Nice article in the News of the World from October 29, 1961, about the long-forgotten Arthur Fox — The King of Strip.
Manager shut his eyes at strip girls
But owner say ‘my shows are pure’
ARTHUR FOX, 53-year-old theatrical producer, is jointly charged with Empso, Ltd., with keeping a disorderly house at the Arthur Fox Revuebar Theatre Club in Manchester. They pleaded not guilty. Empso owns the club, and Fox is the power behind Empso — he holds 99 of its 100 shares. He told the court that he has spent £21,000 on the club and that he is very proud to have among its 10,000 members representatives of the legal, medical and accountancy professions.
Bridgette told the court her balloon acts were just comedy numbers. “Striptease is a perfectly natural thing,” she said.THE BALLOON GIRL
JUST one look at the striptease cabaret put on in the ” Glamour Room ” of a theatre club was enough for a works manager. He hurried away to complain to the police, he told a court.
Later he found it necessary to go again to the club with his boss. “But I cannot tell you anything about it,” he said. ” I kept my eyes closed during the acts. I was so disgusted with it on my first visit.” But pretty, shapely girls in the show also gave evidence. Each was in her mid-20’s, smartly groomed and well-dressed.
In turn each stepped daintily into the witness-box to testify: “There is nothing objectionable in the way we take off our clothes on the stage.” And they described how they undressed while they danced, one using a cluster of balloons, another a fox fur and another a man’s jacket.
They were witnesses at the trial at Manchester Crown Court of showman Arthur Fox. The hearing has already covered five days—the final speeches are expected to begin tomorrow. Opening the prosecution Mr Philip Hinchliffe told the jury: “We suggest that the very act known as striptease is something in itself indecent, immoral and worthy of condemnation. But some of these acts were not merely striptease. Women indulged in lewd and improper gestures.”
But Mr. Sebag Shaw, for the defence, submitted: ” It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It may also be true that coarseness and smuttiness is in the mind of the beholder.”
The first prosecution witness, Police Sergeant Leslie Bruton, said that, on instructions, he became a member of the club. He visited the premises in plain clothes with P.C. George Waddell, who described himself as “George Montgomery from the Isle of Arran.” to watch the 12th edition of the Arthur Fox International Follies Striptease.
“Bridgette” performed her bubble dance wearing round balloons on the upper part of her body and another fixed to her stomach. She ” popped ” the round balloons and waved the other at the audience before ” popping ” it too.
She also performed her ” Little Miss Striptease ” act. As she danced, she removed her clothing down to a “G” string. Dany Faret, billed as “The Torrid Strip.” undressed down to her briefs.
Lavinia Lane’s performance featured a pink flimsy negligee.
Gina Marie — ” America’s Lollobrigida”—disrobed to her “G” string. As she shook the upper part of her body, she announced: “It must be jelly ‘cos jam don’t shake like that.”
Subsequently, he returned to the “Glamour Room” at the club—where the performances were held—with two other plain-clothes officers for the 13th edition of the show. In this performance, Kandy Palmer manipulated the paws and head of a fox fur in her solo striptease act.
Priscilla emerged wearing a leopard skin which she peeled off to the sound of jungle music. She was almost in a frenzy, the officer said, as she completed her dance falling into a heap on the floor.
Vena Day—”a strip and a song”—was followed by Lola Clave, described as “Germany’s top exotic.”
Lola took a cigarette from the top of her stocking and struck the match on the inside of her suspender. After taking off her bra “she straddled a chair and leaned over the back of it. She winked and beckoned to the audience while her hands caressed her body.”
Replying to Mr. Hinchlifle, P.S. Bruton said: “I’d judge the shows as a whole as crude and indecent. The emphasis was on sex.”
He agreed with Mr. Shaw that the club was extremely well-appointed and a well-conducted place. There was no fraternising between the audience and the showgirls.
P.S. Bruton: Yes.
Revealing that Dany Faret recently performed at a police concert at Salford, Mr. Shaw asked: “If there had been an indecent dance at that concert you would have heard?”
P.S. Bruton replied, “I think so.”
Asked why Gina Marie was known as ” America’s Lollo-brigida,” F.S. Bruton said: “Because she may have emulated the Italian actress.” Judge Crichton: Does that mean her figure was abnormally large?—Yes. Mr. Shaw then referred to Bridgette’s hip jerking.
Stop the show
“You have seen couples dancing the tango and the cha-cha in ballrooms. They jerk their hips. Would you call them disgusting and depraving?” he asked.
“No, sir,” replied the officer “But the girls at the club were not doing the cha-cha.”
The works manager, who gave evidence of complaining to the police after a visit to the club with a party of business associates, asked that his name should not be published for business reasons.
The Judge passed his request on to the Press ” in order not to discourage people from taking action when they feel matters should be inquired into.”
[In the circumstances, we are glad to comply—Editor.]
The anonymous bespectacled manager, who told the court that he had watched cabarets on the Continent, declared: ” Everything at the club was very sexy. The whole trend of the show was sex.” In cross-examination, Mr. Shaw asked: “So you started all this ?”
“It appears I did,” he replied. Explaining why he paid a second visit, he said: ” I was in a bit of a hole. My immediate superior from London came up, and he is interested in these things. ” I am no prude. But what I saw had no artistic merit at all.”
Chief Inspector Reginald Burns said that when he led 45 police-men in a raid on the premises, Fox told him: “There is nothing obscene here.”
But in the “Glamour Room,” Lola Clave was on stage, and the chief inspector said that the showgirl made indecent gestures.
So he told Fox: ” I consider this act to be obscene.” Where-upon Fox pushed his way through the 50-strong all-male audience calling out, “Stop the show.”
In evidence, Fox, small, grey-haired and dapper, of Blackcarr Road, Baguley, Manchester, told the court that he had been producing shows, including striptease in the country’s theatres for 30 years. In 1958 alone he put on 138 strip shows — and each one had police approval. The shows he presented at the club were ” even of a higher standard —more expensive with finer costumes and better produced.”
Mr. Shaw asked: “Do you put on a spectacle savouring of depravity or gross indecency? ” Fox replied: ” I would not entertain an act of that kind. I get my artistes from New York, Milan, Paris, and from all over the world, sometimes paying them £200 a week. Would I Pay that for a depraved act? ” I do not stoop to that kind of showmanship. My name is outside the place, and I value my reputation.
Fox mentioned that recently he was featured in a B.B.C. inquiry into why people went to “strip” shows.
Mr. Hinchliffe: Was the emphasis of your shows on sexual matters?— No. It was a glamour show. It was mostly girls.
Fox was followed into the witness-box by the showgirls.
Blonde, pretty June Gibson, aged about 25, whose stage name is Lavinia Lane. said she had worked at Fox’s Revuebar for three years. She never stripped completely naked, she wore sticking plaster.
Brunette Jackie Rochelle told the court: “The numbers I did at the club were the same witty and clever type of thing I did at the Savoy Hotel, London, and at the Connaught Rooms. ‘That’s love’ was the same one I did at the Edinburgh Festival.” The songs are spicy and sexy—but in the nicest possible way.”
Golden-haired Mitzie Galdona said she danced at the club as Dany Faret.
“My tango striptease solo act at the club was exactly the same as I did at the Blackpool Pavilion Theatre. I use a man’s jacket,” she explained.
Raven-haired Brenda Turner, who performed as Bridgette, claimed that her ” Little Miss Striptease ” and balloon acts were comedy numbers. ” I have done this balloon act at public theatres,” she said. “There the audience was allowed to pop the balloons with cigarettes. But Mr. Fox would never allow audience participation at his Revuebar.”
Tall, slim Patricia de Vries, whose stage name is Kandy Palmer said: “I danced with the fox fur as if it were a dancing partner. To add a little comedy, I make out he is snapping at me, and I smack him on the nose.” I have done this act at theatres. At Blackpool, a party of policemen and police cadets came to the show. The visit was arranged by the Chief Constable. They, seemed to approve wholeheartedly.” The defence called a number of businessmen, tradesmen and housewives who were either members of the club or had been guests. They all said they saw nothing that was objectionable.
Mr. Y, a Cheshire manufacturer’s agent. who asked that his name should not be revealed, said: ” There were one or two naughty things in the show. But nothing obscene.” Then he added: “I came along here because I was concerned. The charge against Mr. Fox is one of keeping a disorderly house. And the wives of my friends think that that means a brothel.”
The Judge: But there is no suggestion of prostitution here. Mr. Y: I wanted to get that straight.
The final witness for the defence, Roy Martin Harris, North Region B.B.C. producer, said he went to see Fox regarding an inquiry about ” the popularity of striptease shows, a phenomenon which had appeared in recent years.” ” I did not find the Revuebar shows dirty,” he told the court. “I would not have committed the B.B.C. to anything that was offensive.” The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow.