It’s been a while since I pinned some pin-ups on this page. Valentine’s Day seems as good a time as any to revisit these appealing, sometimes cheesy cheesecake photos. If you’re new to my website you may not have seen my holiday pictures before, so here’s a bit of backstory: from the silent days right through the 1960s, movie studio publicity departments kept their contract players busy posing for holiday-themed photos, because local newspapers and national magazines loved to publish them—not only promoting the starlets but their upcoming films as well. Here are some poses I haven’t run before, along with a few old favorites. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Nancy Carroll was Paramount’s resident sweetheart during the early talkie era in films like Follow Thru, Honey, and Sweetie. Her winning smile and cute figure made her a natural for poses like this, although her relationship with the studio soured as she became difficult and demanding…but movie buffs still adore her.
Ann Sheridan was not yet a star when she donned a swimsuit for this heart-shaped photo in 1937. She had won a beauty contest at the age of 18 and made her way to Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, but it took Warner Bros. to see her potential—and promote her as The Oomph Girl. By all accounts she was one of the best-liked leading ladies in the movie business.
Patriotism gave publicists an extra excuse to have starlets send morale-building messages to our boys fighting overseas during World War II. Here’s a Universal still from the 1940s featuring contract actress Anne Gwynne, whose grandson has become a contemporary movie star: Chris Pine.
Here’s the late Gloria DeHaven in an MGM still that went out to editors with the following caption: “SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS – A giant Valentine from Hollywood’s top stars to be sent to a company of fighting men overseas is signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s shapely actress Gloria DeHaven. Even more attractive than the Valentine itself is sunny-tressed Gloria, who will be seen to further advantage in the forthcoming ‘Red Adams.’ ”
There are many ways to form a heart, and Hollywood photographers were never at a loss. Decorating this arrangement is the beautiful Janis Carter, who was featured in a number of Columbia Pictures during the 1940s, and almost as many promotional photos.
I have no idea if this counts as a Valentine’s pose or not but frankly I don’t care, because it spotlights my favorite heartthrob of the 1930s, Thelma Todd. She had a thousand-watt smile that lit up every picture she took while she was under contract to Hal Roach studios, working with Laurel and Hardy, Charley Chase, and Harry Langdon. She died young but she lives on in my heart.