Archive for the ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ Category

R.I.P. retread — Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Happy Holidays from Cynthia Myers, Miss December 1968

November 5, 2011

Been buried in academic work, but I needed to throw out a quick, sad retread of Ms. Myers’ “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” post. Beautiful, adventurous Cynthia passed away yesterday of undisclosed causes, per Hef.

R.I.P., Ms. Myers (9/12/50-11/4/11).


Photographed by Pompeo Posar.

“Wholly Toledo!” is the name of the article that accompanies the pictorial for the lovely and talented Cynthia Myers, Playboy’s Miss December 1968. Her wildly popular centerfold shot her to stardom among the troops in Vietnam, and a pinup of her is featured in the film Hamburger Hill. She has been a teen model, a television personality, played a lesbian songstress in one of the most famous camp films out there, and become an unwitting space cowgirl in her 60 years on this planet. Buckle up, because here we go!



Cynthia wrote to Playboy a few years ago, informing us that she’d like to be considered as a centerfold beauty. Assistant Picture Editor Marilyn Grabowski answered with a reminder that our Playmates must be of legal age but that Cynthia should keep in touch. She did just that.

Well, kind of.

The shoot was in June of ’68, and Ms. Meyers was born in September of ’50, but Playboy waited until Cynthia was comfortably 18 to publish her pictorial. It had become common practice for the magazine after the scandal with Elizabeth Ann Roberts.

In fact, the most recently featured “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” playmate, the fantastic Susan Bernard, was also 17 at her photoshoot and saw her spread published after she turned 18.

Posing underage for Playboy is not the only common ground between Ms. Bernard and Ms. Myers. While Ms. Bernard was featured in Russ Meyers’ cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, today’s special gal starred in his 1970 film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

I promise to have a full-out Movie Moment for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls one of these days. For my friend’s recent 31st birthday, I sent him a picture of the cast of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls with him tagged as Dolly Read and me as Cynthia Myers. I explained that I originally had me as Dolly and him as Cynthia, but I switched it because it was his birthday.

You know Roger Ebert wrote it? I don’t think he ever gets to criticize a movie again.

Cynthia is pictured reading a five-year-old palmistry pamphlet about what the following year once held for her because she placed a large credulity in psychic phenomenon.

“I’ve known since I was 15 that I’d be a Playmate. It’s almost as if this had been fated to happen.” Cynthia’s penchant for precognition can be traced to her early teens.

(Ibid.)



“A junior high school friend of mine in Toledo,” she says, “was a nut on palmistry, astrology and even reading tea leaves and crystal balls. Like most people, I thought is was just a bunch of baloney. But when I began reading about prophets like Edgar Cayce, I began to realize that there are strange spiritual forces in the world undreamed of even in The Playboy Philosophy.”

(Ibid.)

Ms. Myers, I think you’d be surprised by what the Playboy philosophy can dream of.

In 1994, it was revealed that a picture from Ms. Myers’ centerfold pictorial was among several that crafty NASA jokesters have launched in to space over the years. Ms. Myers, together with Leslie Bianchini, Angela Dorian, and Reagan Wilson, was snuck in to the checklist for the Apollo 12 mission that was placed in astronauts’ suit cuff on their trip to the moon in November of 1969. Ms. Myers specifically took her space journey with astronaut Al Bean.

Don’t forget: Describe the protruberances.

Boobs : Geeks :: Horse : Carriage. I think it’s kind of funny and sweet.

And the gals didn’t just go up in the lunar landing module: they straight moon walked. The astronauts found their pictures while fulfilling their extravehicular (read: outside the module on the lunar surface) mission duties on the moon itself.


Pete Conrad got Miss September 1967, Angela Dorian, (“Seen any interesting hills and valleys?”) and Miss October 1967, Reagan Wilson (“Preferred tether partner”). Al Bean got Miss December 1968, Cynthia Myers (“Don’t forget — Describe the protuberances”), and Miss January 1969, Leslie Bianchini (“Survey — her activity”).

(“Playboy Playmates pranked into Apollo 12 mission checklists.” January 13, 2007. BoingBoing.net.)


Conrad told us in 1994: “I had no idea they were with us. It wasn’t until we actually got out on the lunar surface and were well into our first moon walk that I found them.” Bean recalled: “It was about two and a half hours into the extravehicular activity. I flipped the page over and there she was. I hopped over to where Pete was and showed him mine, and he showed me his.”

(Ibid.)

A large, color version of the shot of Cynthia that was smuggled up to the moon in the Apollo 12.

Lest we forget, the lovely and talented DeDe Lind, Miss August 1967 and, like Cynthia, one of the most popular Playmates in the magazine’s history, also rode shotgun on the Apollo 12 mission. She was in the control console, her picture labelled, “Map of a heavenly body.”

I always feel compelled when talking about the Playmate pictures and NASA to bring up the fact that my sorority’s badge is on the moon. Neil Armstrong put it there for his wife. It’s my sorority’s badge and it is on the moon. The moon that is in space. Sorry, but I get pretty cocky and excited by that. Tell a friend.

This much more recent picture of Ms. Myers just might get her kicked out of the Red Hat Society.

Can our prescient Playmate predict anything about her future? “I’m going to be an actress,” she says simply. “Notice I didn’t say ‘I’d like to be,’ but ‘I’m going to be.’ I don’t know how good I’ll be as an actress, but I’ll be one.”

(“Wholly Toledo!” Playboy. December 1968.)


Judging from her track record as a prophetess — and from her already abundant attributes — we’d like to venture a prediction of our own: Playmatehood should be just the beginning for the remarkable Miss Myers.
(Ibid.)

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Jean Cannon, Miss October 1961

February 5, 2011


Photographed by Ron Vogel.

The lovely and talented Jean Cannon was Playboy’s Miss October 1961. According to a source I trust from Kalamazoo, Ms. Cannon was enticed to pose partly out of pique with her husband, who said she was “too ugly” to be a Playmate.

The only thing about that story that doesn’t quite totally ring true for me is that she was already working as a Bunny and I think you must rate yourself at least decently attractive to apply for that job, don’t you? But maybe I’m way off base.

Besides the gorgeous photography by Ron Vogel, my favorite thing in this spread is the case of Jeannie’s disappearing, reappearing, cheek-switching beauty mark. In the above picture, the mole is on her right cheek (viewer’s left).

In the above picture, it has moved to her left cheek, or the cheek on our right as we look at the photograph. Is it a case of reversing the photograph? Or was makeup retouched and the mole accidentally moved to the opposite side? We’ll never know.

And here, in one of my favorite shots from the spread, she has no mole at all. At least that we can see. Much like the case with Miss July 1957, the lovely and talented Jean Jani, it’s really a tiny little continuity error but kind of fun to examine.

I like this shot best because it is not as posey as the others. I don’t know if Vogel caught her getting ready to pose, or in the middle of speech, or what, but it is for me the most natural expression of the bunch.

A gorgeous composition — and a wonderful addition to my ongoing series of Playmates topless in silly cropped pants (why are they so often red? I don’t know but I love it) — but a very tense expression from Ms. Cannon. Sad face. Then again, according to her write-up, she had a lot on her mind.


Nature-loving (and clearly loved by nature) Jean Cannon’s natural habitat is any reasonably shady glen, except when she’s water-skiing, showing her prize-winning pooches or boning up on the hippest way to crack the Hollywood enigma (she’s a stage-struck emigree from New York’s very “in” Neighborhood Playhouse).

(“Nature Girl.” Playboy, October 1961.)


While we’re not usually enthused over rambles through the greensward, the prospect of prospecting for dryadlike Jean would send us into the California woods faster than Apollo pursued Daphne.

(Ibid.)

Okay, so here’s that backstory since I know you’re dying to hear all about classic Greek mythology right now.

Apollo, who is roundly a dick in almost every story about him — ask Cassandra; I assure you she thinks he’s a real motherfucking asshole — mocked Eros, the tiny cherubic assistant of Aphrodite, for carrying a bow and arrows, since he wasn’t a warrior like Apollo (picture this as a Lucas type taunting exchange). Eros took offense and made two arrows, one of lead and one of gold.

The golden arrow strikes love in the heart of whoever it hits: the lead one does the opposite — it causes the stricken person to hate the object they see next.


The above shot is my favorite of the pictures from the standpoint of color and composition. And, holy cow, a ghost of a smile. It’s a Very Special nakey miracle!

Eros shot the nymph Daphne with the lead arrow and Apollo with the golden arrow. Apollo fell madly in love with her, but she despised him. Daphne already had many suitors but preferred not to get married at all, which makes me wonder if the original story didn’t have shit to do with arrows in the first telling, and was more in the vein of stories about Artemis or Atalanta.

In any case, they got in a race (like Atalanta) and as Apollo gained on her, Daphne begged her father, the river god Peneus, to save her from having to be with Apollo. So she changed in to a laurel tree. Apollo was still in love with Daphne depsite her transformation (those kinky greeks) and gave the tree his special protection and powers of eternal youth, which is why Bay laurel leaves stay green.

/backstory.


Jean as a Bunny at the L.A. club, right.

Doe-eyed Jean hasn’t met a satyr on her sylvan romps, instead speaks warmly of silver birches and her pet poodles (she brings out the beast in anyone). But the satyr’s loss is our gain, all 38-24-37 inches, so join us in a birthday toast to our sable-haired October Playmate, a tempting twenty this month.

(Ibid.)

According to the Playmate Book, Ms. Cannon was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2002. She passed away at the age of 64 in November, 2005. R.I.P.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Lynn Karrol, Miss December 1961

January 20, 2011


Photographed by Frank Eck.

The lovely and talented Lynn Karrol was Playboy‘s Miss December 1961.


If you’re looking for a girl with both feet on the ground, look elsewhere, for December’s air-borne miss, Lynn Karrol, is smitten with the life aloft – at least part of the time.

(“She Floats Through the Air.” Playboy, December 1961.)


Platter party. Hey-o!

She’s a lissome 22-year-old ex-Pittsburgher transplanted to Manhattan, has held a pilot’s license since she was 16 and has recently taken up the exhilarating sport of skydiving (she’s logged nine jumps so far).

(Ibid.)

I always figured why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?, but the thrills I generally seek are of a totally different nature, so I’m essentially unqualified to comment.


Miss Karrol’s somewhat singular avocation has not been plucked out of thin air: her father owns a small flying field on the edge of Pittsburgh and Lynn returns there several weekends a year to perfect her technique.

(Ibid.)

I did always want to learn to fly, both a plane and a helicopter. I can ride a motorcycle and drive a boat already, so, the way I see it, once I knock out flying, I’m that much closer to being the first full-out Bond villainness.

I do not count Elektra King because she was acting out against her daddy and was initially partnered up with that schmuck Renard: what I’m envisioning is a self-motivated woman who has solely built up her empire with the express intent of world domination, with no Y chromosomes helping other than, you know — stress relief.

Speaking of which, the Bond Girl project is already 100% in the works! I am keeping this promise: been collecting pictures, quotes, and trivia already, and I’m probably going to buy Maryam d’Abo’s book this weekend. So do get back to me with anyone you want to see included, because February is not long enough to do all of the Girls. The most swaying arguments will have to include pictures.


When she isn’t hitting the silk, she’s donning it – as a fashion and television model. Lynn acquired her mannequin’s poise at a Pittsburgh finishing school; after graduating, she stayed on to teach her newly acquired social skills (make-up, styling, speech, etc.) to fledgling models.

(Ibid.)

Maybe I have not yet met the right Pittsburghers, but I’ve just never pictured “Pittsburgh” and “finishing school” in the same sentence. “Keep your pinky finger in the air while you eat cheesesteak sandwiches and holler ‘Jagoff!’ at the ref in the Steelers game, ladies. Always. It’s Continental.” Then again, I’m sure people would say the same of cotillion and pageants in my dusty corner of California and it still happens.

Surprises are everywhere: diamonds in the rough.

But how fun is the idea of a finishing school teacher who weekend skydives? I love it.



AMBITIONS: To be the best in my field, in either television, commercials or motion pictures.
TURN-OFFS: Rock ‘n’ roll, untidiness, rude cab drivers.

(Playmate data sheet.)

Rude cab drivers? Is that a Thing? Like if there was a group of people who did find that attractive, so much so that you’d have to let people know, “I’ll tell you one thing that does not turn me on, is those rude cab drivers,” and the people might respond thoughtfully, “Now, see, I kind of like that.” I’m not being clear. I guess I just mean to say that I’d think it goes without mention that rude people are generally not anyone’s turn-on. Doesn’t it? So I wonder if she’d recently had a bad run-in that was weighing on her when she filled out her data sheet.

Once a guy was a horrible, horrible dick to me from in front of me at the ATM line and I’ve never forgotten. So I try to be extra-nice in lines on purpose because of how bad it was. Not even kidding — I don’t know if the guy was a mean drunk or was having the worst day of his life, or what. But the man I was dating at the time could tell you more if he hadn’t walked away while the guy was bitching me out. Later, when I asked him about it, he said, “I just knew if I didn’t walk away I’d yell at him or punch him.” I thought, what do you think I felt like doing? He placed such a premium on staying in control of his emotions that I was left to defend myself. And from then on I felt like I couldn’t count on him to stick up for me, like he’d always put himself first.

Ms. Karrol mentions in the article that her ambition is to become a television and film actress. She certainly seems to have had both the raw materials (beauty and poise) and the drive for it, but I’m coming up goose eggs on credits.

Whether her dream came to fruition under another name altogether is lost to the annals of the internet, but according to the IMDB, a “Lynn Karol” — one “r” — featured in the film Guadalajara en verano (Julio Bracho, 1965).

The movie featured the Dean Reed twist song, “Don’t Tell Him No,” and I have no other information about it other than that the actual star of the film was o.g. luchadora Elizabeth Campbell, aka the Golden Rubi. Dang. Old school.

Ms. Karrol / Karol returned to Playboy in 1964 to pose with none other than superfly jam-master Peter Sellers in a “Sellers Mimes the Movie Lovers” pictorial which parodied classic pairs from the movies. The article’s subtitle was “Peter the great creates antic take-offs on famous lovers of the silver screen.” Soon as I get my hands on scans, I’ll try to throw some of that up for you.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside — Connie Cooper, Miss January 1961

January 13, 2011

For new readers from reddit, stumbleupon, etc.: always remember that you can click any picture, any time, to embiggen it.


Photographed by Paul Morton Smith.

Connie Cooper, real estate broker and Italian-American model (the best kind of model there can be), was Playboy’s lovely and talented Miss January 1961.

So the source I usually use for the old articles, when I am weary of trying to make out the well-loved vintage magazine scans I find here and there on forums, is this French site that has only a couple of pictures from each spread but the entire write-up.

Today when I went to check out the write-up for the fresh-faced Ms. Cooper, here, and hopefully pull quotes for this post, I instead got a full-stop-style page with a warning which read, “Ce site est suspendu à la demande expresse de Playboy.”

No need to slip a Babelfish in your ear. It obviously means, “This site has been suspended at the express demand of Playboy.

Um, shit?

I’d just been bragging not long ago about how it had been, like, nearly a decade since I was sued (By who? Barbara Orbison. Say what? Here is that long story), and I am loath to end such a long and comfortable, litigacy-free streak.

But, hey. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I organized all the Playmate entries in to a category (cleverly named “Playboy” — you’ll never catch me now, lawyers for the magazine named exactly that!) and, should I be contacted by PB Enterprises, etc., I’ll just pull the plug on the category. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

Still, slightly nervous. So if you see all these disappear one day, now you know the reason why: I am a cowardly coward who cowers in my cowering corner. No, Miss Christie Hefner, ma’am, there are certainly no soldiers for freedom of the press here. Try Larry Flynt’s trailer. Anyway, on with the show!


This being the month when resolutions are made, we thought we’d find a playmate who’s well on the way to fulfilling her own.

(“Well-Developed Property.” Playboy, January 1961.)


We landed a beauty in the person of Connie Cooper, a twenty-year-old from Southern California who has resolved to become a real estate broker.

(Ibid.)

Interjection: Sorry — I, too, hate when what should be perfectly wonderful, lightly NSFW pictures have a lame descriptive bug that I can’t get off them without disrupting the integrity of the shot, but I have this Thing that I’m doing where I’m collecting the vintage Playmates in ridiculous cropped pants and this so abundantly qualified that I couldn’t leave it out. If I can get enough shots, I’m absolutely making myself a deck of cards. Chances are looking decent-ish so far.


Standing five-feet-five, and weighing 110, Connie’s own landscaping is, from north to south, an impressive 37-21-36. As delicate as a cloisonne figurine, her charms are at their best indoors, where her proclivities run to such things as collecting Oriental knick-knacks with which to decorate her mantel, and those big, fuzzy honeybears with which girls like to strew their beds.

(Ibid.)

Aww, a dolly who likes dollies, a pretty little toy who goes smack-smack-smack, kissy noises in the air. Whatever. And please note the studded wedding band and solitaire she is already sporting in the above shot? Ms. Cooper did indeedy get that real estate license and went on to independent success before leaving the game to raise her children. Wasn’t just nothin’ but stuffin’ up there.

I empathize with the bent of the article, though; she has a genuinely sweet and naturally beautiful face, very unlike some of the Kewpie dolls that can hail just as easily from her period as today (so try not to get too high on that horse).

I think it’s all in the model’s attitude: is she a model or just a girl? Chipmunk face and out-thrust chest? Girl. Introspective expression, limbs falling in a natural, lanky arrangement? Model. I usually find the models much more interesting, but the girls have their time, too.

Ms. Cooper’s very modelesque photoshoot sets her apart from some of her sister centerfolds who ranked mainly in the false-lash and bazooka-boob mould popular during this time, making her look strikingly modern. It’s hard to believe this photoshoot took place nearly fifty years ago.

Please don’t point out Ms. Cooper’s very slight resemblance in some shots to Leelee Sobieski, though, or you will seriously deflate my lady-boner. You know how some people just, I don’t know … the opposite of “do it” for you? It’s not her fault, and I’m unable to articulate why, but Leelee Sobieski is now and ever shall be my psychic cold shower. Thanks in advance for never mentioning her again.


Original article accompanying the layout. Click to enlarge.

TURNOFFS: Male drivers, female drunks.*

OMG, opposite-sies! Like mirror twins! I know I am one, but I am forever ripping on female drivers. Ask Miss D! As for drunk men, they worry me at night because they can’t reliably take me some place after dark (I hate driving at night) — and, if it is day and they’re already drunk, they better have a damned good reason, like that it’s 5 A.M. and we’ve been up bonding and simply haven’t hit the hay yet.

*Playmate data sheet.

In conclusion, I’m nervous about getting sued, but I feel like some kind of Something is bound to come up eventually. None of the pictures have been mine, none of the magazine articles have been mine, but all of the hard-won research and writing has. Should push come to shove and an order come down that I remove the Playboy material from my site, that’s what I’ll miss the most.

That and the naked ladies.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Happy Holidays from Cynthia Myers, Miss December 1968

December 20, 2010


Photographed by Pompeo Posar.

“Wholly Toledo!” is the name of the article that accompanies the pictorial for the lovely and talented Cynthia Myers, Playboy’s Miss December 1968. Her wildly popular centerfold shot her to stardom among the troops in Vietnam, and a pinup of her is featured in the film Hamburger Hill. She has been a teen model, a television personality, played a lesbian songstress in one of the most famous camp films out there, and become an unwitting space cowgirl in her 60 years on this planet. Buckle up, because here we go!



Cynthia wrote to Playboy a few years ago, informing us that she’d like to be considered as a centerfold beauty. Assistant Picture Editor Marilyn Grabowski answered with a reminder that our Playmates must be of legal age but that Cynthia should keep in touch. She did just that.

Well, kind of.

The shot was in June of ’68, and Ms. Meyers was born in September of ’50, but Playboy waited until Cynthia was comfortably 18 to publish her pictorial. It had become common practice for the magazine after the scandal with Elizabeth Ann Roberts.

In fact, the most recently featured “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” playmate, the fantastic Susan Bernard, was also 17 at her photoshoot and saw her spread published after she turned 18.

Posing underage for Playboy is not the only common ground between Ms. Bernard and Ms. Myers. While Ms. Bernard was featured in Russ Meyers’ cult classic Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, today’s special gal starred in his 1970 film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

I promise to have a full-out Movie Moment for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls one of these days. For my friend’s recent 31st birthday, I sent him a picture of the cast of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls with him tagged as Dolly Read and me as Cynthia Myers. I explained that I originally had me as Dolly and him as Cynthia, but I switched it because it was his birthday.

You know Roger Ebert wrote it? I don’t think he ever gets to criticize a movie again.

Cynthia is pictured reading a five-year-old palmistry pamphlet about what the following year once held for her because she placed a large credulity in psychic phenomenon.

“I’ve known since I was 15 that I’d be a Playmate. It’s almost as if this had been fated to happen.” Cynthia’s penchant for precognition can be traced to her early teens.

(Ibid.)



“A junior high school friend of mine in Toledo,” she says, “was a nut on palmistry, astrology and even reading tea leaves and crystal balls. Like most people, I thought is was just a bunch of baloney. But when I began reading about prophets like Edgar Cayce, I began to realize that there are strange spiritual forces in the world undreamed of even in The Playboy Philosophy.”

(Ibid.)

Ms. Myers, I think you’d be surprised by what the Playboy philosophy can dream of.

In 1994, it was revealed that a picture from Ms. Myers’ centerfold pictorial was among several that crafty NASA jokesters have launched in to space over the years. Ms. Myers, together with Leslie Bianchini, Angela Dorian, and Reagan Wilson, was snuck in to the checklist for the Apollo 12 mission that was placed in astronauts’ suit cuff on their trip to the moon in November of 1969. Ms. Myers specifically took her space journey with astronaut Al Bean.

Don’t forget: Describe the protruberances.

Boobs : Geeks :: Horse : Carriage. I think it’s kind of funny and sweet.

And the gals didn’t just go up in the lunar landing module: they straight moon walked. The astronauts found their pictures while fulfilling their extravehicular (read: outside the module on the lunar surface) mission duties on the moon itself.


Pete Conrad got Miss September 1967, Angela Dorian, (“Seen any interesting hills and valleys?”) and Miss October 1967, Reagan Wilson (“Preferred tether partner”). Al Bean got Miss December 1968, Cynthia Myers (“Don’t forget — Describe the protuberances”), and Miss January 1969, Leslie Bianchini (“Survey — her activity”).

(“Playboy Playmates pranked into Apollo 12 mission checklists.” January 13, 2007. BoingBoing.net.)


Conrad told us in 1994: “I had no idea they were with us. It wasn’t until we actually got out on the lunar surface and were well into our first moon walk that I found them.” Bean recalled: “It was about two and a half hours into the extravehicular activity. I flipped the page over and there she was. I hopped over to where Pete was and showed him mine, and he showed me his.”

(Ibid.)

A large, color version of the shot of Cynthia that was smuggled up to the moon in the Apollo 12.

Lest we forget, the lovely and talented DeDe Lind, Miss August 1967 and, like Cynthia, one of the most popular Playmates in the magazine’s history, also rode shotgun on the Apollo 12 mission. She was in the control console, her picture labelled, “Map of a heavenly body.”

I always feel compelled when talking about the Playmate pictures and NASA to bring up the fact that my sorority’s badge is on the moon. Neil Armstrong put it there for his wife. It’s my sorority’s badge and it is on the moon. The moon that is in space. Sorry, but I get pretty cocky and excited by that. Tell a friend.

This much more recent picture of Ms. Myers just might get her kicked out of the Red Hat Society.

Can our prescient Playmate predict anything about her future? “I’m going to be an actress,” she says simply. “Notice I didn’t say ‘I’d like to be,’ but ‘I’m going to be.’ I don’t know how good I’ll be as an actress, but I’ll be one.”

(“Wholly Toledo!” Playboy. December 1968.)


Judging from her track record as a prophetess — and from her already abundant attributes — we’d like to venture a prediction of our own: Playmatehood should be just the beginning for the remarkable Miss Myers.
(Ibid.)

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Merry Christmas from Susan Bernard, Miss December 1966

December 15, 2010

The lovely and talented Susan Bernard was Playboy’s Miss December, 1966.


Photographed by Mario Casilli and Bruno Bernard.

Like Valentine Vixen Cyndi Wood, Ms. Bernard came from a Hollywood family and, though she was only eighteen, she already had a few credits under her little-looker (5’3″) belt when she appeared in Playboy.


Just before this Christmas Playmate pictorial went to press, our Yuletide miss called us from the Coast with the news that she’d won the ingenue lead in Stranger in Hollywood, a new dramatic film with a tentative title that doesn’t describe Miss December at all.

(“Growing Up Glamorous.” Playboy, December 1966.)


Susan Bernard’s been an Angeleno for all of her 18 years and is the daughter of top Hollywood glamor photographer Bruno Bernard (Bernard of Hollywood) and actress-director Ruth Brande.

(Ibid.)

In fact, her father had worked for Playboy in the past, and took pictures of his daughter for this spread.

Ms. Bernard has said that, when she posed for Mr. Casilli, who was a former apprentice of her father’s, it was the first time she’d been nude in front of anyone other than her mother. She has also cited the fact that, though the article does not touch on her faith background, she is probably the only Jewish playmate to have been posed in front of a Christmas tree. (The title of first Jewish playmate, period, is too contested to touch.)


Favorite.

The house has always been filled with theater and movie people,” Susan says, “and after I decided that acting was really for me, my parents encouraged me at every step.”

Brunette and brown-eyed Sue [was] featured on dozens of puppy-and-little-girl calendars as a youngster.

(Ibid.)


Acceptance in the talent program at the Film Industry Workshop at Columbia Studios followed Sue’s first film role, a small part in a shot-on-location desert flick.

(Ibid.)

I need to gleefully interject that that on-location desert flick was a little number you may have heard of from EVERYWHERE in the world of camp, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.

In the Russ Meyer B-movie classic, Ms. Bernard portrays Linda, an innocent girl traveling with her boyfriend who is intercepted, drugged, and kidnapped by Haji, Tura Satana, and Lori Williams as Rosie, Varla, and Billie, respectively. The evil trio of strippers kill her boyfriend Tommy, played by Ray Barlow, and haul Linda along as a hostage on their next fiendish caper.

Not to be missed.

Prior to Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (do you have any idea how much fun that is to type out? so many exclamation points!), Ms. Bernard also appeared on television in 1963 as a young character called Beverly Fairchild in the popular American soap opera General Hospital. She was 15 at the time. In 1969, Ms. Bernard starred in the lesbian-themed film That Tender Touch as Terry Manning. Though the film is very tame by today’s standards, some of the material was very groundbreaking for the time.


Miss December’s private life makes a striking contrast to the image of an in-demand girl running from studio to stage. Even in the busy Bernard household, Susan’s managed to establish a balcony retreat for work on oil portraits of people she likes, among them the dates who take her to her favorite beaches and the cozy restaurants she prefers to gaudier showbiz scenes.

(Ibid.)

I think that resistance to the “scene” in Hollywood really shaped her as an artist and a person with a real brain and will. She has some pretty solidly cemented cult status, and is still an active and a classy lady, though she keeps out from in front of the camera these days.

That shot up there actually came from the next year’s calendar. They stuck her in as March. My guess for this reasoning? The lion next to her on the hearth. You know. “March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.” You think?

Scans of Ms. Bernard’s original layout. All of the at-home b&w shots were taken by her father. It is to his memory that Ms. Bernard currently devotes herself. She has so far produced three books about his body of work and maintains a beautiful site called Susan’s Salon, where you can send her messages and go through pictures her father took in the halcyon days of Bernard of Hollywood.


Being the daughter of one of the most famous photographers in Hollywood, I felt I was the most photographed child in America. With this came the privilege of experiencing Hollywood history. My Salon will bring you the stories my father loved to tell and my cherished memories.

(Susan’s Salon.)

I totally encourage you to check it out. Very cool.

I think all in all this has been a pretty kickass, standout Playmate entry. Especially if you are in to pin-ups, old Hollywood, and B-movies, which it is my expreience that those usually go together. Hope you feel the same!

And, because I can’t help myself, some caps of Sue in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Sorry, in my cursory search, I couldn’t find any stills with Tura Satana, and I’m too lazy to dig it up and take screencaptures myself. Enjoy them anyway?



Finally, an absolute trifecta of perfecta, from left to right in the recent shot below: Ms. Bernard; my b’loved Julie Newmar; baby burlesque legend Dita von Teese.


via madhatter on the vintageerotica forums.

Too much amazing for one photo.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Linda Vargas, Miss December 1957

December 8, 2010


Color work by Herbert Melford, b&w by Mike Shea.

Lithe as a cat, a satiny, black, unblinking cat, and restless as a cat, too, is lovely Linda Vargas.

(“Siren in Search.” Playboy, December 1957.)

When I end up with that many commas in a sentence, I try and revise it to a less awkward phrasing. But the older I get, the faster and more loosely I play with comma rules, anyway, so I should shut my critical piehole.

She stalks Chicago’s foggy lake-front streets, wanders alone through the labyrinthine corridors of the Art Institute …

(Ibid.)


… sits by herself sometimes in a club, listening to the muted wail of a trumpet as it weaves through her consciousness like a caress.

(Ibid.)

A trumpety caress? Anyone who’s ever seen a spit valve emptied finds that simile as gross as I do.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by this point that this write-up is not much of a write-up, but instead is a little noir vignette from a writer with much higher aspirations than “What were you like growing up? Have you always known you’d one day take your clothes off for money.” This frustrated, anonymous Playboy pencil-pusher produced sort of a weird poetic-prose character capsule and not an article about Ms. Vargas at all.

The work would have been very at home in a mystery magazine from the same era, maybe Dime Detective or even something higher brow like Ellery Queen, but it’s weirdly “off” for Playboy. It goes on:

Self-involved and unsatisfied, Linda searches for a purpose and fulfillment that she herself cannot define.

(Ibid.)

Wow. But don’t get any ideas that she’s a loner —

— She knows how to please a man when she wishes.

It is by choice, of course, that she spends much of her time alone, for Linda is beautiful and she knows how to please a man when she wishes. But most often she prefers her own contemplative company and the search.

(Ibid.)

When a writer uses “for” in lieu of “because” in anything but write-like-Nathaniel-Hawthorne-for-charity situations, it sort of sets my teeth on edge. Let’s see if we can find out some actual facts about Linda Vargas and not this murky, radio-serial voice-over malarkey.


This one is my favorite.

A troll through the wiki finds no individual entry for Ms. Vargas, but does describe her on a list of 1957 Playboy appearances.


Vargas, who began modeling when she was a teenager, had a steady career before and after her Playmate appearance as a model and bit actress.


Frequent Playboy photographer Peter Gowland used images of her in many of his instruction books.

The Gowlands and their fun and important contributions to the history of cheesecake have been explored here, before. Super-cool connection.

Wiki may have let me down, but good ol’ Java’s Bachelor Pad thankfully had more to add.

Linda Vargas didn’t have the most successful career as a glamour girl, nor is she remembered except by the most ardent Femme Fatale fan, but she was one of those rare models who had that spark that made her pictures come alive.

(“Femme Fatale: Linda Vargas.” Java’s Bachelor Pad. 2007.)


Linda Vargas, as happened with most models in the glamour era, was compared to already famous actresses/models. In this case the comparison was to Ava Gardner, even though that seems like a bit of a stretch.

(Ibid.)

Agreed. A resemblance to Ava is cursory at best. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually think that with the limpid eyes and fuller mouth, Linda is more arresting than Ms. Gardner.

On the other hand, Ava Gardner had such a star presence that it’s hard to separate her just-plain-picture from my associations of the animation she brought to the roles she played onscreen.

As far as current star resemblances go, Linda Vargas looks a lot like Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd, though, wouldn’t you say?


Original article scans.

Vargas started modeling when she was 15, was the cover model and centerfold in the December 1957 issue of Playboy, and was pretty much done with modeling by the mid 1960’s.

(Ibid.)

Haven’t got the least clue what she’s up to these days. Coming up total goose-eggs on searches. If you know anything, drop me a line. I’d saved the bathtub picture of her, like, four years ago and was looking forward to a more complete Linda Vargas entry. So let me know — I hate unfinished business.

Baby, it’s cold outside: Showdown! — The three faces of Miss October 1957, Colleen Farrington

November 27, 2010


Photographed by Peter Basch.

La donna é mobile. Women are changeable. The write-up for this lovely and talented Playmate of the Month (and surprise celebrity mother) featured her in three different hair colors: blonde, brunette, and redheaded. Browse through the spread and pick your poison!


Time was you could make a date with a brunette on Wednesday and, when you picked her up Saturday night, be certain a brunette would be waiting for you.

(“La Donna È Mobile.” Playboy, October 1957.


These days, thanks to quickie hair-dyes, your brunette may have metamorphosed into a redhead or a boysenberry blonde.

(Ibid.)


Click to enlarge any ol’ pic, any ol’ time, but I strongly recommend the one on the right up there. It’s great. She was a lovely ham in this spread.

And just what in the name of easter baskets would a boysenberry blonde look like? Did the person who wrote that ever even see a boysenberry? They’re so deep purple that they’re virtually black. Strawberry blonde is a shade, yes. Boysenberry blonde? Not so much. Those two things do not work together.

I find the pairing weird and it makes me curious to see such a thing in real life. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible outside of food coloring on a junior high girl. Back to the likely made-up story of quickie hair dyes and their metaphorical relationship with the vagaries of the vapid gender.


This sign of the times was dramatized for us recently when photographer Peter Basch sent us a test shot of prospective Playmate Colleen Farrington, a New York TV model*.

(Ibid.)

*In fact, Colleen was at this time modeling on television and doing high fashion on runways. She worked frequently with designer Oleg Cassini, who would go on to permanent international fame in about three years as Jacqueline Kennedy’s favorite designer and the architect of her “look” in the Camelot heyday.


My favorite shot of the spread.

We found her a pert, well-turned brunette, and we wired Pete to go ahead by all means. When the first Playmate photos arrived, however, Colleen (having dyed her crowning glory for a TV show) was a blonde.

(Ibid.)


We liked her better the other way, so she obliged by becoming a brunette again and Pete, in a puckish mood, persuaded her to try a temporary head of red, too, in the interest of utter confusion.

(Ibid.)


On these pages, therefore, Colleen is available in three smart decorator colors. Which do you prefer?

(Ibid.)

Red, over here. I’ll put the poll at the bottom for easy voting.

I’m curious to see how this one comes out. I think the red suits Ms. Farrington, who sometimes went by Ms. Prince, best, but then again, the pictures of her with red hair are the best done in my opinion, too, so that could be clouding my judgment. If she’d been blonde in the pink corset by the bar pictures, maybe my feelings would be different.

As far as that series of this shoot goes, I’d spotted and saved it a few years ago, just saving it as Colleen Farrington 1, 2, 3, etc. When I started putting together pictures and bios for these winter posts, I was pumped to see I’d be able to include her.

Then when I found her original spread, I was tickled by the prospect of a poll for which hair color was the most pleasing to readers. I’ve been meaning to return to the idea of regularly putting up Showdown!s and this was a perfect opportunity to get back in the swing. Not only that, but Ms. Farrington had one more surprise up her lovely sleeve —

— She is the mother of unbelievably beautiful and talented actress Diane Lane.

I’m sure you’re thinking what I’m thinking — this amazing fact means that Colleen Farrington was, at one time, the mother-in-law of The Highlander. I know, right? There can be only one! Amazing!

Just kidding. I realize not everyone’s life is built around tangentially relating the science fiction/fantasy films and television of their youth to everything they experience, and I’m trying to recover from that shock. I’m sure you were thinking how beautiful mother and daughter both are. And they are.

Ms. Farrington married acting coach, partner to John Cassavetes, and unlikely cabbie Burt Lane and the couple had Diane in 1964. They divorced when the baby was only 13 months old and Ms. Lane lived sometimes with her mother and sometimes with her father until she was 15, when she emancipated herself from her father having already sadly written her mother, living in Georgia at the time, off following some unfortunate family fallouts. They had kind of a bumpy period that I don’t think it’s fair to get in to, but they are reconciled and all is well.

So, back to the poll and how mobile we donnas are: Which of Colleen Farrington’s ‘do’s rocks your world?


Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Inaugural Edition featuring Stella Stevens, Miss January 1960

October 27, 2010

Welcome to the Inaugural Edition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside!”

The lovely and talented Stella Stevens made a great name for herself in movies and on television after posing as Playboy‘s Miss January 1960.


Photographed by Don Ornitz and Frank Schallwig.

Stella Stevens, an eye-filling inhabitant of Southern California, was summoned thence from Tennessee to test for the lead in a film about Jean Harlow, but the movie never came off and bella Stella had to content herself with so-so assignments in Say One for Me and The Blue Angel, films in which she appeared fleetingly and rather out of focus in the B.G., which is script talk for background, not Benny Goodman.

(“Dogpatch Playmate.” Playboy. January, 1960.)


While the Playboy lensman was snapping away, the phone rang, and on the other end was great and giddy news for Miss Stevens — she had plucked one of the acting plums of the year, in the film version of the hit musical, Li’l Abner, playing Appassionata von Climax, the role created on Broadway by Tina Louise.

(Ibid.)

I have no idea why the Dane is there in that shot, nor why the article is titled “Dogpatch Playmate,” but I want a Great Dane so badly. Or an English mastiff. Or a Newfoundland. Maybe a horse or a big gorilla. Something bigger than my boyfriend.

Just kidding. I don’t have a boyfriend. But I desperately want one. It’s actually really bumming me out. My husband says I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but what does he know.*

*Entirely a humorous bit with no truth in it. Except for the stuff about the dogs. I don’t just “want” the biggest dog possible, it’s like I have to have it. This is not a joke: I spent at least an hour and a half on the internet last night looking for bombass adoptable giant dogs. I don’t know where this is coming from.

Stella’s turn as Appassionata in Li’l Abner was followed by roles in films such as The Battle of Cable Hogue, The Nutty Professor, and The Poseidon Adventure. Ms. Stevens also did an incredible amount of television, appearing in Bonanaza, Riverboat, and Ben Casey, among many super-famous vintage television series —

— including, germane to the last post, Wonder Woman. Ms. Stevens portrayed Agent M./Marcia in “The New Original Wonder Woman,” the made-for-TV-film that would become the pilot episode of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, which aired November 7, 1975.

Marcia is the secretary to Steve Trevor, Wonder Woman’s rescuer and a Navy pilot during WWII, following the comic plotline. Marcia is (gasp!) a double agent for the Nazis and tries to get Diana killed by sneakily having someone else attempt to machine gun her to death while she is onstage doing her “act.”

Those kinds of shenanigans will simply not be stood for. That Marcia totally needs tied up.

Ms. Stevens did not appear in subsequent television movies or the final series that was spun out of them, but she was probably too busy to notice. She is a true working actress, the kind of performer with at least one or three credits for every year they are active.

As the 60’s, 70’s, and beyond progressed, Ms. Stevens continued to act, appearing in popular television series like Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Highway to Heaven, and Magnum, P.I. in the 1980s. Nineties credits include The Commish, Highlander (helllll yeah — cue Queen’s “Princes of the Universe”), and Nash Bridges.

Through the years, Ms. Stevens may’ve stayed beautifully built but it is almost definitely her wacky sense of humor which saved her from landing at the bottom of the “pretty girl” bit-part scrapheap. She ably held her own opposite comedic talents like Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, and Slim Pickens. That picture above is an outtake that appeared in The First 15 Years, which wonderfully captures Stella’s sense of the absurd even in a serious, nerve-wracking situation. Love it.

And she has not slowed down. Last year, she lent her voice to the documentary Dante’s Inferno: Abandon All Hope, performing the role of Speaker for the Thieves in the 8th Circle of Hell. The 8th Circle is described in Bolgia 7, Canticles XXIV and XXV; the thieves are pursued by reptiles whose bites cause nasty transformations in them, which not only hurt but prevent the thieves from ever knowing the comfort of a steady, protective and genuine identity, a state of flux and anxiety which is the perfect punishment for the security they stole from their victims in life — identity theft, basically: Sr. Alighieri was ahead of his time, as usual.

You can look for Stella Stevens next in 2011 or ’12 as Jill in The Human Factor, an in-development film project to which Michael Madsen, Danny Trejo, and Charisma Carpenter are also tentatively attached. Get it, girl!

edit: Looking closely, I’m not so sure that picture with the dog is even Stella Stevens. Someone want to help out?

edit 2.0: Astute superfly Gridley says the article is titled “Dogpatch Playmate” because Dogpatch is the name of the fictional town in which Li’l Abner takes place. Thanks!

Wednesday Wednesday: Let’s get physical

October 27, 2010

Sorry for the prolonged absence, but I’ve got this family wedding coming up, and I think the only way to make sure that everyone lets my whole “almost-dying” thing go is to look super-amazing and fit and healthy. So I’ve been exercising like a demon.


Preview of coming attractions: Linda Vargas, Miss December 1957.

However, even while working up a sweat, I’ve been thinking about the change of season — snuggling up in warm blankets, getting cozy in front of comfortable, crackling fires — and I have created “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” your warm and fuzzy, specially curated parade of Playmates hailing from nights in the lonesome Autumn and Winter months. (Don’t worry; The Girls of Summer will make their triumphant return around May.) I will try to get the Inaugural Edition of that going today. Even-steven?