There’s been some great comments about theatre spankings in the last week on this post. My thanks to those who contributed to the fascinating debate, but what about all the spanking that goes on back-stage in the theatre? There does seem to be something of a tradition amongst actors for pranks and games that involve red bottoms.
Actress Alex Kingston, who was appearing as a nurse in a London production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, once said that that they played a game called “Celebrity Spanking” during the interval.
This involved each actor taking turns to bend over a chair to get spanked by the rest of the cast. The object of the game is then for the spankee to guess the identity of the spanker. The interviewer couldn’t resist asking her to confirm that she was wearing a nurses’ uniform while this was happening! And she said:
“Yes I get spanked in my nurses’ uniform!”
She also said that sometimes they had invited actors from other shows to take part – including Dame Judy Dench!
I don’t have a picture of Dame Judy assuming the position unfortunately but this scan proves that backstage spanking fun in the theatre is nothing new.
It shows comedian Frank Tinney paddling an entire line up of chorus girls in the 1920s. The article explains what’s going on:
In the “Hat Number”, the chorus girls, in filmy attire, disappear behind a curtain which has holes cut in it just big enough for them to stick their heads through underneath hats which are painted on the curtain. As they stood immovable with their faces to the audience, Frank Tinney walked around back of the curtain and spanked each of the chorus girls where spankings are usually administered; but the girls were unable to resist and were compelled to still show smiling faces to the audience from the heads that stuck through the curtain.
Underneath there is a picture of the chorus girls still smiling (through gritted teeth) as seen by the audience.
Tinney has some form when it comes to this type of thing. The film star Mary Nolan was his mistress, and, intriguingly, she had begun her career as a chorus line dancer!
Tinney, who had been born in 1885, was already middle-aged and married when the two met, but they quickly became an item. According to biographer Eve Golden , their relationship was a fiery one to say the least:
For the next several years, the two had a violent love/hate relationship. Tinney set Mary up in a West 72nd Street apartment and showered her with expensive gifts, but he also showered her with bruises, both physical and emotional.
She was written off as a masochist who no doubt enjoyed the battles.
Whilst Tinney undoubtedly came to overstep the mark into spouse abuse (Nolan was hospitalised after one beating), it does seem that there was more than a hint of playful S&M about their initial relationship.
Mary recalled that my life with Frank Tinney was a nonsensical mixture of fights and laughs, about half and half. One brawl occurred when Tinney phoned to say he was bringing an important friend for dinner and came home with a donkey! I began throwing ash trays, table lamps, anything I could get my hands on, after which I went on a shopping spree on Tinney’s credit.
Given what we already know about Tinney’s taste for spanking games, it’s hard to imagine that he didn’t paddle Nolan’s behind on a few occasions at least.
And that shopping spree would have been the perfect opportunity!
“Mary saved the train fare to New York, where she arrived, broke and beautiful, in 1919. She really was breathtaking with her perfect bone structure, cloud of thick blonde hair, and china-blue eyes.”
Then she met paddle-wielding comedian Frank Tinney!
Alex Kingston info: Radio 5 Live interview with Simon Mayo (2006)
Chorus Girl Scan: JS666