Gloria Pall, the 1950’s TV host best known as “Voluptua,” died on Dec. 30, her son Jefferson Kane, told the Los Angeles Times. The model-turned-actress who caused a stir with her flirtatious manner and sex appeal on television died as a result of heart. She was 85.
In 1954, Pall was cast to introduce the weekly romance movie broadcast by KABC-TV. Her act, which was suggestively named “Voluptua,” made her famous due to the overt sexuality of the character.
Author and documentary filmmaker R.H. Greene, who made a radio feature on “Voluptua” in 2011, talked about Pall’s impact on the TV industry in an interview on Friday.
"She was quite openly in touch with her sexuality, and that was an incredibly dangerous thing to do," Greene said, according to the L.A.Times. "We don't have too many stories for that time that illustrate that, and Gloria's does."
"Welcome to my boudoir,” the newspaper noted that Pall would say at the opening of her program. “I want you to feel that it's your special hideaway. Relax, take off your shoes, loosen your tie."
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The temptress would stroke a bearskin rug and change her attire behind a translucent screen. The show would close with her wearing only a men’s pajama top, giving viewers a kiss goodbye.
"You put that on television and people went crazy," Greene continued. "They were simultaneously titillated and appalled. Gloria was way too hot to handle."
Complaints from religious and parent groups, along with poor commercial sponsorship prompted the show’s cancellation after only seven weeks. The controversy gained nationwide media attention.
The Brooklyn-born actress denied that her character was doing anything wrong, calling “Voluptua” suggestive. On her website, Pall described the character as "corny not porny."
Aside from her role introducing romantic films, Pall had a steady career in small, often uncredited parts for films in the 1950’s and 60’s. NBC New York said that that in “20000 Leagues Under the Sea” she grabbed Kirk Douglas' arm in a brief scene, and she played a burlesque dancer who’s legs frame Elvis Presley’s face in “Jailhouse Rock.”
IMDB noted that Pall rose to fame after she entered a "Miss Flatbush" beauty contest in 1947, which she won. This gave her the chance to leave her job as an airplane mechanic during World War II and find modeling jobs along the East Coast; she eventually became a showgirl in Nevada.