Legend: Carrie Finnell

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Carrie Finnell: Featured Legend for Red Hots Burlesque

Carrie Finnell: Featured Legend for Red Hots Burlesque

As a part of Dixie Evans Week, Red Hots Burlesque twirls a tassel to a legend who revolutionized burlesque for many gals to hit the stage.

CARRIE FINNELL

Described as “one of the most novel and most startling acts in show business,” Carrie Finnell began her burlesque career in 1917 as a Ziegfeld girl. While burlesque has become synonymous with more household names like Gypsy Rose Lee, Finnell is credited with being the first to get Lee to strip on stage. This bad girl of burlesque holds the record for the longest striptease when she performed in Cleveland during the ’20s. Finnell would remove an article of clothing each week over the length of her contract. Ticket prices and audiences inflated as she wore less and less. Over her 45-year career Finnell was a Broadway performer and comedienne, beat Mae West in a strip-off and also was credited with being the first to add tassels to pasties! Into her 70s you could see Finnell able to match the beat of music with her tassel-twirling. Finnell not only was a very well-endowed lady, she also had “educated breasts,” chest muscles that she had honed and toned as a physical education teacher in Kentucky. Finnell could isolate one tassel at a time, having one spinning while one was perfectly still, drawing comparisons to airplane propellers. Carrie Finnell died in 1963.

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