Meet the Famous Simon Templar

The adventurer Simon Templar, known from his initials as the Saint, made his first appearance in Leslie Charteris’ thriller novel Meet the Tiger (1928).

Of even more long-term importance than meeting the Tiger, a villainous gold smuggler, is Templar’s meeting with a 20-year-old blonde socialite named Patricia Holm, who later becomes his girlfriend and featured regularly in the ensuing series for the next twenty years. She proved less popular with producers of the various screen adaptations of the books, who apparently preferred him not to have a steady girl; so she featured in only two Saint movies, The Saint Meets the Tiger (1943), in which she was played by Jean Gillie,

and an unaired television pilot made in 2013, when the role was taken by Eliza Dushku, an actress whose significance in spanking history is a matter for another time.

Obviously neither film paid very much attention to Charteris’ description of what Patricia looks like, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the movies also don’t do anything with one of Templar’s early reactions to her:

‘He had a frantic impulse to take this stubborn slip of a girl across his knee and spank some sense into her; and coincidently with that he had an equally importunate desire to hug her and kiss her to death.’

And, to be fair, neither does Charteris himself. The Saint did not become one of the great spankers of literature, despite a few passing references and an actual spanking scene in the short story ‘The Golden Journey’. It was when the character moved into the various visual media that this dimension came into its own.

It began with the comics, the only non-prose version of The Saint that systematically picked up Patricia. Charteris was reputedly underwhelmed by the fidelity of the characterization, but at least this time she was blonde:

But it’s the dark-haired girl we want to be watching. She’s Princess Iona of Sumaria, the central character in the 1949 comic-book story ‘The Diamond of Death’.

1949 Diamond of Death 0

She has just sold the sacred Mayo Diamond to the British Museum, and is now being hunted by a cult which has sworn death to all who touch the jewel; so she seeks the Saint’s help to guard both her and Hemming, the museum curator who bought it, and also to courier the diamond to London. But Hemming dies in Templar’s presence and he discovers that the princess did it herself with a poison dart. She is herself part of the death-cult, and sold the stone to raise funds for its terrorist plots; and, now that she has received payment, she intends to take the diamond back. But suspecting her, the Saint has given the diamond to Patricia. Iona goes to get it, but he arrives in time to stop her from killing Patricia (although not before one blow of the knife has ripped her dress open at the front, as seen above). And then…

Which means that the last we see of Princess Iona before she is arrested is…

‘The Saint and beautiful women go hand in hand,’ said Patricia earlier in the story. And when, thirteen years later in 1962, the character became the basis of a television series, beautiful women were very much a part of the attraction – along with, as we shall see in due course, the prospect that some of those beautiful women might find themselves getting a spanking…

A Spanking Scene in Search of a Play

The young, pretty Mary Brown is chatting with a neighbor on the telephone, but is clearly torn between politeness and an urgent desire to finish the conversation: it is nearly lunchtime, and her husband John gets grouchy if she is late with his meal. Worse than that, she eventually explains: he has promised that, if his lunch is late again, he will turn her over his knee and spank her! She agrees with the neighbor that he doesn’t look like a caveman, but even so, he is very strong-minded.

John arrives home, unusually hungry, and is pleased to hear that Mary has just taken the roast out of the oven. She gives him a minor repair job to do while she makes the gravy. He ‘reminds her that has vowed to spank her, and will do so if lunch is not on the table in ten minutes’. She embraces him and demands an expression of love from him, ‘but he gives her a quick spank as he brushes her away’.

While doing the repair he cuts his finger, and Mary rushes out to administer first aid. He can manage, he insists, and points out that it would never have happened if lunch had been ready on time. As they are arguing, the gravy burns. ‘John reaches to spank Mary, but she escapes, screaming that she still has three minutes left.’

Playing for time, Mary serves a salad, which John doesn’t like. There are further delays arising from an inquiring neighbor and an accident when Mary trips over John’s toolkit. ‘John picks her up and helps her to get the things on the table, giving her little admonitory spanks as he does so.’

Finally all is ready: the meal is about to be served. But then there is a scream from the kitchen: the cat has run off with the roast! And so we reach the climax: ‘John dashes into the kitchen, drags out the sobbing Mary, turns her over his knee, and spanks her.’

This describes an actual spanking scene written by an American playwright and director in the middle of the last century. But what play does it belong to?

The question is interesting because it makes you realize how very uncommon were husband-and-wife spanking scenes in stage plays of the period. There were more than a few in television sitcoms, which were often based around some variation of domestic life: I Love Lucy, I Married Joan, even Topper where the two ghosts are a married couple. It’s less often seen in the movies, despite what Jack Holt’s Indian chief says when he sees his granddaughter Kamiah (Maria Elena Marqués) being spanked by Flint Mitchell (Clark Gable) in Across the Wide Missouri (1951):

‘He can see that you are her husband,’ explains the interpreter.

In stage spanking scenes of this period, the most frequent relationship between the participants, by a long chalk, is that of parent (or near equivalent) and teenage daughter: spanking is typically presented as the way the maturity of one generation forcibly impresses its authority upon the irresponsibility of another.

That Strange Feeling: Maurice Clapp spanks Alice Dovey in the 1946 production at Redlands High School, California

There’s also a significant minority of romantic spanking scenes, in which the pair are going to end up together and the spanking constitutes a phase in their courtship.

The Courting of Marie Jenvrin: Fraser Stewart spanks Ericka Holtman in a 1960 production at Winnipeg

But what you rarely find onstage in this era is a man spanking the woman he is currently married to. I can only think of one example, in the 1941 comedy Come to Dinner by Kurtz Gordon (a pseudonym of C.G. Kurtz), about a sauce manufacturer who has made his fortune – Bill Blaine, the Ketchup King – and his scatterbrained, social-climbing wife Eleanor, seen here played by Richard Leipold and Kay Kramer in the 1965 production at Fort Cherry High School, Pennsylvania:

There is something of a prototypical I Love Lucy about this, but it is clearly not our mystery scene about John and Mary Brown and a delayed luncheon.

You might have been surprised to be told that it’s a real scene, because it seems to have little connection with any broader narrative that you’d expect to find in a full-length play, yet also has relatively little intrinsic interest or merit as a self-contained sketch. Even its author described it as ‘a farfetched little story, overcrowded with incident’ – deliberately so, ‘in order to demonstrate a point’.

She was the distinguished drama teacher Marian Gallaway (1903-80), in whose memory the theater at the University of Alabama is named, and whose best known student was that giant of the 20th-century American stage, Tennessee Williams.

The scene – or perhaps we should call it a scenario, since she wrote no actual dialog – appeared in her highly regarded manual, Constructing a Play (1950), for which Williams wrote the foreword. Its purpose was to illustrate the techniques by which playwrights create interest and suspense:

First, the characters are attractive, Mary because of her appearance, her eagerness to be efficient, and her love for her husband; John because Mary loves him, and because he is patient, hungry, and dominatingly masculine in his way, though not really dangerous. Each wants a desirable objective: John his dinner, and Mary to please John. The fundamental obstacle is Mary’s rather amusing inefficiency. The simple story is utterly clear as to the alternatives: Mary must provide food or she will be spanked.

This would probably have been an example she first used in her playwriting classes at the University of Iowa, raising the intriguing likelihood that Tennessee Williams, like many other less significant dramatists of the middle of the last century, learned how to write an effective spanking scene as part of their basic professional training!

Photographer of the Week: Sarah Hardcastle

00 Dynamite Dames photography

Fort Worth is the place to be if you want to be a pin-up sensation in front of Sarah Hardcastle’s lens, for that is the home of Dynamite Dames, the retro and photography firm she shoots for – established 2007.

A Dynamite Dames shoot brings out the best in the model, from every angle,

in light or in shade,

whatever the time of the year.

It was at the most wonderful time of the year that Melanie Dancer had her Diamond Dames shoot.

Here he is with her fellow participant.

Oh-oh – isn’t that… the Krampus? Better make a run for it, Melanie!

But alas (or perhaps hurrah), she wasn’t fast enough.

And when a girl is caught by the Krampus, there can only be one outcome!

If you are interested in Sarah Hardcastle’s work, please visit the Dynamite Dames website.

Can You Spank Teacher?

Here’s a Dan DeCarlo cartoon that was published in 1956, featuring an uncomfortable trip to the Principal’s office:

Of course, it had to be a lady teacher getting spanked: we saw last time how tricky the alternative might be! But it seems even this wasn’t harmless enough for Humorama, because look how it was republished in the 1960s:

Ignore, if you can, the added spot color that sets off the pure white of her panties so beautifully. The really significant change is to the caption, which give the toon a completely different scenario. In 1956, this was a demonstration spanking, with the clear implication that before long there were going to be some naughty schoolgirls in a very similar position, skirts up, panties on show, across Miss Jones’ knee. But now the ‘children’ – what a problematic choice of words by the Principal! – are almost completely out of the equation, and it becomes a disciplinary spanking, effectively an equivalent to the familiar and then ubiquitous spicy secretary spanked by her boss, only transposed to a different profession.

Likewise, it’s no surprise that the spanking scene in the 1968 British school sitcom Please Sir!

doesn’t feature a teacher spanking one of his pupils, and not only because of the principle that regular characters in television series are rarely spanked. As it happens, she’s a trainee teacher herself, but the rationale of the spanking doesn’t rest on her profession so much as the fact that she is his ex-girlfriend: it’s a spanking scenario that could take place anywhere, but just incidentally happens to be in a classroom because the series is set in a school.

So are teachers ever spanked because they’re teachers, as distinct from because they’re spankable young women? Well, from time to time there’s a piquant sense of role reversal:

14 2010

In 1968 the international press loved a story we’ve encountered elsewhere, about a young teacher who had to step in at short notice to play the female lead in a school production of The Taming of the Shrew, and consequently got spanked by one of her own pupils:

And if you’re Doris Day and the enrollment for your college journalism class includes serial spanker Clark Gable, maybe you better abandon all hope…

except that this is only the German poster for the late screwball comedy Teacher’s Pet (1958), and nothing actually happens in the film itself!

But in almost all other circumstances, it’s very difficult to get a nubile young teacher into a position where she finds herself on the wrong end of some corporal punishment. We can illustrate that with reference to one of the more implausible episodes of Don Lawrence’s gorgeously drawn early ’70s glamor strip Carrie, whose heroine mainly existed to get into embarrassing situations and lose her clothes. In this particular episode, she is an improbably dressed teacher at a boys’ boarding school who shows insufficient caution when venturing into the dormitory after lights out.

The boys have a terrible fate in store for her, of which we only need to show the first part:

The Headmaster interrupts the fun and games to find poor Carrie naked except for her mortar board, tied hand and foot to a bed. You might think the rights and wrongs of that situation are pretty clear-cut, so let’s be thankful that the strip pays no attention whatsoever to how the Head may or may not deal with Carrie’s tormentors. Instead, the scene shifts to a classroom for no apparent reason, and Carrie has been able to lay hands on a gown to cover herself up, but has not thought, or been allowed, to put on the rest of her clothes, not even her panties.

What an injustice! Carrie, who is surely the victim in the situation, is ordered to bend over the desk. And what’s worse, the Head seems to have tied her by the wrists to restrain her for the severe caning that seems about to follow:

‘Oh the shame, oh the pain, as our wayward strip girl gets the cane,’ reads the summary at the head of the story. But does she in fact get it? Maybe not, because in the penultimate frame, her bottom looks ever so slightly pink, rather than striped after six of the best, as though he has relented and only administered a moderate spanking instead. Or perhaps that’s reading too much into a minor change in the color balance?

It really depends on what Carrie means when she says ‘the lesson is about to begin’: is the ‘lesson’ a yet-to-occur caning, or something else he’s going to do to her now that he has already whacked her? The latter would explain most of the logical anomalies in the story: Carrie is not being punished for any actual misdeed, but simply because she is an attractive young woman, and the boys escaped justice because the Headmaster is at least as bad as them! Just like in ‘spicy world’, the only coherent rationale is the spanker’s ulterior motive, which means that once again the school setting and the spanked girl’s profession are only the circumstantial context for a spanking that was going to happen anyway.

And if attractive young schoolteachers rarely get spanked – then don’t try this at school!

Men are Like Streetcars: 1963-64

We have only one precisely datable Streetcars production from this year, and even that date changed at the last moment. The annual school play at Chillicothe High School, Missouri, was due to take place on November 22:

The black border was unexpectedly apt, because that afternoon saw the assassination of President Kennedy, so the performance was postponed, and Susan Burton had to wait until the following Tuesday, November 26, for Harry Hargrave to do this to her:

The other pictures we have are from productions whose dates can’t be pinned down exactly.  A rehearsal shot from the senior play at Dolgeville Central School, New York, in which the spanking seems to be happening behind the sofa rather than on it:

And the senior play at Kansas High School, Illinois; Roy Ballinger spanks Ginny Washburn:

14 1964 Kansas HS

And as the world stood poised on the brink of the great change that came about in the middle and late 1960s, so change was coming to Men are Like Streetcars, as we’ll see in the next part of the series.

When The Answer is Spanking

The striking, strange singer Yolandi Visser is half of the South African hip-hop duo Die Antwoord (which is Afrikaans for The Answer). Here she is in one of her more conventionally glam moments:

But conventional isn’t the first word you’d think of if you were trying to describe Die Antwoord. Let’s just say that if you’re the sort of person who is liable to be shocked and disgusted by Miley Cyrus, you might want to give Yolandi a very wide berth indeed…

For the broader-minded reader of this site, however, it’s good to know that Die Antwoord seem quite clued-up about one aspect of their appeal:

She’s certainly happy to show off her assets,

including onstage,

which amounts to serious temptation…

Yolandi doesn’t mind, it seems. In some of her early concert appearances a decade ago, she was kitted out in the tightest of golden pants,

and, according to a reviewer back in 2010, she ‘has a thing for spanking her own gold, spandex-plated butt’:

Here she is doing it. Sometimes she would offer the audience the chance to join in:

Other gold, spandex-plated butts are also available:

And if the mood is right… down with spandex!

All this might be described as good preliminary practice for the music video accompanying Die Antwoord’s 2013 song ‘Cookie Thumper’, in which Yolandi plays a very naughty schoolgirl at Holy Cross Girls’ Orphanage.

The overall thrust of the video concerns her induction into crime, sex and drug culture, but it’s intercut with some extremely provocative, not to say gross juvenile misbehavior, among which her disruptive classroom antics may not be the wildest,

but are certainly enough to land her in the Principal’s office, and across the Principal’s knee:

And if in doubt about just how naughty she is, here’s a different angle:

You can see the video here. The spanking amounts to three onscreen whacks, though slick editing means we never actually see the paddle connect with her bare bottom. Anyone with a weak stomach who only wants to see the spanking sequence should go to 3m47s and then stop immediately afterwards. But anyone with a weak stomach, or who is easily offended, is probably not in Die Antwoord’s target demographic: be off with you!

In Loco Parentis?

Let’s begin in the 1970s with the British cartoonist Colin Leary, who mainly worked on film posters but had a sideline in risqué joke toons.

This particular joke boils down to a simple pun on the word ‘seat’, in its two senses of what might be sat upon. Normally you ask, ‘Is this seat taken?’ when you want a chair, so for the joke to work, the inquirer has to be someone who may be expected to have routine business involving the other kind of seat – and that takes us to teachers whose job includes the spanking of naughty schoolgirls.

The mortar boards and gowns, gymslips and stockings, make it obvious that we’re talking about fictional stereotypes here, not reality. But it is a documented fact that, during the last century, some high school teachers spanked their pupils from time to time, and in some communities it was taken not as an outrage but an ordinary fact of educational life. Since time immemorial, some doting parents have objected to their beloved offspring being whacked in the cause of education, but other families adopted the opposite policy, so that a daughter who was spanked at school could expect a second spanking when she got home.

But school spanking is relatively rare as a scenario in fiction, except of course in spanking pornography, where the relentless search for easy pretexts makes it almost ubiquitous. When it crops up at all in the mainstream, the schoolroom scenario tends to be used in ways that are oblique and metaphorical rather than direct. One lady whom this will affect is Rebecca Welles:

She is the female guest star in ‘Brunette Bombshell’, a 1959 episode of the television series Bat Masterson (1958-61), starring Gene Barry as the legendary gambler and Eastern-dandy-about-the-Wild-West.

The episode begins with Masterson buying a sports club in Denver as a business venture; but when he arrives to take possession, he finds a ‘Property Condemned’ sticker on the building. He has bought a dud: the club is to be torn down to make way for a gambling casino. When he attempts to open up anyway, he lands in jail and is released by the local Commissioner of Police on two conditions: that he pays a huge fine – the same amount he originally paid for the club – and relinquishes his rights in the property.

It gradually emerges that Masterson’s activities are being sabotaged by thugs hired by the mysterious and ruthless ‘town boss’. He arranges to meet his adversary, and discovers that it is actually Isabel Fowler, the (much) younger sister of the Mayor of Denver.

Her brother, an honest politician, thinks she’s helping him to clean up the town, but in reality she and the police commissioner are running a protection racket. The corrupt cop is killed in the course of the story, and on learning the truth Mayor Fowler appoints Masterson as his temporary replacement to allow him to deal out justice with some official standing. Once the villains are routed and the extorted money paid back, Fowler offers to make the appointment permanent, but Masterson declines. Agreeing that Isabel should be punished, however, he suggests another very temporary appointment, as Commissioner of Education, in which capacity he deals out a different kind of justice as the episode comes to an end:

The scene takes place inside a police cell, a setting that carries obvious associations of the kind of adult judicial penalty that is reckoned to be inadequate for Isabel: if handed over to the civil authorities she’d only sweet-talk her way out of it, which is why the only punishment that will do for her is a good, sound spanking. The reasoning may be rather specious, but what’s interesting is that it’s felt Masterson needs to have some kind of formal authority to do it, and that the particular kind of authority he gets is that of a teacher.

In other words, spanking naughty girls is reckoned to be a standard part of a teacher’s job description. But as I said before, it’s not something that is often portrayed directly in narrative. Partly that’s because the schoolroom just isn’t a very viable setting for a spanking scene in most of the usual ways they turn up in mainstream stories: any adult women who are there will ordinarily not be subject to school discipline, while those who are under-age will obviously not be of any interest.

We shouldn’t really need to be told why this particular version of the spanking trope carries uncomfortable baggage, but let’s explore it anyway. First stop – ‘spicy world’! The American cartoon digests published in the 1950s and ’60s by Humorama and their competitors inhabited that hinterland of the mainstream that gave regular social situations and tropes a sexy spin. Spanking often featured, which made the genre as pretext-hungry as porn, with the signal difference that the toons were always wryly honest about the ulterior motive. But what might seem on the face of it to be a gift of a trope, the schoolgirl spanked by her teacher, appeared as infrequently as everywhere else – a sure sign that it approaches areas that were, and remain, a lot more delicate than the usual run of wives spanked by their husbands and secretaries by their bosses.

Here’s the only known example of a spicy spanked schoolgirl from Humorama, a 1957 toon by British artist George Morrice about the perils of detention:

And from a little later, one by Woody Kimbrell (1916-90), who was best known for his newspaper strips but also contributed to the raunchier Sex to Sexty toon collections in the 1970s:

These toons are handicapped by the absence, from America at that time, of the stereotype that Colin Leary was able to draw on: the ‘naughty schoolgirl’ that had been immediately recognizable in Britain at least since Ronald Searle’s St Trinian’s cartoons in the 1940s and which, save perhaps for the incurably literal-minded, had nothing at all to do with actual schoolgirls, naughty or otherwise. But since the equivalent US icon, the sexy Catholic schoolgirl in her just-about-panty-length plaid skirt, seems to have been a later development, the two American-published toons can only present regular pretty girls who happen to be pupils at school. Accordingly, the artists slide around the immediate problem by overtly depicting them with so full a degree of physical development that they are clearly old enough to be spanked – which of course is entirely consistent with the approach that treats spanking as a bit of sexy fun.

Fun for the teacher anyway – which means we’re not out of the woods yet. The wider difficulty is only escalated by upping the age bracket, though at least it brings closer the time when the professional relationship is dissolved and the girl being spanked is no longer strictly a schoolgirl:

090b 1956

(As you can see, waiting until graduation also means she can be spanked with her own diploma!)

So here’s the difficulty: with the passing of time, girls become more spankable but less eligible to be spanked. Let’s take it right to the vanishing point, beyond high-school education and into the college years that are the background to the comic-book story ‘I Paid the Price’. And in case anyone should be in any doubt about what the price she paid was, all is made clear in the outstanding splash page:

In the story, spoiled heiress Connie Desmond comes to Dexter College certain of one thing: her father’s money and influence will solve any and all difficulties she might encounter. On arrival, she has a moment of friction with Burt Taylor, who is driving groups of students from the station to their dorms, but refuses to take her alone.

Next day, she turns up late to her math class, to find that the teacher is none other than Burt Taylor.

Twice embarrassed, she schemes to get her own back on him, and stays behind after class, pretending to want extra instruction – but actually to try and vamp him. She doesn’t succeed, and the outcome is…

Of course, this is romantic fiction – first published in the August 1950 issue of Campus Loves – so the story’s subsequent development takes Connie from vengeful resentment…

to penitent devotion:

Burt’s primary function in the story, as told from Connie’s point of view, is as the object of her ultimate affections and the one who shares the stable happy ending with her. He’s not primarily her teacher, which would make the spanking a more problematic element, even in the unlikely event that it were construed as a part of his professional responsibilities when dealing with a student at college level. As it is, that difficulty can be ignored, eclipsed by the norms of the romance genre, in which impending relationships often pass through the spanking phase.

It’s very much to the point that we are drifting off the topic here: it supports the case I’m making that disciplinary spanking in the classroom is a subject whose sensitivity and complications make it hard for the mainstream to handle directly and straightforwardly. Ultimately, if spanking carries potential romantic or even erotic connotations, then it’s not something you want a schoolteacher to be doing to a schoolgirl. So if you can’t take the sex out of spanking, it’s best to take spanking out of school.

And that is where we are now: corporal punishment has no legitimate place in modern educational techniques and practice.

(‘To think that one of my colleagues in public education got fired for a mere slap on the face.’)

So the prospects of encountering a spanking in a modern classroom are minimal, unless of course someone has a fantasy they want to enact, like Nina (Zoe Kazan), who stays behind after class in ‘Escape from the Castle’, a 2010 episode of the comedy series Bored to Death,

in which the only thing that’s genuinely unwelcome or embarrassing is the arrival of the janitor to lock up the school:

My point is that earlier generations were already at least half-wise to the issue, in their own way, even though spanking was more commonplace, and more accepted, in both real-life education and fictional romance; and that is the reason why so few schoolgirl spankings feature in mainstream fiction.

Except, of course, for the ones that do.

It’s even there in the title of the 1969 German school comedy Klassenkeilekeile being one of many German words for spanking.

The star is Uschi Glas, who gets the first of two spankings in her film career. (The other was by a supposed headmaster, but in a non-school context, in the rather absurd 1971 movie Wenn mein Schätzen auf die Pauke Haut.) She plays Katja Hutten, whose best friend has just been expelled from one school and is being sent unwillingly back to another by her exasperated parents. Katja agrees to take her place as the naughty new girl, because she wants to write an exposé of the institution’s low educational standards. Once there, she becomes interested in the popular teacher Dr Wagner (Walter Giller),

and kisses him in a nightclub, right in front of a press photographer’s lens.

The resultant compromising picture gets him fired, and the students mount a successful campaign to get him reinstated; but not before taking their revenge on Katja in the form of the ‘klassenkeile’ of the title – literally, a spanking from her classmates, forcibly bent over a school desk and smacked by each of them in turn.

There is one telling and significant feature of the scene. This is a mixed high school, and indeed the classmate who passes sentence on Katja is a boy, Klaus Fuchs (Wolfgang Condrus). But when it comes for that sentence to be carried out, the boys all walk to one end of the classroom and turn their backs, leaving Katja to be spanked by the girls alone:

And that starts to explain a small anomaly in the universally wholesome canon of spanking scenes in American high school plays. The bad girls are chastised by Dad, Mom, uncles and aunts and other relatives. Sometimes it is a boyfriend, or a friend of the family, or even an employee like the maid in Little Acorns (1943) or the long-suffering secretary in We ‘Dude’ It (1958). But only once in all those plays do we have an example of that commonplace scenario, a schoolgirl spanked by her teacher in loco parentis. The play in question is Spring Journey (1950), and you can see from the picture just what it is that makes this possible:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is spring-journey-1963-hammond-hs.jpg

Spanked by Miss! There’s not even the remotest possibility of anything sexual about that… is there?