Posts Tagged ‘cheesecake’

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Vintage advertising — Men Aren’t Attracted to a Girl In Glasses, Bettie Edition.

April 26, 2011

You know. That type.

Miss D has just today (Monday as I write this) upped the ante, “we need new glasses”-wise. She actually made an appointment to get a new prescription and frames. Dang! I had got a new prescription (same as the old boss) in November so, really, I need only go with her to get frames. I’ve been putting it off for too long. Hoping to get newly spec’d out shortly. The only trouble is I’m not sure in which direction to go for frames. My old Buddy Holly glasses have begun to crop up all over, which is not so bad because I don’t need things to be “underground” in order to like them, but their shape forces my lashes to moosh up against the lenses, which I hate. I need to go in a new direction. I’m just not sure which.

Am I daring enough to rock a monocle for my astigmatism? Only time will tell!


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.


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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: 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.


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*.


*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.


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.


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


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?

Yesterday’s News: Some cheesecake with her mashed potatoes for Noel Neill, the first Lois Lane

November 26, 2010

The intrepid reporter makes a call from the field.

Beautiful vintage pinup model — her picture was second in popularity only to Betty Grable during World War II — and Paramount actress Noel Neill played Lois Lane in the first adaptations of Superman through both Kirk Alyn and George Reeves, in film and television as well.

Ms. Neill in a pinup pose.

Ms. Neill graciously gave fan-serving nods to her early comics role by appearing in cameos in Superman (1978) as Margot Kidder (Lois Lane)’s mom, and also portrayed Gertrude Vanderwurth in Superman Returns (2006), the elderly, dying widow of Kevin Spacey’s Lex Luthor.

Ms. Neill in 2008.

How is this Yesterday’s News? Because on November 25th, Noel Neill celebrated her 90th birthday. Dang! A happy happy one to a beautiful, nice lady. May she keep on trucking.

Special thanks to DC Women Kicking Ass for the shot of Lois Lane on the phone and the super-cool super-scoop (yesterday).

Girls of Summer: Jan Roberts, Miss August 1962

October 6, 2010

Photographed by Pompeo Posar.

Miss August 1962 was the lovely and talented Jan Roberts, who began as a bunny at the Chicago Playboy Club. At the time, it was usually the case that a centerfold may be offered a job as a Club Bunny. Though it would later become common for Bunnies to progress to a gatefold as Playmate of the Month, Ms. Roberts was the first to do it.

With this issue we present a neat twist on the customary Playmate-to-Bunny progression: she’s ingenuous Jan Roberts — the first (but undoubtedly not the last) Playmate to be discovered among the hutch honeys already decorating club premises. Like hundreds of beauties from every part of the U.S. and several foreign countries, Brooklyn-born, Toledo-bred Jan stormed Chicago specifically in hopes of landing a job at the Playboy Club.

(“Bunny Hug.” Playboy, August 1962.)

Her credentials (executive girl Friday for the Juhl Advertising Agency of Elkhart, Indiana, and honor graduate of a two-year medical technology course in the same city) were impressive enough to earn her a Bunny berth. Although the lissome — 39-23-35 — arrangement of her 120 compact pounds on a five-foot-five frame tends to belie it, Miss August prefers mental exercise to physical.


But she’s so pretty. What could she possibly need to think about?

[Ms. Roberts] thrives on chess and bridge bouts, reads omnivorously (mostly books on mathematics and theology), dabbles in graphology, and earnestly paints landscapes which bear, she believes, “an unfortunate resemblance to my favorite foods — spaghetti and cheese blintzes.”


Hell, yeah, EAT SPAGHETTI!

She can’t abide a sloppy pad, views beatniks with suspicious brown eyes, loves shoot-’em-up war flicks, feminine frills and Louis XVI antiques.


I like war movies too, but I wonder what was so objectionable about beatniks? Someone needs to dial Ned Flanders and make a lovely lonelyhearts hookup.

Jan regards her current welcome-to-the-club duties with honest satisfaction. “I’m interested in a show business career,” she says. “As a Bunny, I’m already leading a show biz kind of life. It’s a big step on the way up.”


WHAT I LIKE IN MEN: Good manners, men who are good and kind to everyone, a sense of humor.

Ah, hahaha … wise guys. I have the cutest picture in my head, please come along with me on my mental image: Ms. Roberts in the trademark Club Bunny outfit, saying, “Oh, a wise guy, eh?” and windmilling her arm around to punch a Stooge. Chain-reaction hijinks ensue.

As for her show biz ambitions, if that sought-after career progressed, it was under a different name. I tried Jan Roberts, Janice Roberts, and Janet Roberts on the imdb and came up empty. Then again, there is always the stage, yes? Or maybe her (by her account) cheese blintz-like and spaghetti-like landscape paintings took off. She has a sweet face and an endearingly semi-rabbity grill; I’d hope good things for her.

The colorblocks in this picture are frigging awesome. Such a great and articulate, high-brow art critic I am, yes? Did I just blow your mind? Lovely. “What do you think of this piece by Basquiat?” “I think it’s frigging awesome!” Then I crush a beer can against my forehead. Sorry, college degree.

Seriously, though — my favorite shot of the spread, because of the colors.

This issue of Playboy featured a piece by Arthur C. Clarke titled, “World Without Distance.” Clarke is the author of seminal sci-fi novel 2001: A Space Odyssey; togther with Asimov and Robert Heinlein, he was known in science fiction circles as one of the Big Three. At the time his piece was published in this issue, Clarke was living in Sri Lanka (long story — another day). For some years, he had been contributing speculative articles and essays to various magazines about how developing technologies would effect lifestyles in the coming decades and centuries.

In fact, he had a specific timeline for when he predicted certain innovations would come in to use, ending in the year 2100: as an example, he … for lack of a better word, “prophesied,” that a “global library” would be in use by 2005. People would be able to access this library from anywhere and have information at their fingertips. The articles and essays were eventually gathered into a book which Clarke titled Profiles of the Future, published in 1963. “World Without Distance” is one of those essays.

There was also an article in the August 1962 Playboy called “The Prodigal Powers of Pot,” by Dan Wakefield. I came up goose-eggs in my search for the full text of Mr. Wakefield’s article, but HollywoodFiveO‘s review that it’s “an article so dry and boring we were unable to finish it even after huffing copious amounts of the demon weed,” is enough to discourage me from further research.

However, it is a good opportunity for me to mention that two dear old friendohs, Jedi K and Marvelous Mr. C, will be performing in Reefer Madness in October, and if I’m not front and center, it means I’m frozen in carbonite. Actually, even if I’m frozen in carbonite, I might persuade Cinder and Milo to tote me along anyway.

To celebrate, I’ll be sure to squeeze in a Reefer Madness Movie Moment for both the original scared-straight piece of propoganda and the recent film adaptation of the campy musical which my friends will be putting on. It’s an interesting time to stage it in my gret stet of Californny, what with a proposition on the ballot in our upcoming election to legalize marijuana.* I predict they’ll pull in a fun and hopefully big crowd.

*It’s a square and unpopular opinion but, while I am neutral about marijuana as a recreational, albeit presently illegal, drug, I do not think its legalization will prove even at all to be the prompt financial panacea the yaysayers would have me believe, and that the difficulties of properly legislating its sale and distribution will ultimately prove more costly than the budget woes it proposes to solve; further, the proposition in its present form does not yet have a solid enough plan for implementing the legalization nor setting up a more specific system for local governments to go about filtering the monies to appropriate and needy civic channels to suit me. A really bad punster would say I find the idea “half-baked.” I merely say, take your time, rethink what it is that you want to accomplish, and come back to me with something I can consider solidly getting behind. My state has been propositioned to death. This is a big issue — give it the careful crafting it deserves if you want to succeed and be helpful.

That was all in small print because a) I don’t like bringing politics up on the journal; and b) every time I timidly speak against the proposition, people seem to think I am opposed to the drug itself and shout me down with tireless explanations of how it’s not dangerous and people are way better drivers on pot than alcohol (this latter argument actually comes from my uncle, a former cop in Idaho who stuck in his oar on a recent family vacation when he was chagrined to learn that I was probably going to vote no on Prop 19).

I don’t much care about the drug part. Seems to me like people are going to smoke whether it’s legal or not. That’s not my concern at all. What I care about is hasty-pudding legislation that I fear couldn’t pass a Pinto, let alone a majority vote in a state where the people who actually come to the polls are, statistically, retired persons who are, statistically, more conservative voters, and who would likely not vote “yes” on this proposition even if there were rock-solid figures showing that the tax revenue from the legalization of marijuana would go to blind limbless orphans, early-bird buffet discounts, and a television channel that shows all Matlock, all day. They’re still going to punch “no.” This legislation needs to be airtight and even though it’s trying, my feeling is it is not quite there.

Even if it passes, things have become so persnickety and partisan here that it is bound to get held up for years in appeals and counter-measures. Don’t get me wrong, I have hopes for my government in the future, but all I see right now at federal and state levels is a morass in which nothing can get accomplished.

Gesa Meiken photographed by Mario Casilli.

Man! Not only is that all downer stuff, but I actually do hate talking about politics on the internet. I may come back later today and delete all that. Anyway, Arthur C. Clarke and a smiley blonde — even an apparent square like myself can’t vote no on that!

Girls of Summer: Yvette Vickers, Miss July 1959

September 28, 2010

edit 5/3/11: Welcome, Yvette Vickers fans! For those unfamiliar with the site who are just swinging by to take a gander at Ms. Vickers’ Playboy spread, a quick heads-up — clicking on any picture enlarges it. Have fun!

Photographed by the one and only Russ Meyer.

I know it isn’t technically seasonally appropriate anymore, but as it’s going to hit 99, Fahrenheit, where I am today, and as I did not get around to all my saved up Girls of Summer, and as I promised to cover Ms. Vickers when discussing Fifty Foot Woman, I figured you wouldn’t mind if I made the summer a little more endless around here.

Ms. Vickers’ spread appeared after her part as Honey Parker in Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman and some other delightful B-flicks, but the Playboy write-up does not report this and focuses instead on her early love of coffeehouses and the bohemian lifestyle. It’s an interesting glimpse at her life outside of stardom, especially given that she was sort of stuck in these roles as a sexy blonde starlet which belied her active intellect and charming, offbeat personal interests. Of course, there was a lot of that going around back then: ask Ms. Monroe and Ms. Tate, right?

When [Playboy] spied Yvette Vickers at a small table in Hollywood’s Cosmo Alley, that question became an affirmative, exclamatory statement. Yvette — though possibly a mite more attractive than most — is representative of the girls who inhabit the beat coffee houses of Hollywood.

(“Beat Playmate.” Playboy, July 1959.)

She’s interested in serious acting, ballet, the poetry of Dylan Thomas, classical music (“Prokofiev drives me out of my skull!”). She has strong opinions and is more than a bit of a rebel, frowning prettily on conformity. She is also reckless and uninhibited enough to race a Jag in the desert for kicks.


Right on! Big ups to Prokofiev (Peter and the Wolf, “The March of the Three Oranges”) and dragging Jags! And of course, mad props to going ungently into the night with Dylan Thomas.

She confesses to being “somewhat of a nut” about health food: she’s often to be seen stowing away vitamins and minerals at an “organic food restaurant” called The Aware Inn.


So for 1959, she was well ahead of the health food curve. Don’t you love how “organic food restaurant” is in scare quotes? It’s cute. This write-up just tickles me. I think it is really cool and neat that Yvette Vickers was a beatnik.

It’s not a total surprise — Ms. Vickers was raised by two jazz musicians, Charlie and Iola Vedder (she went by Maria), with whom Yvette traveled the country and also recorded. They later settled in Los Angeles, where Ms. Vickers attended Catholic high school. (You know we Catholic girls start much too late!) Before catching the acting bug, she took classes at UCLA to become a writer. She then earned her B.A. in Theater Arts.

Films in which Ms. Vickers appeared include Reform School Girl, Shortcut to Hell, Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, Attack of the Giant Leeches, and Beach Party (she played “Blonde Yoga Girl — recall our previous discussion of the AIP beach flicks?). She also had small roles in Sunset Blvd and Hud, but you know I’m far more in love with the wonderful B-credits.

Ms. Vickers was also featured in a slew of television parts, with roles on highly popular shows like Mike Hammer, Bat Masterson, the Rough Riders, The Texan, Northwest Passage, and Dragnet. In his book Stephen King: On Writing, Stephen King listed Yvette Vickers as one of his “matinee idols.”

The photographer of this spread, Russ Meyer, has had a long and (in my book) illustrious career which must really deserve its own entry one of these days. As this is Ms. Vickers’ entry, I will wind down by saying that the lovely and talented singer, model, and actress has continued to work in the arts and keeps on rocking in the free world. You can hear Yvette on the audio commentary track of the 2007 DVD release of Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman and pick up her CD “Tribute to Charlie and Maria,” a jazz album she dedicated to her parents in the late 90’s — and keep your eyes peeled for her forthcoming autobiography.

Movie Millisecond: Léon — “Always.”

August 18, 2010

Léon/The Professional (Luc Besson, 1994).

via robotamor

Sorry for the lack of recent steady and decent postage — things have been blowing up, but I am seeking out upsides and keeping my elbows out. I’ve had the counsel of good friends, which is always valuable, and am taking necessary time to mull over important issues, which is always responsible.

I aim to be back shortly after a brief word from my sponsors, with 60% more vintage cheesecake, heartfelt ramblings, and the usual malarkey: naturally fortified with Vitamin C! Count on it.

Daily Batman: Vinyl vision

August 13, 2010

via WFMU’s Ichiban on the blogger. Official site of WFMU.

Photo for the Thor-Ables’ “Batman and Robin,” the B side of their “My Reckless Heart” single. The A side was a remake of a song one of the band members, Willie Davis, had already recorded in 1958. Two singles, four songs in all, were released by the Thor-Ables on Titanic Records, 1962. The Thor-Ables named themselves after the two-stage rocket launching mechanism. End fragmented backstory.

/ end

Girls of Summer: Dolores Donlon, Miss August 1957

August 10, 2010

Photographed by super-great Peter Gowland.

Direct from the convent, it’s the lovely and talented Dolores Donlon, Miss August 1957! Ms. Donlon (née Patricia Vaniver) hailed from Tarrytown, NY by way of Philadelphia and, according to sources, graduated from “a French convent” before embarking on her career as a model and actress.

My guess is she attended the Marymount Secondary School in Tarrytown, a school which was run by the order of RHSM. The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary were founded in 1849 in Murviel-les-Béziers, France. They are called RHSM in English-speaking countries and RSCM in French, Spanish, and Portugese. (The “c” stands for couer, corazon, and coração, respectively.)

Marymount Secondary School in Tarrytown is still a standing convent of the RHSM, but is now used as a Provincial Center and retirement home for elderly sisters of the order. The nearby Sacred Heart school in Yonkers has RHSM on staff; their order’s devotion to teaching has of course not been forgotten.

The crypt of the famous Marymount College foundress Mother Marie Joseph Butler, General Superior of the order from the tumultuous years of 1926-1940 and a major figure in the order’s history as well as parochial education in America, is at the Tarrytown convent, “down by the banks of the Hudson.”

Mother Butler, born Johanna Butler in 1860, came from County Kilkenny, Ireland. She took her vows at 16 in the RHSM order’s original center in France, then ministered in schools in Portugal until 1903, when she was sent to the United States.

During her tenure as General Superior of RHSM, Mother Butler not only extended the order to new countries and divided the order in to provinces to improve organization, she also founded the Marymount School and College at Tarrytown, and expanded establishment of RHSM schools around the country. This was very important during the Great Depression because the sisters in the new schools were called to take on, gratis, children as boarders who might otherwise have gone uneducated or spent their days at factories or in fields. This way, their parents had one less mouth to feed and could rest easily knowing the children were being taken care of with love, and, for their part, the children were given a foundation for future, more profitable careers, as well as given the chance to just be kids a little longer.

When I was growing up, there had been a Mother Butler school in San Jose and all we Catholic kids, even those like me who went to public school, called it “Ma Butts.” I think the whole city called it “Ma Butts,” really. It was an all-girls’ school and shared classes with the nearby once-all-boys-I-think-but-eventually-co-ed school Archbishop Mitty. Or maybe I’m thinking of St. Lawrence. I’ve no idea if any still exists now, nor if they have gone co-ed, but I can only imagine the shenanigans that were got up to back then. Ah. Catholicism is for lovers.

After leaving Marymount at Tarrytown, Ms. Donlon swung back through P-A, picking up the crown for “Miss Philadelphia” on the way. (An achievement that was nothing to sneeze at; between 1921 and 1940, three Miss Philadelphias were crowned Miss America. Then the Miss PA contest got off the ground a little better and Miss Phillies were no longer eligible to represent the whole state. But dang — three Miss Americas in 20 years? Philly in the house.)

Dolores became a Walter Thornton model in 1945 and moved to Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Center City (downtown Philadelphia) from which two highly noteable Funny Girls hail: SNL alumni Tina Fey and Cheri Oteri. She packed up a few months later and moved to New York City, where she modeled under the name Patricia Van Iver. In this name, she received the award of “Queen of the New York Press Photographers’ Ball.” But the accolades did not stop rolling in.

Super cool fact alert: In December of 1945, 300,000 GI’s voted Dolores’s pinup their Picture of the Year. Get it, girl! Way to keep those boys smiling. The only bummer is that I cannot track this picture down. If anyone has a scan — the name will likely be Patricia Vaniver or Patricia Van Iver, not Dolores Donlon — I’d love to be able to add it to this post. Thanks!

The late 40’s and early 50’s found Ms. Donlon migrating back and forth between NYC and Hollywood. She continued to be a successful model, winning awards and earning the title of the “Ideal Bride” of 1946 in a wedding fashion show. Her ultimate bridal role came in 1949, when she married Hollywood agent and producer Vic Orsatti. Mr. Orsatti’s first wife was the fairly popular actress Marie McDonald, and he quickly set about securing roles for Dolores: the name change was likely his idea. She was only cast in one film as Pat Van Iver, but by the time the post-production was done, she was re-listed as Dolores Donlon.

Some of the pictures in which Ms. Donlon was featured during this time include The Long Wait, Security Risk, Flight to Hong Kong, and Nude Odyssey. She also appeared on countless television shows. Standouts are Maverick, I Love Lucy, 77 Sunset Strip, and the Walter Winchell Files. Ms. Donlon also continued to model — and therein started some trouble.

In 1954, the Walter Thornton Agency brought a lawsuit of $120,000 to Dolores’s door, citing breach of contract. Ms. Donlon had signed a contract with them as Pat Van Iver (remember? back in her NYC modeling days?) and had not properly nor formally severed her contract with the agency before beginning to earn money elsewere. Under the terms of the contract, she was technically negligent in paying them owed portions of her income. Kind of a shady thing to do on both sides: for her part, she knew very well that she ought sever the contract or else pay up, ideally both; from the agency’s perspective why sneakily wait ’til your model/actress gets famous and then bring it up that she is still under contract? very unprofessional and predatory. So I can go either way on that one.

The Walter Thornton Agency was second only to John Roberts Powers in size of modeling agencies in this country during its heyday. But please consider that size of an agency is in no way indicative of quality. The titular Walter Thornton retired around the time of the lawsuit and died in 1990 of a stroke, neither of which, I’m sure, was related to the suit against Ms. Donlon, who I believe finally paid out about $20k to get them off her back. And I don’t know for certain, but I’m pretty close to positive that she made damned sure the contract was over, that time.

In 1954, a picture of Ms. Donlon taken by photographer Stew Sawyer was named Best Cheesecake Photo of the year by the United Press. Ms. Donlon and Mr. Orsatti separated in 1957 and divorced contentiously in 1958 (from what I know of Vic Orsatti’s marital histories, this was sadly par for the course). Ms. Donlon continued to act throughout the late 50’s and early 60’s. She married Robert de Pasquale, a concert violinist for the NY Philharmonic, in 1963 and retired from acting and modeling to raise her family.

Special thanks to Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen for the timeline of events in Ms. Donlon’s life from which a semi-biography could be culled. Super-great site!

edit: Ma Butts is now called the Harker School and is co-ed. Archbishop Mitty is still alive and kickin’ and is co-ed. St. Lawrence Girls’ High School consolidated with Mitty at some point and is history. That’s a shame. I am a strong proponent of the unpopular idea of all-girls’ secondary schools. Girls perform better when their competition is only other girls; they speak out better and more often about their opinions; they score more highly on tests and participate more actively in class discussion than a girl of comparable age and skill-set who performs in a class of mixed-gender peers. Facts are facts. Sure, there will be gossiping and bullying and catfights — but they would have done that in co-ed school, too. I say get those girls alone with just each other in a classroom and stand back while they kick Math’s ass. I think a young woman can really come in to her own during the critical years of adolescence and form with confidence a strong, true character to her best advantage in an environment made up of predominantly females.

In a perfect world we all see and treat one another as equals, but is high school even a remotely perfect world?? Of course not. I think young women often compromise themselves, both their intellectual growth and formation of morals, for young males. I think they’re better off separated so they can form their own personality rather than learning to cave and conceal their intellect. But I know and understand that my opinion is not a popular one.

Girls of Summer: Jean Jani, Miss July 1957

July 4, 2010

Photographed by one-of-a-kind supafly sweetie pie Mr. Peter Gowland!

The lovely and talented Miss July 1957 was Jean Jani, from Dayton, Ohio.

Although Playboy implies in her write-up (emphasis on the lies half of that word) that Ms. Jani was a stewardess, she was actually a reservations clerk for United Airlines. Will explain shortly.

We were winging our way to a busy week of conferences with authors and agents, and our mind was filled with thoughts of the loftiest literary calibre. So lofty were they that we scarcely heard the dulcet voice of the stewardess requesting us to fasten our seat belt. She repeated the request, and we looked up into the brown eyes of petite (5’3″) Jean Jani of Dayton, Ohio.

(“Cloud Nine.” Playboy, July 1957.)

Barf to blarney and banana splits. Yay to little lookers.

Texture and busy-ness combine in contrast with Ms. Jani’s crisp features throughout the compositions in this spread. Top-notch, complex, and beautiful eye-catching work.

She told us she is saving money to buy a T-bird, her favorite drink is a Vodka Gimlet and she is the proud possessor of a pile of Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte and Jackie Gleason platters


Excellent musical tastes if that part is true. As for the Vodka Gimlet part, I have never had a gimlet of any stripe, but I think one of my friends, I am almost positive Mr. Kite, was recently deciding that Gimlet was the new retro drink of choice. I have strong faith in his trendspotting abilities, so I wager this will come to pass.

You know, like the way Singapore Slings sort of swept last year, at least in my tiny knowledge of central California circles — understand these are things I merely overhear up at the bar while ordering myself a beer.

My friends are really creative with mixed drinks, especially Christo and Gorgeous George, and Paolo and Miss D, either of which pair can find themself spontaneously hosting a party and expertly assess what they have on hand to come up with cramazing cocktails suited to the meal, occasion, and weather, but I am afraid I’m all thumbs at reckoning anything like that — I am also not so great at drinking hard alcohol, period.

For me, beer does the trick and almost never throws me any ugly curveballs. It is usually reasonably priced and you never have to worry about the bartender not knowing how to make it or mixing it too strong.

Beer puts me on familiar footing in what is usually an admittedly uncomfortable situation for me: public socializing. If I have safe, friendly, non-judgmental beer as my co-pilot, I know at least one part of the night will go well.

Like me, beer is a “what you see is what you get” kind of a thing. I feel a kinship and loyalty to beer unmatched by my feelings about any other type of alcohol. When I find something I like, I stick with it.

I like the case of her disappearing, reappearing mole. Like, “Disappearing, reappearing nuclear physicist husband” — Clue. The weird thing about that recurring line is that the nuclear physicist husband was the one Mrs. White beheaded and then cut off his dick; the one who disappeared was actually her first husband.

Without googling the script, I can tell you the conversation between Mrs. White and Wadsworth goes exactly like this (believe me, I watch this movie in my head all the time and I audio recorded it when I was a kid and listened to it on tape while walking around town — don’t you judge me):

“But he was your second husband. Your first husband also disappeared under, shall we say, ‘mysterious’ circumstances.”

“That was his job. He was an illusionist.”

“But he never re-appeared.”

(Spreads her hands and smiles) “He wasn’t a very good illusionist.”

Favorite shot of the spread. Peter and Alice are such wonderful and fun photographers. Man, they’re cool.

I’ve always wondered why those lines about “disappearing, reappearing nuclear physicist husband” were kept in despite being inaccurate. I think Clue might’ve gone through some rewrites and shit got forgotten. Anyway.

Back to marvelous Ms. Jani and the case of her on-again, off-again beauty mark!

“I’m sorry, Sire. It’s just … your mole. Wasn’t it on the other side?”
“I have a mole?!”

(Robin Hood: Men In Tights.)

Full of movie references today, jes.

If being a brunette knockout wasn’t enough for her, every so often Jani would put on a blonde wig [above] and do photo shoots under the name “Joan Brennan.” She retired from modeling in the mid-1960’s in favor of a more domesticated existence.

(Java’s Bachelor Pad: Jean Jani. Swinging Bachelor Productions, 2008.)

Java’s also reports that Ms. Jani

was portrayed as a sexy stewardess for United Airlines in the pages of Playboy, but in actuality she was a reservations clerk. Regardless, her appearance in Playboy cost her her job.


After more photoshoots with the Gowlands and with Ron Vogel, whose name you may remember seeing in the credits for many of the playmates highlighted on this journal, Ms. Jani embarked on a successful full-time career as a pin-up model which spanned the decade of mid-50’s to 60’s.

Jani appeared in several issues of Adam and Modern Man as well as other titles in the late 50’s and early 60’s.

She was also responsible for the jaw-dropping cover of Adam Bedside Reader #2 where she is wearing nothing but a red ribbon. This was a gal who was not afraid to show off her assets.


According to The Playmate Book, Jani forgot about her Playboy experience until her grown daughter gave her a copy in recent years. She has since embraced her pin-up past and become involved in the convention circuit.


Once more, enormous, immeasurably phat big-ups to Java’s Bachelor Pad for the credited shots and info above and for the hot tip about Jeanohs’ wigohs — her blonde alter ego, Ms. Joan Brennan. Your site is awesomesauce! Muah. Thanks a mil. ♥

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

June 8, 2010

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

Centerfold photographed by Mario Casilli.

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

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

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

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

Did your brain not just ASPLODE from the cuteness?

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

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

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

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

(Excerpt from the Mastroianni piece.)

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

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

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


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

Cover — Joey Thorpe.

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

Daily Batman: Blinding you with Science

April 14, 2010

Can Beach Bunny Batgirl get Scientific with you?

On this date in 1981, the space shuttle Columbia completed its first successful orbit, landing safely at Edwards AFB in Antelope Valley, CA. In 1932, the atom was split by Cockroft and Walton in the Cavendish Labs. Like, dang. Those are some incredible scientific landmarks of just the sort that Sir Isaac Newton was speaking in the above quote.

My god, what a century of achievements. What will we do next? Keep your mind open and don’t be afraid of advancements — the only way to prevent a dystopian future run by cyborgs and genetically enhanced a-holes is to stay ethically invested in the coming leaps of technology. The only way to guarantee Bizarro Robocops and sentient microwaves stalking your cloned stem-cell baby with iPod implant neck shunts and laser gun wristwatches is to not care and not keep up with change. Cell phones freak me out and I don’t even know how to begin to use touchscreen notebooks, but I’m determined to learn this year. No burying my head in the sand (or clouds, more likely) and hiding from Change for me — not anymore.

Because I look at that quote from the freaking father of physics, thank you very much, and think of all the science that has rocked our world through the years, and each time a new advancement came along, there were frightened people, shellshocked Luddites like myself waving their arms around and crying “We’re all gonna die! Apocalypse now!” but it never happened, because humanity’s better nature has inevitably prevailed, and we’ve assimilated as best we could each new challenge to keeping the lid on our growing godlike powers. As fearsome as that is, if I am concerned, that’s exactly why I should not give up on the Future, right? If I’m so worried about it, why don’t I put my money where my big scared mouth is and stick around to defend it? Ought we not fight for the future to be a brave and conscience-guided good one instead of cringing in the corner, wringing our hands and refusing to look growing technology square in the eye?

I believe that great changes at which, like Sir Isaac Newton, we can not even possibly begin to guess are going to come in our lifetimes but we can make it a safe and morally-centered time with the potential to better the lives of everyone on Earth, so long as we try and don’t give up or get overwhelmed. I believe this is possible. I really do. I’m in a new and more positive place than I’ve ever been.

Okay, so I guess in addition to getting Scientific with you, I also got a little Hippie. I have those kind of tendencies. Thanks for loving me anyway. (My providing you with all kinds of softcore porn has I’m sure nothing to do with it.)

Valentine Vixen: Barbara Ann Lawford, Miss February 1961

February 4, 2010

Miss February 1961 was the lovely and talented Barbara Ann Lawford. This shoot (with a few exceptions) has not got much of a story but it does have a really crisp, consistent feel to it, with some great colors and a stark simplicity that dovetails nicely with Ms. Lawford’s clear, elegant Black Irish features.

Photographed by Mario Casilli.

The textures of the garments in the pictures are really, really clear — look at the weave on that sweater — and their kind of warm nubbiness makes a nice constrast to the simple lines and cool, white-and-beige color scheme of the shoot. The red of her lips also stands in contrast to the ambient colors and light in the pictures, contributing to the overall unity of effect. Also, there are breasts.

TURN-ONS: Dogs, hot fudge sundaes.
TURNOFFS: People who judge without knowing.

(Playmate data sheet)

One of the features in this issue of Playboy was a short story titled “Come On Out, Daddy,” written by Bernard Wolfe. Wolfe was quite an interesting guy — he was a war correspondent for several science magazines, a Merchant Marine, and the personal secretary/bodyguard to Leon Trotsky during his time in Mexico. A prolific writer, he covered both fiction and non-fiction topics, and collaborated with jazz legend Milton Mesirow on Mesirow’s autobiography Really the Blues. Like a real-life version of Kurt Vonnegut’s Kilgore Trout,* Wolfe was best known for his reams of genre-busting speculative fiction.

His most famous and significant contribution to the literary world is his science-fiction novel Limbo (1952). Set in the 1990’s, Wolfe’s novel is the first book to describe a dystopian futureworld where cybernetics mean that humans and machines not only interact, but are symbiotic, with the limbless having robotic enhanced prosthetics, the aim being the creation of a superior hybrid species which would be overlords to the unenhanced.

This is my favorite picture from the shoot.

Pretty next-level shit for 1952, eh? Penguin Books wrote on the jacket of Limbo’s reprint in 1961 that it was “the first book of science-fiction to project the present-day concept of ‘cybernetics’ to its logical conclusion.” According to the wiki,

Wolfe added heavy doses of Reichian sexual psychology, Trotskyite sociology, and Conradian literary themes like exile and primativism. Thus, Limbo is an early example of the New Wave movement in science fiction.

Of recent years there have been some signs of a raise of interest in Wolfe who is now being read as a precursor of cyberpunk. The dustwrapper to the U.S. first edition promised the reader that Limbo was “a novel of action, suspense, adventure, science fiction, and sex.” For once this description does not overstate the case. [Limbo] includes with intself among other genres the novel of espionage, journal, dystopia, and narrative of scientific experiment. It covers an extraordinary range of texts from ribald jokes up to summaries of brainmapping and the origins of game theory.

(Seed, David. “Deconstructing the Body Politic in Bernard Wolfe’s Limbo.” Science Fiction Studies 24.2 (July 1997): 267-288.)

Am I crazy or is that all-covered-up cover model the ONLY lovely and NOT talented little looker Joni Mattis, Hef’s special lady and social secretary for Mansion West who is infamous in the Empire for not baring all in her November 1960 gatefold appearance?

Besides appearing as the gatefold model in February of 1961, Barby Lawford returned to cover model for September of the same year. I’m not sure if she did more modeling work after that or not: so far I am coming up goose eggs on my “what is she doing now” searches. I will come back and edit if I find out!

*The real Kilgore Trout was named Theodore Sturgeon, and he died in 1985; I know that. I am just sayin’.

Welcome, porny people! Now how about lending that filthy hand to a good cause?

January 13, 2010

First off, thanks to the — as of this writing — over 6,400 people who’ve swung by the site today! Super-cool!* I see you are being linked by a site called My thanks again to you for your visits, and a tip of my hat to the fine folks at the site referring you here for the, erm, clever wordplay in their company title (“Pussy Galore” + “hot” en español, I imagine, right? get it? … it’s a decent enough pun; I give it a 60 but I can’t dance to it).

Dawn Richard, Miss May 1957. Photographed by Ed DeLong and David Sutton.

However, now that you’re here, and I’ve got these vintage cheesecake Playboy centerfolds helping me hold your attention, LeVar Burton’s** twitter and I would like to bend your ear a tick on this whole Haiti earthquake and subsequent increased housing and famine catastrophe. This article in the Miami Herald details legit relief organizations through which you can help with time, money, and food donations the displaced and surviving persons affected by yesterday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, which is unfortunately only going to compound their existing problems as a developing nation.

Miss December 1959, Pat Sheehan. Photographed by Sam Wu.

Those are all fine and worthy causes if you give the list a genuine spin, but I sense that if you have landed here, you are probably impatient to get on with other things, and I empathize to a point with you on the whole “utter-lack-of-attention-span” thing. (Everyone blames MTV but I think it started with cereal box-backs, because I never had cable and I’ve an awful itchy trigger finger in almost every situation) Here is the super-fast-easy way to seal the deal:

Miss January 1957, June Blair. Photographed by Hal Adams.

In America, text the word “HAITI” to the number 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross. It will automatically come off your phone bill. How easy is that? $10 is not that much, and this is coming from an extremely broke person. So why don’t you take your hand off your dick (only for a moment, don’t worry — I’m not asking for miracles), fetch up the cell phone you’ve undoubtedly parked in your pocket, and take a second to donate even the low amount of $10 to the Red Cross’s special fund, through which, guaranteed, 100% of your donation goes to Haitian quake relief efforts. The playmates you are gawking at would be super, super impressed. That is why they are all in red: for the Red Cross. (Yes, I have so many playmate pictures saved that I was able to cull out a few scantily red-clad ones for just this entry — and even then I narrowed it to these, my faves.)

Miss March 1957, Sandra Edwards. Photographed by Peter Gowland, a dear patron saint. Right on!

I am not telling you how to live your life, just saying it is a quick and easy way to ease suffering while we comfortably enjoy and count ourselves lucky another carefree, nudie-pic-seeking day. Thanks for your time!

*As I said to the Gentleman earlier today, “I have supported the porn industry for years. It’s about time they returned the favor.”

**You’re darned-tootin’ I follow Geordi La Forge on the twitter. And I did not think it was possible he could be more of a nerd than I always imagined, but he is. He’s seen Avatar, like, five times. I almost stopped following him cause it was all he was on about for weeks. But I forgive him.

Post-Holiday Pick-Up Day: Dinah Willis, Miss December 1965

December 26, 2009

Playboy’s Miss December 1965, the lovely and talented Dinah Willis, was a “Bewitched” fan (boo: that snooty stick-in-the-mud Sam can kiss my ass; Team “Jeannie” for-ev-errr), but I forgive her because she was a really interesting gal other than that.

Photographed by Pompeo Posar.

Miss Willis has devoted most of her off-hours this past fall to her increasing interest in the field of underwater photography. “I’ve always been kind of an amateur photo bug,” says Dinah, “So when my mom bought me a Yashica 35-millimeter camera for my birthday last August, and a skindiving friend of mine helped me build a waterproof plexiglass housing for it, I really wanted to learn all I could about underwater camera techniques.” (“Letter Perfect,” Playboy, December 1965.)

My husband got me hella photography shit for my Lomo Diana F+ camera for Christmas. Hella. Like all kinds of nifty gadgets and attachments. I don’t know what that’s about or how he remembered me talking about all that shit over a year ago, but I’m really grateful, although nervous because it adds extra pressure for my photos to not suck. I guess I should have bought him art supplies … I didn’t even think to. I’m a sucky, shoddy, estranged dick. Sorry, husbandoh.

“Nowadays, I spend most of my free weekends south of the border shooting stills in San Carlos Bay, or talking shop with all the other amateur shutterbugs who come there to dive.”

Dinah’s few stay-at-home evenings are spent brushing up on her painting (“I stick to watercolors most of the time, but I’ve dabbled in everything from oils to toothpick sculpture”), listening to her collection of country-and-western LPs (“Hank Williams is my ideal”) and cooking Mexican dinners (“Outside of tacos and enchiladas I’m a total washout on the domestic scene”).

Hank Williams and tacos? Kiddo, I’m yours. I will even tolerate your retarded fuckin’ pillow-dogs (she mentions that she breeds show mini-poodles; we can keep them around to feed to the Great Dane/Mastiff mix I will one day breed).

“With my father dead and my older brother, Keith, in the Army, I’m the only breadwinner in the family. Of course, my Playmate money will take care of any emergency, so all I have to do is earn enough to make ends meet for the next year or so. I’d like to travel a little before I settle down, anyway. There’s not much for a young girl to do in my home town except get married, have babies and watch television — and I hate television!”

Word. Television will rot your brain, y’all. I’ve always said that. Not like the internet, which cures baldness, tones muscle, kisses babies, and makes you smarter!

I was born in Texas* but grew up in Ruidoso and Eunice, New Mexico.

I have one older brother who is fighting in Vietnam.

Jackie Kennedy and Barry Goldwater. I don’t see how a woman can take such a loss and remain so brave. And he’s one of the most outstanding individualists of our time.

I sleep too late.

Between all of that, the tacos, the Bakersfield-sound-LP-fandom, and the photography, Ms. Willis and I are clearly hella getting married as soon as I build this sex-changing time machine, and if you scoff at my flawless plan you are totally not invited to the wedding.

*Heroes fans — she was born in Odessa, TX specifically.

Actually, a spin on the wiki reveals that Ms. Willis has been firmly spoken for since not long after this December pictorial was published: “Dinah married a musician signed to The Tokens B. T. Puppy label. Dinah has two daughters. One is a poet who works with the homeless in the Bowery, NYC; the other is a singer, song writer and a backup singer for Chubby Checker.” Not too shabby. I’ll let it go and leave the time machine blueprints for another day! This time…

Post-Holiday Pick-Up: Miss December 1959, Ellen Stratton

December 26, 2009

Photographed by William Graham, assisted by his wife. (Like the Gowlands, they were an artistic nude partnership. Very cool people, all of them.)

A girl can’t hold down a position as a legal secretary with a pleasing appearance and a head full of feathers, so our December Playmate Ellen Stratton is further proof, if proof be needed, that a girl can be bright and beautiful at the same time. Ellen has worked for a leading West Coast law office for the past 2 1/2 years, and confides that her secret ambition is to be a lady lawyer. (“Legal Tender,” Playboy, December 1959.)

A “lady lawyer?!” What will they think of next?

Actually and admirably, Ellen raised herself up from very hardscrabble roots and no early formal education whatsoever to become a legal secretary in a time when women were mainly fucking their way to that position, and she did it specifically so she could go to law school.

Ellen’s family worked as sharecroppers picking cotton. When she was 10, her parents decided that there was little opportunity in Mississippi and they moved to California, settling in the Los Angeles area. (Ellen has noted that at the time, Mississippi did not require children to attend school.) Her mother found work as an upholsterer.

After [entering and] graduating from high school, Ellen took a job as a legal secretary and took classes at Los Angeles City College.

Ellen now works in property management and owns rental properties in the Los Angeles area. (the wiki)

Her work with Playboy took her to Chicago, where she was a bunny at the Playboy Club and lived at the Playboy Mansion. While there, Ellen became acquainted with Shel Silverstein, Sammy Davis Jr. and, of course, Hugh Hefner.

How do Ellen’s lawyer bosses feel about her appearance in Playboy’s Playmate of the Month? They dig it. So, gentleman of the jury, we are prepared to testify that we’ve a serious case on Ellen Stratton and any objections will be promptly overruled as soon as you’ve considered Exhibit A, her full-color Playmate pose attached hereto.

Exhibit A was impressive enough to make Ms. Stratton the first-ever, brand-spanking new, inaugural titleholder of Playmate of the Year, which she used as a launchpad to get the modeling money to continue her career in law, real estate, and set aside a nest egg to raise her family. Today she is a grandmother in Los Angeles and has recently begun attending GlamourCon, likely to the delight of vintage cheesecake fans everywhere. (What kind of weirdos keep track of this stuff? one can only imagine how empty and pathetic their lives are.) You keep on keepin’ on, girl!

Hugh Hefner and Ellen Stratton, late 1998, in what looks to be a genuinely affectionate hug at the announcement of the PMOY for 1999 (Heather Kozar, formerly Miss January 1998).

I am here-and-there on the Hef-love but I fiercely heart this picture. Playboy made a huge difference in her life and enabled her to fulfill her dreams. She used the magazine instead of the common perception of the magazine using the playmates. Good on all parties invovled!

Advice: Drew Barrymore NSFW again (what?! I know! crazy!)

November 6, 2009

Today some quickies from Drew on humility, being true to oneself, and having a good self-image.

“I definitely don’t think that I’m hot doo-doo. I don’t.”

“I used to look in the mirror and feel shame, I look in the mirror now and I absolutely love myself.”

“There’s something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk.”

Today, I am trying to put together something spectacular for the Chili Cookoff that Paolo and Miss D are hosting tomorrow. Everyone is going to be there, and they’ve all snatched up the available sides: Miss D is doing cornbread and I think apple pie; Jonohs is of course on cheesecake duty (“legendary”); the LBC is making one of her amazing dips so she has that and chips nailed down already; Corinnette is bringing beverages; Geo, Paolo, and the Gentleman have all opted to enter top secret chili recipes; Jan-Han grabbed pasta salad right out from under my nose for which I do not begrudge her (like I am going to tell my oldest friend’s recently cancer-surviving mom who I adore that pasta salad is my signature dish, and I dare you to suggest I ought); I feel like all that’s left is brats and fancy sauces and rolls, but that feels super-unoriginal. If you have ideas, please throw them my way!

Meanwhile, as I get kind of shady and nervous about large social gatherings, I’ll be keeping the lovely and talented DB’s advice in mind today and work on inner peace. Today, inner peace: tomorrow, a chili cookoff. See, when I write it out like that, my goals are not only miniscule but almost embarassingly easy to achieve. Hurray!