Monday, May 28, 2012


Here's another "threebie" for you in honor of the actress Carroll Baker's birthday today. Baker was born in 1931 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and was the daugher of a traveling salesman. She attended community college and briefly worked as a magician's assistant (why is this starting to sound like sort of a joke?) before she began pursuing an acting career. The infamous billboard image of Baker sucking her thumb in a provocative nightie was like a campy sci fi creature taking over Times Square when the Elia Kazan movie Baby Doll was released in 1956. (Another gargantuan girl tripping Freudian fear and fascination in the fifties was Allison Hayes in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, although Baby Doll came out two years earlier and the poster was even taller!) Despite the fact that the loungewear in question actually gave rise to the term "baby doll pajamas" and their subsequent popularity, apparently a lot of people were losing sleep over this film. Kazan was reviled by both the left and the right at that time: everyone from the National (Catholic) Legion of Decency, which "banned" the film," to the the blacklisted writers and directors in Hollywood, who could not forgive him for cooperating with the House Un-American Activities Committee by "naming names" in 1952. While I was hoping (of course!) to get some hits on Billbroad* in either OhioLINK or WorldCat, sadly none turned up. So I turned instead to Billl*, which generated seven in the former and 164 in the latter.

(Photograph of the Times Square poster for Baby Doll, from the Hollywood Elsewhere website.)

Carol Reid

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