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Bikini Of The '60s: Raquel Welch's Fur Two-piece From 'One Million Years BC'

Icons | June 13, 2021

Perhaps the G.O.A.T bikni. (hammer_horror_fans)

Perhaps the most enjoyable way to view history is through the tiny sheer lens of the bikini. From Brigitte Bardot in “Girl in the Bikini” to Halle Berry in “Die Another Day,” the bikini spanned much of modern history and not much else. However, undoubtedly, the most iconic bikini in history technically dates back hundreds of thousands of years to Raquel Welch in “One Million B.C.” From Baby Boomers to Millenials, just about every red-blooded American male has appreciated her bikini-clad poster that’s probably pushed millions of boys through puberty.

The poster that adorned a million bedrooms. (amazon)

The Archetypal Poster We Almost Never Got

Amazingly, that seminal poster which was burned into the minds of American Y chromosomes almost never happened. That was due to Welch telling Fox’s studio head, Dick Zanuck, “I didn’t think I was going to do it because it was a dinosaur movie and I didn’t want to be caught dead in a dinosaur movie.” Back then studio heads weren’t very receptive to the word “no”, as Welch found out because “he was not sympathetic to that”.

Raquel, and only Raquel, made "One Milion B.C. appointment viewing. (Pinterest)

One Million B.C Fashion

Zanuck reportedly replied, “No, you’re going to do it Raquel. And listen Raqui, you’re going to become a huge star!” Apparently, a small part of Welch’s hesitancy surrounded the attire back in one million B.C. As the idol to men responded, “What? What am I even going to wear? What happened in dinosaur time?” Naturally, Zanuck had a response. “He said, ‘Don’t worry, they’ll figure something out.' And they sure did.”

Filming tested Welch's physical limits but also made her a star. (youtuve)

You’re Not In Kansas Anymore

Perhaps part of the secret sauce to the movie’s success, besides Raquel in a bikini, was its location. Rather than shoot on an L.A lot, they flew the cast and crew all the way to the Canary Islands! As Welch remembers, “We were so far from civilization. I mean, there was a hotel at the bottom of the volcano near the sea. And I was at the top. And it was snowing!” Reportedly, Welch really suffered for her stardom due to the freezing temperatures and her costume’s lack of, well, material.

“I already had so much penicillin when I was wearing the fur bikini that I almost died. . . I had to rush, turn my car around and head right back to the doctor’s office, just run upstairs, jump in the elevator and all that. And I barely got there. They had to shoot me with an antidote. Otherwise, I would have died. It was a really rough shoot, man. Really rough. And then I came to London and everybody knew who I was.”

One of the most sought after pieces of movie memorabilia in history (oldgothichorror)

A Star Is Born

Welch had already acted alongside her teen idol Elvis Presley in 1964’s “Roustabout.” Nevertheless, she didn’t gain iconic status until after “One Million B.C.” Apparently, that sudden jump in fame slightly confused the then 26-year-old actress. “I don’t do much in this movie except run around in this outfit!” Clearly, the youngster still had a lot to learn about the simple desires of men. As for the famous bikini? “We had several doubles of it because when it got wet you couldn’t wear it the right way again,” she said. “Nothing really happened to it. I have the ones that were left over, the backups.”

Tags: 1960s | Bikini Babes | Raquel Welch

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Kellar Ellsworth

Writer

Kellar Ellsworth was born and raised in Hawaii. He is an avid traveler, surfer and lover of NBA basketball. He wishes he could have grown up in the free love era!