Page 3 - Success


Irish has said that she was was earning 82 cents an hour working night shift at the McDonnell Douglas factory (Femme Fatales).  This translates to about $30.00 a week.  It isn't surprising, therefore, that she embraced her new career, which was paying her $100 a month for not working, with a certain amount of disbelief.  She was still, after all, a pragmatic 18-year-old girl from the Midwest.  She cautiously held on to her McDonnell Douglas job believing that this recent turn of events wouldn't last.  The American male, however, could not get enough of her.  She became a regular fixture in Night and Day, appearing in spreads mostly set in outdoor locations to highlight her athleticism - Irish goes sand skiing, Irish goes surfing, Irish goes climbing, etc - (see the collection of images at the bottom of this page).

In October 1950, only two months after her national debut, Night and Day launched a new magazine, Eve (left), that used Irish as its symbolic central image.  That publication was not long-lived, but by early 1951 Irish had become so popular that Night and Day was using her imposing physique in virtually every issue.  She maintained this appeal for the next three years and it is estimated that over 200 different photos of her appeared in that publication (Glamour Girls).  Steve Sullivan, publisher of Glamour Girls: Then and Now, writes that during the 1950s, "perhaps no other magazine was as mammary-oriented as Night and Day."  The magazine never neglected to feature the first and most vital of Irish's statistics.  He also stresses that Irish and Bettie Page "...were perhaps the first figure models to become "stars"' simply by displaying their curves for the camera, without benefit of a movie to promote."  Irish's work wasn't restricted to only one magazine, however.  She was a regular in all of the major men's magazines of the era - Beauties, Frolic, Scoop, Big Time, Modern Man, Scene, Celebrity, Pageant, Eye, Focus, People Today, etc, etc.  See link below for examples of Irish's 1950s magazines.
Irish was a natural in front of the camera but when the photographers would say, "Look sexy." she would giggle and get embarrassed.  One day at the end of a long shoot she was feeling hungry and the photographer asked her what she was thinking because she had the kind of expression on her face he was looking for.  She told him what she liked best, so whenever they were working together he would say, "I'm going to buy you a hot-fudge sundae with lots of whipped cream!"  That became her secret for looking sexy (Prevue).


To see what all of the fuss was about and the reason for her popularity, click on the image at right to explore an extensive collection of glamour and television magazines that Irish McCalla appeared in between 1950 and 2008.

Femme Fatales magazine, Jan 99
Glamour Girls: Then and Now magazine, Premiere issue Mar-Apr 94

Prevue Pinup Special 2 magazine 1994
• The photo of the cover of the first issue of Eve magazine (Oct 50) was kindly donated by Frank Bonilla
• The collage of images at the bottom of the page are from the following magazines in my personal collection (L to R): Night and Day, Oct 53; Gaze, Feb 67; Night and Day, Feb 53; Taboo, Apr 50; and Night and Day, Feb 53;
• The collage of magazine images was created from magazines in my personal collection


SHEENA © is the property of Sony Pictures Corporation
This independent, fan-based analysis of the Sheena material is copyright © 2005-2009 Paul Wickham
This page was updated May 2009