Donna Cole by Elmer Batters

My final modelling job took place on a movie set. It lasted four days, beginning on August 5 or 6, 1963. I can pinpoint the date so precisely because the four-day assignment occurred in a single week, starting either Monday or Tuesday. I had a memorable 23rd birthday in Las Vegas on July 27, 1963 and returned home to Los Angeles on July 29. My agent told me about the movie assignment two days later and I started work the following week. I can’t pinpoint any other photo shoot as precisely as I can this set. It was my memorable birthday holiday that kept the timeline firmly in my mind.

The movie was shot in a warehouse located in the San Fernando Valley. After I arrived and signed in, a makeup artist applied foundation to my face and neck and then skillfully highlighted my lips and eyes. She was followed by a hair stylist who backcombed my limp, over-bleached hair to give it volume. Then I joined two other girls. We were all topless, all clad in skimpy black satin bikini bottoms and black nylons (with seams) that had tight elastic bands to keep them from falling down (so no garter belts). I was wearing my usual gold shoes with the two-inch heels. The three of us were standing outside the makeup room, awkwardly staring at walls, because there has been a delay in shooting our scene; the crew and movie camera were in another section of the warehouse, filming an episode that was supposed to have been completed on the previous day.

Elmer Batters stepped through a door, caught my eye, and crooked his finger to indicate “come here.” He led me to a room containing a large bed and took a series of photos. That is all that occurred on that first day.

The second day, took place in the same room but the furniture had been rearranged. The bed had disappeared, and a couch and coffee table added. Each model had a separate turn in front of the movie camera. I don’t know exactly what we did. I think we may each have gone through a dance routine — a “maybe” because the movie was never finished and no copies of it exist. All that remains of this modelling gig are a few photos shot before, during, and after the filming by the two still photographers — Elmer Batters and Jim Sullivan.

I always remembered the movie, our costumes, and my over-teased hair. But I never saw any of the photos that were taken until I joined the My Archives website. Soon after joining, someone asked if “this” was me. “This” was a ZIP file being passed around the internet and containing photos diligently scanned from a magazine layout that was simply labeled “Donna Cole”.

I immediately identified “Donna Cole” as being me and soon discovered that the photos had appeared in a December 1964 Tip Top magazine. It took another five years to find and purchase the magazine on eBay. In addition to this Donna Cole set, pictures taken by Elmer Batters from this movie set appeared in Champagne, Late Show, and Nylon Jungle

This was the only time I modelled with strawberry blonde hair. Except for one published picture, all the photos in the magazine layouts were b/w, and so my hair looks brown in these layouts. Only one colour photo was published — in Champagne magazine.

With regards to the Donna Cole set, there is one photo of me lying on a bed that Batters took that first day; all the other pictures were taken on the second day. In those, I look wasted, like I had just gone through an exhausting dance routine. In Tip Top, those second-day photos were printed with a rose tone. Possibly this was done because of the harsh lighting; it was set up for movie camera filming rather than still camera filming.

In cleaning up this set, I removed the rose tone, returning the pictures to their original b/w condition.

Only three of these pictures can be purchased as autographed prints — #1, #2, and #3. Number 1 is approximately 7″ x 10″ in size; numbers 2 and 3 are approximately 7.5″ x 10″ in size.  Autographed prints have the copyright symbols removed.

Three photos have been colorized by Old iZ New from a high dpi images I provided to him.

 

Tip Top magazine p. 14-15

 

Tip Top magazine p. 16-17

 

Tip Top magazine p. 18-19

 

Donna Cole #1

This is the best-known of all the Donna Cole pictures. A copy also appeared in Dian Hanson’s: The History of Men’s Magazines, Vol. 4, published in 2005. Prints are size 6.9″ x 10″.

 

Donna Cole #1 Colourized

Below is Donna Cole #1 colourized by Old iZ New.

 

Donna Cole #2

Doing a type of shoulder stand on the couch. Prints are size 7.5″ x 10″

 

Donna Cole #2 Colourized

Below is Donna Cole #2 colourized by Old iZ New.

 

Donna Cole #3

Lying on the coffee table with my gold shoe near my mouth. Prints are size 7.3″ x 10″.

 

Donna Cole #4

Lying over that coffee table with my back arched.

 

Donna Cole #5

Sitting on a round table.

 

Donna Cole #6

My legs are on the bench and my body is on the floor.  It was a small picture in the magazine.

 

Donna Cole #7

On the sofa holding one glove near my mouth.  It was a small picture in the magazine.

 

Donna Cole #8

Reclining on the sofa.  Again, it was a small picture in the magazine.

 

Donna Cole #9

This was the picture taken on my first day on the set.

 

Donna Cole #9 Colourized

Below is Donna Cole #9 colourized by Old iZ New.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Donna Cole by Elmer Batters

  1. Pingback: Misc Strawberry Blonde Photos by Elmer Batters | Gloria Dawn Photos

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