Little Iodine

There’s nothing for us in Little Iodine, Jimmy Hatlo’s ‘pesky kid’ newspaper strip, even though Iodine’s exploits often ended with the malign mini-monster getting a well-deserved spanking, because in a run of more than forty years from the 1940s to the ’80s, she never became old enough for such treatment to be interesting. For the same reason, the 1946 movie version, with Jo Ann Marlowe in the title role, isn’t worth a thought, let alone a visit, because she too wasn’t old enough at the time.

But there was something a little more promising in March 1950, when the teenage students of Chico High School in California mounted a revue entitled See You in the Funnies. All the sketches were based on cartoons and comics, from Porky Pig to Donald Duck, including one based on Little Iodine – which turned out to be the winning entry. The skit’s climax was true to the original strip:

Except that she is old enough!

Photographer of the Week: Albert Anthony

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If you’re in Denver and want your picture taken, you should seek out Albert Anthony, whose artist’s eye enhances his commercial work to create unforgettable images.

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If you’re a pretty girl in Denver, you should certainly seek out Albert Anthony and have your picture taken, because he’ll make you look absolutely glorious…

… whatever the season!

If you’re going to be spanked in Denver, he’s your man too:

But it has to be said that the classroom shoot he did on February 2, 2017, had the strangest schoolgirl you ever did see. Here’s Niccole Perkins:

And here she is with teacher, Georgia Padilla:

But there are some things that remain the same in fantasy classrooms everywhere:

If you are interested in Albert Anthony’s photography, please visit his website.

Too Old or Old Enough?

It is an uncomfortable fact that, in the culture at large, spanking is most widely thought of as a punishment for children. Girls will reach an age when they are commonly said to be ‘too old to be spanked’, often at around the same time as they have reached an age when we, whose interest in the subject has a sexual dimension, might say they are old enough to be spanked.

00 Mary Worth

And when that fate does befall a girl of (in our terms) spankable age, it is often said to be making up for an earlier omission:

01d Boots and Her Buddies 1940

Sometimes this is done by, or with the approval of, the parental figure who previously neglected the spanking, and who is also presented as learning a belated lesson:

02c Etta Kett 1935

The rationale is that the girl is treated according to the age she acts rather than the age she has attained in chronological and biological terms.

But in other stories, perhaps slightly more thoughtful ones, people are less sure that spanking is a ‘magic bullet’ for older girls’ misbehavior. In a 1963 Terry and the Pirates strip, the Air Force Academy commanding officer’s man-chasing daughter, Hildy Tome, seeks revenge on a cadet who has spurned her, using two of his fellow cadets as her agents of mischief. When it all goes horribly wrong, she realizes that she has brought everyone involved to the brink of career ruination, and that everyone involved is going to be punished except for her:

She manages to put it all right before telling the whole story to her father, whose response is: ‘Young woman, my real problem is what to do about a daughter with a mind like yours!’ And no, there isn’t a solution that involves disproving her earlier assumption about what she’s too old for, because that’s the end of the story.

The same dilemma gets a lot of coverage in a 1967 entry in the long-running Winnie Winkle strip, originally about a working breadwinner daughter who had become, by the Sixties, a working breadwinner widow and mother. The story in question deals with the possibility that she might end up marrying a prince, but when he asks her to meet him, she’s unable to go until her daughter Wendy is safely home after a night out. But Wendy is a tardy teenager who doesn’t come in until after midnight, so Winnie doesn’t get to meet her prince. Later, she discusses the affair with her mother, whose grandmotherly observation is:

In fact, what Winnie has done is to set Wendy a poser: ‘You’re no longer a child. What punishment do you suggest for yourself?’ For nearly a week’s worth of episodes, we see Wendy guiltily pondering the question, and as the impact of her lateness on her mom’s future happiness grows progressively more obvious, she becomes more and more convinced that she should get ‘a very stiff punishment’: ‘I deserve the worst.’ Should she forgo her sewing lessons and thereby sacrifice her career in fashion design? Or donate her clothing allowance to charity and henceforth wear rags? Or not go to parties for a year? Life used to be simpler:

04b Winnie winkle 1967

It was also simpler for Winnie herself back in her youth, as we see from this 1923 panel from the same strip, in which her father doesn’t give her the option of self-discipline:

Wendy’s visions of herself being punished as a little girl are especially interesting for the way they pin down how the ‘too old to spank’ scenario works: she imagines herself as she is now, a teen, but dressed as a child. When it’s said that a girl is too old to spank, it infallibly evokes the very image it’s denying, that same girl being spanked, and like Wendy, we imagine it in terms of how the girl looks now because that’s the only image we have of her in the strip itself.

06 Mary Worth 1965

It’s a kind of tricksy transference comparable with what happens in these mid-century cartoons:

The main vehicle of the joke is the dramatic irony: in each case, the father means that the child will get spanked for bad grades, but the kid thinks that’s what’s going to happen to the teacher for doing her job badly. But the effect is that we have both scenarios in our imagination simultaneously, though perhaps with a stronger sense of the spanking of the teacher than of the child, in part because it’s comically incongruous, the point of the joke, but also because both times she is presented as an attractive young woman whom we might enjoy seeing spanked. That’s not exclusively a ‘kink’ reaction, either: in the second example, from 1961, look at how the cartoonist Reamer Keller (1905-94) has taken the trouble to put in a curve defining the area of teacher that’s supposedly going to get the spanking!

This all works very well until magic comes along to let Schrodinger’s cat out of the box and spoil our fun. Lee Falk’s Mandrake the Magician strip featured a couple of good ‘long overdue’ spankings in 1947 and 1952:

But in a later series entry, from 1996, things begin to get complicated. Mandrake is taken forward in time to the year 51199 by a future ruler of Earth named Narda, who eventually turns out to be his direct descendant. She exposes him to various dangers, and, full of wide-eyed admiration for the magical powers he uses to escape, asks him to do another magic trick. ‘Very well,’ says Mandrake; ‘You pulled me from my time, leaving my friends worried; had me almost killed by a robot; you’ve acted like a spoiled child.’ And with a wave of his magical hand, she is a child. ‘A naughty girl, who should be treated as such,’ says Mandrake, who proceeds to do just that. ‘50,000 years ago,’ he explains, ‘this was called a spanking.’

So this is an adult who is said to have behaved like a naughty girl and is duly spanked, with the difference that she is physically transformed in order for that to be done to her. Of course, I’m not going to show the spanking itself, even though technically the character on the receiving end is old enough, but at least Mandrake changes her back immediately afterwards:

Her reaction later takes an interesting turn which is worth pausing over:

10a Mandrake 1996

It emerges that she and her colleagues are bored – and being spanked was interesting!

10b Mandrake 1996

It’s just a pity that Narda wasn’t allowed to stay interesting herself while it happened. But there are ways to resolve the contradiction between ‘too old’ and ‘old enough’ without the use of magic, as we shall see next week.

The First Television Spanking

What was the earliest spanking to be shown on television?

Well, 1951 saw I Love Lucy kick in, which is pretty early, right? Lucille Ball got the first of the show’s four spankings on January 21, 1952:

We know that, around the same time, The Dennis James Show (1952-54) featured a flirtatious relationship between James and his co-host Julia Meade,

which occasionally saw her getting spanked across his knee. We also know, in vague terms, about spanking scenes in early crime series such as Martin Kane, Private Eye (1949-54) and Rocky King, Detective (1950-54), both of which were running before I Love Lucy.

But neither Lucy nor these other dimly remembered, slenderly documented scenes can claim to be a television first. They’re all in the wrong decade, and, incidentally, on the wrong side of the Atlantic.

The fact is that spanking in television drama is literally as old as television drama itself. The first ever play specifically written for television was Felicity’s First Season, scripted by Charles Terrot (1915-84) and produced for the BBC by the future Royal Television Society award-winner George More O’Ferrall (1907-82). Originally entitled These Our Daughters, it was a one-hour comedy that was performed live on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 13, 1938, and again the following Saturday evening, September 17, probably to a somewhat larger audience. The title role of Felicity Graie, ‘one of the most beautiful debutantes of the year’, was taken by Joan White, who was best known for playing Phoebe in Laurence Olivier’s film version of As You Like It in 1936.

And she was the first person ever to be spanked on television!

There is no surviving recording of Felicity’s First Season, not least for the simple reason that the technology to record television broadcasts didn’t exist until the late 1940s. However, we do know one thing about the program that will help us envisage what it would have been like to watch it: each of the five scenes was shot using only one camera. So there were no close-ups or clever angles: what you saw was the whole set with the actors moving about in it. It would have been like watching a stage play, only on a little 12-inch screen…

Except there were a couple tricks in Felicity’s First Season that you wouldn’t see in the theater. For one thing, the second scene takes place in the very same room as the first, a novelist’s study, but completely transformed as it has been taken over for a dinner party. We might take that for granted because it’s so easily done on film: you shoot the first scene, then redress the set, shoot the second scene and have the film editor splice the two together. But without an interval, it’s impossible to do in the theater because you can’t change the set instantaneously. They managed it on live television – by building two versions of the same set at opposite sides of the studio, and shooting them with different cameras. So this was a low-key piece of television ‘magic’, though not one that was much remarked upon by early reviewers, who were more impressed by the effect used to transition from London to Scotland between the third and fourth scenes: an inserted film sequence.

As the play begins, Felicity, daughter of the thriller novelist Raymond Graie (Eric Maturin) and his wife Cynthia, is expected home from Paris, but has not arrived. It turns out that she missed her early morning flight but accepted a ride in a private plane belonging to Dicky Travers whom she finds ‘moderately amusing in small doses’, but whose reputation is that of a Don Juan, ‘a thorough cad and a bounder’. When she gets home, she encounters reporter ‘Scoop’ Hayson, who is trying to get quotes from Raymond about what it’s like to be a deb’s father. Romance develops and ‘Scoop’ asks her to marry him – but because her parents will disapprove, she proposes that they elope. They only have to spend three weeks living in Scotland and then they can be married at Gretna Green – so she walks out of her own coming-out ball to catch the train for Scotland, leaving an apologetic note behind:

‘Darling Daddy, I’m eloping with Scoop. Awfully sorry if it’s a bore. Break the news to Mummie. Love, Felicity.’

The disappearance of a prominent debutante is a major news story, driving the European crisis off the front pages. Since her parents have not let on about the note, the popular theory is that she has wandered off suffering from amnesia. In fact, she and Scoop are living in a a cottage on a lonely Scottish moor, enduring unappetizing Caledonian food – a gluey omelette and tea that tastes like iodine – and with only the gramophone for entertainment. So Felicity is disgruntled and bored.

Together they play a make-believe game, pretending they are living the high life as they wait out their three weeks. But this turns into an argument, and Scoop calls her a silly little girl. She retaliates by throwing a lump of omelette at his head, whereupon he dashes the spoon out of her hand – and things get serious.

FELICITY (in outraged tones): Scoop, you struck me!

(Jumps up and runs to gramophone)

SCOOP: And unless you behave yourself I’ll strike you again… only next time it’ll be on your little —

(As she seizes record and prepares to fling it at him)

SCOOP: No, not that one! It’s one of my favourites.

(The record whizzes past his head and breaks against the wall. Felicity seizes another record. Scoop rushes across to her and attempts to wrest it from her, they struggle, knocking over aspidistra stand. She eventually smashes record across his head.)

SCOOP: Now, you young wildcat, I’ll give you a lesson.

(Felicity wriggles free, turns back to table, seizes whole dish of omelette, and as Scoop is about to grasp her, pushes it in his face. The omelette sticks.)

FELICITY (while he is gasping and trying to get omelette out of his eyes): That’s my lesson to you, you young cub.

SCOOP: Just you wait!

(But Felicity doesn’t. She retreats back, seizes coal-brush from fireplace and sticks it in his face as he comes after her; the coal-dust adheres to the omelette, so his face is blackened. She drops brush, moves to gramophone and flings three records at him in quick succession.

Sound of a car driving up outside cottage, but neither of the combatants appear to notice it.

Before Scoop has had time to recover from the shower of records, Felicity lowers her now tousled head and charges him straight in the wind, causing him to overbalance. He falls against the table, which is knocked completely over. He is up again in a second, grasps Felicity in the middle, sits on chair, hauls her across his knees, and gives her a spanking.)

FELICITY (crying with rage as she is being spanked): You brute! You brute! Thank Heavens I’ve discovered what you’re really like before it’s too late! And to think I was going to marry a wife-beater! What an escape!

SCOOP: The escape is entirely mine – to think I was going to marry a husband-beater!

(Lets her go)

That car drawing up contained Raymond and Cynthia Graie, who enter just too late to witness their daughter being spanked, though it sounds as if her mother wouldn’t have been too put out if he had seen it. ‘You’re a very, very naughty girl,’ she tells Felicity, ‘and deserve to be punished most severely, but it seems as though you’ve learnt your lesson, so we’re going to try and forget about it.’ She then asks what Scoop has done to her. ‘He has just beaten me,’ replies Felicity, and is sent upstairs to pack her things. While she’s out of the room, Cynthia tells Scoop what’s going to happen now: the Graies are going to stick to the amnesia story, and Scoop is going to keep his mouth shut.

And that seems to be that. Felicity and her luggage are driven away, leaving Scoop at the cottage. But there wasn’t enough room for everyone in the car, so Raymond had to stay behind with Scoop. This results in a scene of embarrassed English small-talk about the weather and the fishing, until the conversation turns to the little matter of the spanking Felicity has just received:

RAYMOND: I say, how did you get your face so dirty?

SCOOP: Felicity dusted it with the coal brush.

RAYMOND: Was that why you spanked her?

SCOOP: That and other things,

RAYMOND: What?

SCOOP: She parked an omelette in my face, flung a few records at me, and ended up by knocking me down.

RAYMOND: In that case I don’t blame you for spanking her – I’ve often wanted to spank her myself.

SCOOP (bitterly): However, there’ll be no further opportunity of her repeating her assault.

… whereupon Raymond and Scoop become friends, and the first hurdle is overcome.

Later on, Felicity comes to regret breaking off their engagement: ‘I behaved in a pretty stinking way to him and we had a row. I was frightfully hungry at the time and I didn’t realize how much he meant to me until I’d eaten a mixed grill,’ she tells Dicky Travers, who’s present at a social occasion chez Graie and would rather like to slip into the fiancé vacancy himself. Felicity turns him down, and he gives her a ‘brotherly’ kiss – just as Scoop arrives, sent by his paper to cover the event. A fight follows, and Dicky knocks Scoop out, which reinforces Felicity’s feelings. She says how much she adores Scoop and tries to wake him up – but when he does, he dazedly thinks he’s still in Scotland having the fight that led up to the spanking. She throws water over him, he admits that he heard what she said – and true love conquers all!

Photographer of the Week: Rannie Rodil

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‘Strange and comical’ is how Los Angeles-based Rannie Rodil describes her work, though she also admits to ‘a generous helping of sex appeal’. Which, as you can see, is an entirely fair self-assessment!

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Rannie Rodil 04

‘I’m happy to say that I’m capable of creating any image that my crazy brain conjures up,’ remarks Rannie. And before we turn to a particular shoot she did in 2008, creating a particularly attractive image from her crazy brain, let’s meet the key model who helped her:

Rannie Rodil herself

Who’s that model? Well, actually, the name’s Rodil… Rannie Rodil. Yes, it’s going to be a self-portrait. And if you thought Rannie sounded confident in her own abilities, well, it takes a lot of self-confidence to portray yourself as the class dunce…

Rannie Rodil dunce

And if that doesn’t teach her, maybe this will:

Rannie Rodil spanked

If you are interested in Rannie’s work, please visit her website.

Felipe’s Complex

El Complejo de Felipe, also known as Liceo de Señoritas (Girls’ School), is about a mild-mannered, middle-aged schoolteacher (Enrique Serrano) with an inferiority complex, whose life is completely dominated by his mother. He’s far too timid to control his class of teenage girls: they are rowdy and play practical jokes on him, and not only deserve, but are old enough, to be spanked. And although he’s in love with one of the school secretaries (Elina Colomer),

he can’t bring himself to declare that love – even when she makes advances to him. Not very surprisingly, she goes out with another man. Rather more surprisingly, he goes out on a drunken binge. And that is the making of him.

The film, made in Argentina in 1951, was based on the 1946 Hungarian stage comedy, Reszeg Ejszaka (Drunken Night), by Bela Gador (1906-61), though it’s not known whether a certain piece of upcoming business comes from the play or was added to the movie by screenwriter Julio Porter.

Felipe gets himself outside several bottles of champagne and picks up the school’s dancing mistress, who happens to be also dancing at the club. She persuades him that he needs to be masterful, and together they go to the secretary’s home, where she is helping her tubby, balding date to recover from his evening of over-indulgence; he ends up sleeping it off in the bath while Felipe shows the lady his mettle. An assertive confrontation leads to the following display of masterfulness in front of the pretty dancer and her boyfriend:

The spanking comes to a premature end when there’s an unexpected knock on the door.

Felipe and friends hide, and the sore-bottomed lady of the house goes to answer it:

It’s Felipe’s mother, and he is emboldened to defy her for the first time. And what’s more, it’s evident that the spanked school secretary completely adores him!

Here’s the scene:

It only remains for Felipe to deal with his class of unruly schoolgirls, which he does in a way that entails one of them getting a sore bottom, too. The bad news is that it doesn’t happen the way we’d like. The girls’ latest practical joke is to put a tin-tack on his chair – but it’s one of them who ends up sitting on it:

She and her fellow pranksters get a very stern telling-off – but they don’t get spanked, and end up writing lines on the blackboard. But if there were to be a next time – who knows?!

Kiss Me Kate: 1954

1954 saw a dip in the number of different productions of Kiss Me Kate. Partly that was because the novelty had worn off a show that was by now five years old, but mainly because a single version was almost everywhere, raking in the dollars and in the process temporarily sating much of the American public’s appetite for the musical. I mean, of course, the Howard Keel/Kathryn Grayson movie, released in November 1953 and still very much in the middle of its first run around the country.

And the thinking seems to have been: why would you go to the local summer stock or amateur night Kiss Me Kate when you could see it performed by Hollywood stars on the silver screen?

And that helps explain why very few spanking photographs have come down to us from 1954, culled from a more modest than usual number of stage productions. The first is from a production by the Carolina Playmakers in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which ran March 5-7, and it shows Jo Jurgensen being spanked:

It was an unexpectedly popular show, despite the cinematic competition: it was originally scheduled to run for only two performances, until high ticket sales resulted in an extension and, in consequence, a third spanking for Jo!

The other picture comes from Findlay High School, Ohio, where KMK was performed on March 25 and 26, and it shows Nancy Hartigan being spanked by Dave Cryer:

It’s not without its own small significance, too. There were earlier school productions, and some of them were photographed, but this is the first one we know of where the central image chosen to represent the show was the spanking scene.