Vintage Scan #31: Parade (July 11, 1971)

The cover story this week is about a starlet who worries her boobs are too big for Hollywood.  But first, the ads...

The Steppenwolf record really seems to stand out among Engelbert Humperdinck and friends.

Do you think wigs will ever make a comeback?  It sounds incomprehensible, but stranger things have happened.

...and it's all thanks to Ayds - the most unfortunately named product in history.

As sad as this looks, I'd still prefer it over the pods.

Damn.  I have to admit - it does make smoking look appealing.  Then next one, not so much...

A rich douche bag buying a boat... doesn't exactly make me want to run out and buy a pack of smokes.

If a girl is 6 feet tall (6 feet 2 in heels) and built like a scenic railway (vital measurements: 39-26-38) and boasts long, lovely blonde hair, inviting blue eyes, and generates a steady steam of sex appeal—what fate will be¬fall her in show business?

Chances are that she will become a Las Vegas chorus girl, perched semi-nude on a platform, with a variety of flower pots upon her head. Or she will play straight-man to a skein of comedians from Red Skelton to Zero Mostel to Jonathan Winters, all of whom will ogle her mammary endowments and crack jokes about her breathing equipment. Or Dick Martin will chase her around the Laugh-In set to the tune of "Hold That Tiger."

Inevitably she will find herself squeezed into the casting straitjacket labeled "sexpot," and she will remain there, stereotyped by producers as a sexy blonde broad to be used in comedy relief parts.
That's exactly what's happened to Inga Neilsen, a too tail, beautiful, frustrated, well-trained actress who, after ten years in show business, "still can't get anyone to consider me as anything but a sex object."

For years, Inga, originally from Chicago but reared in Los Angeles, studied dancing, music, and drama. "I went to the University of California for almost two years. 1 studied drama under Jeff Corey. I took all sorts of music courses, including serious vocal instruction," she explains. "But every time I auditioned for a part, no one was very much interested in my voice or my brain or my background. Just meat.

'Not much room/ I guess I'm simply too tall and there's not very much room for a six-foot actress in serious drama. There are exceptions, of course, like Vanessa Redgrave. But for the most part, it's impossible to break through traditional casting prejudices. What producer has enough imagination or courage to cast a film in which the wife is much taller than her husband? That's what I'm up against."

Compared to most actresses here, Inga is lucky. She works consistently. The market for tall, well-built blondes is seemingly perennial—if not in motion pictures, then in television shows and especially commercials.

In the latter field she has worked for Kellogg, Beech-Nut gum, Fresca, Bell Telephone, Datsun cars and a variety of airlines. She also appears with Steve Allen, Jim Nabors, Red Skelton, Carol Burnett, Dean Martin. "Whenever they need a tall blonde," she comments, "I stand a chance. But I'm not on any weekly TV series. A few years ago I was given the opportunity to act on Holly Golightly, a TV pilot film, and I would have been one of the regulars—only the pilot didn't sell. Lucky for me I'm married so we eat regularly."

Inga's husband, Dick Orr, 6 feet 4 and 220 pounds, teaches physical education at Webster Junior High School in Venice, Calif. They met ten summers ago after Orr had given up professional football and had taken a summer job as a lifeguard.

"He was most forward," Inga recalls, "just came down from the lifeguard house. I was taking care of some children at the time, and he began talking about himself, how he'd been graduated from Brigham Young University, his home town of Aberdeen, South

Dakota, his football days with the Colts, all of that jazz. I was impressed with him not only because he was taller than I—there's that height thing again—but because he seemed to have a fine mind. Later, after a few dates, he also offered marriage, which was a hit unusual, since I'd been playing Las Vegas as a show girl, and the guys who frequent Vegas —well, they have a lot of things on their mind, hut marriage is not one of them."

Married in Las Vegas

Inga and Dick were married in Las Vegas in 1961 and after their honey-moon, Inga departed on a three-year tour of the United States. "I played with a comedy team. I danced. I was a production singer. I did a little of everything. Dick and I used to com-mute in order to see each other. When I became pregnant with David, he's now 8, I quit the road and came hack to Los Angeles.

"When I was young, say 18, I was very ambitious. But no longer. I've been all over the world. I've seen a lot.

I don't hunger for fame, just happiness. Dick and I and David—we live at Malihu on the beach. We have a nice house, a warm home.

Still takes lessons

"I still take singing and dancing lessons twice a week. 1 still hope that I can he cast in a weekly TV series just to show what I can do as an actress, hut if it doesn't come along I won't have a nervous breakdown. I've learned to live with things. I guess it's my Scandinavian temperament, although I'm only half-Scandinavian. My father came from Sweden and my mother came from Poland. But you know a funny thing? My mother is only 5 feet tall, and my father—he's dead— was only 5 feet 7.

"When I ask my mother how I got so tall, she tells me that my father's mother was an even 6 feet.That's where I got the height from.

"In many ways it's been an asset and in many ways a liability. But I'm not complaining. I'm grateful for what I am and what I have."


  1. Inga Neilsen sounds just like Ted Cassidy with her issues about being typecast due to her physical attributes.
    It sucks but, at a fundamental level, if you have (good or bad) physical attributes that are so out of the norm that they cause heads to turn as you walk down the street, you can't reasonably expect Hollywood casting directors to ignore them.
    It makes me think of when I was in high school, and the drama club did the play "Marty". The part of Marty was played by the Class President (and football star), and his love interest was a really hot girl. The play made absolutely no sense with them playing those parts.

  2. Max-Pax were a great idea and yes, a LOT less wasteful than those fucking pods that are currently filling our landfills. I know one person that takes the time to take them apart and clean & recycle some pieces. I just refuse to use them.

    1. I think the name may have been the problem. It sounds like a feminine hygene product.

  3. Inga Neilsen kept getting work after this article was written. She was in such movies as Mel Brooks' Silent Movie and Evel Knievel (the George Hamilton one) and guest starred on TV shows until 1985. I get Parade in my Sunday paper and it isn't as gossipy as it was in the 70s. It still has shlocky ads though, but no cigarettes.

  4. JanetLandJune 02, 2015

    Her last credit on imdb.com is a TV show in 1985 called, ironically, "Off the Rack."

  5. Her husband, Mr. Orr, was my gym teacher at Airport Junior High School in Westchester, Los Angeles, California.