September 7th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1958, the Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram ran a profile of Gene Harding, the manager of the Marina Shores tract in Seal Beach and the 1957 Long Beach Sales Executive Club’s Salesman of the Year under the headline “Blue-Eyed Blonde Bosses Seal Beach Sales Office.” The paper also ran a couple of photographs that reproduce poorly from microfilm.

sept_7_1958_gene_harding_photo

The reporter of this piece, Sterling Bemis, knew a good hook when he saw it and played up the contrast of Gene Harding’s business acumen and success with her smashing good looks. Somewhere while describing her as “a spun-taffy blonde with blue eyes” and making note of her silky tan 35-24-35 figure, he mentions in passing that Gene’s “an alert, intense executive who is in the job up to 12 hours a day, often seven days a week.”

Gene was short for Emogene, which Bemis described as a “curvy cognomen in tune with a 34-year old mother” with a 15 year-old son and a 5 year-old daughter. Gene was married to  a dietary specialist whose vitamin therapy was apparently responsible for her healthy physique, although she admitted that she kept “so busy that an extra pound wouldn’t dare tackle her.”  

sept_7_1958_gene_harding_photo_2

I like to think that last line shows that Gene had a sense of humor about the angle Bemis choose for the story, and that as a good “salesman” she realized that the publicity from the article would bring more people to the Marina Shores tract. Whether she realized it or not, she was using an oft-used tactic for promoting Seal Beach real estate with cheesecake. 

You can see an ad for Marina Shores in the post for March 30th in Seal Beach History
– Michael Dobkins

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