Cultpix kicked off 2022 with a two-week celebration of one of the greatest female erotic film icons of the past fifty years: actress and burlesque star Kitten Natividad, who combined humour and sexiness in everything she did.
Born Francesca Natividad in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico in 1948, she didn’t speak any English before the age of ten when she moved with her mother to Texas. She became a go-go dancer and got the name ‘Kitten’ for being shy on stage - at least initially. Moving to Hollywood she worked for a while as maid to actress Stella Stevens, but dancing was her passion and she won Miss Nude Universe both 1970 and 1971. This led to her film career, where she is best known for appearing in two Russ Meyers films: “Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens” (1979) and “Up!” (1976) - sadly of which neither is available on any streaming service, including Cultpix.
We divided her films into two categories: funny and sexy, though in truth there was always humour in her erotica and sexiness in her funny scenes that went beyond her Double D cups. Before she did the Russ Meyer films she had already appeared in "Deep Jaws" (1976), a soft-core comedy co-staring Candy Samples that tried to ride the wave of "Deep Throat" and "Jaws" in the story of a failing movie studio trying to make an erotic mermaid film.
In the 1980s Kitten got to play the lead in "Taking It Off" (1985) and "Taking It All Off" (1987) where she played Betty Bigones who tries to shrink her legendary bust to get more regular acting gigs and later helps a fellow stripper overcome her shyness with hypnosis. It is silly low-brow humour and an excuse to get to see a lot of skin from the likes of Candy Evans and Becky LeBeau. Previous to these films Kitten had made her own Jane Fonda-type exercises tape "Eroticise" (1983) demonstrating her fitness. (Previously we only had a 20 minute version of this video, but now the full 60 minute tape can be enjoyed on Cultpix.)
As well as her memorable one-off ‘Moral Majority’ scene in “Airplane” (above) Kitten had cameos in several mainstream comedies in 1980s, including two "Police Academy" knockoffs, "Doin' Time" (1985) and "Night Patrol" (1984), both of which have proved surprisingly popular with Cultpix members. Vincent Canby of The New York Times even wrote a positive review of the latter, stating, "Though the humor is strictly for the stag-party crowd, which isn't discriminating, the performances have a good, low-burlesque style to them". Perhaps more notable than even Kitten in "My Tutor" (1983) is that it was Crispin Glover's film debut, before he went on to "Back to the Future" and weirder roles. It is gorgeously shot by Cultpix favourite Mac Ahlberg.
Kitten did not do any male-female hardcore until the 90s (which earned her opprobrium from the burlesque community, though she didn’t care), but she appeared in several adult films in the 1980s, many of which are from our friends at Vinegar Syndrome. "Eat at the Blue Fox" (1983) is about the infamous night club across the US border in Mexico, famed for its 'Donkey show'.
"Let's Talk Sex" (1983) is an example of slick and sexy 80s porn about telephone sex operators providing aural delights. "Ten Little Maidens" (1985) is that rare thing, an Agatha Christie-style porn film with some truly strange kinks - jerking off with a chicken, Harry Reems and a corndog, Nina Hartley getting screwed while covered in a pig carcass, POV shot from inside a vagina or even death by Arsenic-laced vagina, anyone?
More hard-boiled type of detective porn in "Titillation" (1982), which is a film that combines funny dialogue, decent acting, a jazzy score, lush cinematography on films and hot sex, so much so that it is films like this that give porn a good name. Lastly "Bodacious Ta Tas" (1985) is a chance to see Kitten's burlesque skills on stage, as well as doing a female-female scene rather than getting it on with Ron Jeremy.
If this was not enough to convince you that there is more to Kitten’s talents than her breasts, then be sure to check out the full podcast interview she did with fellow burlesque dancer Angie Pontani, where she comes across as funny, smart, genuine and very cool about the ups and downs of her life.
In addition to burlesque and films, Kitten also did stints on television, including appearing in The Dating Game and The Gong Show. Watch her as the ‘evil’ Pumpkin Princess on teen spy comedy "The New Adventures of Bean Baxter" (1987, above), which showcases her comedic talent that went way beyond just thrusting out her boobs.