Saturday, August 10, 2013
Today's post is rated PG-13 - parental guidance is suggested!
Waaaay back in 1939-1940, there was an awesome World's Fair in New York (North America, Earth). And over in the Amusement Zone, there was a full-size replica of the Potala Temple in Jehol, Manchuria (built in 1767). It was originally displayed at the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair; here's how it looked there:
Pretty neat, huh? So anyway, when it went to New York in 1939, it didn't get much buzz; in order to help attract bigger crowds in 1940, somebody had the bright idea of adding a girlie show. BRILLIANT! I was lucky enough to find a small group of color slides from the 1940 World's Fair, and among them were 7 images from this girlie show. Because this is (in theory) a "family blog", I have pixelated some of the naughtier bits (sorry!). Use your imagination. As you can see, the show had a ridiculous "Shangri-La" theme.
Amazingly, a man who worked at this exhibit when he was 19 (Herbert Taffae) recalled his spiel word for word back in 2007 - over 60 years later! Here's it is in all of its wordy glory:
It might sound strange and a trifle incongruous having lovely girls in front of the million-dollar temple of Jehol, whose gold leaf roof you can see over the top of this façade, but the fact is that we have a girlie show in here and a good one.
The author of the book "Forbidden Tibet", Horizon Hunters and technical advisor of the picture "Lost Horizon", he doesn't want his good name associated with this scandalous enterprise as brought back from the land of the lost horizon, those Terpsichordion aphrodisiacs, the love temptation dancers from the lamaseries of Tibet. A lama is a Buddhist priest and as such he must remain celibate. He must be deaf to the calls of the flesh, immune to the pangs of passion, and adverse to the charms of beautiful women. In other words, he must not marry or anything. Once a year he is given a test. The questions of which are the unquestionable figures of questionable young ladies, courtesans brought from the outside world to corrupt the young lama and seduce him from his holy way of life.
The spiel continues: Now ladies, this show has been approved by Good Housekeeping, but in case a stray moron seeking a racy spicy girl show is in this otherwise obviously intellectual audience, he too can go in there and not know the difference, but you, you lovers of art will surely recognize this show to be the apogee oriental choreography. The whole thing rises to a climax when Sasha and her hilarious horde of vivacious vestal virgins unite in that unclad climax, that orgiastic ecstasy at the tail end of our performance, the passion dance of love. It's terrific.
Now once inside, sit down as long as you like and admire the bare beautiful temple but those beautiful bare forms and I say are not too formal. Go on right away. This being the first show of the afternoon, I am going to cut the price of admission in half. Everybody goes.
Those were the days! I hope that you have enjoyed your visit to the Bendix Lama Temple!