Flashback Friday — Valentine Vixen: Cheryl Kubert, Miss February 1958

The bulk of this post originally appeared on February 5, 2010 at 9:04 am.


Photographed by Mario Casilli.

First up is the lovely and talented Cheryl Kubert. In going through my files to prep this entry, I realized I’d already saved several pictures from this shoot here and there for the last year, so I’m pretty pumped to share.

It’s not a cute or even particularly “themed” shoot at all, but Ms. Kubert has an almost accusing serenity that makes what would be standard shots if it were any other model seem more arresting and beyond ordinary than their composition would dictate.

It’s the eye contact, I reckon. She has deep eyes. The downward cast of her chin, the unparted lip, the steady gaze; she seems so solemn. It makes the shoot feel heavy, but in a beautiful, ruminating, kind of sad way. She has this kind of practical but somewhat unhappy sincerity to her expression and posture, an unvarnished and troubled vulnerability. It’s moody.

The written copy that accompanied this pictorial is absolute drivel. I mean, just pure shit. Its more pun-ridden and meaningless even than the b.s. that they printed up for Marlene Callahan, and that is saying something, believe me.

The strangest part about the article is that, besides being empty apple fritters and pretty nonsense, the endless stream of non sequitirs about Scandinavian idioms seemingly have almost nothing to do with the pictures.

The write-up, titled “Playmate on Skis,” describes skiing in great detail and alludes to its history in Scandinavia, which is well and good, but in the pictures Ms. Kubert is mainly not around snow whatsoever; furthermore, the article lays no claim to her being of Scandinavian descent. Just a poor job all around. Banana boats and baloney sauce, Playboy, I’m sorry. Thankfully the pictures are unique, sensitive, and artistic.

Okay, I just spent fifteen minutes hard-searching and I found the above missing link. ONE SHOT of her with skis in addition to the centerfold (which is generally shot separate from the rest of the pictorial spread). Pfft. And if that is not a fake scene outside the window, I’ll eat my hat. Total cheezits (I’m trying to swear less this year and I’ve found that food items make handy and amusing euphemisms).


(The nude Jayne Mansfield spread will come up again in several days, actually. Really interesting story, but we’re focused on Ms. Kubert right now. Keep your shirt on.)

I can only conjecture that Cheryl Kubert was a stage name, because there is pretty much nothing known about her prior to her centerfold appearance or what she did following, other than that she had appeared in a bit part in the film Pal Joey in 1957.

According to the Playmate Book, Ms. Kubert died April 25, 1989 of apparent suicide. Because Playboy did not keep data sheets prior to September of 1959, it is not known how old she was at the time of her appearance in the magazine or her death. It makes those deep eyes seem much sadder to know that. R.I.P.





edit: I was sitting here trying to think where I had just seen the name “Kubert” recently, and finally remembered that yesterday’s Daily Batman of Catwoman and Batman throwing plates at each other in the Super Dictionary (Warner, 1978) featured art work by the cartoonist Joe Kubert. Found his official website and have fired off a quick email using his “contact” form, inquiring if he is related to Cheryl Kubert or has heard anything about her before. It’s a longshot, but I’ll let you know what comes of it.

edit 11/2/12: In the original post, the following comment was left

John Hawksley Says:

Hello, I was Cheryl’s husband and we were married at the time of her death(may 28,1988) Cheryl Kubert was her real name. Born in Los Angeles, went to Fairfax High School. We had one child(Rachel). She was 50 at time of her death. She was a glamour lovlie in Ken Murry’s Blackouts and she did extensive modeling, traveled with U. S. O troupe and was a member of SAG and SEG. She had the heart and the looks of an angel. She could sing, play the piano and dance. If you need anymore information you can text me. John

Thank you for the further info, Mr. Hawksley.

edit 11/2/12, 2.0: The late Joe Kubert, comic legend, also corresponded with me briefly in regard to this post. He passed on in August, and I am not sharing because I believe death negates privacy, but merely because I never shared originally. As with Mr. Hawksley’s comment, I meant to go back and edit again, but the time gets away from you.

Dear E,

Thank you for your email and your interest. To my knowledge I am not related to a Cheri [sic] Kubert. She looks like someone I would not have minded knowing! Please continue to read, write, and care about comics. You may also share a link with your readers to The Kubert School.

Regards,
Joe

The Kubert School, based in Dover, NJ offers students a high quality and challenging education in Cartooning and Graphic Art.” They also have correspondence courses.

This has been your Flashback Friday.

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2 Responses to “Flashback Friday — Valentine Vixen: Cheryl Kubert, Miss February 1958”

  1. mickey Says:

    Interestingly, it was your Cheryl Kubert post that led me to this site. I buy old sci-fi pulps on eBay and after I bought one they decided to add this old 50’s glamor mag to my suggestions list (Gala, Jan. ’57, Vol. 7, No. 5). It had Cheryl Kubert on the cover, and, thinking she looked very Hepburn-ish, I became kind of interested. It stayed in my view list for awhile, and it’d always be in the corner of the screen, with those gi-normous, captivating brown eyes– pools of mystery and tenderness. I checked it for a few days, and, kind of became entranced by it. So, I plunked down on it and won (funny mag, laughable and also, um, creepy). Nevertheless, (go figure) I got curious about this beautiful girl, kind of a curvy Audrey, not so much the waif. Anyway, your site was the first thing (and one of the only) that popped up on the Googlymoogly. From then, I started reading (the Batman thing, the art, film, music, the insane writing [“banged like a screen door in a hurricane”– I hope this is yours– please get together a stand up set and take that shit on the road–for a recent example]. So much on this site. So much energy, wit and humor. Observations, thought, information. I was surprised that a chick was writing about Playmates. I know how that sounds, but… I mean, I dunno. You write about them as people, and, you also take an interest in their form. Unexpected (maybe I need to meet more people?) You also discuss the photography. And, you have great tangents based on things that come up in the research of a model’s history. Or, you just go nuts and straight-up stream-of-consciousness. GREAT! E. IS AWESOME!

    I read the comments for your readers. Many of them state they “come for the porn and wind up getting knowledge” –paraphrasing you and them. How very true. I’m not someone who ever gave much attention to “girlie mags” or any of that. Sure, I like chicks, and am just as base and vile as any other guy– but, just wasn’t my thing. Of course, having read your stuff, I read more, and now– having been “exposed” to many a Playmate, have become kind of a “tasteful pervert.” I dunno, perhaps that’s just immaturity or something. Anyway, I’m not that old, but I have to say– I prefer the ladies of the late 50’s through the early 70’s the best (the mid to late 60’s had the most beautiful women and the best photog, IMO). I hate to join the “bash the Barbie” crowd, but, the ladies of the 60’s were so very real, so warm and tangible and– actual. It’s hot, yes, but it’s actually dreamy and beautiful and human and nice.

    So, now you’ve made me a connoisseur of the Hef and his “work.” And, I’ve always been aware that there is ALOT more to the magazine than just the parade of lovelies, but, you make sure to point that out. Playboy has some great journalism, addresses (often seriously) contemporary issues and health and moral concerns, and– it has art– the pics, stories, profiles etc. Thanks to your site, I went and did a sample survey of (via eBay– I don’t work for them) the year 1968 (picked for Cynthia Myers– undeniably beautiful, but, admittedly, totally effing HOT!). It’s interesting to blast back into the past and see the advertising etc. and what was on the minds of people at that time. This has already been a long post, so, no real insights or assessments shall follow except to say, the only thing that seemed in any way very disturbing to me were some of the CARTOONS (cartoons, of all things!) There is some disturbing sexism etc. in some of them, not to mention some creepy interest in very young people, that often seems to show up in some of the “lightness” of the cartoons. Playboy, often accused of all kinds of things by very uptight people– still, I have to say, I saw some of that concern in the cartoons of all places. Anyway, I’ve babbled off at the keyboard for too long. Please forgive this post.

    The VA fam is fine, thank you for asking (from your prior reply). The weather in FL is very “San Diego” right now. Such climate guilt… Well, we usually get the hurricanes. I’m not sure anyone really knows how far this NE hurricane situation is going to play out. It’s very sad and terrible. Best wishes to all who are in the thick of it.

  2. jon Says:

    I have nothing to add about Cheryl Kubert, beyond ‘nice photos’. I was watching an old Beach Party movie. I was a teen when those came out. And afterwards, I started googling the lesser actors. And it’s a ‘pictures of Lilly’ trap. Many are dead, none look like they did at 20. Somehow, I always enjoyed the platinum-domed biker girl. It’s not fun to find they were dead, an hour after enjoying their youthful energy on TV.
    I also found a page of ‘dead playmates’. Yeah, we all knew their names – and faces, as teens. As we grow up, we understand that they do, too. They have lives, loves, families… and die. But at least they stay forever young in the photos.
    My son had a big 4 day wedding at a beach resort in his San Diego. There was a woman who had a big-screen smile. Late 50’s? 60’s? Her daughter was a friend of the bride, and a bridesmaid. The mother had once been in Playboy. I wasn’t familiar with the name, and she might have not been a Playmate. But she was still attractive, and friendly (tho her even-older husband, or his friends, always surrounded her. Maybe that was best. I wanted to thank her, for all the young men out there. She may get that – and worse, still! Her daughter also suffered. Kids used to toss Playboys at her, or stuff them in her locker. Such class!)
    That’s all I got! You have an interesting site. Keep up the good work!

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