historian and author. His network of blogs is approaching 4 million page views, and his VINTAGE SLEAZE BLOG which tells a true story from the golden age of smut every day has over 300,000 Facebook followers. For several years he has been working on TIMES SQUARE SMUT which will tell the story of several long forgotten writers, illustrators and mob-connected publishers from the 1950s who ultimately influenced contemporary culture.