Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jayne Mansfield

When I was very young, Jayne Mansfield was my favorite actress. I didn't know Marilyn Monroe. I saw some of Jayne's movies, I saw the Jayne Mansfield doll in the movie Dondi, from the comic strip. You poked the doll's stomach and her breasts would light up; a good flash light. She appeared on Stump the Stars and Jackie Gleason.

I was eleven when she died. I saw the Daily News or NY Post's headline on my kitchen table. Jayne Mansfield Decapitated. A horror. And then came the jokes, like the National Lampoon publishing a photograph of 2 side by side graves. One tombstone read, "Here lies the body of Jayne Mansfield." And the other, "Here lies the head of Jayne Mansfield."

I know this is delicate, but I didn't find out until recent years that she was not beheaded, that the blonde hair hanging off the car window was the awful wig she wore in later years. Why didn't someone in the family tell the public she wasn't decapitated? All these years people believed she was. I don't think it was a good thing to let people think this. I wish someone had told the public.

Of course, her last year she was getting bad headlines. Devil Worshiping, being beaten up, starting fights in bars, doing all kinds of drugs. A lion mauled her son as she posed for pictures. And then her oldest daughter was beaten by Jayne's sadistic lawyer boyfriend. The girl went to the police. A photo of the girl, Jayne Marie, showed up in the newspapers. There was a hearing and Jayne Mansfield said she caught her daughter smoking marijuiana, and she had the right of a mother to spank her child when she does something wrong. The daughter in question was 16 years old. The authorities never investigated what went on in that home. I think the decision was in Jayne's favor. It wouldn't be today.

Jayne died in the Summer of Love. She had grown into a drug user, promoted sadomasochism ("Sex should be animalistic.")and worshiped the devil with Sammy Davis Jr. Her taste in fashion and make-up was pretty awful, but that had been true since 20th Century Fox dumped her in 1963. The publc knew her for her huge breasts and her impossibly tiny waistline. People would recognize her in the street, pregnant and wearing a leopard skin coat. Her rib cage, massive from lifting weights, resembled a German Shepherd's. Somehow she managed to pull her breasts up so high they nearly touched her chin. I feel she was a sweet woman and mother at one time, but she got into bad things. Her last year worked its way to a crescendo --catapulting her out of a car. Sometimes I watch the cop show Mariska Hargaty appears on. And I look for Jayne in her face and often find it.

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