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Ziegfeld Girls

Ziegfeld's Follies, stage spectaculars mounted by Broadway impresario Florenz "Flo" Ziegfeld from 1907 through 1931, featured prominent composers, elaborate costumes and sets, and a bevy of beauties chosen personally by Ziegfeld. The Sunday World-Herald on August 28, 1926, published the results of a local survey of Omaha men regarding Ziegfeld's specifications for "the 1926 model Feminine."

"Mr. Zeigfeld draws his own specifications taken after a deal of research into the average human mind," said the World-Herald. "He has just broadcast his latest figures on the 1926 model girl for the stage and chorus. She will not be as thin as models in the past, she is to have graceful curves, and dimples, here and there. She will be a little taller, and will come from more refined surroundings.

"Mr. Ziegfeld sees a definite passing of the vogue for being thin. He says that American women are ruining their health by chewing reducing gum, eating pound-less candy, using fataway soap, drinking shrinking drinks, rubbing, rubbering and romping to reduce their health. 'It is the titian, the red-haired girl and the brunette whom gentlemen prefer,' says Ziegfeld.

"Whereupon to see if Mr. Ziegfeld and the man you meet on the street agree as to the 1926 model Feminine, a number [in Omaha] were buttonholed and forced to give their opinion and ideals.

"Ralph Hayward has had years of experience in the theater. . . . [and] pronounced: 'They must be blondes, plump and of medium height. Some are better than others, but they are all lovely. And by the way, I am married-don't send the paper to our house the day this appears.'

"Hans Reis, a judge of pretty ball players, says: 'My ideal is a dark girl, medium, a Spanish type. I was once chased by one of this type with a knife down at El Paso, and I will never forget how pretty she looked as I got away.'"

Sgt. John Bosch also favored "'brunettes with dark eyes, large and soulful, olive skin, and they must be plump. I have been in Hawaii, the Philippines, China, Japan, and in many other countries, but Omaha and St. Louis have the most beautiful women I have ever seen.'"

R. Herman Hook said: "'I like them all,' . . . but blondes are the best.'" However, L. R. Pierce, the last respondent, concluded: "'Mr. Ziegfeld is absolutely right as far as I am concerned. I prefer the brunette type.'"

(March 2007)



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