Joan Rhodes was very famous in the 1950s and 60s as a strong woman. She performed in cabaret, variety and vaudeville, stunning audiences with her amazing feats of strength. She could bend heavy steel bars that no man in the audience could even dent, she could break six inch nails with her hands, and she could tear the 1000 page London phone book not merely in half, but into quarters. She could lift men with ease, and loved to do so.
This is part of her act "An iron girl in a velvet glove". She sings to the audience about the tribulations of being a strong girl and the effects on romance, while she bends iron bars and tears a telephone directory in half.
There's a hundred 360 by 240 pictures, and then more at twice the size, although in the larger pictures, the quality suffers. If you look round the web site, you'll also find a video clip of this.
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