Charmion - The World's Most Perfect Woman
Laverie Vallee née Cooper (July 18, 1875 – February 6, 1949),
best known by her stage name Charmion, was an American
vaudeville trapeze artist and strongwoman whose well-publicized
suggestive performance was captured on film in 1901.
A native of Sacramento, Charmion built her act around a memorable
routine which opened with her on-stage entrance dressed in full
Victorian street attire. She subsequently mounted the trapeze and
disrobed down to her acrobat leotards in the midst of the trapeze's
swinging motion. She appears to have begun performing while in her
late teens and this was part of her repertoire at least as early as
May 1, 1898, and possibly before 1896, when her act was seen by
critic George Jean Nathan when he was a boy.
The performer in this studio production was probably Charmion, whose "risque disrobing act on
the flying trapeze" was popular at the turn of the century. Although her striptease was performed
for the camera and cine-viewers, the two male spectators inside the mise-en-scène authorized the
film spectators' voyeurism. Such pictures were so "hot" that the Victorian males' repressive
psychic mechanisms had to be allayed if these patrons were to find the intended pleasure
rather than voyeurism. Produced for burlesque houses and "smokers," these films were by
male filmmakers and for male spectators."
New York Dramatic Mirror; September 13, 1902
Boston: "Charmion heads the programme at the Howard Athenaeum 8-13..."
The Milwaukee Journal - Aug 6, 1912 (pg.7)
- (listing: New Gayety Theatre: "Charmion, Queen of the Air")
1909 B.F. Keith 5th Avenue Theatre Vaudeville-Kinetograph program