Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How Carole Became "The Ping Girl"


In 1940 Carole was under contract at Hal Roach Studios. Her career was taking off and she had been given leading roles in One Million B.C. and Turnabout. Hal Roach decided to give Carole the nickname "The Ping Girl: Because She Makes You Purr". The idea came from an automobile ad slogan that said "change ping to purr". Carole hated this nickname probably because the word "ping" was also slang for a male erection.


When Hal Roach threw a party at Ciro's to introduce "The Ping Girl" Carole refused to attend. She said  "I was never consulted  about the scheme nor do I approve the appellation they would like to inflict upon me. For these reasons I will not be present at my own reception to ping, purr, or even coo." Carole even sent letters to all the newspaper editors to complain. She wrote:


 "This is the lament of a fugitive from a leg-art career. I want a fair chance to prove myself something more than a curvaceous cutie. I want to get out of bathing suits and into something more substantial. Unfortunately the publicity department of my studio does not agree. They have conceive the brilliant idea of selling me to the public as "The Ping Girl" - because she makes you purr. This flash of genius is to be illustrated with a series of pictures out of their files suggestive of anything but acting talent. I haven't any legal redress. There isn't I am advised any way to stop the publicity department. Therefore I am asking you to help me nip the scheme in the right place - in the pages of your newspaper."



Carole also asked that the newspapers not publish any more of her bathing suit pin-ups. Her protest got her a lot of attention and some critics thought it was all just a publicity stunt. Luckily for Carole the press rarely mentioned "The Ping Girl" after 1940. She was later called "The Chest" but she didn't like that sexist nickname either. During the war the soldiers affectionately named her "The Blonde Bomber".