Who is the most spankable lady reporter of them all?
But then I’m biased, and for me she’d be spankable whatever her profession.
Doctor Who‘s Sarah Jane Smith was never spanked (outside my and others’ imaginations), but she did have several of the kind of ‘curiosity killed the cat’ storylines that tend to get intrepid girl reporters into trouble. Girl reporters like Dorothy Roberts (Claire Dodd) of In the Navy (1941), whose efforts to trace a missing crooner have the following outcome:
(You can read all about it here.)
And it’s a very similar story for the French stringer Odile Chaput.
She’s played by actress Nicole Pescheux, a frequent contributor to magazine photostories, who also played spankable nuisances on television, making it not unreasonable for her actually to get spanked in a photostory.
The one in question is ‘Jolies Vacances pour Johnny’ (Happy Vacation for Johnny), published in 1972 in the magazine Télé Poche, the French equivalent of TV Guide. The Johnny on holiday is pop star Johnny Hallyday, playing himself, who is taking a break with friends to relax before a tour of South America. Odile makes his acquaintance and senses a scoop when one of the friends is shot and wounded by a gangster. She phones it through to the Clarion, and the story is worked up into an elaborate piece of fake news to the effect that Johnny is on the run from the mob.
Johnny is not pleased when he reads this in the paper, and deduces that it can have come from only one person. So he tracks her down, bent on revenge, which naturally takes the form of…
What follows is a familiar kind of post-spanking contretemps:
She proceeds to explain that, despite the by-line, the story was written by the editor; all she did was phone in two or three phrases. Nothing doing, he insists: she was still the originator of an idiotic lie, and deserved the spanking she got!
For more of the same we go to Hollywood in the late 1940s, where a girl reporter has been ordered by her editor to get a picture of a particular celeb. If she fails, she will be fired. So she takes the unusual step of breaking into his house.
But snapping him unawares from behind the sofa is beyond her powers: she’s spotted and dragged out of her hiding place!
And once caught, she pays the penalty:
Afterwards, the celeb decides he likes her and becomes cooperative, meaning she gets her picture after all and keeps her job.
This too was a photostory, staged for a spicy American magazine, with the girl played by model Kay Hamilton. Readers were assured that it was based on something that actually happened, and perhaps some credulous ones even believed it…
But from time to time such things really have been known to happen. There was a case in point as recently as 2004, involving the Toronto Sun reporter Tanya Enberg.
She was sent to interview Gene Simmons, lead singer of the rock band Kiss, who was about to release a solo album. On arrival at his hotel room, she noticed the large, comfortable bed, and proceeded to spend the next half-hour in it alongside him – purely for the sake of the publicity chat and not for any other reason you might imagine, of course. Then, as she was about to leave, he grabbed her, and…
In the column she filed, incidentally, she went out of her way to say how much she had enjoyed the spanking!
You can see the pattern that’s starting to emerge. To be good at her job, a girl reporter must be full of initiative. She must get her story no matter what the cost, no matter what social proprieties she violates or how egregiously she invades the privacy of her subject. And that will sometimes have consequences…
Very occasionally, though, the consequences are part of the initiative. In 1999, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were doing a round of publicity interviews for their new album, Californication. A French journalist hit upon an unusual way to get the best out of her session with the drummer, Chad Smith: presenting herself at his room in the Beverly Hills Hotel, she promptly stripped off and invited him to spank her!
She may have known of a widely reported case from nine years earlier, when things got frisky at a spring break beach concert given by the Chilis in Florida: the bass player threw a 20-year-old student over his shoulder, and Smith pulled down her bikini bottoms and gave her a spanking. It was intended as a bit of fun but wasn’t taken that way by the girl, and the upshot was public humiliation for the band, court-mandated apologies to the girl and, for Smith, a criminal conviction for battery.
Whether or not this was relevant, the fact of the matter is that, in Beverly Hills in 1999, the band’s press officer walked in midway through the interview – to find the reporteuse across Chad Smith’s knee, stark naked and having her bare bottom enthusiastically spanked!
The story was told by another reporter, Jade Petit of the British magazine Rock Sound, who was on Smith’s schedule for the following day. When she arrived for her slot, he asked her, with a roguish glint in his eye,
‘Are you French?’
She was, actually, but her interview was conducted in a more orthodox fashion!
But a spanking isn’t always the price a reporter pays for getting ahead in her profession. Easily the least able journalist we’ll meet today is Nancy Dale, supposedly a renowned war correspondent in ‘Love is Blind’, a story drawn by Stephen Kirkel in the 1953 romance comic book Daring Love.
I say ‘supposedly’ because she hasn’t the even first idea of the reality of conditions on active service. She’s in the Far East to cover the Korean War, and requests Captain Bill Gray, whom she met and fell for in Tokyo, to be assigned as her guide in a tour of the front. And once she’s there, she complains about everything, from the quality of her accommodation to the behavior of the soldiers, demanding that she be treated with a respect that she doesn’t show others. And all this is backed up with less than subtle insinuations about what she might write in the newspapers if she doesn’t get her way.
Matters come to a head when a battle-exhausted soldier falls asleep on Nancy’s shoulder and she tells him to get off, calling him a ‘dirty lout’. ‘Bill, are you going to let him get away with this?’ And Bill replies, ‘Yes, but you aren’t! I’m going to give you something you’ve needed for a long time!’
‘I got to hand it to you, sir,’ comments one of the soldiers. ‘You sure got a wallop!’ And the walloped, weeping Nancy runs off in the direction of the front, so that Bill has to save her from an enemy attack, in which he is badly wounded. Happily for them both, he wakes up in hospital to find her attitude much modified, and the outcome involves wedding bells.
Perhaps regrettably, one thing gets glossed over in the main story, but is emphasized in one of the speech bubbles in the splash panel at the start:
It’s the payoff to her repeated warnings about the story she’ll be filing: the spanking too can be part of it, if she dares!
So the risk a journalist runs is that, if she ends up getting spanked, she may become the story rather than being the one reporting it. That’s what happened, in a playful way, to another reporter for the Toronto Sun, Danielle Crittenden:
In the 1980s, she was covering the Canadian National Exhibition, and gamely took a test in the Encyclopedia Britannica booth, set by a character known as the Bookworm, a man in a worm suit dressed as an old-fashioned teacher in mortar board and gown. Unfortunately for Danielle, she made four spelling mistakes, which meant that the story in the Sun was about what happened to her as a result, something that might also be described as old-fashioned:
So one way or another, being a plucky girl reporter is fraught with danger. Especially when you’re the most spankable of them all…
Picture Credit: The final Sarah Jane collage is the work of Texas Jim.