I was initially drawn to Dorothy Lamour because of her long, dark hair, great legs and exotic beauty. She was declared Miss New Orleans in 1931 and soon became a singer. In the film capital, she was nicknamed the “Beautiful One,” before people started calling her the “Sarong Girl.”
In “The Jungle Princess,” Lamour was introduced as a female Tarzan, raised by tigers. She is best remembered for her starrers with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope—“Road to Zanzibar” and “Road to Utopia.”
I also recall seeing her in “The Greatest Show on Earth,” a Cecile de Mille epic with an all-star cast that included Betty Hutton, Burt Lancaster and James Stewart. But, I liked her better in her jungle movies, because I was too young to appreciate the humor of her road flicks.
Lamour brought attention to dark-skinned beauties. In local adventure films, Rosa del Rosario, Leila Morena, Alicia Vergel and Tessie Quintana were dressed in sarongs.
As she matured, Dorothy acted in dramatic vehicles. Looking back, I think that, if the sarong-clad, dark-skinned star didn’t set the stage, we wouldn’t have chosen our kayumanggi international beauty queens—like Gemma Araneta, Gloria Diaz. Melanie Marquez and Miriam Quiambao!