1 minute read

Sally Rand Trial: 1946

Up The Runway … To "clair De Lune", "dealing With The Naked Truth"

Defendant: Sally Rand (Helen Gould Beck)
Crime Charged: Indecent exposure, corrupting the morals of an audience, and conducting an obscene show
Chief Defense Lawyer: J.W. "Jake" Ehrlich
Chief Prosecutor: Frank Brown
Judge: Daniel R. Shoemaker
Place: San Francisco, California
Dates of Trial: November 13-14, 1946
Verdict: Not guilty

SIGNIFICANCE: The brief trial of Sally Rand demonstrated the importance of reminding a judge of the need to see all evidence in a case with his or her own eyes. The case also provided a lighthearted, if not frivolous, moment in the usually serious calendar of court proceedings.

By 1946, Sally Rand was a nationally known entertainer whose shtick was unique: Synchronized to music, she waved six-foot fans while she danced nude behind them. A show-business veteran who had performed in vaudeville, movies, and Broadway chorus lines, she enjoyed an unprecedented reputation. Ever since her appearance in 1933 as a headliner, with a bevy of associated female dancers, in "The City of Paris" extravaganza at the Chicago World's Fair, the name "Sally Rand" and the term "fan dancer" had been synonymous. (Over that summer in Chicago, Illinois, her weekly pay had risen from $125 to $3,000.) Her act had played in clubs nationwide and won particular acclaim in Los Angeles, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953