Remember Wednesday

Today’s lesson plan has us exploring the life of Zorita.

Born in 1915 as Kathryn Boyd and adopted in Youngstown, Ohio, Zorita was an early bloomer and began working at stag parties and nudist events at the World’s Fair at the tender age of 15 (probably much to the horror of her strictly Methodist adoptive parents). By the age of 20 she was working as a burlesque performer, having been discovered though beauty pageants.

Zorita is known for her more daring acts. From a sensual take on the classic vaudeville standard of the “Half and Half” couple (wherein on side of her costume was the “groom” and the other the “bride”) to a routine where she performed a striptease in front of a gigantic spider’s web.

By all accounts Zorita was a mesmerizing and wickedly delightful performer, known for dancing with her large boas constrictors, Elmer and Oscar. Unfortunately, her use of her reptile costars had her brought up on charges of animal cruelty in 1941 (which is suspected to have been a ploy to attempt to censor the performer) and her snakes were confiscated.

Zorita retired from burlesque performance in 1954 and, after running her own clubs for a number of years, fully retired in 1974 to breed Persian cats.

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