Posts Tagged ‘helena antonaccio’

May Flowers: Cindy Fuller, Miss May 1959

May 8, 2011


Photographed by Bunny Yeager.

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

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


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

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

(Ibid.)


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

(Ibid.)

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


Runner-up for favorite shot.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Valentine Vixen — Nancy Harwood, Miss February 1968

February 24, 2010

In her Playmate interview, the lovely and talented Nancy Harwood, Miss February 1968, states views on the diametrically opposite end of the spectrum from yesterday’s first Valentine Vixen L.F. (Miss February 1970, all posts with references to whom have been removed from this site at the request of a different LF), but they ended up in virtually identical fields, showing once again that it is possible and even perhaps God’s intention in creating a species of such diverse intellects to achieve goals of peace and harmony no matter if there are little areas of difference between people. We can walk parallel paths and reach the same destination, and not imagine ours to be the only way home. Does this make sense?


Photographed by Bill Figge and Ed De Long.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Indian mystic who has introduced the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Mia Farrow Sinatra, among others, to the joys of contemplation, can also count Nancy Harwood among his followers. When Miss February faces the “altar” in her bachelorette pad in Burbank — it’s adorned with artificial flowers of psychedelic intensity from Mexico — she forgets not only the cares of a part-time college student but also the care-nots of a 19-year-old coming of age in Southern California. (“The Girl From Inner Space,” Playboy, February 1968.)


“It’s like getting high without drugs,” explains the pharmacist’s daughter — who got the message when she and many others, including pop idol Donovan, meditated with Maharishi recently at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium: “You could actually feel your neighbors going up, up and away!” (Ibid.)


Like so many of her tuned-in generation, Nancy grooves to the varied sounds of today’s many-splendored pop musical world — Hugh Masekela, Wes Montgomery, the Beatles, the Stones and Ravi Shankar. She also enjoys fraternizing with a variety of people at school, at the beach (“I used to go in for a lot of surfing, but paddling out got to be a drag”) or on Sunset Strip. (Ibid.)


I have a lot of friends with long hair, though I wouldn’t necessarily call them hippies.” However, Nancy informed us that abrasive contact with the “real” world is taking its toll on the flower children: “The Strip now has a lot in common with skid row — everybody’s just milling around and most of them are up tight. Last spring, people were turned on to one another; now, everybody’s on his own trip.” (Ibid.)


There is an appropriately forlorn but determined quality to this unusually clothed picture.

In my opinion, Nancy accurately pegs here the increasingly dissident years in the aftermath of the Summer of Love, which was 1967. You will hear the same complaint from other people — it was like that time was a golden hour that was never successfully recaptured, perhaps inevitably leading to the narcissistic solo drug benders of the seventies and subsequent desperately empty materialism and casual sex of the 1980’s. I honestly think we almost brought it back around in the 1990’s as far as caring about one another and giving a shit about the environment once more, but we lost it again somehow … I apologize to my daughter’s generation in advance for whatever comes next.

Another very unusual shot. They followed Nancy around to school and some peace rallies protesting the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. It’s not an experiment they tried much with the playmates, showing the reality of their lives, but it pays off with an idealistic gal like Nancy because that is part of her dimply but flinty-blue-eyed charm — the tinfoil beneath the icing of what you think is a cupcake but is actually a very determined young woman.


The more conventional side of Nancy’s education includes psychology and business courses at Los Angeles City College, a school she likes because of the diverse origins and upbringings of its students. Her ambitions are to model — Vogue’s Veruschka is her ideal — and to dance, preferably in films. (Ibid.)


According to her biography on her official site, Nancy put her classes to good use, and then some.

Nancy has been involved in human potential work for more than 15 years and is available for a personal coach. She is sought after as a coach because of her own experience and professoinal success. In her coaching, she integrates her extensive knowledge of body mechanics, diet, vitamins, and goal setting.

Due to her combination of brains, beauty, and free-love-based idealism and spirituality, Nancy was a tremendously popular Playmate during this time, especially with soldiers serving overseas during the Vietnam War.

Her feature was so popular that she received nine duffel bags of mail from American troops fighting in Vietnam in the following months. (official bio.)

Also,

She has remained a serious physical fitness buff, and has the same body weight and figure today that she had 25 years ago. (Ibid.)

The proof is in the pudding: check out the shots below!


DIG THE FABULOSITY!! l to r: Wonderful Helena Antonaccio (Miss June 1969), nothing-less-than-legendary star of the burlesque stage Tempest Storm, and beautiful flower child Nancy at Los Angeles Glamourcon in November of 2003.

Special thanks forever and always to the graceful, fun, funny, and all-around cramazing Helena Antonaccio for the above and below smashing shots of playmates and stage stars of yore in current action.


l to r: Nancy, Helena, and lovely and talented Connie Mason (Miss June 1963), Glamourcon 2003.

You must rush, rush, rush to Helena’s website and flock to her booth at any convention you attend. I can always count on the one-of-a-kind Miz A to Bring It when it comes to wonderful pictures. Bella, if you did not exist, I would have to invent you. *Muah!* ♥ (I get mooshy.)

Final present shot of Nancy:

Picture of Nancy at Glamroucon 15 by wonderful and hilarious J Greely, photographer of beautiful women and more recently zoo animals, who says, “I have nothing against naked women but I do object to clothed animals, so it evens out.” Check him out.

As a final awesome note, per her official site,

Ms. Harwood is currently President of the “original” Centerfold Alumni Association, which is composed of past Playmates and Centerfolds of the Month. These models are featured Playmates, whose dates of appearance range from August 1956 through June 1997.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world, Ms. Harwood!

NSFW November: Lisa Baker, Miss November 1966

November 14, 2009

The lovely and talented Lisa Baker, Playboy’s Miss November 1966 enjoys jazz, cheese-tasting, and a refreshingly open-minded take on afternoon snacking attire.


Photographed by either Bill Figge or Ed DeLong

Cheese looks like simple red-rind edam, alcohol looks like some kind of dessert wine, I am going to say Sauternes because I could drink that by the bottle and think it pairs well with cheese.

I like to order a cheese plate, where they give you the whole range from mild to sharp, with a glass of Sauternes at a fancy place when I feel like being hoity-toity and/or want to die from eating cheese, as I am viciously lactose intolerant and never remember to carry any kind of medicine with me. Read: if in some distant future, I am out with you, and I order a cheese plate, sex is not even remotely on my mind. The spirit may be willing thanks to the wine, but the flesh? Weak doesn’t begin to cover it.

Stomach swelling and projectile vomit notwithstanding, I am not the only girl who gets ga-ga over cute little cheese samples and suchlike. Sauternes and a cheese plate with nuts and triangle slices of that quince stuff have mellowed many a lady’s mind and made her look at her date more charitably. All the elements of a cheese-tasting spread are honestly easy to procure, and look super-posh. Believe me. Take this to the bank. We women go bananas for that kind of shit. Dessert wine, cheese varieties, almonds, and quince: write that down.

Records visible in the centerfold photo are Trini Lopez’s “Trini Lopez at PJ’s,” a live recording from 1963; the 1960 album “Hello Love” by Ella Fitzgerald; and “Playboy Presents: Once In A Blue Moon” by Johnny Janis (nice plug by the magazine).


Get it: the skis make her bunny ears. That’s kind of clever, right?

Anyway, I’ve blathered all this time about cheese and wine and LP’s mainly because I got all these pictures but very little info about Ms. Baker, other than that she was Playmate of the Year in 1967. Outside of that, her credits kind of died down around the late ’70s and they were all Playboy projects. I actually found more about her present doings than I did her past. She is currently still an active spokesmodel for products and print model available for photoshoots, appearing at conventions around the United States.


l to r: DeDe Lind (Miss August 1967), Helena Antonaccio (Miss June 1969), and Lisa Baker at Glamourcon 2006, from Helena’s official website.

Interestingly, according to the wiki, Ms. Baker now lives in Florida and rooms with fellow retired Playmate DeDe Lind, who is alleged to be one of the most popular Playmates ever, garnering the most bags of mail ever received in the magazine’s history up until the time of her appearance in August, 1967. The two travel to conventions together and appear at local events.

You keep on keepin’ on, girls. God bless ’em!


Photographed by Patrick “Patman” Sun, DragonCon 1998. Judging from her expression and her grip on that alien, I think Ms. Lind may have been over-served at the hotel bar.