The Girls of Summer: Inaugural Edition feat. Gay Collier, Miss July 1965!

The lovely and talented Gay Collier was Playboy’s Miss July, 1965.


Centerfold photographed by Mario Casilli.

Going contrary to the cogent advice of Horace Greeley, July Playmate Gay Collier — a pleasingly proportioned (36-23-35) Californian with keen hazel eyes for a dancing career — plans to go as far East as her talented footwork will take her.

(“Clown Princess.” Playboy, July 1965.)

The Greeley “advice” to which the write-up refers is “Go West, Young Man.” Remember when people caught references like that because our nation did not yet see fit to require public schoolteachers, who specifically went to school to do their jobs and work hard every day for other people’s children, to give up their dreams of changing lives with knowledge and instead teach developing minds to shoot for the mean score on a shitty test, so they can grow up and go and do the same while working as a faceless shell at some corporate conglomerate?

Oh, such a fine and impassioned little moment of soap box pedaling for my personal agenda amidst pictures of vintage cheesecake which is surely not the right venue in which to begin a discussion of education and values! but here’s the catch: Horace Greeley has always been wrongly credited with that quote. Greeley was a newspaperman in New York City, specifically the New York Trib — you might remember his portrayal by Michael Byrne in 2002’s Gangs of New York, visiting the Five Points with some other wealthy reformers (Mr. Greeley was all about social reform–ish. Scorsese does a good job exploring his philanthropical ambiguities due to his position of wealth and influence).


Did your brain not just ASPLODE from the cuteness?

Though Mr. Greeley had plenty of wit and wisdom that he shared with the world, he never exhorted anyone to go West or elsewhere unless it was an urchin badgering him on a street corner. The quote in fact originates with another newspaper publisher named John. B. L. Soule, who edited and produced the Terre-Haute, Indiana Express. In full, he said, “Go West, Young Man! And grow up with the country.” Greeley adapted the quote for an editorial of his own.

I think of the mid-60’s as Playboy’s heyday. For some reason, though I love my seventies Power Bush, it kind of felt sleezy by then — whoa, you don’t think it was actually the pubes, do you? Now I’m honestly wondering… Anyway.

This is one of the magazine’s golden era issues that proves how much good shit that you literally could not find anywhere else was packed in each of these pages — besides Ms. Collier’s lovely gatefold shoot, the issue also featured an interview with famed Italian actor-director Marcello Mastroianni and the conclusion of a four-part excerpt from Ian Fleming’s Bond novel The Man With the Golden Gun. Um, HELL yes?!


Consummately portraying such tortured contemporary types as a world-weary author (in La Notte), a cuckolded husband (in Divorce—Italian Style) and a cynical, soul-searching movie director (in 8 1/2), he has come to epitomize for many “the plight of modern man himself,” in the words of one critic, “loveless, faithless, rudderless, spiritually anesthetized and immobilized, whirled along in the swift and shifting crosscurrents and powerless to influence or arrest the order of events; incapable either of disciplining his desires or of satisfying his needs, let alone those of his fellow man.” Despite—or perhaps because of—his ambivalent image of inward impotence and predatory potency, Mastroianni exudes a charismatic magnetism …

(Excerpt from the Mastroianni piece.)

Yeah, I’d love to say that the current articles are up to that caliber of prose, but I think they have lowered the reading-level bar. Bummer, because they still snag great interviews.

Oh, cheez-its, what about Gay? Back to the gal at hand.

“My first objective is to land a dancing role in a Broadway musical. After all the years I’ve put in on toe shoes, I figure it’s time I started making the rounds of New York agents’ offices and tried putting some of that practice to work. Eventually, I hope to go to Europe and try out for one of the finer ballet companies, like the Ballet Russe or the Royal Ballet, and I’ve already put my Playmate-photo prize money in a special oversees ‘ballerina-or-bust’ savings account.”

(Ibid.)

She also likes Cantonese and mentions she is a big Peter Sellers fan. Sold!


Cover — Joey Thorpe.

No word on if Ms. Collier made it to Broadway or out even further East beneath the Iron Curtain, as she either continued her career under a new or married name, or the magazine used a different surname for her in this piece. Either way, adorable girl, great and dazzlingly fun photoshoot, and we are officially off and running with the Girls of Summer! I’m hittin’ the hay so I can tutor my Scamp tomorrow. Catch you guys on the flip!

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7 Responses to “The Girls of Summer: Inaugural Edition feat. Gay Collier, Miss July 1965!”

  1. Prem Says:

    She looks great.
    Any way I can send her my compliments.

    • E. Says:

      Prem, I’m afraid I have no up-to-date info on adorable Ms. Collier — but a great starting spot is always the Playboy offices. Circumvent any 800 subscription shenanigans (unless you wish to subscribe, which I feel obligated to encourage you to do) by calling (312) 751-8000. That is a U.S. number, Chicago, to be specific, so if you are out of the States, use the country code +1.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    LOVE IT !!

  3. Hubert Johnson Says:

    I know her and her family, she probably would not want to be contacted, still looks great at her age though she is an active church goer

  4. Anonymous Says:

    My daughter sent me this website. I had no idea these old centerfolds were available on line. I never made it to broadway, finished my education, worked in the aerospace industry for 25 years , married had 3 children. Now retired and enjoying life. I do not know Hubert Johnson, never heard of him. He does not know my family.
    Gay Collier. ( the name Playboy magazine gave me)

  5. Bob Says:

    I have read your reply regarding your life, I’m glad you had a great life. You were always my favorite Playmate, as I think that your totally gorgeous and sexy.

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