A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 13, 2005
Calendar Girl
"I love, I love, I love my calendar girl" sang Brooklyn-born Neil Sedaka. The birth of the "calendar girl" is moderately disputed, but she appears to have been born in New York City.

Rolf Armstrong (1889-1960) had a studio at Hotel des Artistes, 1 West 67th Street. He's credited for popularizing/inventing the modern calendar girl, around World War II.

Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944) was an illustrator for many New York City magazines. His "Gibson Girl" was, perhaps, the first "calendar girl." Marjorie Hamilton was a "Gibson Girl" who was known as "calendar girl" during her career.

American Art Archives
Rolf Armstrong
(1889 - 1960)

American Weekly, in a 1952 article on calendar girls, called him "The Dean of Calendar Artists," and he's considered one of the Fathers of American "Good Girl" art. His first Brown and Bigelow work was, Dream Girl (1919), a copy of his American Weekly cover (see below). His pastels graced advertising, magazine covers, sheet music, and of course, calendars, for over 40 years. (...)

A monograph on Armstrong, "Pin-Up Dreams: The Glamour Art of Rolf Armstrong" by Janet Dobson, Michael Wooldridge was published in 2001.

Wikipedia: Neil Sedaka
Neil Sedaka (born March 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American Brill Building pop singer, songwriter and pianist. He teamed up with Howard Greenfield to write many major hit songs for himself and others.

His best-known Billboard Hot 100 hits are,"Oh, Carol" (in reference to Carole King) (#9), "Calendar Girl" (#4) and "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" (#6) in 1961, "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" (#1) (1962), "Laughter in the Rain" (#1, 1975), and "Bad Blood" (#1, also 1975). He and Greenfield also wrote "Love Will Keep Us Together", a No. 1 hit for The Captain and Tennille and the best selling record of 1975. The popular recording of the song includes the lyrics "Sedaka is back" in the coda.

Wikipedia: Charles Dana Gibson
Charles Dana Gibson (September 14, 1867—December 23, 1944) was an American graphic artist, noted for his creation of one of the first pin-up girls, the "Gibson Girl".

He was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts. A talented youth, his parents enrolled him in the Art Students League, Manhattan. He studied there for two years before leaving to find work. Peddling his pen-and-ink sketches he sold his first work in 1886 to John Ames Mitchell's Life magazine. His works appeared weekly in the magazine for over thirty years. He also quickly built a wider reputation, his works appearing in all the major New York publications and also Harper's Weekly, Scribners and Colliers Magazine. The development of the "Gibson Girl" from 1890 and her nationwide fame made Gibson respected and wealthy.

20 September 1911, Washington Post, pg. 5:
Woman Who Posed for Gibson Weds
Her Manager.

Denver, Colo., Sept. 19. - Mrs. Marjory Hamilton Kerling, known as the "calendar girl," from the fact that she posed for Charles Dana Gibson in some of his most famous calendar illustrations, was married here last night to Walter C. Cunningham, her manager as a "beauty doctor."

24 February 1960, New York Times, pg. 37:
Creator of "Calendar Girl" for
Ad Firm Was 70

HONOLULU, Feb. 23 (AP) - Rolf Armstrong, creator of the "calendar girl," died yesterday of a heart ailment. His age was 70.

He came to Honolulu last September and planned to open a gallery at Waikiki.

Mr. Armstrong created the "calendar girl" years ago for the advertising firm of Brown & Bigelow, producers of calendars featuring beautiful women.

Mr. Armstrong had a studio here at Hotel des Artistes, 1 West Sixty-seventh Street. He preferred to draw his calendar girls from subjects who has not posed before.

"Model agencies and charm schools somehow rob a girl of original freshness, and substitute artificial mannerisms and an outer veneer, or hardness, which spoils them for this work," he said.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWorkers/People • Sunday, November 13, 2005 • Permalink

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