Thursday, December 22, 2022

Renald and Rudy

Earle Forbes did several magazine covers in the 1940s.  This one shows Renald and Rudy, a pair of acrobats who had a famous Vaudeville and circus act as hand balancers.  They also posed for Lon of New York and Al Urban, going full frontally nude for the latter.



  1. Unless the photograph has been retouched, this is an example of very early male underarm epilation - very rare for the time.

    1. I hadn't noticed, but you're correct. Do you think it had something to do with their vocation as circus performers?

    2. If "circus folk" on your side of the Atlantic were the same as on this side, they would have lived in a very closed, intimate world which had its routes in the outcasts and theatricals who, in Europe, were personae non gratae in "polite society" until very recently. I don't know if you know of Kenneth Williams, an extremely camp but very, very learned and funny man who used to talk "palare" on Kenneth Horne's radio comedy slot Round the Horne. (Anyone in the know used to wonder just how this got passed the stuffed shirts on the BBC Board and the conclusion we all came to was that it just went above their heads and provided people were laughing, it must have been alright.) Palare was a particular gay jargon used in the 1950s and '60s and was based on the Romany and Italian mix that was used by circus entertainers. It was incomprehensible to outsiders. I would therefore imagine that as with many shunned communities, male body shaving - unheard of and automatically disapproved of in wider society - would have been a non-issue as much as homosexuality.

    3. Not to get off the subject, but I recall a documentary series about the European film industry and its innovations. Everyone thinks of the French and the tricks of Melies, the Italians and their chiaroscuro lighting or the Germans and their expressionism. And all along it was the British film industry that was the innovator with lighting, pan shots, overhead shots, moving and tracking shots, experiments and innovations in lighting. You name it the British did it first. A British film historian mentioned at that time film was seen beneath live theater of the stage and polite society looked down upon film. That was why British film pioneers, and their innovations were overlooked for decades. So much for "polite society". It's a shame those British pioneers never received the recognition they so deserved. Calorman thank for the story above on Palare and the stuffed shirts at the BBC. Calorman you are so intelligent, and it shows in the comments you leave at Jerry's wonderful site. You should write a book. -Rj/IE

  2. Gods and Foolish Grandeur website has a great illustrated article about
    Renald and Rudy, also check out the comments. (I recommend that for all websites, even YouTube. Commenters are treasure troves of info)
    I believe at one time, another man worked in place of one of them.
    They performed for over 25 years. Sadly, one of those acts that died when nightclubs with floorshows, that once flourished in every American city, came to an end. My own grandparents had enjoyed vaudeville and nightclubbing back in the day and lamented the loss of all those wonderful performers. Always wondering what happened to them.
    - Rj/IE

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