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It was during the time of one of the most horrible wars that raged on this planet. Posters of pin-up girls were found hanging on walls and were painted over thousands of American planes fighting overseas. They were meant to cheer soldiers to victory, and these are ten of the most iconic pin-up girls from that time!
Illustrator Art Frahm was known for his cartoony drawings of pretty women caught in awkward situations. These women had their panties dropping to their feet, often while carrying groceries. Well, it's more or less obvious why these were so popular, huh?
Illustrations had found a lot of popularity amongst the American military during the Second World War. It was during this time thta Gil Elvgren painted pin-up girls for calendar companies. Many of the images were reproduced on the noses of combat planes. Soldiers could also buy reproductions on small postcards from vending machines.
In the early 1940s, Veronica Lake was the fashion sensation, and had the most famous hair in Hollywood, with her signature "peek-a-boo" hairstyle. She starred in a variety of film noir movies, and was once considered one of the most reliable draws.
Ava Gardner reached the peak of her fame in the 1950s, when she married Frank Sinatra and starred in movies. During World War II, Gardner was just an MGM Studios contract player, posing for photographs on the side.
Zoe Mozert was an unusual pin-up artist for the time: She was a female illustrator who frequently used herself as a model. During the war, she produced a series of calendars called "victory girls." This is a photo of her creation.
George Petty was an illustrator for Esquire and True magazines, and his pin-up girls were frequently painted on airplane noses. Look at the nose of the plane in the photo, and you will see a Pretty Girl. One of the most famous planes from World War II, Memphis Belle, had a Petty Girl painted on her nose.
Alberto Vargas was the best-known of the World War II-era pin-up illustrators. His work appeared in Esquire magazine throughout the war. Between 1942 and 1946, 9 million copies of the magazine were sent overseas to eager soldiers. The numbers alone are enough to tell one of the popularity of his illustrations!
Jane Russell's debut movie was the one that made her a star overnight-1943's "The Outlaw." The movie was filmed in 1941 and had a limited release in 1943, but wasn't released nationally until 1946 because of censorship concerns about Russell's voluptuous figure. While the film was in limbo, Russell promoted it and her appeal grew. By the time the movie released in 1946, she was one of the most craved women!
LIFE Magazine published this photograph of Rita Hayworth in 1941; for the first two years of the war it was the most-requested pin-up photograph. Hayworth was one of the top stars in Hollywood and starred in musicals alongside Fred Astaire. In 2002 the black satin nightgown posed Hayworth photograph sold for $26,888. Now that is a staggering amount to raise at an auction!
Betty Grable was the No. 1 Hollywood box office draw in 1943. She then did a photoshoot with photographer Frank Powolny, in which she featured clad in a one-piece swimsuit. It quickly became the most-requested poster for soldiers stationed overseas, and went on to be the most popular pin-up image from the war, surpassing Rita Hayworth's!