Posts Tagged ‘Mario Casilli’

Flashback Friday — Valentine Vixen: Cheryl Kubert, Miss February 1958

November 2, 2012

The bulk of this post originally appeared on February 5, 2010 at 9:04 am.


Photographed by Mario Casilli.

First up is the lovely and talented Cheryl Kubert. In going through my files to prep this entry, I realized I’d already saved several pictures from this shoot here and there for the last year, so I’m pretty pumped to share.

It’s not a cute or even particularly “themed” shoot at all, but Ms. Kubert has an almost accusing serenity that makes what would be standard shots if it were any other model seem more arresting and beyond ordinary than their composition would dictate.

It’s the eye contact, I reckon. She has deep eyes. The downward cast of her chin, the unparted lip, the steady gaze; she seems so solemn. It makes the shoot feel heavy, but in a beautiful, ruminating, kind of sad way. She has this kind of practical but somewhat unhappy sincerity to her expression and posture, an unvarnished and troubled vulnerability. It’s moody.

The written copy that accompanied this pictorial is absolute drivel. I mean, just pure shit. Its more pun-ridden and meaningless even than the b.s. that they printed up for Marlene Callahan, and that is saying something, believe me.

The strangest part about the article is that, besides being empty apple fritters and pretty nonsense, the endless stream of non sequitirs about Scandinavian idioms seemingly have almost nothing to do with the pictures.

The write-up, titled “Playmate on Skis,” describes skiing in great detail and alludes to its history in Scandinavia, which is well and good, but in the pictures Ms. Kubert is mainly not around snow whatsoever; furthermore, the article lays no claim to her being of Scandinavian descent. Just a poor job all around. Banana boats and baloney sauce, Playboy, I’m sorry. Thankfully the pictures are unique, sensitive, and artistic.

Okay, I just spent fifteen minutes hard-searching and I found the above missing link. ONE SHOT of her with skis in addition to the centerfold (which is generally shot separate from the rest of the pictorial spread). Pfft. And if that is not a fake scene outside the window, I’ll eat my hat. Total cheezits (I’m trying to swear less this year and I’ve found that food items make handy and amusing euphemisms).


(The nude Jayne Mansfield spread will come up again in several days, actually. Really interesting story, but we’re focused on Ms. Kubert right now. Keep your shirt on.)

I can only conjecture that Cheryl Kubert was a stage name, because there is pretty much nothing known about her prior to her centerfold appearance or what she did following, other than that she had appeared in a bit part in the film Pal Joey in 1957.

According to the Playmate Book, Ms. Kubert died April 25, 1989 of apparent suicide. Because Playboy did not keep data sheets prior to September of 1959, it is not known how old she was at the time of her appearance in the magazine or her death. It makes those deep eyes seem much sadder to know that. R.I.P.





edit: I was sitting here trying to think where I had just seen the name “Kubert” recently, and finally remembered that yesterday’s Daily Batman of Catwoman and Batman throwing plates at each other in the Super Dictionary (Warner, 1978) featured art work by the cartoonist Joe Kubert. Found his official website and have fired off a quick email using his “contact” form, inquiring if he is related to Cheryl Kubert or has heard anything about her before. It’s a longshot, but I’ll let you know what comes of it.

edit 11/2/12: In the original post, the following comment was left

John Hawksley Says:

Hello, I was Cheryl’s husband and we were married at the time of her death(may 28,1988) Cheryl Kubert was her real name. Born in Los Angeles, went to Fairfax High School. We had one child(Rachel). She was 50 at time of her death. She was a glamour lovlie in Ken Murry’s Blackouts and she did extensive modeling, traveled with U. S. O troupe and was a member of SAG and SEG. She had the heart and the looks of an angel. She could sing, play the piano and dance. If you need anymore information you can text me. John

Thank you for the further info, Mr. Hawksley.

edit 11/2/12, 2.0: The late Joe Kubert, comic legend, also corresponded with me briefly in regard to this post. He passed on in August, and I am not sharing because I believe death negates privacy, but merely because I never shared originally. As with Mr. Hawksley’s comment, I meant to go back and edit again, but the time gets away from you.

Dear E,

Thank you for your email and your interest. To my knowledge I am not related to a Cheri [sic] Kubert. She looks like someone I would not have minded knowing! Please continue to read, write, and care about comics. You may also share a link with your readers to The Kubert School.

Regards,
Joe

The Kubert School, based in Dover, NJ offers students a high quality and challenging education in Cartooning and Graphic Art.” They also have correspondence courses.

This has been your Flashback Friday.

Girls of Summer: Heather Ryan, Miss July 1967

October 21, 2011


Photographed by Bill Figge and Ed de Long.

So, it’s still in the 80’s in my little pocket of the universe— that’s around 30 to you metric friendohs — and I say that calls for one last Girl of Summer. (Don’t call it an Indian Summer; call it Global Warming’s Brief and Only Benefit.)

The lovely and talented Heather Ryan was Playboy‘s Miss July 1967. She is an all-around smashing girl and I’m super-psyched to finally finish the write-up on her. Whatch’all know about unusal pets? Cause this strawberry blonde here’s ’bout to change the game.



Says Heather, I don’t think there’s anything unusual about owning an ocelot, but people always stare when we go walking together.”

(“Call of the Wild.” Playboy, July 1967.)

Not so sure it’s the ocelot they’re double-taking on.

[Heather] currently resides at her family’s Glendale home, on the brink of the canyon: “It’s pretty desolate out there, but we’re lucky that we have no close neighbors, because the ocelot often screams at night.”

(Ibid.)

No couch potatoes looking for a BJ and a Blockbuster night need apply:

“I am,” she says, “fascinated by adventure, and I suppose it pervades most of my tastes. I like actors like Paul Newman, Charlton Heston and Steve McQueen, because they usually portray men who are as untamed as my ocelot.”

(Ibid.)



Speed-loving Heather admits to driving her 1966 Mustang faster on occasion than the law prescribes.

(Ibid.)

Attagirl. Speaking of which, the most terrible Mustang experience befell me this week.

I was running a bit late on my way to work. I headed on to the freeway with a newish Mustang ahead of me. The guy crawled down the ramp and inched his way through the merge, then continued to torture me by poking around in the middle lane, keeping me from getting in to the leftmost, fastest lane.

I was totally shocked. You’re in a Mustang, man! You do not drive a Mustang in the middle lane! Somewhere in Germany, the Cappy just felt a pang in his heart and shook his head, and he didn’t know why: now you know, brother. A guy was driving a Mustang in the middle lane at about 60 mph. I know. It was a scandal.



Though she hasn’t had much exposure to the psychedelics-freedom-love movement currently the kick among West Coast youth, Heather recently witnessed a mass “love-in” at Elysian Park.

(Ibid.)


“I’d never seen such a crew — everybody walking about and presenting the most unlikely gifts, like fruits and flowers, to each other.”

(Ibid.)

But she was not much in to the hippie scene, particularly the men —


TURN-OFFS: Men with long hair, and the unnaturalness of women today.

(“Playmate Data Sheet.” Playboy. July 1967.)

Totally agree. I don’t like long hair on men … sorry long-haired friends, it’s just a personal preference. No long hair, no skinny jeans. Spread the word.

As for Ms. Ryan’s dislike of the “unnaturalness” of women, who can argue with that? Besides girdles and foam butts, there was already plastic surgery and ubiquitous hairpieces. Of course, the problem has only gotten worse. I can only imagine what Ms. Ryan thinks of some of today’s Playboy centerfolds.


Number one favorite shot with a bullet.

AMBITIONS: A legal secretary or model, or perhaps I’ll enter a biological institute and become a laboratory assistant and transcriber.

(Ibid.)

Ms. Ryan did not fulfill those ambitions …

…Because she totally exceeded them. Get it, girl! A wildlife biologist, Ms. Ryan is a published author and has lead all-female eco-tours. Taxidermy is her hobby. In the Playboy article, she mentions enjoying hunting quail and rabbit, so it’s kind of a natural progression.

Ms. Ryan also mentions, when asked what she thinks is a great read, Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury’s little masterpiece is one of my top favoritest books of all time, too. I just re-read it last weekend, as I like to read it every year around Halloween. Synchronicity! One of these years when I’ve sufficiently expiated my sins of ignorance to Mr. Auden, I will have to have a “Something Wicked” October.

There are many books I read at special times of year, but Something Wicked is one which I never fail to get toe-curling excited about in my anticipation. The descriptions are gorgeous, the writing crackles and terrifies and moves you — I adore all Bradbury, but I put Something Wicked in the most special, highest place.


Click above to scope the original Playboy article scans; there are pictures included in the spread that are not in this post, so give those a spin!

Cover model Venita Wolfe was photographed by Mario Casilli, who shot the following month’s centerfold: the lovely and talented sweetheart DeDe Lind.

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.

(Ibid.)

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.)


Favorite.

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.

(Ibid.)


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.

(Ibid.)

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.

(Ibid.)

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.

The Girls of Summer: DeDe Lind, Miss August 1967

June 16, 2010

The lovely and talented DeDe Lind has come up several times before, and I am totally pumped that she gets her own post! She is an amazing woman who is sweet, funny, and deservedly popular.


Photographed by Mario Casilli.

This picture has been to Vietnam and the moon and its friendly, upbeat subject just keeps on truckin’. Read on and find out more about the single most popular centerfold model in the history of Playboy!

How did she get that gravity-defying figure? Spaghetti, of course.

Early in the evening, DeDe turns to the kitchen and her principal avocation, with a flair and success in cooking that does the Swedish and Italian roots of her family tree proud. “Like Mom’s, my best main course is a spaghetti dish,” DeDe says.

(“DeDe Girl.” Playboy, August 1967.)


For a quiet woman, DeDe is not without opinions. “I don’t see how we can get out,” she says of the war in Vietnam. “But — perhaps because I’m a girl and I’m young? — The thought of losing our young men way over there is awful.”

(Ibid.)

Maybe it was that anxious empathy, her sunny spirits, confession of shyness, or maybe a little something to do with the sweet rack and all these adorable girly-girl pictures? — Whatever the cause, DeDe Lind holds the honor of being the undisputed most popular Playmate of all time. She received more mail than any other Playmate before her time and since. Get it, girl!

This popularity was out of control with the soldiers serving overseas in Vietnam. I think a large part of it was her genuine, outspoken empathy for their plight. Dudes seriously flipped out over DeDe Lind, begging relatives to send multiple copies of the magazine in case something happened to their first copy, and writing DeDe truckloads of fan letters. I think that’s actually really cool and a unique and touching cultural phenomenon.

Similar to the pinups in WWII, when young men are far away and fighting for something that 90% of them probably only realize when they get there is far more huge, truly random, and more complex than they possibly imagined, and their comrades are dying around them, I know it’s cliched, but I think it is very valid to get the idea that you have something to fight for. And if that comes from a centerfold of a plucky young gal smiling sweetly in a men’s cardigan, yellow hairbow, and nothing else, then I say go for it!

Ms. Lind’s popularity was such that she has even been to space! True story, non-fiction — on NASA’s Apollo 12 mission in 1969, the nine astronauts who performed the second manned lunar landing in the history of humanity, thank you very much included DeDe’s centerfold in the Yankee Clipper command module. They labeled it “Map of a Heavenly Body.” Hilarious, true, and freaking AWESOME. Nous allons a la lune!

What’s intriguing is that Playboy really massaged the facts of Ms. Lind’s truly interesting life at the time. Yes, everything she says is true, about loving horses and Catalina Island, etc, and all her sweetness and good cheer are genuine, but it was more like a sin of omission. They sort of didn’t mention she was married and had a child.

That often gets thrown around like it is some type of evidence of the magazine’s hypocrisy, but I don’t believe Playboy has any obligation to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth about anything, let alone the private lives of the Playmates. Hef was striving again and again with the centerfolds for the Girl Next Door who happens to be naked, and it was a great opportunity for a lot of these women, like marvelous Ms. Lind, to get a jump on their careers — why bum out all those soldiers, for example, using Ms. Lind as an ideal woman in their minds for whom to survive, with all the details?

sidebar: I don’t know if this is an outtake or an airbrushed elaborate fake or what, but that is pubic hair like two or three years before that actually made its wispy, hinted-at debut in Playboy magazine, and almost four years before a Playmate of the Month fully flashed the carpet. If you have knowledge of this shoot and know what’s up, please explain, because I’m pretty surprised.

Says Ms. Lind in a more recent interview about having been in Hollywood during the swinging late 60’s but not being much of a participant:

“I did marry very young. I had a baby. I was a mom. I never got into the hippie or drug scene. … I dated Bobby Fuller. I also knew Jan and Dean. I wouldn’t go so far to say I dated Jan, but, I was friends with him. So, those are the kind of pop stars I liked. They were a little bit cleaner-cut. More American, Apple Pie.”

(“De De Lind Interview.” James, George. Undated.)


Q – Do you remember any film roles you turned down that maybe later you were sorry you turned down?
A – Yes. There was a movie called ‘Candy’. I actually turned it down. I pretty much had the part. The idea of me at the time portraying a young girl sleeping with all actors — it didn’t sit well with me. (Laughs). Because of that I really didn’t want to do the movie.

(Ibid.)

I was just thinking about doing a Movie Moment on Candy. This clinches it. A famous piece of well-shot, mostly-failed camp, the sort-of-satire’s cast includes Ringo Starr, James Coburn, Sir Richard Burton, and Marlon Brando. And Ms. Lind was right, it was mainly a scandal and flopped, to boot, so good on her for deciding against it. I can’t see someone so sweet and shy having been happy to be part of that glorious and vulgar, hot mess. You’ll see what I mean when I do the Movie Moment. Look for that sometime this week or eventually, maybe! I know myself too well to make promises with actual dates in them. Lord, I am such a lazy person.

Besides hanging out with good pal the lovely and talented Lisa Baker at their place in Boca Raton, Florida, DeDe continues to model and appear at Glamourcon and related events. And I’m happy to say she definitely retains that sunny sense of humor that is clever enough to send up the genre in which she models. Dig that shot above, which comes from her dedelind.com: “Look, Ma, no gag reflex!” Very funny.

You may see more of Ms. Lind’s present doings on her official website or hit her up any ol’ time on the myspace (current mood: amused ), on which some of her top friends are Janet Lupo, Julie Michelle McCullough, and naturally Hef.

Special edit from Ms. Lind: “My Centerfold did not go to the moon. My 2nd. Calendar Photo (Nov. 1969) holding a que stick topless went to the moon and back with Dick Gordon. That photo sold at auction for $17,511.00 this Jan. 2011.” Thanks for the clarification!

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!

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.”

(Ibid.)

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!

March Madness: Fran Gerard, Miss March 1967

March 17, 2010

I was fortunate enough to stumble over the entire original layout and spread of the Playboy issue featuring the very lovely and very talented Ms. Fran Gerard, Miss March 1967.


Photographed by Mario Casilli and Gene Trindl. (Color work by Casilli, B&W shots by Trindl, according to the orig. spread’s credits)

We predict a sparkling future for our heavenly-bodied Miss March. Generously configured Fran Gerard is a girl for the stars. “We’re forever searching the cosmos for new meanings.” (“Stars In Her Eyes,” Playboy, March 1967.)

The specs-sporting young Ms. Gerard worked as an astrologer’s assistant (zodiac quackery rears its head AGAIN) in L.A. at the time of her appearance, so they made a big deal out of that.

But the main thing of her is that she is tied right up there with Janet Lupo, Cynthia Myers, etc, for the largest natural breasts ever to be featured in Playboy.

As it was quite sometime before Janet, Cyndi, Roberta Vasquez, Alana Soares, et al came along to potentially unseat Ms. Gerard as undisputed mammary queen (I am not bothering to list the silicone sweethearts whose plastic racks match the numbers in name only and never rate so high in the eyes of the lord), she has understandably enjoyed long-lasting and tremendous fame in the Playboy world.

A “little looker,” her Playmate data sheet reports she was just 5’2″ tall at the time of her appearance in the magazine at the alleged age of 19. Holy chumbuckets, I cannot even imagine the back trouble the girl had to have had by age 30. Sorry if that deglamourizes things, but dang. That’s some serious rackage to haul around for a chick that only weighed around 110.

More than just a pretty face hovering over likely-uncomfortably-giant knockers, Ms. Gerard was a genuinely swingin’ chick with a good head on her small shoulders. And great taste in music!

Our plenipotent Playmate is as versant with combos as with cosmos: “Charlie Parker’s ‘Ornithology’ was the greatest single ever made,” says Fran, “and I think E.S.P. by Miles Davis is the best LP.” Sinatra is her favorite singer, especially “Cottage for Sale.” (Ibid.)


She says, “[I] like artists Marc Chagall and Salvador Dali. They capture so much of the glory of the universe in their work, but I don’t think I’m being stuffy: I like ‘Batman,’ too!” (Ibid.)

“Batman”? Heyoooo! Actually, I have also always liked Chagall’s work, especially this one piece he did that told a Russian folk tale, if I’m remembering rightly… Maybe later this week I’ll throw up some stuff about him.


Fran credits another favorite, a book, with being the source of all this happiness and satisfaction. “It’s The Magic of Believing by C. M. Bristol. It helps you to think positively.” (Ibid.)

Fran’s favorite book is still in print. It is also available for purchase as an ebook. Here’s an excerpt from the first few paragraphs:

Is there some force, or factor, or power, or science—call it what you will—which a few people understand and use to overcome their difficulties and achieve outstanding success? I firmly believe that there is, and it is my purpose in this book to try to explain it so that you can use it if you desire.

Around 1933 the financial editor of a great Los Angeles newspaper attended lectures I gave to financial men in that city and read my brochure T.N.T.—It Rocks the Earth. Afterwards, he wrote, “You have caught from the ether something that has a mystical quality—a something that explains the magic of coincidence, the mystery of what makes men lucky.”

(source, and please do not consider the link an endorsement)

Wow, what is amazing about that is it could have been written, like, yesterday, except replace “1933” in the suspiciously specious and detail-lacking anecdote with “2003.” I did not think people were marketing murky bullshit that long ago, but I live to be surprised. I should’ve known, I suppose, given all the snake oil salesmen and shenaniganizers who’ve always walked this earth conning money out of suckers. Like the rightly revered Msr. Barnum observed, there is one born every minute.

I think I will try my hand at tossing off a few sentences.

A few years ago, I was addressing a colony of junebugs at an annual meeting. After the meeting, a junebug who had just been raised to upper hive-management approached me and invited me to have a drink. He told me that he had seen me speak at a junebug team-building conference near an abandoned swingset only six months earlier, and had returned to his nest eager to apply the Simple Principles that I teach. Within just a few months, he had already been promoted above his boss and was handling new junebug regions of management!


Like so many countless others that I have been happy to help, this junebug told me in that hotel bar that he would have never believed the success and accomplishments he would achieve in such a short time just by following these three simple steps to harnessing the power of YOUR potential to do Great Things!

(E., Right Here, Right Now.)

How did that sound? Would you buy my shit? No? I’m huge in junebug circles, picking up sales in bee hives, and keep it between us but I think I’m about to crack the highly elusive ladybug market. (What I am saying is that I think this is all fishsticks and curried potatoes, this malarkey. Positive thinking is very powerful, yes, and important to your overall well-being, but so is hustling your buns to earn a simple living and have rich relationships with loved ones rather than sucking down cultish nonsense like coca-cola and craving weird amounts of power through ESP. Mad love and respect to Ms. Gerard, but come on.)


I think this is the best shot of the lot.

The positively smashing Miss Gerard’s idea of a perfect man? Clark Gable. “Remember him as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind? He was too much,” says Fran appreciatively. (“Stars In Her Eyes.”)

Yes, I particularly enjoyed the scene where he got ten kinds of drunk and told Scarlett he was going to crush her head like a walnut, slapped her around a little, and then took her upstairs for some rough sex. You’re probably thinking that is some feminist, critical statement mired in sarcasm: you are sadly wrong. I’m messed up I guess, but I think that saucy Scarlett needs slapped around pretty much every goddamned minute of the day and Rhett was born for the job. They are a nasty, scheming, firey-eyed match made in hell and I think it makes an excellent and exciting love story, in a very dark and ugly way for which it seldom gets credit. So, today I say to you, Margaret Mitchell: Well done, sir.

The man who did the b&w work for this spread, Gene Trindl, was best known as a photographer for TV Guide. He shot over 800 spreads for them, and 200 covers. Dang, right? He died of pancreatic cancer June 29, 2004, two years after my cousin Tom and thirty-seven years after Jayne Mansfield. RIP, Mr. Trendl.


TURN-ONS: High fashion, antiques.
TURNOFFS: Arrogance, people and their trivial problems.

(Playmate datasheet.)

Um … you hate arrogance, but you also hate people and their “trivial problems”? Okay. The kettle called … said something about how you are the black one? No need to call back.


DID YOU KNOW? I’m an assistant to astrologer Jack Gemini.
PEOPLE I ADMIRE: My parents, for the great job they did raising me.
FAVORITE MUSIC: Jazz.

(Ibid.)

I have googled the crap out of Jack Gemini, John Gemini, LA Astrologers in the 1960’s, and am coming up triple goose eggs. If you got a line on him, I’m interested.

So many thousands of thanks to my usual sources but in this case also special singling out for lovin’s to dear Fabrizio, an awesome and generous moderator over at the vintage erotica forums, from whom the majority of these great shots came!

Bello, sono incredibili, e grazie sempre per tutte immagini meravigliose. Molti baci, ♥ mua-mua! I owe you big-time, my good man, and I strongly encourage readers to swing over to the forums. They’re free, well-moderated, full of fun, and they won’t give your computer any wack infections or the hantavirus. Enjoy!


Here are the scans of the original b&w article accompanying the gatefold and color spread.

Valentine Vixen: Cheryl Kubert, Miss February 1958

February 5, 2010

Double dose today. Have to do two because I skipped writing Wednesday in order to have a blast substitute teaching at the parochial school connected to my church. Those kids were rad. Had me totally rethinking my positions on private schooling (reverse discrimination once again rears its prickly and tragically hip head and is once more promptly revealed to be as hollow as the prejudices it purports to despise).


Photographed by Mario Casilli.

First up is the lovely and talented Cheryl Kubert. In going through my files to prep this entry, I realized I’d already saved several pictures from this shoot here and there for the last year, so I’m pretty pumped to share.

It’s not a cute or even particularly “themed” shoot at all, but Ms. Kubert has an almost accusing serenity that makes what would be standard shots if it were any other model seem more arresting and beyond ordinary than their composition would dictate.

It’s the eye contact, I reckon. She has deep eyes. The downward cast of her chin, the unparted lip, the steady gaze; she seems so solemn. It makes the shoot feel heavy, but in a beautiful, ruminating, kind of sad way. She has this kind of practical but somewhat unhappy sincerity to her expression and posture, an unvarnished and troubled vulnerability. It’s moody.

The written copy that accompanied this pictorial is absolute drivel. I mean, just pure shit. Its more pun-ridden and meaningless even than the b.s. that they printed up for Marlene Callahan, and that is saying something, believe me.

The strangest part about the article is that, besides being empty apple fritters and pretty nonsense, the endless stream of non sequitirs about Scandinavian idioms seemingly have almost nothing to do with the pictures.

The write-up, titled “Playmate on Skis,” describes skiing in great detail and alludes to its history in Scandinavia, which is well and good, but in the pictures Ms. Kubert is mainly not around snow whatsoever; furthermore, the article lays no claim to her being of Scandinavian descent. Just a poor job all around. Banana boats and baloney sauce, Playboy, I’m sorry. Thankfully the pictures are unique, sensitive, and artistic.

Okay, I just spent fifteen minutes hard-searching and I found the above missing link. ONE SHOT of her with skis in addition to the centerfold (which is generally shot separate from the rest of the pictorial spread). Pfft. And if that is not a fake scene outside the window, I’ll eat my hat. Total cheezits (I’m trying to swear less this year and I’ve found that food items make handy and amusing euphemisms).


(The nude Jayne Mansfield spread will come up again in several days, actually. Really interesting story, but we’re focused on Ms. Kubert right now. Keep your shirt on.)

I can only conjecture that Cheryl Kubert was a stage name, because there is pretty much nothing known about her prior to her centerfold appearance or what she did following, other than that she had appeared in a bit part in the film Pal Joey in 1957.

According to the Playmate Book, Ms. Kubert died April 25, 1989 of apparent suicide. Because Playboy did not keep data sheets prior to September of 1959, it is not known how old she was at the time of her appearance in the magazine or her death. It makes those deep eyes seem much sadder to know that. R.I.P.





edit: I was sitting here trying to think where I had just seen the name “Kubert” recently, and finally remembered that yesterday’s Daily Batman of Catwoman and Batman throwing plates at each other in the Super Dictionary (Warner, 1978) featured art work by the cartoonist Joe Kubert. Found his official website and have fired off a quick email using his “contact” form, inquiring if he is related to Cheryl Kubert or has heard anything about her before. It’s a longshot, but I’ll let you know what comes of 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’.