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Annette Kellerman First Movies in Swimming Unitard

New York
1909 AK0915

   Scoup neck, shortsleeved black bathing unitard, which completely covers body, legs and feet. Also with bathing cap.

   None. Bare arms.

Annette Kellerman lies on a diving platform in her famous bathing unitard and swimcap in what is possibly a publicity shot for a one-reel movie (1). Author Daniel Blum quotes from an unidentified source that the movie depicts Kellerman, "in her physical culture exercises, diabolo playing, fancy swimming and diving displays." Here Kellerman demonstrates swimming using a chair (2).

   Kellerman goes to the movies, which first in New York but soon after California.
   The battle to bare leg is fought across many fronts and Kellerman is one of its stalwarts. But these publicity stills and pictures of other stars of this early cinema period (MN1250) suggest that Kellerman's leg excesses of Boston (AK0750) may have been ahead of their time. But not for long. Kellerman would soon be The Mermaid (1911), and another mermaid in The Siren of the Sea (1911). Leg is on everybody's mind, and Kellerman breaks a leg in Nepture's Daughter (AK1410).

   .50 attributed to an Annette Kellerman Physical Culture movie, Vitagraph, New York, 1909, in Daniel Blum, A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1953, p. 14. Probably a fairly accurate date. .60 is from Toni Robin and Roger Angell, "That Loveable Garment, The Bathing Suit," possibly Life, 1948, and is dated 1911. 2 pictures.
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