April upstaged

In 1962 beautiful transsexual April Ashley was known as the sensation of the year. Here she talks about performing at the Hippodrome

April Ashley

“For this show they had signed up a stripper called Miss Fifi. During the finale she upstaged me by letting her left tit drop out as I came down the stairs. It was very effective because in 1962 tits were rare. After two nights of this I’d had enough. ‘Fifi dearest, I may not be very good but I’m good enough to know when someone’s upstaging me. That’s two nights you’ve dropped your tit. I don’t want to see it again. If I do, you’ll have to take the consequences.’

Twyla (not Miss Fifi)

On the third night I sashayed down the staircase. Plop. There was that tit! I leant over and sank my teeth into it. There was a short scream, followed by a sound beyond the footlights as of a wave sucking back just before…ah well, we didn’t see that tit again.

April was unimpressed when she first met millionaire playboy Clive Raphael but put aside her misgivings to holiday in Beirut and Majorca with him. The relationship did not last and Clive was then briefly married to a much younger model by the name of Penny Brahms.


“I heard nothing more of him until 1972 or 1973 when, while piloting his parents and a new girlfriend across France, the aeroplane exploded, killing all four of them. It was rumoured that the explosion was the result of a planted device, that he had caused offence while gun-running to the Middle East. But far more bizarre than his death was his will. In it he left £500,000, but to Penny Brahms only one shilling and four nude photographs of herself. She challenged it in the courts where the will was discovered to have been a fraud cooked up by Clive’s lawyer, a teacher and a Sardinian boar-hunting duke.”

An article about the strange will was published in the New Straits Times in 1972

“The widow, 21 year old blonde actress Penny Brahms maintained that despite divorce proceedings in which her husband Clive Raphael claimed she had committed adultery with nine men, she had remained on friendly terms with him.

not these nine men

Shelagh McIntosh, a 22 year old teacher and Eric Alba-Teran, a Mexican investment banker were found guilty of forging the will together with barrister Ronald Shulman who police said had fled to South America.

image found here

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35 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. There used to be a lot of bushland on the border between Bolivia and Paraguay, but now it’s bald prairie.

  2. And the Brazilians are now out in left field…

  3. So maybe this was the inspiration for Janet jackson’s *show stopper* at the Superbowl that time…

    • Ha! That hadn’t occurred to me….

  4. I do enjoy the slices of life you serve up.

    As for the South American wax you show, I can see why the Brazilian is more popular!

    • I prefer at least a landing strip

  5. i’ve encountered many charactersi in my life, but i shall not rest until i stumble upon a Sardinian boar-hunting duke…

    • They’re a dime a dozen in Sardinia

  6. Those carelessly dropped tits are a real danger to serious theatre – – –

    • I like breastages with my dramatics

  7. I’m telling my kids what’s in my will and where it is – don’t want to get screwed over in death, too. (Of course, they might then arrange for my early demise…)

  8. Personally speaking, I found tits to remain rare straight through the 80’s.

  9. The transexual model Tula made her name modelling for a crash helmet company called Life. She was pictured nude but with her body painted in the fashion of motorcycle leathers – the paint stopping just north of the tundra. And the strap line to this ad? “Life is full of surprises” – which it certainly was for a pal of mine who tried to date her!!!

    • Ah – the beautiful Bond girl. I didn’t know about the crash helmet gig

  10. “A teacher and a Sardinian boar-hunting duke.”

    Now THAT’S a pick-up line . . .

  11. If someone is upstaging you, you definitely have the right to bite the offending article.

  12. I initially read the one line as

    “letting her left tit drop out as IT came down the stairs” That definitely would have been a sight.

  13. I never, never would have known that she wasn’t a she.

    • Me neither – she’s gorgeous isn’t she?

  14. OMG she is just gorgeous!!! it very unfair that transexuals are far more beatiful than us ‘originals’. Just walking around in thailand is enough to give u low self esteem….they have absolutely fantastic bods and asses there!

  15. I wonder if Penny blew up the plane?

    • Hmmmm…. that hadn’t occurred to me

      • All for the money baby!

  16. i think your graphics are hilarious! (not these 9 men and the last image of south america)oh and i am completley in awe of transexuals…i mean some are so beautiful i’d probably date them myself and i’m straight. but then again…maybe it would be considered a hetero relationship…oAargh! now i’m so confused but strangely turned on…gotta go.

    • did you click the link beneath the last image? I really like that photographer’s work

  17. Nine? What, all at the same time? She deserves a medal.

  18. I think more women need to learn that trick of having their tit pop out on command. That is a lost art.

  19. Being upstaged sucks. But at least this time it was daring enough to be unquestionable…especially for the time.

  20. I have always been fascinated by the George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Pattie Boyd Connection, yeah has nothing to do with this post

    • I get the feeling that George was just a little too laid back, Clapton had the bad boy thing going for him

  21. I’d have never known if you had not mentioned that April was/is a transexual… she’s quite the looker!

    I actually knew one dude who went to school with me (witnessed his transformation through the years actually), and he has turned into a babe now!

  22. Pig-hunting is quite popular in these parts. Not so much will-forging. Both come with their attendant risks.

  23. in 1962 tits were rare.

    i’m glad i was born in the 70s.
    frankly, i blame boobs on the growth hormones ranchers feed their cows. when they started doing that, boobs started getting bigger and bigger, especially in america.
    36.6% of americans are overweight and 26.5% are obese, according to the latest gallup-healthways well-being index.
    it’s true. look it up if you don’t believe me.
    if you can’t look down and see your toes anymore, you were either born in the 1980’s or later, or you’re eating too much beef.

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