Hello and welcome to Burlesque Balloons. I set out to discover the history of the X-Rated balloon as both a way of crediting the early balloon artists and to have a resource available to others that may be interested in this subject. It's no secret that in the mainstream balloon community adult themed balloons have a tendency to stir up controversy. Many balloon twisters believe that making an X-Rated balloon is the Devils work, they believe that if you make these designs you will cross over to the dark side of the balloon. The truth is X-Rated is simply overrated when it comes to the art of balloon twisting.
My personal experience with these designs goes back to my misspent youth. I was working at a place called the House of Humor in Whittier, California.
The House of Humor Novelty Company was the Spencer's of it's day. They sold magic, costumes, jokes, risque gag gifts and other adult paraphernalia. It was at the House of Humor that I began getting into what was called balloon sculpture. This was a time just before how-to videos. Books on balloon twisting did not exist, the only information available was in the form of a booklet which is a small bound book usually twenty five pages or less with a paper cover. These booklets could only be found in specialty shops and were a low cost way of getting information into the hands of people wanting to learn.
The first balloon booklet I read was titled Bar Room Balloons by Roger Siegel. It was a twenty four page pamphlet that had several balloon designs and a cool magic effect where a preselected card is discovered by a peeing balloon dog.
Based on several years of research I believe that Roger Siegel should be credited for being the first to publish and to entertain with adult themed balloons.
Below I am including an interview I had with Roger Siegel, I asked him to the best of his knowledge if he was the first to twist x-rated balloons. His answer was a definitive yes, nobody was doing it before me. Roger told me he was twisting naughty balloon animals for Hugh Hefner at the original Playboy Mansion in Chicago back in the late 1960's.
In fact Heff's favorite trick was the peeing dog routine, which is included in the booklet Bar Room Balloons. Roger also worked on several layouts for Playboy magazine. One pictorial was a spoof on Greek Mythology the story of Leda and the Swan and as Roger put it he found it very difficult working with all those naked women. The story goes Zeus took the form of a swan and seduced Leda on the very night she slept with her husband she went on to lay two eggs from which her children were hatched. Roger was in charge of making balloon swans in a series of steps which made it look like the nude model was twisting the design.Roger also designed a balloon space suit to coincide with the Apollo missions which also appeared in Playboy magazine during that same period.
Other titles from the era include the X-Rated Balloon Book by Eric Persson which is out of print. I spoke with Eric about his book I wanted to know when he started doing adult themed balloons, and why I could not find his booklet anywhere. Eric said he came up with the designs that are in the X-Rated Balloon Book during the late 1970's and early 1980's. At that time he was doing a lot of gigs in the adult market and due to constant requests for "certain designs" he created a series of characters based on existing shapes. He also came up with some original creations one of his more elaborate being a balloon sculpture titled Linda Lovelace and John Holmes. Eric went on to tell me that the X-Rated Balloon Book was sold by T. Myers and was pulled from their catalog because of gospel balloon twisters who were upset about the subject matter in the book. They complained to the publisher until T. Myers finally caved in and pulled the book from their catalog.
Blue Pencil Balloons part three of all wind and twists by Doug Brearley is the final booklet from this era that delves into the subject of naughty balloon animals for adults.
Doug Brearley passed away in 1988, however I was able to get in contact with his collaborator Gerry Luff who sent me a copy of Blue Pencil Balloons and a short bio on Doug. All of these booklets were originally published in the 1970's at the height of the sexual revolution.