THE BODY MERCHANT: The Story of Earl Carroll by Ken Murray

THE BODY MERCHANT: The Story of Earl Carroll

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Broadway entrepreneur Earl Carroll thought about stark naked girls just about as God might: he looked upon 'em and saw that they were good. In 1924 he began producing his annual Earl Carroll Vanities, a sports model Ziegfeld revue that replaced the Great Ziggy's statuesque dames with youth, zip, and shaved pubises. Nobody believed Carroll would show total nudity, but he did--108 girls at once--and reveled in the well-publicized arrests he survived at each opening. Only one show, a private bash featuring a nude teenager in a bathtub full of champagne from which guests drank, landed him in prison. This spell behind bars dampened him briefly but he sprang back raunchier than ever. Some flops and the Depression brought bankruptcy but again he came up with his calculating half-smile and hard blue eyes. After two decades of plucking peaches, the satyr died in a freak air accident. Biographer Murray, once cheated of $15,000 in back salary by Carroll, writes with admiring detachment and fields a strong supporting cast, including Peggy Hopkins Joyce, the millionaire-collecting original of Lorelei Lee. Entertaining flamboyance.

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1976
Publisher: Ward Ritchie Press