Bettie Page Passes Away at 85

I’m so sad Bettie Page has passed away, although we knew she wouldn’t live forever. Still, her pictures will continue to be iconic, and won’t disappear any time soon.

In my teens, I had seen Bettie’s pictures, but didn’t really connect them to a person. But that look, those bangs, lingered.

In my first marriage, my father-in-law was more than a little bent. In his old house, my wife and I found two wooden boxes. He definately didn’t want those boxes open, as the hinges and hasp were attached from the inside of the boxes. Nothing gets my curiousity up like something I’m not supposed to get into, so I picked the locks. When we opened the boxes, we found a ton of fetish magazines, handcuffs, and other similar stuff. He also had several photographs dating back years and years. Interestingly enough, he had pictures of my wife’s mom in various poses, and she looked pretty hot. As I recall, even at that time, she was pretty MILF-y.

I flipped through the photos and there were a bunch of Bettie Page’s bondage pics in there. Wow! I was riveted to the spot. We eventually put everything back (but if I had kept the pics, I’d have a fortune now, wouldn’t I?), but Bettie’s image was burned into my mind.

I started collecting anything that had Bettie on it, from magazine and newspaper ads (for new wave clubs that wanted a memorable image), whatever I could get my hands on. Remember, at the time, there weren’t any lighters, lunch boxes, or god help me, bobble-heads.

We thought that Bettie was dead. There were interesting theories: That she had been murdered by a fan, whacked by the mob. Whatever it might have been, we thought she was dead and the photos were in public domain, because who would raise a ruckus about it?

I got onto Compuserve in ’87, and with the introduction of the GIF based formatted pictures, I started finding Bettie online. It wasn’t an easy process. Binaries would be posted in a text format, and then you had to use special conversion tools to make them pictures and special tools to view the pictures.

In around 1991 Karen Essex wrote an article for the LA Weekly called “In Search of Bettie Page.” Considering her resurgence in popularity, it became a mystery that people wanted to solve. After about 9 months, Bettie was found.

Bettie started showing up on America Online when I joined in ’93. You could trade pictures, and I would filter through the tons of, um, well, porn, and separate out the Bettie pics.

I uploaded Bettie to several BBS’s in around ’96, but I was in a minority of people who had imaging software that could show you pictures.

By then, Bettie memorabilia started showing up. I started buying the lighters, the lunchboxes, the books. But never, ever the bobble-head. I was traumatized by the bobble-head. I still am.

Bettie will never be forgotten.

Initial reports are that Bettie apparently will be buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, but I think that may be speculation as she was born and lived in Tennessee.

I have the largest online collection of Bettie Page, quite possibly on the Internet. I generally get about 8,000-10,000 hits a day on the collection. Yesterday, there were 250,000 hits, making more than 1,000,000 views. I think this speaks for her popularity.

Thanks for all of you that have written and sent links. I even got an email from someone I haven’t heard from in almost 10 years!

We’ll miss you, Bettie.

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