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Noel Toy

Ed. note: This blogpost originally appeared on Soft Film as as “Noel Toy: Our Lady of Feathers.” It is a reprint of an article that first appeared in the cheesecake tabloid CO-EDS (May 1942). The photos are accompanied by their original captions.


Broadway’s most publicized Chinese (American-born) glamor girl is appropriately named California Co-ed Noel Toy. Tinytot Toy (five feet tall) was a sophomore language major at University of California when she received her first assignment in the chorus of a San Francisco World’s Fair midway attraction. There she was discovered, signed up at Fair’s close by Frisco’s famed Forbidden City hotspot.

Less than a year later, with but five month’s experience as a fandancer behind her, she arrived in New York, became Leon and Eddie’s headliner.

A growing reputation for biting repartee and devastating treatment of Fifty-second Street wolves earned introduction to Dramaticritic George Jean Nathan, upon whose elegant arm she often attends First Nights. Lee Mortimer, too, finds her a dynamic supper companion, and, it is rumored, she once received a proposal of marriage from Tommy Manville, who explained wistfully that he “had never been married to a Chinese girl.”

It must be noted that Noel detests chop suey, is highly allergic to rice.

Fandancer Toy was christened Noel because she was born on Christmas Day 21 years ago. Competitors Sally Rand and Faith Bacon are frequent visitors at Leon and Eddie’s, follow Noel’s graceful movements with appraising eyes.

Start of fandancer Toy’s table routine resembles Tahitian grass hut.

She slowly straightens up, pokes head out.

Above, fans cover all but head and feet.

Her fans flash into action with Sally Rand–like skill.

West Coast’s Forbidden City nightclub gave Noel start. Now, after 5-month apprenticeship, she ranks with best.

Having made her bow, she continues routine on floor. Noel attended University of California. A language major, she did right well by French, Spanish, German and Latin, flunked Chinese, paradoxically. She speaks English perfectly.

Noel has keen, thoroughly American, sense of humor. Her Christmas card contained tiny V-shaped G-string.

Finally, for a taste of Noel’s sharp wit and hearty laugh check out this 2001 interview, taped when she was a spry 80-something-year-old!


  1. Reply
    Ida Claire says:


  2. Reply
    Dee Luxxx says:

    Inspiring! Thank you!

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