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Gloria Pall: Voluptua to the End [VIDEOs & PHOTOs]

A personal memory from Patch editor Mike Szymanski about a local "goddess."

I first met Gloria Pall the very first weekend that Studio City Patch opened in 2010, and we became fast friends. She was one of the many dozens of celebrities who attended the Republic Pictures 75th Anniversary party at the CBS Studio Center.

She was a fast talker, and could remember dates and names fairly well. And, she had lots of stories to tell.

Gloria may never have made it to the A-list of notable stars like some of the others who worked at the studio lot, but she never shed her image of "Voluptua," the TV siren that caused too many people to blush for her to be a regular in the 1950s.

She took me on a private tour of the CBS Radford Studios backlot. She showed me where Commando Cody, the sci-fi serial, was filmed. Some of it was shot in the odd rocks of Chatsworth near the Spahn Ranch where the Manson Family used to live, but most of it was shot right in Studio City.

She was often the Moon Girl in the Commando Cody movies. Sometimes she wasn't even credited.

"I just enjoyed being on the set, being in the movies," she said. "I didn't care if I got cut out, or didn't get credited, I knew I was in it."

Surprisingly, she didn't even see a lot of her own work. It wasn't until the fan shows, and the movie memorabilia shows that she even caught a glimpse of the many photo stills or movie and TV clips of her work.

"Boy, I was a looker, eh?" she kidded.

She liked wearing purple, she loved wearing hats. She was often confused for Mae West, she said.

Back in the 1950s and '60s she was more of a poor-man's Jayne Mansfield, (who was a poor man's Marilyn Monroe), but none of that kept her from being a character of her own. She promoted her work, sold a DVD of her clips (she always kept a stash in her purse), and she never hesitated signing an autograph.

She met with me a few times just for coffee, at Aroma's because she knew someone would come up and say "hi" and if we sat at one of the street-side tables, someone always did. 

She was concerned about her community. She lived for a bit in the Studio City hills, but was worried after some landslides and earthquakes jostled some of the houses too much and she was afraid to live there anymore. She moved to Valley Village, within walking distance of Ventura Boulevard where she liked to window shop, and the Studio City Farmers Market where she watched the paparazzi chase young stars of today.

"I think being famous now is a whole different ballgame, it can even be dangerous," Gloria said. "And you have to know all this new technology and stuff to get your name out there."

She had help putting her online presence together, and she was contacted by fans who discovered her through the Internet. That's how she sold her self-published books.

"I could never get a big publisher because they wanted all the dirt, and I didn't want to spread the dirt," she said. "That's not me, really."

And, she didn't have too much mean to say about anyone.

Shirley Jones, who won an Oscar for her role in Elmer Gantry, in which Pall was in: "She was beautiful."

Kirk Douglas, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: "A sweetheart."

Elvis Presley, her first love, from Jailhouse Rock: "Delicious."

She was concerned about traffic speeding down Riverside and Moorpark. She didn't like the graffiti encroaching her neighborhood. She was concerned that the extras weren't part of the Screen Actors Guild and supported a union for them. She always had something she wanted to discuss and learn more about that was in the news.

I last saw Gloria at the Studio City Library only a few months ago. She met my 10-year-old nephew and she did a flawless Mae West impersonation which turned a lot of heads our direction. Of course, the impersonation was lost on him, but I laughed and so did a few onlookers.

"Voluptua, you'll always be Voluptua," I said, giving her a good-bye hug.

"Always," she cooed.

 

ALSO:

See in the gallery above a video I never put on Patch.

Gloria Pall died at the

Here is the full version of the Twilight Zone episode she was on: When the Sky was Open (she was the Girl at the Bar)

Here is the Abbott and Costello comedy "The Beauty Contest" that she was in.

E.M. Fredric January 07, 2013 at 11:21 PM
Seems you made an impression on this amazing lady - which isn't surprising. Beautiful story, Mike.
Dave Gray January 08, 2013 at 08:50 PM
This was the nicest tribute to Gloria I've seen. You didn't put that I introduced you two at the Studio, but whatever. I'll write my own tribute.
Miki Henderson January 08, 2013 at 08:52 PM
I was one of the people who got her autograph at the Aroma's front table. I think you may hve been there, Mike!!!! I will always treasure my talks with Gloria. She was very classy.
Mike Szymanski January 08, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Actually, it turns out that we compared notes and we met in the 1980s at a series of parties of past stars that Donald O'Connor held around his birthday for years, and came up with some photos of us talking together with my friend Marsha Hunt at those gatherings at a house in Sunland. So, thanks for re-introducing us, but turns out we knew each other back when BOTH of us lived in Studio City.

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