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Edutainment > Nude Test # 1 - Betty Grable

By Tom Kristensen
By Tom Kristensen - Nude Test # 1 Grable
Nude Test # 1 Grable
Woodblock Print, 2006
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Tom Kristensen, born 1962, is a young artist from Australia who works in the tradition of Japanese woodblock printmaking. On this page, he writes about his latest series "Nudes".

Here is the original text written by Tom Kristensen. Text and images are copyright protected and may not be used or distributed for other than private use without the prior consignment of the author/artist.

First Publication: July 2006
Latest Update: July 2013

Nude Test # 1 - Betty Grable

In 1953 Betty Grable starred in her last hit film "How to Marry a Millionaire" with Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall. Money was not a problem for Grable, she had worked hard for Twentieth Century Fox, and during the war years Grable had been America's No. I female box office attraction.

By 1947 she was the highest paid salaried woman in America. Her legs were famously insured for a million dollars. Grable was the most popular pin-up girl of the American forces. Frank Powolny provided the film studio with the iconic swimsuit photograph of Betty in 1943 and the image was an immediate sensation.

The military allowed the postcard picture to be issued to serviceman and more than 5 million copies were circulated. Apart from being pinned up in the barracks the image was painted onto bomber jackets and decorated the nosecone of many bomber aeroplanes.

Linking military conquest with female imagery is as old as Helen of Troy and military hardware has long been decorated with naked women. Men also give names to ships, planes and guns and they often invoke women. The man who led the mission to Hiroshima, killing 140 000 people, elected to rename the B-29 Superfortress bomber Enola Gay after his mother. The atomic bomb itself was named Little Boy.

After the close of World War II the military continued to develop nuclear weapons with suggestive names. On May 25 1953 the largest atomic weapon fired by artillery was exploded over the Las Vegas desert in the test series named Operation Upshot-Knothole. The cannon was named Atomic Annie while the shell and the blast was named Grable.

3200 personnel were present at the Grable blast to test exposure to radiation. Operation Upshot-Knothole was responsible for the release of 24% of all radioactive iodine produced as a result of continental nuclear tests, resulting in some 28,000 cases of thyroid cancer. Betty Grable died from lung cancer in 1973 at the age of 56.

Tom Kristensen
Edited by Dieter Wanczura

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