Charles Blake Cochran was one of the great showmen of the early 1900s, starting life as an actor but making his career eventually as a publicist for other entertainers. His most famous client was Noel Coward but in one of the many hundreds of books about the 1920s that I’ve been reading lately (yes still), I came across CB’s Young Ladies, a dancing troupe that he managed who performed at the Trocadero in the interwar period. That’s the Trocadero as was, of course, not with Rainforest Cafe and Ripley’s. These chicks don’t dig animatronic orang-utans and big elastic band balls, you can just tell.
It would be crass and, more importantly, incorrect to compare these gals with strippers or even ‘dancers’ in modern clubs, but essentially their pivotal role was to look nice, entertain and keep the men coming back for more. Still, at least they were talented and graceful and were judged on such things as their posture and composition rather than the size of their bosoms.
I love these pictures of them that are part of a set on Getty. Can you imagine the bros at Spearmint Rhino enjoying their surf and turf being entertained by gals in bin bag-esque ball gowns? With matching turbans? And nutso glasses. They’re all so stunningly elegant, it’s hard to believe that these girls were considered the bottom of society, the type of woman that no man could take home to his family. Look at ’em! More to come when I have time. For now, a trip to Brighton beckons…
If you click HERE you can see CB’s gals and some of their contemporaries in action – sorry, it’s un-embeddable.