Posts Tagged ‘donna edmondson’

The Girls of Summer: Gale Olson, Miss August 1968

June 13, 2010


Adorable cuteness photographed by Ron Vogel. Brain-asplosions. See what I mean about the ’60’s being the Heyday?

Your Miss August 1968 was the lovely and talented Gale Olson, who as you can see didn’t need cheesecake poses and a strained, pageanty smile to turn in an adorable and upbeat photoshoot for this issue of Playboy.

It’s really interesting how some of the playmates are capable of keeping the material erotic instead of porny. I don’t know that I can pinpoint the exact difference … but I look at this shoot, and I look at something like the gatefold of Miss November 1995, Holly Witt, and I feel like Edwin Meese quoting Justice Potter Stewart about classing porn: I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.

Kind of funny since he was describing the opposite; Meese made his referential remark in regard to the history in America of attempts at distinguishing sexually themed content from straight-up obscenity. I’m kind of talking about the reverse. Either way, it’s a dicey issue. Reagan appointed Meese in 1985 to head the Meese Commission, also called the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography, who published their report in 1986 to lip-smackingly salacious public interest. Everyone loves a good witch hunt, am I right?

I mentioned all these shenanigans once back in November when we talked about the experiences of Miss November 1986, Donna Edmondson, the Virgin Playmate who got hit with a steamy little shitstorm of media criticism. As though it were her fault. The Meese Commission’s report on pornography had the moral majority howling for naked people’s blood and she got caught in the middle. And don’t get me started on what happened fifteen years later — as we still live in a nation of, if not puritans, then at least sweaty hypocrites — to sweet Lindsey Vuolo, Miss November 2001, with that publicity-seeking, accusatory, diminishing misogynist Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Ugh.

I almost didn’t include this shot because it wasn’t very sharp or high-quality, but then as I contemplated it, I decided I actually liked the hazy quality, and the visible wrinkles in the image became dear and touching to me. There is something incredibly personal and human about the almost sad little private story one must conclude has lead to its well-worn threadbareness. Someone scanned this one with love, having either held on to it themselves, or acquired it from someone who had, for a long time. That idea is interesting as hell to me. What would someone make of the objects — letters, pictures, cards, old shirts — that you have secretly packed along with you to every new home in which you live, all these years, because of an emotional value, an identity-establishing familiarity, that far exceeds those objects’ original costs?


Pyjama Jam!

I do not want to use the word sentimental, per se, because these can be things that you keep for the gut, visceral reaction they can still incite. These are things that are part of the rhythms of your mind and body that I’m talking about, things worth holding on to because they are become part of how you operate. A roadmap to the art of you being “You” is this small collection of things so beloved that calling them cherished diminishes their import. These objects which represent long-passed moments or ways of feeling are part and parcel of the entirety of your experiences, your past, your emotions and stomach acid and sweat.

Things that have lasted longer than the relationships from which they came or phases in your mode of dress and hairstyle. To everyone else, because these objects are mixed in with other items, there is no shine or particularity about them. Only you know.

It is so incredibly personal and private, but the plain fact is that it will be gone through and picked over, someday, that collection of your private, true “belongings.” Because you’ll be dead, and those things that mean so much to you, those talismans of purpose and associative emotional properties won’t mean anything to anyone anymore.

I apologize. That was really downbeat. I’m getting close to a hard-hitting deathiversary (if you will) and I get all fucked up over it. Still. No need to drag anyone along.

Whew! Hot cross buns, enough with the self-audit, and enough with the needless sex-in-America history lessons as I retread ground I have already indignantly covered. Sorry — let’s get on with Ms. Olson!


The Olsons, who now live in Costa Mesa, are a large, closely knit family. “Having six brothers and three sisters really teaches you a lot about sharing things, materially and emotionally,” Gale says. Our August Playmate hopes one day to raise a family almost as large, but that won’t come about until she first fully satisfies her penchant for adventure.

(“Star-Spangled and Starry-Eyed.” Playboy, August 1968.)


“Last year I decided to become an astronaut, so I called the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Houston to find out qualification requirements.” Gale spent enough time being briefed on the phone by NASA officials to acquire four pages of notes. “So far, things are turning out fine for me,” she reports.

(Ibid.)


A model (36-22-35) of American femininity, Gale (who delivered talks on girl scouting over German television) stays in shape by practicing ballet and exercising, and plans to study Tahitian dancing next year.

(Ibid.)

I have said before that we superfly Girl Scouts are a bombass bunch. Take it to the bank.


“I think every girl who has the figure for it wishes she could be a Playmate, and I’m no exception,” [Gale] observes. “All I can say is that I was lucky!”

Lucky Gale, lucky readers.

(Ibid.)


Photographed by by Stephen Wayda and Barry Fontenot. Very close to the same pose!
And thirty-one years later, the readers were lucky again when Ms. Olson’s daughter, the lovely and talented Crystal McCahill, above, was Playmate of the Month for Playboy’s May 2009 issue.


It’s a different kind of Darwin Award: the Playmate gene, passed from mother to daughter, ensuring survival of the fittest and constant attention from males of the species. Examine the evidence before you in the curvy form of Crystal McCahill, the 25-year-old daughter of Miss August 1968 Gale Olson.

(“It’s Crystal Clear.” Playboy, May 2009.)

\

“I think every girl who has the figure for it wishes she could be a Playmate, and I’m no exception,” said Gale in her Playmate interview. “All I can say is, I am lucky!” Yet when luck strikes twice, it seems less like luck than destiny. It has happened just once before, when Miss December 1960 Carol Eden saw her daughter Simone grace the Centerfold in February 1989.

Says the Illinois-born Crystal, “I remember telling my brothers and sisters, ‘I’m going to do that one day. I’m going to do the exact same pose.'”

(Ibid.)

A fun-loving, positive, and thoroughly modern gal, you may follow Ms. Olson’s present doings on the twitter.

This picture is one of my favorites from the shoot. From a strictly aesthetic point of view it may possibly eclipse for me even the swan-butt ones. I love the movement and the colors in this composition. The impact of the yellow in all those little flowers around her is joyful and riotous, and her closed eyes imply a savoring of the moment. There is nothing forced or deliberate in this picture. It’s excellent.

The cover was photographed by Mario Casilli and Caroll Baker. The pose and styling of the model, Aino Korva — Miss Universe Denmark 1963, and first-runner-up in the 1963 Miss Universe pageant (in which Peter “Dr. Strangelove/The Pink Panther” Sellers was one of the judges!!), making her bid the closest a Dane has ever come to winning the title — are strikingly similar to the centerfold of Miss July 1967, Heather Ryan. I’m saving the lovely and talented Ms. Ryan for later this month. But you’ll see what I mean then.




As with the post on the lovely and talented Miss March 1967, Fran Gerard, I must throw up huge thanks to Fabrizio, an awesome and generous moderator over at the vintage erotica forums, which are free, well-moderated, full of fun, and they won’t give your computer any wack infections or the hantavirus. Grazie, bello♥!, and, to the rest of you, run — don’t walk — to the site. Enjoy!

Today’s project: NSFW November — The Math.

December 11, 2009

Today I am forcing myself to stop watching badly dubbed Italian horror movies and tackle the long-overdue compilation of stats on last month’s playmates. Then I’m hoping to turn them into some fun graphs and factoid type blurbs.

I’d like to be able to trendspot together, but I’m having trouble thinking of trends that go deeper than the surface appearance. Hmm. So far I have some basic obvious characteristics like hair/eye color, photographer of the centerfold, age, etc., but I’d like to come up with some more fun categories.

If you think of any, give me a holler. In the meanwhile, stay tuned!

top, Donna Edmondson, Miss November 1986 (The Virgin); Janet Lupo, Miss November 1975 (The HELLA Stacked Jersey Girl); bottom, Monica Tidwell, 1973 (The Redheaded Nature Girl).

Raise your hand if you relentlessly and somewhat fetishistically stereotype your own gender.

NSFW November: Donna Edmondson, Miss November 1986

November 27, 2009

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.


Photographed by Arny Freytag and Stephen Wayda

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)


I thought about that when I posed for my layout — imagining the kind of sex I’ll one day have. I don’t know when or where it will happen. But I do know it’ll be with somebody I know and love.”

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!


But I don’t regret a single moment. I thought the pictures were beautiful and tasteful, and all the Playboy people treated me very well. It was a great experience that I will never forget.

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.


As for my former claim to fame — as the virgin PMOY — all I can say is: Not anymore! Lots of love to you!

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!