The other day I got to wondering how long after the movie Bambi came out did it take for strippers to start using Bambi as a stage name? Did it happen right away or did it take a while? I also wondered why. Bambi was a boy. But I guess I get it, it sounds like a cutesy name, plus who doesn’t want to make love to a deer?
Then I started thinking – isn’t the movie Bambi really old? Did it come around before strip clubs were a thing? Then I started wondering when strip clubs became a thing. I feel like they weren’t around in the 1950s but by the 70s they were. How did they spring up? Was there some change in the law?
I think it’s safe to assume that women have been taking off their clothes for the purposes of entertainment since clothes were invented, but when did the strip club as we know it come into being? This is a question that must be answered.
Bambi came out in 1942 which is about what I thought, although I would have guessed the 1930s had anyone required me to make such a guess. Note to self, work on conspiracy theory about Bambi and WW2. Bambi the movie was based on a book from the 20s, which I did not know. It was written by a hunter which is interesting since Bambi is perceived to have an anti-hunting message.
Vaudeville shows had “disrobing acts” back in the olden days which is apparently different from a strip tease which is also different from stripping. If I had to guess, the vaudeville style disrobing involves a piano playing, a trapeze, tumbling, and a guy dressed like he’s in a barber shop quartet (white and red striped shirt, white hat) doing “humorous” commentary whereas the striptease is like what you’d see at a burlesque thing – you know “classy” – and stripping is your standard pole humping deal.
Remember a few years ago when pole dancing classes were a thing for some reason? Mostly on the LIBERAL coasts I have to assume. This fad was immortalized in the King of Queens episode Pole Lox wherein the joke was that the sexy wife played by that Scientology lady was shitty at pole dancing but Fatso McGee played by Kevin Can Fuck Himself was great at it. LOL right? That episode was in 2005 so I assume that was the height of the pole dancing craze.
Anyway, a 1937 law killed the old timey striptease but then in the 60s topless go-go dancing hit the bigtime. As far as I can tell the “loophole” that allowed this to happen is that the 1937 law made it illegal to literally strip, as in take off clothing, but if you were already topless it was fine. Which is pretty poor lawmaking if you ask me. Which you did not.
In 1969 everything changed! Not because of the moon landing which everyone knows was fake, but because that’s when the leader in topless go-go dancing entertainment went bottomless as well. I guess nothing prevented them from being all nude all the time before that legally – it was just decorum that was holding them back. According to Wikipedia this is when stripping was “born” – the difference is the dancing I guess. In a striptease you just stand like there a fucking idiot, but when you’re stripping you flail around like a malfunctioning threshing machine.
Sidenote – the Sklar Brothers have an old routine about being strip club DJs that I find delightful. I believe it’s on their album “Poppin the Hood”. Side-sidenote – There was a short-lived lady comedy show that was kind of like Jackass with other stuff mixed in. It wasn’t great but they had one bit I liked wherein they would go to a strip club that was having auditions. The joke was that they were super sexy sex ladies but for their audition they would be dancing the Charleston or the Hully-Gully or something like that. What was surprising to me was how nice most of the strip club overs were, a lot of them clearly didn’t want to hurt their feelings. They’d say something like “You’re dancing . . . isn’t . . uh . . . super strong . . . uh . . . you know . . .um . . . if you worked on that a little . . . you know . . something a little more . . . uh . . .erm . . . yeah”. There was only one guy, who looked like a super douche, who cursed them out for being terrible.
Side-side-sidenote I don’t remember when his show was on but it was during a period when for a hot minute someone decided that strip clubs were a good investment. I remember specifically a big news story and TV magazine fodder about these two “normal average” dudes that bought into this idea and then came to find out that SPOILER ALERT the world of strip clubs is super shady and they ended up getting all their money stolen by the Russian mob and/or corrupt cops and/or a con man pretending to be an FBI agent. The story was very murky, which makes me think it’s true. I think real shit often makes no sense to the people at the center of it.
Investing fads are weird. I saw the other day at Target a sign saying you were restricted to buying only 3 packs of baseball cards. I thought that was odd so I went to the internet which told me that investing in baseball cards is the fad right now. Most of these fads seem to cash in on the fact that people don’t understand how collectibles work. But who starts them? Is there some baseball card shill out there making this happen? How did they pull it off? Every company wants people to buy their shit, how do these investing waves get going?
I remember there being a comic book “investment” fad in my youth, and beanie babies of course, Cabbage patch dolls before that. Day trading, house flipping, Tupperware parties, etc. I guess these are all just variations of get rich quick schemes but I don’t understand exactly how they get going. There seem to be too many steps between the people making the money and the people getting scammed.
Remember the 1999 King of Queens episode Net Prophets? Fatso got a Christmas bonus and Scientology wanted to invest it because she heard some insider shit from her boss. So they did, but they lost all their money in a comedic fashion. As a bonus that episode was also about fighting back against the War on Christmas. Seinfeld had a similar episode “the Tip”. I think other shows have done it too but I’m not sure if it’s been done enough to be a trope. I’ll check on that later.
Anyway, apparently 1972 is considered the year that strip clubs as we know it became a thing. What was going on in those years between all nude go-go dancing and stripping? No one knows. I mean about anything. The years 1970 and 1971 are completely lost from everyone’s memories and from history. It’s a weird thing that no one talks about, like how mammoths were still around when Columbus came to the Caribbean.
Anyway (again) I suppose that since Bambi had been out for a generation by the time strip clubs sprouted up like mushrooms it happened right away in the history of stripping.
I’m told that nūdo is Japanese for nude, which seems improbably close to English for a language that has no connection to anything. Sometimes people say that Japanese language must have come from aliens because it’s so different, but it’s probably just because they were isolationists on their own island for thousands of years right? I wish aliens would come to earth so they could say “What? No, we didn’t do that shit” about building the pyramids and Stonehenge and everything else. But then they’d say “We did invent the hamburger”.