Archive for the ‘May Flowers’ Category

May Flowers: Dolly Read, Miss May 1966 with bonus “Showdown!” dishevelment

June 1, 2011

Thought this got out last night and just checked the main page and realized it didn’t. Sorry, dudes.

You are all like, Will the girls of summer be back this year, E? And I am all like, Well of course. What kind of shoddy outfit do you think I’m running here? But first, we have to close out the May Flowers.


Photographed by Pompeo Posar.

This year’s last May Flower is the lovely and talented Dolly Read, Playboy’s Miss May 1966.


Britannia’s first Bunny-Playmate, Dolly Read, recalls excitedly the night she was spotted by staff photographer Pompeo Posar during her training stint as a Chicago Club bumper-pool Bunny. “He asked me if I would like to consider becoming a Playmate, and I thought it was a smashing good idea,” says Dolly.

(“Bunny From Britain,” Playboy. May, 1966.)


The former Miss Bristol Teenager had a budding stage career before opting for Bunny satin instead. She entered the Eleine Hartley-Hodder School of Drama at the age of eight and emerged an aspiring actress some ten years later.

(Ibid.)


Renting a flat in the Marleybone section of London, centerfoldom’s latest Commonwealth import saw several workless weeks before landing her first acting job in a local TV series called Compact.

(Ibid.)


IIt was sort of a feminine version of your own Valentine’s Day, says Dolly. “All I had was a walk-on part, but it seemed like the greatest role since Lady Macbeth to me.”

(Ibid.)



Soon after, she was signed on for her first film role in Kiss of the Vampire, and went on to play a number of “rather prosaic” video roles until Bunnydom beckoned.

(Ibid.)


Click to enlarge.

Dolly and her five British cottontail cousins arrived in Chicago last October. Each member of this sensational sextet–which includes Doreen Allen, Kathleen Bascombe, Joan Findlay, Catherine MacDonald and Magie Adam–won top ratings among 1000 entrants in last summer’s nationwide British Bunny Contest sponsored by Radio London.

(Ibid.)



Having since graduated from Bunny Training School and now completing a seven-month apprenticeship at the Chicago Club — with equal emphasis given to such curricular requirements as the Bunny Dip, tableside photography, tending the Playboy Club Gift Shop and Door Bunnying, bumper-pool playing and the extra-special VIP Room service.

(Ibid.)



This group will return to England shortly for the upcoming opening of the ultra-U London Playboy Club.

During off-hours, Dolly and her compatriots bunked in one of the Playboy Mansion Bunny Dorms and spent many fascinating hours fancy-that-ing most of the Second City’s sights. “Chicago’s a bit of all right,” reports the 21-year-old Miss May in her charmingly clipped British accent, “and Mr. Hefner’s house is a proper palace, but we’re all a trifle homesick.”

(Ibid.)


Dolly recently added several promotion trips for Playboy to her busy Stateside schedule, including visits to Michigan State University (“What I liked most about American college men is, they never let studies foul up their dating”), Great Lakes Naval Hospital and a trip to Boston for Playboy’s opening night there.

(Ibid.)


“I’ll start as the Door Bunny,” Miss May explains, “but eventually I hope to put in some time as a Croupier Bunny in one of the Club’s gaming rooms. More excitement there, you know!”

(Ibid.)

Dolly got even more excitement when she wung her way west to Hollywood. After appearing in the low-budget lesbian film That Tender Touch, Dolly landed the lead in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, one of the greatest camp films of all time. Written by Roger Ebert and directed by Russ Meyer, the film is unforgettable, and Dolly shines in it. Highly recommend. Depending on your cult film tolerance.


Favorite shot.

Ms. Read married Dick Martin of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In in 1971, then divorced him in ’75, and remarried him in ’78. They must have worked things out because they remained married after that until his death in May of 2008. She continued to appear in film and television cameos throughout the 1970’s and beyond.

You can try and hit Mrs. Martin up on the myspace (current mood: none), but it looks like she may not use it much.


Scans of the original spread. Click to see full-sized.

The similarity of the poses, lighting, and makeup in the following three pictures inspired me to finally do another “Showdown!” feature. So, pick your poison! Which “Dolly Read in dishevelment” shot rocks your socks?

One of these days we’ll have a full-on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls movie moment, but for now, enjoy this final screencap:

Catch you on the flip!

May Flowers — Joanne Arnold, Miss May 1954

May 11, 2011

The lovely and talented Joanne Arnold, Miss May 1954, first appeared in Playboy’s March 1954 pictorial “Sex Sells a Shirt.”

Click to enlarge the shots and read the story, it’s actually a really interesting little piece with a kicky, fun insight in to 1950’s advertising. Far more risque than you might expect. The PR folks for Hartog were some skilled and creative dudes.

However. Please do not tell me to watch Mad Men.

I know it’s, like, all cool and retro and sexist and clever, but I just don’t feel like getting in to it. Yet I keep getting told to. Everyone wants me to watch it. I can’t swing my arms without hitting someone who’s saying, “E, you have to watch Mad Men. You’ll love it. Also, stop hitting me with your swinging arms.” I say, Never! to both!

Ms. Arnold was a hit with readers as the Hartog “keep your shirt on” girl, but Playboy did not pick her as Miss May because of that (they did feature her the following August, which we’ll get to). There was no such linear relation between her appearance in March and her gatefold in May. Two totally separate things, as it ends up.


Purchased from the Baumgarth Calendar Co.

The kind of wonky centerfold shot is, like the centerfolds from most of ’53-54, a purchased photograph. And, like Marilyn Monroe’s and several other of the first “sweetheart/playmate” gatefolds, the photograph was purchased from the Baumgarth Calendar Company.


The one on the right is hands-down my favorite.

I was sick of having no photographer credits on all the Baumgarth shots, and I wanted to know more about the John Baumgarth Calendar Co. so I took the light rail down to Googlytown.

I was hoping to find out specific names of photographers other than Tom Kelley, who did Marilyn’s picture, but when I googled “Baumgarth Calendar Company,” my own goddamned site was the second link. Also the fifth. I’m not the mayor of Playmate Googlytown — but apparently I’m something like an alderman. Frustrating.

Here’s what I know. The “company” was run out of Melrose Park, Illinois, a suburb on the west side of Chicago. However, not only can I find zero way to get in touch with the now-defunct company’s former employees, it turns out that besides the rare occasion of hiring a dude and arranging their own photoshoots, they also, like Hef in the first six months of Playboy, mainly purchased photos from private photographers.

The thing is, the centerfold picture could have been shot by anyone and the credit kind of doesn’t matter anyway. In May of 1954, the Playmates did not have names listed or anything like that.

Keep in mind, this was only the sixth issue of Playboy to even hit newsstands, and the magazine was still finding its feet.

Like a new struck foal stumbling around in the brave new world into which it has been thrust: Aww. The adorable, stumbly, delicate colt that we call “skin rag.”

Anyway. This particular month’s centerfold was, like, an isolated, anonymous picture. It’s possible no one at Playboy was even aware the model from the Hartog feature and cover had been the purchased photo of Miss May until a few months after the fact. They did know by the following August because they mention it in her second official appearance in the magazine, which I’m about to explain.

The rest of these gorgeous shots, however, come from a spread shot by superfly BAMF Peter Gowland entitled “Gowland’s Cool Pool.” The piece appeared in the August 1955 issue of Playboy, by which time the practice of credits had entered play and Ms. Arnold was cited as the model.


Scan of the article which accompanied the spread.

She also appeared as the cover model/mermaid for the same issue, a shot taken by Gowland and painted on and embellished for a little under the sea come-hither adventure.

This scan is of the newsstand edition; in the subscribers’ mailed edition, her nipples are not painted over, I have heard.

But SPEAKING of her nipples —

Ms. Arnold has a third nipple on the underside of her left breast. When I first read that I made a loud, “Pfft” noise of disbelief, and, browsing through my pictures, thought, “No way. I never noticed that and she’s all moley to boot: this is probably folklore based on a regular beauty mark.”

But then …


Click to enlarge it … it’s clearly nipplish and not a mole. I was surprised.

Lo and behold and hell and goddamn — seems she does, indeed, have a supernumerary nipple.

All right, all right — I’ll king you. Sheesh.

No idea where that shot came from, Ms. Arnold was a very successful and busy men’s magazine model in her lovely heyday. I just wanted another splash of color … and to make the tacky “king me” joke.

What is she going to do when big hats go out?

I stole that joke from Gypsy. My funny is just not operating at full capacity today. (Hangs head, Charlie Brown music.)

I guess the theme of the photograph is that, like, men are toys to her? Is that the idea? Or is she a big, scary giant about to eat them?? I could go either way. Giant’s more exciting but I’m pretty sure the former is more accurate.

By the way, that’s called vore porn. Jonohs linked me to some a while back. Ridiculous. Normally I am the last one to judge a kink for obvious reasons, but when I saw CG animation of giant women totally eating dudes, I said, “No. Ridiculous. You are being ridiculous.”

I say again: if you get off on fantasies of enormous women crushing you and grinding your bones between their gigantic teeth and then digesting you slowly in their acidy stomachs, you are ridiculous.

I’m sorry, but I needed you to know how I feel. And please don’t link to vore in the comments. I won’t go. I neither wear clown shoes nor dwell in Florida. Keep that nasty shit in your favorites folder.

As her career progressed, Ms. Arnold starred in a string of cheesey B-movie popcorn flicks. This is my favorite poster.


via.

“Don’t get frank with me, young lady.” So much sassy molassy! I hate it when young people are frank! … I just think frank was a bit of a mild word to use on a poster with so many exclamation points.

Questions for discussion:

  • Do supernumerary nipples have sensation? Please get back to me quickly.
  • Is vore porn ridiculous? Be specific.
  • If you had a girl gang, what would you call it?

  • May Flowers: Cindy Fuller, Miss May 1959

    May 8, 2011


    Photographed by Bunny Yeager.

    Sinuous Cindy Fuller was, until quite recently, a secretary in a quiet, Dickensian little law office in Boston, Massachusetts.
    (“In the Swim.” Playboy, May 1959.)

    It really was Dickensian; her employer was cheap on coal and ink, ran a ring of pickpocket orphans, and was a double agent for the French Revolution. Bad scene. So glad she got out.


    My favorite shot of Cindy Fuller ever — it actually comes from a different Playboy feature.

    It was in the hope of becoming a professional swimmer that Cindy left the bastion of the Brahmins for the balmy, baskable Florida clime.

    (Ibid.)


    Her aquatic talent, plus her stunning looks, make her a natural, and just before putting this issue to press, we learned that Cindy had won an assignment with the Water Follies.

    (Ibid.)

    You are like, “What are the Water Follies?” and I am like, “I don’t know either.” Let’s find out together. Walk with me to a place I like to call Googlytown. No, we don’t need to take the car. It’s close enough to walk. Jeez, City Boy.


    Runner-up for favorite shot.

    The International Water Follies appear to have been started by synchronized swimming and water sports entrepeneur Sam Snyder.

    Billed as the “world’s longest traveling aqua show,” … the group included swimmers, divers,comedy divers, and water ballet swimmers.

    (Synchronized Swimming: An American History. Bean, Dawn Pawson. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2005: p. 11.)

    Interestingly, according to Synchronized Swimming, Snyder was in Boston prior to moving the Follies to Miami (p. 14). This is interesting because Cindy was a Bostonian gal. Stay with me. The outfit he ran in Mass. during the 1930’s was called Sam Synder Productions of Boston, and it seems to be shortly after that that he hit FL for the first time, where the St. Petersburg Aquabelles performed.


    After taking a break for the second World War, Snyder hit up the Bay Area in my Norcal neck of the woods, starting synchro programs in San Francisco and Oakland. Not long after, he took the production to Miami as Sam Snyder’s International Water Follies (p. 43).

    Interest in synchronized swimming and watersports shows was strong enough both domestically and internationally that the Follies made it in to Billboard.

    Sam Snyder’s Water Follies will mark its 25th season as it readies for a tour of the United States due to start next month. … Unique this season is … a new gimmick in water shows [with] the introduction of surf boards and small canoes in production numbers.

    (“Snyder Readies 25th ‘Follies’; Plans Recording.” Billboard. March 4, 1960. p. 135.)

    Mr. Snyder also recorded the singers whose music he used in his show and released their albums under his own label. I am coming up goose eggs on when his ambitious productions finally ceased, but if I ever find out, I’ll come back and let you know.

    And that’s the story of the International Water Follies.

    Ms. Fuller says she was the first Jewish playmate (we’ve talked about the contention for that title before), and she may well be very correct in that claim. After the Water Follies, Ms. Fuller also danced at the world-famous Copacabana in New York. Today, she goes by her married name, Cindy Fuller Martino, and is a professional artist.



    Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll find 10 pages devoted to a lively Miami party attended by Cindy and four other lively ladies.

    Group shots and an article scan from “Playmate House Party” and “Bunny’s Honeys,” special features Playboy ran in May 1959 and September 1959. Click to enlarge. The latter, “Bunny’s Honeys,” was an article about photographer Linnea “Bunny” Yeager, an amazing o.g. and female trailblazer in the pin-up world. Give her wiki a spin. You’ll be glad!


    top, L to R: Janet Lupo, Miss November 1975; Bebe Buell, Miss November 1974; Cindy Fuller, presently featured; and the I-can’t-believe-I-haven’t-featured-her super-rad Helena Antonaccio, Miss June 1964.
    bottom, L to R: Janet, Helena, Cindy, and Bebe. Adorable.

    The above pictures come from the amaze-balls fantabulous Helena Antonaccio’s personal website, and were taken during production of Vh1’s “Rock of All Ages,” which aired in November 1999. Featured were Miss Antonaccio, Miss Fuller, Janet Lupo, and Bebe Buell. What a lineup of special, timeless gals! Super-cool.