I was fortunate enough to stumble over the entire original layout and spread of the Playboy issue featuring the very lovely and very talented Ms. Fran Gerard, Miss March 1967.
Photographed by Mario Casilli and Gene Trindl. (Color work by Casilli, B&W shots by Trindl, according to the orig. spread’s credits)
We predict a sparkling future for our heavenly-bodied Miss March. Generously configured Fran Gerard is a girl for the stars. “We’re forever searching the cosmos for new meanings.” (“Stars In Her Eyes,” Playboy, March 1967.)
The specs-sporting young Ms. Gerard worked as an astrologer’s assistant (zodiac quackery rears its head AGAIN) in L.A. at the time of her appearance, so they made a big deal out of that.
But the main thing of her is that she is tied right up there with Janet Lupo, Cynthia Myers, etc, for the largest natural breasts ever to be featured in Playboy.
As it was quite sometime before Janet, Cyndi, Roberta Vasquez, Alana Soares, et al came along to potentially unseat Ms. Gerard as undisputed mammary queen (I am not bothering to list the silicone sweethearts whose plastic racks match the numbers in name only and never rate so high in the eyes of the lord), she has understandably enjoyed long-lasting and tremendous fame in the Playboy world.
A “little looker,” her Playmate data sheet reports she was just 5’2″ tall at the time of her appearance in the magazine at the alleged age of 19. Holy chumbuckets, I cannot even imagine the back trouble the girl had to have had by age 30. Sorry if that deglamourizes things, but dang. That’s some serious rackage to haul around for a chick that only weighed around 110.
More than just a pretty face hovering over likely-uncomfortably-giant knockers, Ms. Gerard was a genuinely swingin’ chick with a good head on her small shoulders. And great taste in music!
Our plenipotent Playmate is as versant with combos as with cosmos: “Charlie Parker’s ‘Ornithology’ was the greatest single ever made,” says Fran, “and I think E.S.P. by Miles Davis is the best LP.” Sinatra is her favorite singer, especially “Cottage for Sale.” (Ibid.)
She says, “[I] like artists Marc Chagall and Salvador Dali. They capture so much of the glory of the universe in their work, but I don’t think I’m being stuffy: I like ‘Batman,’ too!” (Ibid.)
“Batman”? Heyoooo! Actually, I have also always liked Chagall’s work, especially this one piece he did that told a Russian folk tale, if I’m remembering rightly… Maybe later this week I’ll throw up some stuff about him.
Fran credits another favorite, a book, with being the source of all this happiness and satisfaction. “It’s The Magic of Believing by C. M. Bristol. It helps you to think positively.” (Ibid.)
Fran’s favorite book is still in print. It is also available for purchase as an ebook. Here’s an excerpt from the first few paragraphs:
Is there some force, or factor, or power, or science—call it what you will—which a few people understand and use to overcome their difficulties and achieve outstanding success? I firmly believe that there is, and it is my purpose in this book to try to explain it so that you can use it if you desire.
Around 1933 the financial editor of a great Los Angeles newspaper attended lectures I gave to financial men in that city and read my brochure T.N.T.—It Rocks the Earth. Afterwards, he wrote, “You have caught from the ether something that has a mystical quality—a something that explains the magic of coincidence, the mystery of what makes men lucky.”
(source, and please do not consider the link an endorsement)
Wow, what is amazing about that is it could have been written, like, yesterday, except replace “1933” in the suspiciously specious and detail-lacking anecdote with “2003.” I did not think people were marketing murky bullshit that long ago, but I live to be surprised. I should’ve known, I suppose, given all the snake oil salesmen and shenaniganizers who’ve always walked this earth conning money out of suckers. Like the rightly revered Msr. Barnum observed, there is one born every minute.
I think I will try my hand at tossing off a few sentences.
A few years ago, I was addressing a colony of junebugs at an annual meeting. After the meeting, a junebug who had just been raised to upper hive-management approached me and invited me to have a drink. He told me that he had seen me speak at a junebug team-building conference near an abandoned swingset only six months earlier, and had returned to his nest eager to apply the Simple Principles that I teach. Within just a few months, he had already been promoted above his boss and was handling new junebug regions of management!
Like so many countless others that I have been happy to help, this junebug told me in that hotel bar that he would have never believed the success and accomplishments he would achieve in such a short time just by following these three simple steps to harnessing the power of YOUR potential to do Great Things!
(E., Right Here, Right Now.)
How did that sound? Would you buy my shit? No? I’m huge in junebug circles, picking up sales in bee hives, and keep it between us but I think I’m about to crack the highly elusive ladybug market. (What I am saying is that I think this is all fishsticks and curried potatoes, this malarkey. Positive thinking is very powerful, yes, and important to your overall well-being, but so is hustling your buns to earn a simple living and have rich relationships with loved ones rather than sucking down cultish nonsense like coca-cola and craving weird amounts of power through ESP. Mad love and respect to Ms. Gerard, but come on.)
I think this is the best shot of the lot.
The positively smashing Miss Gerard’s idea of a perfect man? Clark Gable. “Remember him as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind? He was too much,” says Fran appreciatively. (“Stars In Her Eyes.”)
Yes, I particularly enjoyed the scene where he got ten kinds of drunk and told Scarlett he was going to crush her head like a walnut, slapped her around a little, and then took her upstairs for some rough sex. You’re probably thinking that is some feminist, critical statement mired in sarcasm: you are sadly wrong. I’m messed up I guess, but I think that saucy Scarlett needs slapped around pretty much every goddamned minute of the day and Rhett was born for the job. They are a nasty, scheming, firey-eyed match made in hell and I think it makes an excellent and exciting love story, in a very dark and ugly way for which it seldom gets credit. So, today I say to you, Margaret Mitchell: Well done, sir.
The man who did the b&w work for this spread, Gene Trindl, was best known as a photographer for TV Guide. He shot over 800 spreads for them, and 200 covers. Dang, right? He died of pancreatic cancer June 29, 2004, two years after my cousin Tom and thirty-seven years after Jayne Mansfield. RIP, Mr. Trendl.
TURN-ONS: High fashion, antiques.
TURNOFFS: Arrogance, people and their trivial problems.
Um … you hate arrogance, but you also hate people and their “trivial problems”? Okay. The kettle called … said something about how you are the black one? No need to call back.
DID YOU KNOW? I’m an assistant to astrologer Jack Gemini.
PEOPLE I ADMIRE: My parents, for the great job they did raising me.
FAVORITE MUSIC: Jazz.
I have googled the crap out of Jack Gemini, John Gemini, LA Astrologers in the 1960’s, and am coming up triple goose eggs. If you got a line on him, I’m interested.
So many thousands of thanks to my usual sources but in this case also special singling out for lovin’s to dear Fabrizio, an awesome and generous moderator over at the vintage erotica forums, from whom the majority of these great shots came!
Bello, sono incredibili, e grazie sempre per tutte immagini meravigliose. Molti baci, ♥ mua-mua! I owe you big-time, my good man, and I strongly encourage readers to swing over to the forums. They’re free, well-moderated, full of fun, and they won’t give your computer any wack infections or the hantavirus. Enjoy!
Here are the scans of the original b&w article accompanying the gatefold and color spread.