Time for another random book off the shelf here at the Library. Today's choice is 1987's THE BETTY PAGES # 1, the first issue of Greg Theakston's ode to every fanboy's favorite pin-up girl. Bettie (the correct spelling as we would come to know after she resurfaced) first turned up on my radar in a nostalgic photofeature in some long forgotten men's mag of the mid-seventies, her infectious smile outshining (for me at least) her more obvious charms. When I saw this little mag, a decade or so later, I still remembered her so I picked it up and joined the legions of Bettie's fans along with Harlan Ellsion, the late Dave Stevens and dozens of high and low profile creative artists.
Little was known of Bettie at the time and Theakston in this and future issues sought to remedy that. Along with reprinting various photo spreads from the fifties and celebrating pin-up artists from Gil Elvgren to Wally Wood and Bill Ward (whose TORCHY strip appears in this debut issue), there were articles and interviews with and about folks who knew her and even a series attempting to tarck down the missing pin-up queen. When she was tracked down, it would perhaps sadly NOT be Theakston who had done it but that's another story.
THE BETTY PAGES, however, was a kind of underground hit, bringing new converts to the cult with every issue. Not really into the bondage and fetish gear pics all that much, I found myself consistently fascinated by her perfect figure, her big, bright smile and the fact that she often seemed to be having quite a bit of (non-sexual) fun while posing. These days with a relatively recent feature film and a number of hardcover books she's now more famous than ever. He may not have been the one who rediscovered her but I'd have to give Greg Theakston and THE BETTY PAGES a lot of credit for helping whole new generations discover the inspirational beauty of Bettie Page. Thanks, Greg!