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Self-Storage and Bettie Page: Two Disparate Worlds Collide Again

Amy Campbell

March 26, 2010

3 Min Read
Self-Storage and Bettie Page: Two Disparate Worlds Collide Again

I experienced an unexpected blast from the past this week when someone posted an online comment to an editor’s letter I wrote for ISS eight years go. My letter was about pin-up legend Bettie Page and the auction of her items from a Jersey City self-storage unit back in the 1950s. It focused on the importance of lien sales and associated legislation. What I didn’t know at the time was the mystery and speculation that would grow around that storage “locker” for Bettie’s other fans over the years.
 
There’s a new movie in production about Bettie’s life, expected for release this fall. "Bettie Page Reveals All: The Authorized Biography," a work in progress since 1996, is being produced and directed by Mark Mori, an American filmmaker, TV producer and screenwriter of documentaries and reality shows. The film’s associate producer, Patti Sacks, is the one who found and commented on my letter.
 
The movie website provides a user forum where fans can interact, post and view photos, ask questions of Mark, and generally share stories and insights about Bettie and her life. The community has actually started a thread about “Bettie’s Lost New Jersey Storage Locker,” in which Mark, Patti and fans are hypothesizing about the unit’s contents, why it went into default, who bought the goods at auction, and where it all ended up. Patti wanted to let me know she had shared my letter on the thread as a sidebar. “The storage locker's history has been a long-standing mystery that captivated Bettie's fans,” she wrote. “Mark Mori is trying to get to the bottom of it.”

Aside from my pleasure at being associated with the film even in this small way (I have been a stanch Bettie admirer), I remain tickled at the fortuitous collision of these two disparate worlds. Self-storage meets Queen of the Pin-Ups? Who would’ve thunk it? And yet her use of our industry product all those decades ago raises hope of possible memorabilia treasures―and questions about Bettie’s circumstances and relationships.
 
For me, it also raises questions about the self-storage business that sold her goods. What process did the operator follow? The biography that inspired my letter from all those years ago indicated Bettie was never given a chance to bid on her items or stop the sale. Lien procedures were vastly different in those days, as were methods for communicating with customers. Can you imagine what it must have been like before the age of Google and e-mail to track down delinquent tenants?
 
This week I shared my story on the Self-Storage Talk forum, asking if any managers rent to or have ever rented to a celebrity of some kind. So far, no responders. What about you? Ever rented to a person of note? Ever had to evict one? Please share your story on the blog, or jump onto the thread: Bettie Page and Storage - Interesting Tidbit.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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