Vera Day

Once upon a time, a little girl was born in West Ham in London. That was in August 1933. She grew up to be a pretty little blonde teenager who worked in a hairdressing salon in Bond Street; one of the countless hopefuls in the 1950s who dreamed of stardom and fame. She was engaged to a handsome, athletic lad called Arthur who worked in showbiz and thought his Vera had everything it took to make that dream come true. And he loved her so much that he set about making sure it did. He had some pictures taken of her and went to the court of all the princes of entertainment in the land. The wisest and richest of them all, the greatest theatrical impresario of the time, said he would like to see her for real. His name was Jack Hylton.

She gave an audition, along with five hundred other pretty little blonde girls. But Mr Hylton saw something in her immediately [a bit like Alex Ferguson spotting a teenage Beckham – ed.] and hired her for the chorus line in his new show Wish You Were Here. A few months later, her fairy godmother waved her magic wand and Mr Hylton took her out of the chorus line and gave her a speaking part in Pal Joey – and a contract. A film producer also spotted her and, almost before she knew it, she had her first film role, quickly followed by another. Still breathless at what was happening to her, she then got a part in the most successful radio comedy series [we would call it a radio sitcom today – ed.] of the 1950s about a family called The Huggets. All this is the space of a few months. She even found herself married to her beloved Arthur Mason, just down the road in East Ham. And before long, two children arrived.

So much for the fairy tale. At some stage, Vera Joyce Day also earned a crust posing for Russell Gay and ended up in the ToCo titles and many more. Indeed, she appeared with Arthur in Spick 24, with him flexing his muscles – reasonable biceps, no six-pack. Though I think it is fair to say that, apart from a few early sessions, Vera’s appearances were basically publicity stills.

So, as has been pointed out by an Australian contributor to this site, Spick, Span and Beautiful Britons were much more than just suspender and stocking tops, they launched many a career. Well, yes – that could be said of the early mags. Indeed, the entire 66 series were almost exclusively devoted to film stars and wanna-bes. In 66-23, there is a small cutting that reveals just how big Vera made it. It informs us that she starred in The Prince and the Showgirl alongside two of the greatest icons in film and stage history – Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Except that Vera divorced Arthur and the next husband, fashion photographer Terry O’Neill (who went on to marry Faye Dunaway in 1983). She now lives in close to the River Thames in Shepperton, Middlesex and has her own website −

Personal details  -  Born 4 August 1933

Appearances  -  7, debut Spick 3 (February 1954)

Spick  -  3, 10, 24, 47(bc)

Span  -  37(bc), 79

66  -  23