Photographers: Irving & Paula Klaw – The Bettie Page Years
Irving Klaw (November 9, 1910 – September 3, 1966) Irving was an American photographer and film maker who operated a small mail-order business selling cheesecake photos and films from the 1940’s to the 1960’s. He started business as a distributor of movie stills and photos of the 40’s most famous stars. All the while he would got numerous requests for fetish, “Damsel-in-Distress” shots. Irving always willing to please, started shooting light bondage and spanking shots, along with his sister Paula, using mostly Burlesque dancers like the famous Blaze Starr, the wonderfully named Baby Lake and the beautiful Tempest Storm. Irving and Paula went to great pains to never shot any actual nudity or sex acts as this would land them firmly in prison.
In the 50’s Irving would turn his attentions to film and find his most famous model – Bettie Page. Irving made 3 films, Varietease (1954) Teaserama (1955), and Buxom Beautease (1956). Also during this period, Klaw set up weekend home-movie sessions where he produced scores of silent 8mm and 16mm black-and-white film loops. These featured striptease acts and an assortment of fetishistic subjects based on special requests from his clientele. Titles such as Riding the Human Pony Girl, Bondage in Leather Harness, and Booted Amazon Fights Again depicted women in skimpy lingerie and high heels engaging in elaborate bondage, cat-fights, and spanking. Still photos taken during the movie sessions were also sold at the store and in the biannual mail-order catalog Cartoon and Model Parade.
The Kefauver Hearings in 1957 effectively shut Irving down, lableing him as a degenerate pornographer. Irving closed shop and burned about 80% of his negatives. Paula saved as many as she could, and these are the photos available today. Irving died in 1966. Paula is still alive and kicking.