They Actually Held a Contest!

Palisades Park, N.J. – In the first official contest of its kind, two dozen beautiful New York models competed in a hair pulling contest at the Palisades Amusement Park on July 11th. Object of the contestants was to drag their opponents across a finish line by their lustrous locks. Here are Florence Goodman (top) and Alice Schinkel battling it out for championship near the finish line. Florence was declared the winner of the knock-down, drag ’em across contest.
7-11-40 credit: Acme (Courtesy: Stuff Nobody Cares About )

A Hair-Pulling Contest.
Models Pulling Each Other's Hair. Really.

And where else for a women's hair-pulling contest but New Jersey?

It was staged on July, 11, 1940, in those happy days before Pearl Harbor, at Palisades Amusement Park , then a popular playland across the Hudson River from Manhattan. The contest featured a bunch of models from the Walter Thornton Agency in, yes, a hair-pulling contest. The photo at top -- with the two lovelies rolling around -- is a terrific newspaper action-shot of the day, with the original caption. It describes the contest well. 

The contest was presumably the brain-child of Walter Thornton  himself, head of one of the most popular model agencies of the day. With ideas like a hair-pulling contest, it's easy to see why. What else to do with a bunch of beautiful young women? We applaude his ingenuity.

We could find no further information on Florence Goodman or Alice Schinkel, the two women identified as the finalists. Successful modeling careers apparently didn't 

Walter Thornton, above, and top with a bevy of his beauties. At right, Irene Farrell as the "Sun Goddess."
follow. Though, perhaps they specialized in the fetish area. We'll keep our eyes out.   

It's hard to tell how successful the hair-pulling contest was, from a financial standpoint. The tables in thebackground seem pretty empty. But it was obviously an artistic
success. And it may have been the creative high-point of Thornton's career. After legal and
financial problems , he eventually fled to Mexico to start a new life.
Hopefully it was full of many more hair-pulling contests, though no records have come down to us.  
We thank Brollywacker over at DeviantArt for the images, and the background about the contest.
If you enjoy this, you'll enjoy  Brollywacker's site

Ready... Set... Pull!

First the referee checks for illegal barrettes, then the girls go at it!
See the girl above, on the right, in dark shorts and white stripes, with the chokehold on her opponent? That's Florence.

The Championship: Florence vs. Alice

And Florence strangles her way to the finals, against the blond Alice. It's pretty fierce, with clothing getting ripped off along with hair. And look at the jackass ref posing, with his two-tone bucks!
Alice and Florence are at the finish line, and the winner is....

Florence! Winner and Champion!

`I'll kick your ass next time'

`Let's
go, bitch'

Florence lost some of those luxuriant tresses, but she exults with her winning cash in hand!