YMRT #19: Raquel Welch, From Pin-up to Pariah by Karina Longworth

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The poster for RaquelWelch's second film,One Million Years B.C., became the top pin-up of the late 1960s, and Welch — a divorced mom of two who had been a cocktail waitress just a few months earlier — found herself in the odd position of being an old-fashioned sex goddess in the age of flower children and feminism. With her unprecedentedly athletic curves, Welch was willing to exploit her natural gifts to some extent, but was adamant about not doing full nudity. Her stubbornness about maintaining control over the representation of her body made her unpopular in an industry which wasn’t interested in anything about her but her body; at the same time, Welch was disdained by contemporary feminists for her sexualized image, even though in several of her films, Welch set the prototype for the modern day action heroine. Fed up at age 40, Welch sued a major Hollywood studio for conspiracy to defame her and end her career.

Show Notes!

When I first recorded this episode, for some reason I kept referring to One Million Years B.C. as One Billion Years B.C. I have no idea why — I wrote it correctly in my script for the show, but somehow was unable to either read it correctly, or notice that I was reading it incorrectly until I started editing the episode. I went back and rerecorded a few lines; if I missed any of the old “Billions,” I apologize. 

This was a deep research week. In addition to Welch’s own, somewhat disappointing book, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, I consulted many, many magazine and newspaper articles, some of which I found only on microfiche, which is not always well labelled. These were the key sources, linked where possible:

“Playboy Interview: RaquelWelch” by Richard Warren Lewis, Playboy, August 1970

“Raquel Redux” by Stephen Rebello. Movieline, August 2001

“Raquel’s Story like Fairy Tale” by Abe Greenwald. Syndicated column. May 7, 1965

“RaquelWelch Won’t Deny She’s Married” by Sheilah Graham, Hollywood Citizen-News (also syndicated elsewhere), August 5, 1966

“OK, OK, But Can She Act?” by Robert Neville. New York Times, September 11, 1966

“Pinup’s Progress,” by Martha Sherrill, Allure, May 1993

“RaquelWelch Interview,” by Maury Levy, Playboy Fashion, Fall/Winter 1982 

“Sex Goddess is Human, After All,” by Joyce Haber. Los Angeles, June 9. 1968

“What’s Troubling RaquelWelch?” by Marilyn Beck. Syndicated (retrieved from the Palm Beach Post, November 16, 1972) 

Also, this is the legal summary of the Cannery Row case which I reference in the episode. 


Excerpt from this excerpt from Myra Breckinridge


“Night City” by Dirty Beaches

“Strange” by Patsy Cline

“You Go To My Head (Instrumental)” performed by Chet Baker

“Sincerely” by The Moonglows

“I Only Have Eyes For You.” performed by The Flamingos

“Joe” by Scott Walker

“Money” by Jahzzar

“Bring Down the Birds” by Herbie Hancock

“Out of the Skies, Under the Earth” by Chris Zabriskie

“The Wrong Way” by Jahzzar

“Poursuite” from the score to the movie Breathless, by Martial Solal

“Capri” from the score to the movie Contempt, by Georges Delarue

“Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel

“Gagool” by Kevin MacLeod

“Future Starts Slow” by The Kills

“Fiery Yellow” by Stereolab

“What True Self, Feels Bogus, Let’s Watch Jason X” by Chris Zabriskie

“Divider” by Chris Zabriskie

“Monte” by comounjardin

“Swimsuit Issue” by Sonic Youth