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Jayne Mansfield reads the poetry of Shakespeare, Shelley, Browning and others

Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky & Me, Jayne Mansfield’s delicious album from 1963 or 1964 (depending on where you look), has never seen a CD release and it’s not available on the music streaming services I consulted. That scarcity has driven up the price: right now you can get a copy from for $60 and up.

Assessing Mansfield’s intelligence is something of a mid-20th-century parlor game. Quoting Wikipedia: “Frequent references have been made to Mansfield’s very high IQ, which she claimed was 163. She spoke five languages, including English. ... Reputed to be Hollywood’s ‘smartest dumb blonde’, she later complained that the public did not care about her brains: ‘They’re more interested in 40–21–35,’ she said.” Wasn’t there some meme about Jayne Mansfield enjoying the works of Immanuel Kant? Where did I get that from, some James Ellroy novel?

So how are her recitations of some of the greatest erotic poetry in the English language? Welllll, just fine, I think. I wouldn’t say she exactly reads them well—she reads them about the way you’d expect a big movie star to read them, crisply and evenly, perhaps a little too briskly. She brings a purr to the material that you wouldn’t probably get from current U.S. poet laureate Charles Wright, let’s say.

Here’s a track listing, followed by a clip of about six minutes from the album:

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “How Do I Love Thee”
Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Indian Serenade”
Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Good-Night”
Robert Herrick, “You Say I Love Not”
Henry Constable, “If This Be Love”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “The Lady’s ‘Yes’” -
Lord Byron, “She Walks In Beauty”
William Shakespeare, “Cleopatra”
Christopher Marlowe, “Was This The Face”
Joseph Beaumont, “Whiteness, Or Chastity”
Anonymous, “Madrigal”
Leigh Hunt, “Jenny Kiss’d Me”
Anonymous, “Verses Copied From The Window Of An Obscure Lodging House”
Thomas Otway, “The Enchantment”
Christopher Marlowe, “The Passionate Sheperd To His Love”
Robert Herrick, “Upon The Nipples Of Julia’s Breast”
Ben Jonson, “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes”
Lord Byron, “The Lovers”
Robert Herrick, “To The Virgins, To Make Much Of Time”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Inclusions”
William Butler Yeats, “When You Are Old”
William Wordsworth, “Daffodils”
William Shakespeare, “Take, O, Take Those Lips Away”
Thomas Carew, “Mark How The Bashful Morn”
Anonymous, “Oh! Dear, What Can The Matter Be?”
Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The Miller’s Daughter”
Charles Sackville, “The Fire Of Love”
Sir John Suckling, “The Constant Lover”
John Dryden, “Why Should A Foolish Marriage Vow”
Thomas Moore, “Believe Me, If All Those Enduring Young Charms”
Anonymous, “Love Me Little, Love Me Long”


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
When Jayne Mansfield met Jimi Hendrix
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Jimi Hendrix
Jayne Mansfield

Sex appeal, according to Jayne Mansfield, is a wonderfully warm, healthy feeling that isn’t manufactured, or has anything to do with measurements or lipstick color, rather:

“An effervescent desire to enjoy life, that’s what sex appeal is to me.”

Though Mansfield regularly played-up to her vital statistics, she was no dummy. Jayne allegedly had a genius IQ, spoke five languages, and was smart enough to buck the Hollywood system—breaking away to achieve international success as an actress, singer, burlesque and cabaret entertainer starring in sell-out shows on both sides of the Atlantic

In 1965, Jayne cut two tracks in New York with a young session musician named Jimi Hendrix on guitar. Apparently this strange combo happened as Jayne and Jimi shared the same manager.

A-Side: As Clouds Drift By—Jayne Mansfield with Jimi Hendrix on guitar and bass.

B-Side: Suey—Jayne Mansfield with Jimi Hendrix on guitar and bass.
Below, Mansfield speaks from a bed on the set of Brit flick The Challenge (aka It Takes A Thief) to comb-over interviewer, Robert Robinson, in 1960:

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Pink Palace: Jayne Mansfield’s mansion makes Barbie’s Dream House look austere
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Jayne Mansfield

Mansfield in her pool, surrounded by one of the odder experiments in early celebrity merchandising, hot water bottles made in her likeness
In addition to her rubber-necking beauty, Jayne Mansfield was known for a lot of things. There’s the famous side-eye from Sophia Loren, though that’s obviously nowhere near the most exposure her breasts received (Hugh Hefner was arrested for publishing her nudes). The gory details of her death are also the subject of much obsession—while she was not decapitated as is often rumored, the car wreck that took her life was horribly grisly. And she was romantically attached to a string of powerful and famous men, including Robert F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, and Anton LaVey (which lead to wild stories about her death as the result of occult activities).

I prefer to think of Mansfield as a delightful eccentric, with a warmth and charisma that bubbled rather than smoldered—sort of a free-spirited bombshell with a girl-next-door sweetness. Nothing quite so beautifully encapsulates her explosive personality like these photos of her Los Angeles home, which she named, “The Pink Palace.” Mansfield purchased the 40-room Mediterranean-style mansion in 1957 and immediately began renovating. She didn’t stop at painting the exterior pink—think of an entire bathroom furnished in pink shag carpet, walls and all. As clever as she was lovely, she wrote to furniture and building suppliers requesting samples for her new home; those “samples” totaled over $150,000 ($1,246,742 in 2014 dollars). The house itself cost only $76,000 ($631,682 in 2014 dollars).

At the end, you can see video of Mansfield’s second husband, former Mr. Universe Miklós “Mickey” Hargitay, showing off his line of freeweights, poolside. Jayne also does a little demo of her own exercise routine, choosing not to remove her high heels—the camera quickly switches angles to shoot her from below in an obvious cinematic ogle.
Via Messy Nessy Chic

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Hey Jayne Mansfield Superstar!
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Jayne Mansfield
Sigue Sigue Sputnik

Jayne Mansfield died on this date in 1967.

“Hey Jayne Mansfield Superstar!” performed by Sigue Sigue Sputnik live in Tokyo, 2002.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
This will flip your lid: Jayne Mansfield’s wild exotic dance in ‘Primitive Love’

Jayne Mansfield’s exotic dance from the 1964 mondo documentary Primitive Love. The blissed-out dude playing the plastic bucket embodies everything I aspire to be: Buddha nature in overdrive.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment