Jayne Mansfield Hot Water Bottle
The Jayne Mansfield Hot Water Bottle is 22 inches long, and made of hard plastic molded into the shape of the famous actress and sex symbol. It was dreamt up by one of her promoters, during the height of her fame. At one point, there was even a proposal to do a life-size version, but the idea was eventually rejected as being too vulgar. It was a rare occasion of good judgment being exercised in the course of her career.
The hot water bottle is tacky enough, but the advertising on the box that it comes in is even worse:
Jayne Mansfield was an actress and sex symbol of the 1950s and 1960s. She was one of the three main "Blonde Bombshells" of that era, the other two being Marilyn Monroe and Mamie Van Doren. Of the three, Jayne was the tackiest, apparently adhering to the idea that there's no such thing as bad publicity. She had a tendency to let her breasts escape from her clothes in public, and it happened much too often to be considered an accident.
A case in point is her appearance in Rio de Janeiro for Carnival in 1959. Jayne was dancing seductively on a chair, when a frenzied crowd plucked the appliquéed flowers off her dress until they were all gone. Then they went after the dress itself, stripping her to the waist. Her husband whisked her from the ballroom with his jacket wrapped around her naked breasts. But obviously, the Brazilians were forgiven, because Jayne came back the next night, climbed up on a table top, and did the hula hoop.
It is almost impossible to talk about Jayne Mansfield without talking about her untimely and gory demise at the age of 34. But even before the famous car accident (in which she was not decapitated, as was originally reported), her career was in trouble. She was her own worst enemy, continuing to play up her sex appeal, choosing terrible movie roles, apparently unaware of how the times were changing. She failed to see that the popularity of stick-thin models such as Twiggy and the growing availability of birth control was changing the public's attitudes about sex appeal and sex itself. Had she survived, she would probably have continued her descent into a nightclub entertainer performing to shrinking audiences. On the bright side, we might have been treated to more tacky marketing ideas such as the Jayne Mansfield Hot Water Bottle.
Thanks to Bob Smakula and Pat Padua, for their contributions to this post.
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