Sunday, June 26, 2016

Betting on a Welch

Things are still crazy in The Underworld, but I thought it might be fun to celebrate summer with a series of photos featuring that legendary glamazon Raquel Welch. This time out all but this first one involve either a bikini or some variation on that theme. If a straight reader happened to have stumbled in here by mistake, perhaps this will make his day! The rest of us can revel in Raquie's array of hairstyles & colors and choices of swimwear. It's remarkable how many times this gal found herself sporting a two-piece. This is merely a sampling. Because she is so stunning to behold, we'll probably be back on another occasion to celebrate more gussied-up looks of hers!

In the early days, Miss W had not completely mastered the art of posing in a swimsuit and there were a few awkward shots. (I'm not even posting the worst of them. We like pretty things around here! LOL)
While not exactly alluring, some of the shots were at least a bit athletic. Already by this time, by the way, she was a divorced mother of two!
Having kicked around in bit parts and walk-ons for a year or two (and a failed audition to play Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island, 1964-1967), Raquel at last began to really get noticed for her work in the sci-fi adventure Fantastic Voyage (1966.) In it, she played assistant to a scientist who, along with several others, is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into a VIP patient to save his life.
Her skin-tight, white scuba suit caused a sensation with filmgoers and, though she never wore a bikini in the movie, this publicity photo played with one of the memorable images in it in which her body was pelted by attacking microscopic blood cells that clung to her curves.
All that was NOTHING, however, in comparison to the impact she made with her next film.
One Million Years B.C. (1966) found her, with newly-lightened hair, playing a cavegirl in a fur bikini, being traumatized by dinosaurs and other assorted dangers.
Images of Raquel Welch in this get-up permeated the globe and led to her gaining legions of devoted fans.
As filming wore on, the poor costume became more and more abbreviated and skimpy!
Back in contemporary swimwear, but retaining her lightened locks, she was a devastating goddess.
Gone were the sometimes-gawky poses and odd stances of her earlier starlet years. Now Miss Welch was an international sensation.
Her attention-getting body would be at the forefront for several years as she enjoyed cinema stardom.
Fathom (1967), which cast her as a curvaceous female spy, and The Biggest Bundle of Them All (1968), in which she was a curvy kidnapper, continued the trend.
One was likely in the mid-'60s to see Raquel in a swimsuit than in any other garb.
1967's Bedazzled saw her in a variation of the swimsuit, this time a (naturally bedazzled) bikini dance costume.
No longer a nameless bit player or piece of decoration, she was raking it in as a superstar.
She costarred with Frank Sinatra in 1968's Lady in Cement, a detective yarn which was a sequel to 1967's Tony Rome.
Whether dry and sultry....
...or wet and slinky, she was a to-die-for object of desire.
Sometimes her considerable hairstyles made the call for a bikini top superfluous!
A foray into westerns such as Bandolero! (1968), 100 Rifles (1969) and, later, Hannie Caulder (1971) had no place for a bikini, but she could always improvise such as this "two-piece" made from a poncho and a gun holster!
Her curves were put to use in Peter Sellers' 1969 spoof The Magic Christian as "Princess of the Whip!"
She was hardly finished with iconic cinematic imagery, however. 1970's controversial and outrageous sex-change flick Myra Breckinridge had her dolled up to mimic a showgirl statue that had once twirled in front of the Chateau Marmont Hotel.
Again, images of her were spread to the four corners of the Earth, though the film was reviled by critics and considered confusing to many moviegoers.
She was wringing every opportunity out of her career, but soon began to want something beyond the image of a statuesque beauty. Immediately after Myra, she began to seek out more varied and demanding fare, be it The Beloved (1971), an adultery drama, Fuzz (1972), a darkly comic police movie, or Kansas City Bomber (1972), a tough roller derby flick in which she wore little makeup.
The all-star mystery movie The Last of Sheila (1973) preceded one of Welch's finest hours, her role of a sexy clutz in The Three Musketeers (1973) and its immediate sequel (filmed at the same time) The Four Musketeers, for which she won a Golden Globe Award.
Of course by then a reputation for being difficult and demanding had also arisen. You can bet that this expression is a familiar one to personal assistants and producers from around that time! LOL
Yes, Welch was a firecracker and still in demand as an actress in things like Mother, Jugs and Speed (1976) and Crossed Swords (1977), though the wheels came off in 1982 when she was fired from Cannery Row after five days of filming and replaced with the far younger Debra Winger. She sued, and won a hefty judgement, but her days on the big screen came to an abrupt and lengthy halt. It was 1994 before anyone would hire her for a feature and that was for a virtual walk-on in Naked Gun 33-1/3: The Final Insult.
Nevertheless, even as she grew older, she could still rock a bikini and actually wound up showing more skin as a grown woman than she had as a starlet!
A career shift towards television, live performing, fitness and entreprenurianism kept her busy and in the public eye. She began embracing her Latin heritage (she is half-Bolivian) and working in projects that accented that along with launching successful wig and eyewear lines.
In her hey day few could match the way she filled out a swimsuit.
Likewise, few women can lay claim to having become a top international sex symbol, worshiped the world over by salivating fans.
And that, my friends, is a WRAP!

9 comments:

GOODSTUFF said...

I want to drink shots from her belly button

Armando Kotch said...

One of the sexiest women of Hollywood.

Gingerguy said...

WOW! this was amazing. I loved her look in "Fantastic Voyage" and remember the hilarious plasma, or whatever the hell it was, stuck to her chest. That pic of the bathing suit with the garter is maybe more revealing in the crotch than intended, or is it just me? The topless shot with the hairpieces adorned my bathroom for years, but no one ever mistook me for straight. She is very funny in her comic sexy roles from that period and she definitely got the joke. "Myra" surely is the oddest film to come out of the sixties, and that is saying something, although "The Magic Christian" is pretty weird and includes Yul Brynner in drag. "Rocky" did a few tv specials to showcase her singing and (pretty good)dancing, starting with the late sixties and into the early eighties. They are camp heaven (there is one scene with her feeling free and cavorting with horses wearing a peach satin cloak). I was introduced to "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In" late night on public access TV (the days before youtube!) and was floored by it, and continue to be. She is a survivor and I think she has gotten respect for her longevity at this point. Certainly no one could touch her for sheer charisma and an amazing body-as these photos attest, Thanks for an eye popping start to my day Poseidon.

Roberta Steve said...

Jeez, thanks a lot Poseidon for helping a gal's self confidence at the start of swim suit season! I'm going on a diet and calling a plastic surgeon as soon as I finish this comment.

Raquel is astonishingly gorgeous. An astounding work of nature. If God gave me the choice of having Meryl Streep's talent, or Raquel's beauty, I don't know how I'd make up my mind. Guess I'd have to see Meryl in a fur bikini before I made my decision.

Seriously, it's great to see a sexy woman who looks healthy. Raquel looks natural and like she actually eats a meal occasionally as opposed to the scary skinny models with the bolted on breasts of today. She looks like a real woman, not a Barbie doll. Hard to think of a modern era where Raquel wouldn't be considered a sex symbol.

Before I head off to the gym and dial a plastic surgeon, thanks for the serving of cheesecake. Ready for some beefcake now.

Poseidon3 said...

I'm glad that Goodstuff and Armando found something to like about this!

Ginge, you and I are so in tune on things. I also wondered about that white bathing suit! Welch's career has been "rocky" be it due to her demanding persona or just the onslaught of age for a sex symbol, but she'll always be a star to me even if she did nothing other than The Three/Four Musketeers. I was obsessed with her in that as a kid. I'll surely be back again sometime with an assortment of photos featuring her other looks with big hair and fun clothes. She was a curvaceous goddess!

Roberta, I totally understand your dilemma! I guess you have to go back to the old adage that beauty fades, though Raquel has done a pretty good job of staving off father time (even if it's obvious that someone's been working on her.) I'm also in complete accord about her fantastically fit curves versus the emaciation and rickety looks that we often get now (with, as you say, the pom-pom tits tacked on out of nowhere! LOL) What amazes me, too, is that all of these pictures came AFTER she'd given birth twice. My Lord, what a teen she must have been...

angelman66 said...

Beautifully curated collection of Raquel in her natural habitat...if Garland was born in a trunk, Welch must have been born in a bathing suit.
Look up statuesque in the dictionary and you'll see one of these pics of Raquel...

Welch Fever must be going around, I just did a post on my favorite of her films, Myra Breckinridge. Not only is the lady devastatingly gorgeous but she is a brilliant comedienne as well.
-Chris

Musicals. Rock. said...

Ravishing.
I always found her such a modern looking actress/ model. I was actually surprised to find she was from the sixties!

F. Nomen said...

Oh Myra Breckenridge, I can't even love you on a camp level and I love EVERYTHING on a camp level.

Poseidon3 said...

LOL, Angelman, "her natural habitat!" True. I will have to visit your site and read up on "Myra." I always mean to do a profile of the movie here, but never do... Thanks!

Musicals.Rock. and F. Nomen, I'm glad you enjoyed this glimpse of Ms. Welch. (F. Nomen, I presume you did!)