Imagine the premiums

This was obviously a two-page spread originally, but we’re looking at page two (click it to see the whole thing):

Angie Dickinson for Vectra

“Looking like a million” refers to a celebrity practice utterly justifiable yet still sounding outlandish, which began in the 1920s with actor Ben Turpin, a cross-eyed fellow who evidently felt as though he’d be swept from the spotlight if those eyes ever uncrossed, so he took out a $25,000 insurance policy to pay off if it ever happened. As it happened, what killed his career was the rise of talkies; he worked only sporadically in the 1930s, living off his investment income.

The nicely crossed legs here belong to Angie Dickinson, who’d bought a million-dollar policy, as Betty Grable had a couple of decades before, and as did Mary Hart a couple of decades later. (Grable, in fact, starred in a film called Million Dollar Legs in 1939.) As for Vectra itself, the fiber began showing up in carpeting and upholstery in the 1960s, then faded from view.

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