Tales from the Morgue

From the Arizona Daily Star, May 8, 1954: 

Court Rules 'Flame' Too Torrid

Betty Flame, a 31-year-old dancer whose torrid performance made a police raiding party uncomfortable, failed to convince court officials yesterday that her act at a local night club was not immoral.

Miss Flame donned horn-rimmed glasses, wagged her blond tresses and demurely testified that police in approximately 30 states and Canada had seen her dance and never told her it was indecent.

In fact, her arrest at Club La Jolla last Saturday was the first time he has ever been incarcerated for gliding around a dnace floor clad only in a transparent veil and two tiny scraps of white froth, the dancer explained.

City Detective Kenneth Ice was called to the stand and gingerly held up the garments in question. They were tiny and indeed transparent.

From a manila envelope, Ice extracted two gayly colored tinsel discs, about the size of a half-dollar.

"And was Miss Flame wearing these discs when you arrested her?" asked John Haynes, the dancer's attorney.

"I don't know," Ice blushingly acknowledged. "I didn't look that close."

City Magistrate Peter Sownie, Prosecutor Paul Cella and Haynes got together on a definition for the abbreviated costume and agreed to call the items "panels" and a "G-string."

In addition, the prosecution introduced a rainbow-colored scarf they said the dancer wore at the start of her act — but not for very long.

Ice said he would hesitate to define Miss Flame's performance as a dance.

"She stood in the middle of the floor and wiggled," he said. "Once in a while she moved to the tables where men were sitting alone and wiggled there."

Haynes attempted, over repeated objections from the prosecution, to prove that many hundreds of people in other cities had witnessed the dance and never found it objectionable.

Cella countered by pointing out that this particular performance was given in Tucson. The others didn't matter. It was how Miss Flame wiggled here that counted, he insisted.

After about five hours, the trial ended with Magistrate Sownie assessing fines of $50 each on Miss Flame and the owner of the popular South Sixth avenue night-spot.

(This is a condensed version of the original story, which is shown here as a PDF.)