Let mortals beware of words
For with words we lie,
Can speak peace
When we mean war.
But song is true.
Let music for peace
Be the paradigm,
For peace means change
At the right time.
(W.H. Auden, “Hymn to the United Nations.” 1971.)
Now this is the quickest way to my heart.
One-way ticket, express train. Complementary snacks and beverages.
Lynda Carter appeared on Episode 36 of The Muppet Show as herself, Lynda Carter. As with the Roger Moore “Bond” episode, where he appeared as himself, much to the consternation of the cast who were hoping for spy action, the Muppets’ running gag was to continually try to draw out Wonder Woman.
Appearing in a sketch as Wonder Pig, Miss Piggy asks Lynda if she regrets not bringing her costume along. All the Muppets take superhero lessons to impress Wonder Woman and Fozzie learns the value of bullet-deflecting bracelets.
Another Muppet venture, the Children’s Television Workshop, referred to the character of Wonder Woman in the recent Sesame Street “Preschool Musical” episode (a parody of High School Musical), when little Mariella up there sang about dress-up and how it made her in to someone else, someone that reflected the dreams and desires of who she wanted to be. Mariella spun until she changed in to the above outfit, and she remained in her superhero costume for the rest of the sketch.
Yesterday, Paolo was taking Corinnette back over to the coast for school, so I slid down to C-town to keep Miss D some company. We watched Muppets Take Manhattan on the television and folded laundry. “Sea Breeze Soap — Use it so you don’t stink.” It was truly wonderful. Besides the great writing and the actual entertainment value, I think that what makes the Muppets special for me is their relatability, their familiarity, and the comfort of their consistency. Maybe this is part of what has made Wonder Woman, too, an enduringly popular character, a standout hero in the genre, and a classic element of how we tell certain types of stories: if a girl is going to triumph, then she is Wonder Woman. “You’d have to be Wonder Woman to get all that done!” There is something special about that.
I need to give her credit for this: people love Wonder Woman, not only in comics but also in her pantheon of moving viewing material. They come back to her again and again and feel retro and nostalgic about it. I respect that, because I have things that I, too, love in that way.
Did you ever have to make up your mind?
I’m’a lead off this story with the reminder that I’m lactose intolerant. So. I was at a friendoh’s place recently and after some pizza I found myself with time on my hands in the bathroom. All there was to read was People or something like that, so I flopped it open at random.
The page to which I opened had the headline “Who wore it best?” and showed three women who were I’m assuming celebrities — I did not really recognize them because none of them were Muppets, former guest stars on Star Trek TNG, or playmates of the month — all wearing the same dress at various red carpet events. I thought, given the human tendency toward recognizing and enjoying that which is patterned and symmetrical, this is an intriguing premise — only what would be better is if they were not in boring clothes at a boring party.
Twins Maurine and Noreene via thesisterproject. I’m going with Noreene because she looks more fun (open smile, body toward camera).
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Showdown! where we decide between either a) two people in one picture or b) two or more pictures of people with something in common: age, hair color, a thematic prop, or, in special cases — such as today — which playmate has put forth the best of two similar photos.
The face-down twin in the background is totally “selling it” better than the one in the foreground, who looks more like “asleep while sick” than “dead from axe wounds.” Fuck, why did I use this picture, now I’m going to have nightmares.
In fact we have already done a Showdown! by accident, which I will put together and repeat as today’s Flashback Friday. Anyway, here is the inaugural outing of this thrilling new category: Showdown!: Yellow Rain Slicker edition.
I noticed that the same slicker was used in the photoshoots of Delores Wells, Miss June 1960 and Sheralee Connors, Playboy‘s Miss July 1961. (Spoiler: they are both coming up as Girls of Summer.) Who rocked it harder?
Camera A? or Camera B?
This post took forever to put together because there are so many pictures and Cathy Larmouth is so funny and genuine in the interview. Hope you find her as absorbing as I did.
The lovely and talented Cathy Larmouth was Playboy’s Miss June, 1981. She is a really fun-loving gal, and she is unbelievably quick-witted, as I hope you’ll see.
I mainly would like her hilarious write-up (the hilarity comes from her quotes and jokes) to do the majority of the talking in this post.
Even if you normally skip the text, give some of what Ms. Larmouth has to say a whirl, because she is a hoot and a holler, a self-deprecating and talented young genius with a sweet heart and a good head on her shoulders.
“I don’t want to be famous, don’t particularly want to be an actress or a model. I just want a good man and a family. I hardly think showin’ your bazongas to 6,000,000 people qualifies anybody as a celebrity. On the other hand, it’s a great way to meet people!”
(“Lady of the Lake.” Playboy, June 1981.)
Cathy’s heritage is English, French and Mohawk Indian. She was the youngest of four children (she has three older brothers), and admits that she was spoiled, especially by her father, who died when she was 22.
“I loved my father more than anyone,” she says, “and maybe I still do. He was a warm, funny, very smart man. I always carry a poem I wrote to him after he died, so in case I ever get hit by a truck or something, whoever finds my identification will know that I was a person who had a heart.”
Oh, lord, all that dust again.
My favorite shot. This should have been the centerfold.
Cathy admits she’s a hopeless romantic, who “should have been born 40 or 50 years ago. … My favorite songs are from the Thirties, Forties and Fifties; my favorite bands are Glenn Miller’s and Nat ‘King’ Cole’s and my all-time favorite piece is Clair de Lune, by Debussy.”
Without too much persuasion, Cathy can be induced to sing one of her favorite oldies, such as “Cry Me a River” or “More Than You Know”. She has a good voice and loves to imitate various female pop stars, ranging from Dolly Parton to Helen Reddy.
“I’ve never done this stuff on a stage,” she says, “and I probably never will.”
Hooray for Dolly Parton! And if you are having trouble placing Helen Reddy, she was Nora in the Disney flick Pete’s Dragon (Don Chaffey, 1977). You know Lampie — played by Mickey Rooney — the lighthouse-keeper’s adult daughter who was waiting for her long-thought-dead fiance Paul to sail back to Passimoquoddy? — “I’ll be your candle on the water/my love for you will always burn…” Don’t front like you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about.
(… cont’d) “It’s mostly for the shower.”
Still, it’s a better-than-average voice. Why not try for a singing career?
“I hate to say this,” she answers, “but the truth is, I’m not motivated. I’m basically lazy! I’d like to write a great satirical novel, for instance, but I’d never get around to it.”
Get ready for the most hilarious part, where she spontaneously makes up a shitty poem on purpose:
“I write poetry that isn’t half bad, and I realize that all girls write poetry, but I think mine’s a cut above that awful stuff you see in the women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan, stuff like —
‘I looked out the window at where your Rolls once sat
The sight of your tooth marks on the Gouda cheese
Nostalgia and pain
I dropped two ‘Ludes
and turned on the dishwasher.’
— You know? that kind of stuff.”
We suggest that maybe Cathy has a future as a poetic humorist. She demurs. “Oh, come on. That’s the hang-up most everybody in Los Angeles has. Everybody thinks she can sing, write and act, and that she’s beautiful.”
“The fact is that very few people get to be really good at any one of those things. And only a few people are really all that attractive, and they tend to float through life without ever developing themselves.”
Truth bombs comin’at’cha live. Adulthood blows, but please remember that no matter how downtrodden you feel you are still NOT YOUR JOB! Quit and go on tour.
I’m sure I would have developed my potential a lot more if I looked more like, say, Lily Tomlin than Little Annie Fanny. Unfortunately, until I was about 20, that’s what I looked like: a comic character.”
“I was 5’8″ when I was 15 and I weighed about 96 pounds, at least ten of which were breasts. I had a low-cut dress with a push-up bra that I wore to school sometimes. Once, in my math class (which I wasn’t doing so well at), my teacher, who was a man, stopped beside my desk and whispered, ‘If you wear that dress to my class twice a week, I’ll give you an A.'”
Someday we’ll find it, a Muppet connection …
Cathy wants to give special thanks to [photographer Ken] Marcus. “He is one of the smartest, nicest, funniest men I have ever met. When he found out that I have a pretty big appetite, he nicknamed me Miss Piggy!”
“Soon, everyone at Playboy Studio West was calling me Miss Piggy. Ken and the other Playboy staffers helped me live up to my nickname by taking me to all my favorite restaurants and letting me eat all I could. I once ate an $80 lunch! You might say I can put it away!”
“So, after the shooting, they had a party for me at Studio West, and someone had a cake made with a picture of Miss Piggy on it. Ken shoved my face into the cake! I didn’t mind — I love slapstick.”
What a great and good-natured woman, am I right?
“I’m not against E.R.A., but the fact is that men are very different from women. For instance, a lot of women may hate my guts for saying this, but I think women are more emotional than men. I don’t think blurring the sex roles makes any sense. Pretty soon, you’ll be calling your grandmother your grandperson. That’s not my style.”
A very beautiful personal epitaph.
Cover model is the Playmate of the Year, photographed by Phillip Dixon. In 1981, the PMOY, the lovely and talented Terri Welles (Miss May 1980), was given a cash prize and a brand-spank-banking new Porsche 924 Turbo. I said goddamn. Eventually, Playboy Enterprises sued her, like in 1996 or 1998. Look it up. Interesting shit.
What’s really freaky for me is that while sussing out what was what in Ms. Larmouth’s Playboy issue, I stumbled over the May issue of this same year and it has a featured interview with philosopher and psychologist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, which I’d mentioned in the bookworm post I had promised my dear aunt I’d start boning up on her death and grief writings. Wild coincidence, but a great jumping-off point for something on which I’ve been dragging my feet for nearly a decade. So I’m’a hit that now after I post up a Daily Batman and plan to be outie for the night. Feels like fate. Mysterious ways, am I right??
Cathy’s daughter Hayley confirms that Ms. Larmouth passed away in Utah following a heart attack January 4, 2007, at the age of 53. Ms. Larmouth had numerous complications in her declining health, including a hole in her heart. I hope that because her health problems were an early warning, she was able to at least partially prepare herself and her family for the loss. R.I.P. to a very special gal.
Oh, my gosh, dudes — Gumby!! Turns out it’s simply all over that there ol’ youtube. I’ve had flu today and it has kept me some Excellent Company. So it’s Teveee Time!
From the late-breaking children’s nostalgic expansion series The Gumby Adventures, which aired in the ’80’s — and I am glad of being able to have at least been in on the ground level of that much of this wonderful franchise — by which time good ol’ green bendy-flexi hero Gumby had gained a sister and quite the phalanx of diverse friends. This episode was titled “Balloonacy.”
The episode begins with Granny, the neighborhood Model T aficionado, pulling up to the Gumby household, having just fetched home in her gleaming hearse of a jalopy young Minga (Gumby’s little sister, a latebreaking Material World addition to the Gumby family of characters) from a birthday party, from which Minga has clutched in her gooey little hands the souveneir of a single, crummy balloon.
Gumba, mater familias to Gumby and Minga, invites Granny in for some tea to thank her for ferrying Minga about Whatever-Its-called town (I’m sick or I’d wiki it, sorry).
Naturally bored, Minga wanders with her balloon out to the front yard, where Pokey the Pony and Gumby are playing a little frisbee.
Yikes. I have no idea why Pokey looks so unbelievably sly and spooky here. What gives, good pal?! Good gravy!
So then the worst thing ever happens, and Gumby and Pokey accidentally send Minga’s balloon back to that great party store in the sky.
Oh, shit! Minga tries to be really sweet and cool about it but you can tell (as can good brother Gumby) that she is in actuality totally bummed.
Pokey and Gumby were heading in to Town after aimless coy-eyed frisbee anyways to pick up supplies for their friend Denali the Mastodon’s upcoming hopefully-surprise birthday party — not making this up, and everyone knows how tough it is to “surprise” a mastodon …
… so have some empathy for their plight, please — and the pair secretly agree to replace Minga’s lost balloon while they’re at it, using Any Means Necessary.
Oh, my heavens. Loose cannons, these two! Gumby and Pokey, I want your guns and your badges on my desk by three o’clock, and if I ever catch you up to the shenanigans you were trying to pull at the mayor’s wife’s Tupperware party again, you’ll be on traffic patrol the rest of your natural careers! And I hope you two know another thing — I … I …. *sniff* god dang it — I’m proud of you (we all cry).
Okay, so then they pick up some balloons on the regular streets of toy Town of your expected, standard, non-magical variety in several shapes and sizes, and then Gumby does this Totally Freaky Thing where he turns his two triangle leg-thingies into a vestigial single tail-thingy and straight up slithers back into his car.
Tried to capture it fully but this is the best Science can do. Totally not okay.
Shortly after the slithering and with not even slant eyes from Pokey, who is apparently hep to his friend’s possesssion troubles, Gumby and Pokey are cruising back to their yellow dinosaur-friend thingy’s farm-place to assemble Denali’s party surprises when they pass what appears to be Just The Ticket to appease young Minga and her tragic, all-their-fault balloon loss!
They clamber from the car to go see what’s up with that. No tail visible, please note. (Look. All I want are answers. None come.)
Unbeknownst to them, Gumby and Pokey have an audience — the badassical Blockheads, “G” and “J”. (May the lord strike me dead if I ever stop rooting for them. They are red and they are good archers. What is so wrong with adoring them?! Gumby is kind of a goofy putz, you must admit: it’s not like thwarting him has ever stopped Nobel peace work or something.)
Gumby and Pokey enter the book, beautifully …
… and encounter an intriguing and powerful magician who is really frankly styled to be outlandishly Mexican (how I wish this was not so. But it is, and how — sorry.).
They explain their predicament.
The magician is astonished, but then assures them he can help them, and he blows their minds with some tricks. What the magician and I are now about to show you, I am not sure is legal …
… but Gumby and Pokey soldier through the guttwisting demonstration and wisely surmise it is the End to their Troubles with finding dazzling birthday gifts for Denali, because what do you get the prehistoric beast who’s literally seen it all, and young sister Minga!
(After all, why should she not also have the best in inflatable pig-anus-whosa-whatisis-thingy-balloon-dolls? just because she is a little kid and the entire inflation process looks hella ten kinds of traumatic? don’t make me laugh!)
Soon, Gumby and Pokey are on their way, with the Blockheads trailing them, all the way to Prickle’s barn.
Prickle the dino-thingy acts totally shady about the helium inflater. I don’t know if he’s a former huffer or what the deal is, but his actions and expressions around it are really weird and out of character. He seems untrustworthy in its presence. And that is a concern.
Gumby, like Lucille Bluth and your loving, flu-ridden hostess E, hella sucks at winking. Phew! There are so many more of us than I thought!
Gumby and Pokey explain the crazy magic balloons to Prickle and Goo. Why are you puzzling over Goo? Goo is a flying mermaid, duh, and she can take on any shape she chooses. Happens all the time.
Okay, now do you see what I mean about Prickle and that helium tank? Hecka shady! I haven’t seen a little yellow dinosaur looking so sneaky since B.J. from Barney and Friends knocked up Sesame Street’s Prairie Dawn. Oh, my gosh. Worst joke ever. I need to go eat glass now. I’m so sorry. Forever.
The Gang heads to Denali’s big pink mansion with the ballons (which completely dwarfs the suburban tract house that Gumby and Minga live in, where we can only assume Pokey is stabled, unless he stays on Prickle’s farm when Prickle is not busy huffing hecka all kinds of inert monoatomic gasses).
Goo is all in to the tiger, while Prickle goes for the pink elephant. Gumby, meanwhile, has slipped off to patch things up with Minga.
I’m not precisely sure into what Gumbo is trying to talk Gumba in this scene — although I have my definite suspicions — as she bemusedly washes dishes at the sink while he clearly spins a spiel.
While they are tied up in whatever exactly private-times planning they are doing, Gumby has dropped off with Minga the inflatable bunny balloon from the magician and shown her how to pump him up. (Anally. No connection, I’m sure, to their parents’ conversation.) The shock of all this sauce combined with a giant bunny, the very symbol of fertility, makes Gumba faint in to Gumbo’s arms.
Back at Denali’s place, Denali wakes up and goes out to investigate the noise from his front porch.
Oh, holy crap! A bunch of giant balloons and a banner! What a — oh, my ticker, gassssspppp…
Way to go, you guys. You killed him.
Yes, Goo, you should be perturbed, you shapeshifting blue scamp — and let that be a lesson to you about plotting to “surprise” a thing that has been around longer than sin and cockroaches.
Aw, just kiddin’, kiddos! Look: Denali is okay! Yay! — although I must grimly warn you that being a pachyderm he will Never Forget this shock, even 70 years from now when you are drooling in your oatmeal at an old folks’ home and he unexpectedly bursts through the door to yank you outside and stomp your shoulder blades in the street while you can only moan “why?” — he will know why, even as you struggle to remember how to piss your pants from the pain. That’s what you get. Anyway, happy birthday, Denali!!
The Blockheads have had just about all they can stand of this merry and cheesey, “all-gods-chillun-gots-birthdays” chicanery so they amiably start shooting arrows at the balloons, which naturally pops them.
This freaks Pokey out so bad that his eyes turn in to Shelley Duvall’s rack. (Sick left-field ’70’s burn on one of my favorite actresses!)
G and J get totally busted by Goo, Denali, and Prickle (look at Goo all flying off with her determined, shapeless little blue body to catch those bad boys) before they can do more than pop a few. Bummer.
By the time Gumby gets back from mending fences with Minga, the Blockheads have been captured and are sailing off in a balloon toward an uncaring horizon, ostensibly chastened by the prospect of cruel starvation and never setting foot on land again (just punishment? I think not).
And that’s “Balloonacy”! Sorry that went forever but I am sick as hayull. Thanks for playing!
“1, 2, 3 — 4, 5, 6 — 7, 8, 9 — 10, 11, 12
Stormtroopers came to the Stormtroopers’ picnic…”
Photograph by Mark, aka smokebelch on the flickr.
The counting song “Ladybugs’ Picnic” was written and recorded in 1971 for the Childrens’ Television Workshop masterpiece Sesame Street. It was written by Bud Luckey with lyrics by Dan Hadley, and sung for the show by Muppeteers Richard Hunt (R.I.P., wonderful you) and Jerry Nelson. The first episode in which it aired was marked 0416 and appeared as Season 4, Episode 12. Original airdate December 11, 1972.
Though most of the Sesame Street content was usually filmed/animated at the same time in good-sized chunks in various studios after long brainstorming and writing sessions, individual segments could often languish on the shelf for awhile, until just the right spot in the exactly perfect episode was found for them. Such is the case in the gap between the writing of “Ladybugs’ Picnic” by Luckey and Hadley, its recording with vocal track by Jerry and Richard — you know them better as Waldorf and Statler, among the many characters they voice — and its eventual appearance almost two years later on the show.
I have much more to say about wonderful Richard Hunt a different day. That’s one that I won’t be forgetting.
It’s in the singing of the street corner choir…
Playboy’s Miss November 1986, the lovely and talented Donna Edmondson, was named the Playmate of the Year in 1987, fitting given that her high school yearbook predicted she was “Most Likely to Become a Bunny.” (What the hell kind of high school yearbook adviser approves that as a category?!) However, her more lasting claim to fame has been her reknown as The Virgin Playmate.
She had at least gotten to first base; that was her position on her softball team in high school (rimshot!). Actually, it was, in all seriousness — she played first base for her high school in Greensboro, North Carolina. But back to the more interesting issue. Quite the controversy was sparked by the 20-year-old real estate agent’s vow of virginity, which she discussed in her Playmate interview.
“Men are wonderful, but I haven’t really let one close enough to me that I can talk about sex the way some girls can. Virginity isn’t something you discuss. I’m not ashamed of still having mine, mind you. It’s just not something I really want to talk about — except, of course, with the man who takes it away from me.” (“Sold on Donna,” Playboy, November 1986)
That’s pretty much all she said, but some fits were pitched and fell back in because of where America was, pornography-wise at this time. Let me bend your ear a tick on this topic, if it is news to you. What Ms. Edmondson accidentally stepped her pretty feet in was a total quagmire of hypocrisy and legal issues which had not much to do with her but plenty to do with the Meese Commission and how entertainment dealt with and tacitly sold the lifestyle of the modern single, the aftermath of the Sexual Revolution including the devastating consequences of HIV, and general assumptions of viewer maturity made by media distribution outlets vis-a-vis sexual morals at that particular juncture. What you had was a total flood of the market with new porn and ever-developing potential technologies for its procurement. So you had morality cops panicking bigtime.
Think about it. There was an explosion of private media possibilities in the 1980’s, and they were readily affordable to Joe Vaseline, which means, no matter where the man of the house stashed them, the chance lurked that Junior, too, would have access. Suddenly you could get porn in a pack of spank-sock’s worth of new forms, an embarassment of riches: direct-to-VHS format, dedicated adult cable channels, and even at the good ol’ liquor store from the more and more competing –and niche– skin magazines all making porn less controlled and more widely sold than ever before. Oh, the heyday! But of course, religion and politics intervened.
Sitcom stars, rock musicians, magazine publishers, freaking everyone was caught by Tipper Gore and Edwin Meese with their dicks in their hands on Capitol Hill, and the religious right was burning Blondie records for moral turpitude. Like, Jesus Jumped-Up Christ-Bananas! That is some ticklish shit to accidentally have come your way! And you’d think they would have all been proud of her …
I will let Ms. Edmondson’s official Playboy biography tell the rest of this interesting story.
The text to my original pictorial announced my virginity — and that created quite a stir. Also at this time, the anti-pornography report of the Meese Commission had prompted all 7-Elevens to pull the magazine from their shelves. I was thrown right in the middle of the scandal! All the talk shows immediately wanted to book the virgin PMOY from the Bible Belt. Joan Rivers made a huge deal out of my virginity on her show, but I just explained that you don’t have to have sex to be sexy.
On Larry King’s show, one caller accused me of not being religious because I let men see my body. But I don’t think that posing in Playboy has anything to do with whether I’m a good person. I knew I wasn’t hurting anyone. I defended myself by saying that God made us nude. We were born that way!
So how did the story work out for Ms. Edmondson? Seems it worked out smashingly, so in the haters’ faces. Once again, her words:
I took a job as a tax accountant, and on my first day of work I met the man who would become my husband. It was his last day of work; our eyes met, and I just knew he was the one. So I asked HIM out, we had lunch together the next week and we were together from then on.
Dig the cover: ironically, Joan Rivers, who gave Ms. Edmondson such “holy hell,” so to speak, over the next several months after this issue was published, was herself profiled in the magazine the very same month. So it’s okay to be interviewed but not to pose? Or is it just for young women, or ones who you perceive as less bright than yourself, that the you-cannot-be-a-role-model-and-be-in-Playboy’s-pages applies? Is it that if a woman wants to be sexy she must want to be sexual? Do you enjoy pointing out hypocrisy only when it is not you, yourself, who is being a hypocrite? Where are the lines in the sand for you, Joanie? Is it not merely the case that you want attention at any cost and have made a career of glomming on to hot button people and topics in order to clutch every possible shred of spotlight in your cruel, manicured claws? Booyakasha!
Sorry, I do not normally take such personal issue with anyone who has appeared on camera with a Muppet, but Joan Rivers literally makes her living by being a mean hag, so screw her. Her career could have been great, she could have been an important special woman in the history of females on television, and she pissed it away to keep the level of fame she was accustomed to, with no integrity. Fuck Joan Rivers.
Anyway, so, Virgin Playmate. Tight, huh!