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Halloween Pin-Ups

Halloween Pin-Ups

Here are some silly publicity photos of attractive actresses making faces to herald the arrival of Halloween. We begin with an unusual selection, as Jane Wyman was past the starlet phase when she took this picture at Warner Bros. to promote A Kiss in the Dark (1949). In fact, she’d just won an Academy Award for Johnny Belinda when she showed team spirit for the studio publicity department. At the outset of her career, when she was a blonde, Wyman took plenty of cheesecake shots at Warners, but she’d passed that stage when this photo was taken. Here are some others who showed off their figures for the sake of placement in prominent newspapers and magazines.

There’s no one more appealing in pictures like these than Clara Bow, the aptly-named “it” girl whose buoyant personality and radiant smile shone through in every picture she took, including this jack-o-lantern shot from the late 1920s. I’ll resist making the kind of trick-or-treat pun that probably was part of the original caption for this still.

Tied for first place my heart with Clara Bow, in terms of photogenic personalities, is Nancy Carroll, who came to Paramount while Clara was still a top star, then surpassed her in popularity at the very beginning of the 1930s.

One good still deserves another: here’s Nancy Carroll again, cozying up to a pumpkin-headed friend. A major star of early talkies, Carroll apparently sabotaged her own career by becoming a prima donna at Paramount; before long they had her working out her contract in routine vehicles. But you’d never know any of that from perky photos like this.

Lovely Leila Hyams looks properly frightened by the Jack-O-Lantern and an incredible art deco statue of a cat in this posed still from MGM in the 1930s. Hyams may be best remembered for such eerie films as Freaks (1932) and Island of Lost Souls (1932) but she won my heart in Ruggles of Red Gap (1935).

Anne Jeffreys may be checking her watch to see if the witching hour as arrived, in this 1940s publicity shot, but she remains ageless and beautiful decades later. In fact, an opening night or Hollywood event doesn’t seem complete unless she is present, lighting up the evening with her radiant smile.

It’s easy to see why model-turned-actress Dusty Anderson was a perfect choice for pinup shots like this one in the 1940s. She was first seen as a model in the Rita Hayworth movie Cover Girl, then appeared in a cluster of Columbia pictures over the next few years before retiring from the screen and raising two children with director Jean Negulesco. I dare say no one ever rode a broom more attractively.

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mike schlesinger

That Bow picture–with the light from the jack-o-lantern reflecting on her face–is stunning. They really knew how to shoot photographs back then.

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