[Ads-l] Antedating "cheesecake" - revealing photographs

Mark Mandel mark.a.mandel at GMAIL.COM
Sun Mar 31 07:14:53 UTC 2019

Good finds, especially with the confirming documentation.

• Marylin Monroe
-> Marilyn

Mark Mandel (same initials but no relation)

On Sat, Mar 30, 2019, 10:03 PM Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I posted a piece about "Cheesecake" and "Beefcake" on my blog.
> https://esnpc.blogspot.com/2019/03/shipping-news-and-starlets-revealing.html
> I found an example of "cheesecake" from 1930 that describes the expression
> as coming from "ship news vernacular":
> [Excerpt]
> Dorothy Mackaill, blondely attractive, posing for press photographers . .
> . . . They skidded in their intentions to get a “cheese-cake picture” . . .
> .  In case you’re a bit rusty in ship news vernacular a cheese-cake picture
> is one in which the subject exposes her legs . . . . The tabs eat ‘em up .
> . . .
> [End Excerpt]
> The Film Daily, September 11, 1930, page 5.
> That description is consistent with the primary origin story, that it was
> coined by an editor looking at a shipboard photograph of Elvira Amazar from
> her arrival in the US in 1915.  Barry notes this story on his site, which
> he says he took from an exhibition at the Museum of Sex in New York City.
> The source of that story appears to be a 1953 pictorial, one-off magazine
> entitled, "Cheesecake: An American Phenomenon," with Marylin Monroe on the
> cover.  It attributes the Elvira Amazar pics to a photographer named George
> Miller of the Bain News Services.  I've been able to find three pics taken
> on that day, and a comtemporary publication of one pic credits Bain, and
> images of an example of what appears to be an original surviving print has
> "[copyright] Bain" written on it.  Another print has identifying numbers
> that synch up with the numbers on the one marked Bain.  In other words, the
> documentary evidence supports the George Miller story.
> And even if George Miller didn't do it himself, it was likely a ship news
> photographer.  The earliest example of the word, and several early
> explanations of the word, all attribute its use primarily to ship news
> photographers, and define "cheesecake" specifically as posing a woman on a
> ship railing and having her hike up her skirt to show the knee.
> Beefcake is from about 1949.  An early example attributes it to the
> publicity department at Universal-International Studios.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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