Hollywood – (U.P. by Aline Mosby) December 16, 1954 — The latest gift to local television viewers is a buxom blonde in a negligee who kisses the TV screen and murmers “Welcome to my boudior…our special hideaway.”
The bosomy beauty, called Voluptua, is a new star on the local ABC TV station that already has given the world Vampira.
The name Vampira is an appartition in tatters, long fingernails and stringy black hair who sits on a tombstone, strokes skunks and spiders and introduces old horror movies. Now the station has added Voluptua, who figures to do for love what Vampira does for ghouls.
To introduce the romantic movies, Voluptua enters through gauzy curtains and lounges on a six-foot round couch. While Vampira fondles a skull and drinks witches’ brew on her show, Voluptua chats langoriously on a jewel-studded telephone trimmed in mink. The telephone “rings” with a voice that sighs, “Voluptu-a-a-a.”
Originally the ring was to be a moan. The station advertized to audition moaners (20 women showed up), but that inspiration was discarded.
After the movie, Voluptua, trailing her negligee over a white bearskin rug, undresses behind a lipshaded screen. She emerges wearing only a man’s pajama top. She kisses the viewers good-night, right into the camera, and waves at a statue of Venus and a heart-shaped cage of lovebirds.
Upon investigation, Voluptua turned out to be an ex-show girl, Gloria Pall, 25, 5 feet 9 inches, 39-24-37. I have followed Gloria‘s career with interest. Once she turned up at a party for Marilyn Monroe wearing a low-cut dress that defied the laws of nature and gravity. Nobody looked at Marilyn. Later she was a showgirl in Las Vegas and then a comedienne in a burlesque theater in the gambling city. Recently she landed small roles in movies and on 50 TV shows.
“I’m from Brooklyn. I was Miss Flatbush of 1947 and after that it was hard to keep me down on the farm,” said Gloria.
“I came to Hollywood in 1951 but I was too tall for leading lady roles. Producers said nobody would take me seriously so I played dumb blondes. I’m going to show them I’m not so dumb. This show was my own idea.”
She describes the program as the female version of “The Continental,” a male who drooped his eyelids on TV a few years back.
Gloria is going all out to be Voluptua. She plans to startle the citizens by shopping in her gold-sequined, extra-deep-cut negligee. Today, however, she looked like a Valentine in a white leather suit and red sweater. She has painted red hearts on her glasses, fountain pen and scrapbook, and even sports a heart-shaped beauty mark on her left cheek. She gives lace handkerchiefs to lady fans and tiny yo-yos to men, “for idle hands.”
Despite her new title as the goddess of love on TV, Gloria confesses she actually is manless.
“I was married last year for three months. When it didn’t work out I decided to concentrate on work,” she said. “I hardly ever date.”
DID VAMPIRA CAST EVIL SPELL?
Who’s a Zombie? And Who’s a Witch?
By Tedd Thomey
Independent Press-Telegram, Feb. 6, 1955.
Did bosomy Vampira put a hex on her bosomy rival, Voluptua?
And is that why Voluptua was fired from her love-and-kisses role last week on TV’s Channel 7?
Contacted at her Hollywood home, Saturday afternoon, Miss Maila (Vampira) Nurmi said she was delighted that Miss Gloria (Voluptua) Pall had been kicked off the Southland’s video screens.
But brunette Vampira – mysterious mistress of murder and mayhem on Channel 7 – declined to say whether she had cast a spell on blond Voluptua.
“That’s none of the public’s business,” she declared.
However, when Vampira visited Long Beach a few weeks ago, she remarked during an interview that she has had psychic powers dating from the time she was a child in her native Finland.
One of her press agents declared at the same time that he never had mentioned these “strange powers of hers” in his publicity releases because “the public wouldn’t believe it.”
Voluptua conducted a sweetness-and-light romance show for several weeks on Channel 7, appearing at intervels during the screening of old love films.
Vampira has appeared on the same channel each Saturday night since last summer, dishing up macabre humor during the screening of old murder-mystery movies.
KABC officials said Voluptua was fired after numerous viewers complained about the quality of her performance.
Voluptua retorted that she was fired because “I was too sexy.”
Last Thursday, shortly after her dismissal, her car was found “abandoned” on Coast Hwy, near the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica. She reportedly was “missing” and deputies began a search for her.
Nine hours and numerous headlines later, Voluptua phoned police that she wasn’t missing and had merely spent the time with “friends.”
During her recent Long Beach visit, Vampira cited several instances of her psychic powers. She said that as a child of 3 in Finland she’d had a “feeling” an elderly fisherman acquaintance of her family would die. He committed suicide shortly afterward.
A few years ago, when her sister became pregnant in Los Angeles, Miss Nurmi predicted that the child would be stillborn. Although not stillborn, the baby lived only a few days.
When Vampira heard that KABC was considering creating the Voluptua role for Miss Pall, Vampira predicted angrily to her friends that Voluptua wouldn’t “last more than a few weeks.”
Her prediction turned out to be exactly right.
On a December night in 1954, Los Angeles met the woman it would soon deem too hot for television.
After the success of Vampira, the glamorous ghoul of 1950s late-night TV, executives at KABC-TV (Channel 7) cast Gloria Pall, a showgirl and model, as Voluptua, the sultry hostess of a new, love-themed movie program.
Fans dubbed the statuesque Pall “Eyeful Tower” and “Miss Cleavage” for her shapely figure and plunging necklines. Her steamy on-camera poses and flirtatious comments soon earned her another moniker: “Corruptua.”
Just seven weeks after it first aired, amid mounting pressure from religious and PTA groups and lackluster commercial sponsorship, the station abruptly canceled the show.
Pall, who went on to become a Los Angeles real estate agent, died Dec. 30 of heart failure at a Burbank hospital, her son, Jefferson Kane, said. She was 85.
R.H. Greene, a Los Angeles author and documentary filmmaker who put together a 2011 radio feature on Voluptua for KPCC-FM (89.3), called Pall a television pioneer.
“She was quite openly in touch with her sexuality, and that was an incredibly dangerous thing to do,” Greene said in an interview Friday. “We don’t have too many stories for that time that illustrate that, and Gloria’s does.”
Each Wednesday night, as the show’s romantic theme song played, Pall slinked across Southland TV screens wearing an evening gown and dragging a fur coat.
Before she introduced the week’s romantic flick, she greeted viewers with a breathy coo: “Welcome to my boudoir, I want you to feel that it’s your special hideaway. Relax, take off your shoes, loosen your tie.”
She caressed a bearskin rug, made silhouetted on-camera costume changes behind a translucent screen and answered a phone that didn’t ring. Instead, it sighed her name: “Voluptua…Voluptua.”
As she signed off, by now clad only in a men’s pajama top, she kissed the camera goodbye.
“You put that on television and people went crazy,” Greene said. “They were simultaneously titillated and appalled. Gloria was way too hot to handle.”
In a posting on her website, Pall described the over-the-top character she created as “just suggestive — corny not porny.”
The show’s risque theme and the protests it drew attracted national media attention. In 1955, Pall was featured in photo spreads in Playboy and Life.
Born Gloria Pallatz on July 15, 1927, in Brooklyn, New York, Pall grew up in poverty, her son said. As a teenager, she worked as an aircraft mechanic and as a filing clerk for the United Service Organization. She said later that she was working at the organization’s office on the 56th floor of the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945, when an Army B-25 bomber crashed into the building.
“It threw me across the room, and I landed against the wall,” Pall told National Public Radio in 2008. “We didn’t know if it was a bomb or what happened. It was terrifying.”
In 1947, she won the Miss Flatbush beauty contest in her hometown and then worked as a model.
After stints as a showgirl in Reno and Las Vegas, she moved to Hollywood, where she landed small but memorable roles.
In an iconic image from the 1957 film “Jailhouse Rock,” Pall’s legs frame Elvis Presley’s face at a burlesque show; she clutches Kirk Douglas’ arm in a scene from 1954’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”; and in “Crimson Kimono,” a classic 1959 film noir, Pall played a stripper named Sugar Torch, who gets shot in the opening scene.
In her 30s, her film roles growing scarce, Pall started studying for a real estate license.
“I decided that I ought to do something with my life besides going to parties and doing occasional modeling work,” she told The Times in 1962, adding, “I’ve finally got my name in lights on the Strip.”
Indeed, the sign outside her lavender-hued real estate office on Sunset read simply: “Call Pall.”
In 1965, Pall married Allen Kane, who owned a Ford dealership in North Hollywood. The couple, who later divorced, moved with their young son to Florida and Atlanta before returning to California in the late 1970s.
Pall, who drove a lavender 1957 Ford Thunderbird and dressed mainly in shades of purple, later wrote and self-published several books about her life.
“She just knew so much about the ‘50s,” her son said. “Those were her glory days.”
A memorial is planned for 3 p.m. Jan. 20 at Calvary Baptist Church in Burbank, 724 S. Glenoaks Blvd.
Asked toward the end of her life what she would say to those who campaigned to get Voluptua off the air, Pall laughed and offered three words: “Get a life.”