During the golden age of Burlesque, it wasn't always how well you
bumped and grinded that made you famous. All the best stripteasers realized
the power of publicity and that any press was good press. One such master
of Burly-Q marketing was Evelyn West. Working the dancers
circuit from the mid-1940's until the 1960's, West was a
popular headliner, but more popular because of her off-stage antics.
Her most well know stunt was having her ample 39
1/2 inch chest (part of a 391/2-25-35 figure) insured with Lloyd's of London
(insurer of many a body part) for $50,000. From then on she was billed
as "Evelyn $50,000 Treasure Chest West" and/or "The Girl with the $50,000
In the bosom obsessed age of the 1950's glamour
girl, West held her own against the likes of Tempest
Storm, Jane Russell,
and Jayne Mansfield.
intent on being the winner of the "battle of the bust," (and intent on
getting more publicity) would make unkind comments about her fellow bombshells
such as, "Marilyn Monroe's
much-vaunted shape is as phony as her yearning for the Karamazov brothers."
Another in West's long list of stunts
was her appearance at a nudist wedding. (You can read all about it in this
essay: "Treasure Chest" and the Nudists.)
Forget about the nearly clinical portrayals of nudism you would find in
magazines like "Sunshine and Health"--here was the nudist fantasy every
red-blooded American male was looking for. Many a mind wandered with the
thought of playing nude Volleyball, skinny dipping, or sunbathing with
the voluptuous "Treasure Chest" West.
All in all, West had the figure to
get her featured in all the best pin-up magazines and the mouth get get
her featured in all the best gossip rags; a wicked combination in any Femme