Julie Gibson, like a good number of classic burlesque dancers defined their careers with one gimmick.
For her, it was the “Dance of the Bashful Bride.” Known as an East Coast dancer (with her main gig being at the Wedge in Philadelphia), Gibson would transform from a sweet and innocent blushing bridge on her wedding day to a less-than-innocent honeymoon night bump-and-grinder. Dressed in full bridal wear, she would walk down the stairs to the stage as if she were preceding down a church aisle.
Once on stage, more than just the bridal bouquet would be thrown off. Men, who usually hated to attend weddings, would clamour for front-row seats to see this woman-in-white. With her small stature (5′ 4″), curvaceous measurements (35-23-35), and innocent pout, Gibson would be just the type of girl that men in the club would dream of marrying. And as a bonus, she could look sexy and seductive while taking off a big wedding gown and all the bulky layers that went with it. It was the classic angel/devil, virgin/whore act all rolled up into one.
Gibson, like many dancers of the 1950’s, was brought before a judge to defend her act against obscenity charges. She called her act “art” and offered to do her dance in the courtroom in front of the judge. The judge declined and after that the case fizzled away. It wasn’t Perry Mason, but it worked none the less.
There’s also an interesting bit of trivia concerning Gibson and the U.S. Navy. It seems in the mid-50’s, a Navy development team for a new type of underwater listening device was located outside Philly–the main stomping grounds for Gibson.
Now this is the interesting part… I actually flew and operated this system early in my Navy career and later met some of the guys who developed it (and watched Julie dance on their lunch hour); since this is a ‘family’ blog, those stories will remain untold…
They needed a code name for the project and so they called it Project Julie.
It must have been a success (it was) because Gibson at one point was honored aboard the USS Valley Forge because of her namesake project.
H/T Charlie- data from Java’s Bachelor Pad