Posts Tagged ‘nipples’

Heinlein Month: This just in — kissing girls better than pinochle

July 3, 2011


The lovely and talented Alessandra Torresani.

“Kiss girls all you want to — it beats the hell out of card games.” — Jubal Harshaw.

(Robert Heinlein, Stranger In A Strange Land. 1961.)

I don’t know. Uno is pretty fun.

Heinlein Month: Something better

July 2, 2011


via.

It would be a waste of breath to tell a man who believes in guns that you’ve got something better.

(Robert Heinlein. Methuselah’s Children. 1958.)

Playmate Revisited: Shannon Tweed by George Hurrell, with bonus Classic Hollywood photography blatherings

June 28, 2011


Lovely Ms. Tweed gets the Veronica Lake treatment from a celebrity photographer.

Backstory: In the still-building comments on my sadly meager original Shannon Tweed entry, from the heady days of NSFW November when I was still relatively new to this game, reader Jed Leyland* suggested this morning that I chase down and post up what I could find from a shoot Shannon did with the legendary George Hurrell.

Here it is!


The new actresses don’t have the sense of posing that the old stars did. There’s no one around to train them. That’s why Hollywood seems less glamorous. But Shannon is different. She knows how to pose and what to do with herself. What surprised me more than anything was her nice personality — the kind of personality that has an intellect to go with it. I was quite impressed with that.

(George Hurrell on Shannon Tweed.)

The lovely and talented Ms. Tweed posed for Playboy Italia in February of 1984. Her spread was photographed by George Hurrell, on whom the article mainly focused.


«George Hurrell, famoso fotografo statunitense, non ha perso il pelo (dei suoi cappelli, della sua barba), ma nemmeno il vizio — che nel sui caso e senz’altro una notevole vurti — di roncorrerre con l’obiettivo il fascino femmininile, per catutrarly e renderlo fermo nel tempo, assoluto.»


«Nelle fotographie di questa paging potete vedere , attualissima playmate degli anni ottanta. Hurrell l’ha ritratta, nella sua inquieta e moderna bellezza, come trenta, quarant’anni fa andava a caccia del fascino segreto, quasi raccolto in una cornice antica del sex-appear, appena accennato ma no nper questio meno pruriginoso, di attrici che sarebbero restate nella storia del cinema. Anche per merito sui, occhio discreto e innamorato che chon le sue “ispiratrici del momento” sapeva creare un sodalizio, quasi un legame sentimentale, queste foto riescono a uscire dalle pieghe del tempo per restituirci un fascio che credebvamo di allora e che invece e anchi de adesso, incredibilmente attuale.»

What’s that? Unlucky enough to have grown up without smatterings of Italian and a certain gameness for descrying cognates? No sweat. Let’s hit the babelfish, shall we? I love living in DA‘s future.


«George Hurrell, famous American photographer, has not lost the hair (of its nails head, of its beard), but not even the defect — that in on the case and senz’ other a remarkable one vurti — of roncorrerre with l’ objective the femmininile fascination, for catutrarly and rendering it firm in the time, absolute.»



«In the fotographie of this paging you can see, most current playmate of years eighty. Hurrell it has ritratta, in its restless and modern beauty, like thirty, forty years ago it go huntinged of the secret fascination, nearly collected in an ancient frame of the sex-appear, as soon as pointed out but not nper questio less pruritic, than actresses who would have remained in the history of the cinema. Also for merit on i, discreet and fallen in love eye that chon its ” ispiratrici of the momento” it knew to create a society, nearly a sentimentale tie, these photos succeed to exit from the folds of the time in order to give back a bundle to us that credebamo then and that instead and anchi de now, incredibly they puts into effect.»

Clear as mud now, jes? Honestly, you get the gist, I wager. Thanks, babelfish! I had originally intended to show the above pictures as proof that Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed were still going strong and sometimes folks get it right, isn’t that affirming?, but in the interest of accuracy I gave “gene simmons and shannon tweed” a quick googly-moogly, and apparently they’re having problems. So that sucks. Different direction required.

George Hurrell was one of the premiere Hollywood photographers for the glamour portraits and studio stills of the 1930’s-40’s. He is particularly famous in classic Hollywood portraiture for his “north light,” seen here applied to Anna May Wong.


Anna May Wong, photographed by George Hurrell.

He achieved this dramatic effect chiefly with the use of fresnels (which we’ve defined and discussed before in the 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies post on my fave-ohs, Twelve Monkeys) placed on a boom well above and only slightly in front of the subject.


Joan Crawford photographed by George Hurrell for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1932.

This bright, diffuse key light, along with some artsy post-treatment of his negatives, created the glowing planes with deep contrasting shadows and illuminated, heroic facial lines in his shots that basically define Art Deco photography and made his name. Joan Crawford adored him (above and below) because his luminous portraits revealed — or maybe created — a softness in her that few other still photographers were capable of capturing, which ran as a nice counterpoint to the brassy, hard women she played, to say nothing of her reputation as a handful on set.


Joan by George, 1933. By applying the north light and having Joan cock her forehead with her hand, probably to break up the imposingly symmetrical lines of her face, Hurrell creates a sort of softer, aw-shucks face that catches the light and interests the eye. I think, at least.

Hurrell preferred his subjects wear as light of makeup as possible, to avoid cakey, pale faces from the fresnel key lighting, which tends to magnify pores and unevenness. As his technique progressed, he especially liked the subjects to be rubbed with a thin, consistent layer of baby oil. The baby oil gave a uniform, glossy surface for the fresnel lights to suffuse, creating a burnished glow when combined with the contrasting natural shadows from the planes of the face.

See how shiny Jean is? Otherworldly, thanks to the north light, the oil, and Hurrell’s radical retouching techniques. This became the defining “look” for MGM’s glamour publicity shots of their stars. Hurrell’s contract with MGM didn’t last long despite the support of Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg; a fallout with a publicity department head resulted in Hurrell dramatically leaving the studio after serving there for three years. Though he continued to photograph almost exclusively for MGM throughout the next decade until contracting with Warner Bros in 1938, Hurrell mainly worked as a freelance, independent contractor.

The look wasn’t flattering on everyone — check out Greta Garbo above. While Anna May Wong’s baby oil-rubbed features work beautifully with the north light, Garbo looks harsh and washed-out. Not surprising that she fomented a close working relationship instead with Hurrell’s gentle contemporary, Clarence Sinclair Bull, who was “head” of the publicity still department at MGM for over four decades.

Maybe another day I’ll do a post comparing Bull, Hurrell, and … I don’t know, Leo Fuchs? I just dig this kind of thing. I mean, I did all this shit completely from memory and it seems crazy not to start using this knowledge for, like, a book or something.


Goofy girls — we are a Thing! (outtake from Shannon’s PMOY shoot, 1982).

Anyway, I’m over all this. I want to go eat a sandwich and watch the Giants game. Probably why I will never write that book: too much of a goof who keeps better track of eating sandwiches and watching ball than using her education for her profit. While I was writing this entry, I was drinking Diet 7-up from a licorice straw the entire time, but different straws every 5 minutes or so because when they start to get hard I like to eat them. This is all true. Super-mature and put together. Call me!

*Joe — “Of course we’re speaking, Jedediah. You’re fired.” Kane? Yes? Do I get a gold star?

Girls of Summer: Susan Denberg, Miss August 1966

June 26, 2011


Photographed by super amaze-balls Peter Gowland!

Miss August 1966 was the lovely and talented Susan Denberg, a cult hottie of yesteryear who is somewhat obscure today but still beloved by vintage sci-fi and Hammer horror film fans. Who do I know who is in to that stuff? It’s on the tip of my tongue …

Oh, right. Me. Let’s do this!

Ms. Denberg was born Dietlinde Zechner in Bad Polzin, Germany on August 2, 1944, nine months and seven days before V-E Day, when the Allied forces accepted the Germans’ surrender on May 8 (an inauspicious date in my book if you remember my apocalyptic ramblings).

I’m saying it was probably not the best of times to be born in Germany, what with how the country was going to be totally defeated and carved up in, like, a year. The Zechner clan beat feet to Austria (…better?), where Ms. Denberg grew up working in her parents’ appliance stores in Klagenfurt.

In her Playboy write-up, she is cited as being “born and bred” in Klagenfurt. The discrepancy could be due to a misunderstanding or wanting to downplay her German heritage for some unguessed-at reason. I think most likely she was Austrian to begin with and moved to Klagenfurt so young that it was not a big deal.


Suspect is wigless, I repeat, wigless.

Susan Denberg, our striking Miss August, joins a long and lovely line of Playmates whose centerfold appearances have preceded their cinematic debuts — a comely clan that includes such gatefold delights as Jayne Mansfield (February 1955), Stella Stevens (January 1960), Donna Michelle (December 1963), Jo Collins (December 1964) and Sue Williams (April 1965).

(“Picture Playmate.” Playboy, August 1966.)


Susan, a honey of a blonde, will make her filmic bow this fall in the celluloid version of Norman Mailer’s recent best-selling novel An American Dream.

No. Not a best-selling novel. Considered the least of Mailer’s fiction works, actually. A misogynistic bundle of bullshit — and that’s coming from me. So I’m not just whistling “Dixie.”

An American Dream is a 1966 movie based on a 1965 novel based on a series of installments in Esquire about a man and the women he kills and screws before he slouches off in to the sunset, perhaps to mine the meaning of existence, perhaps to die of an overdose of modern society. Its one mercy is that it is short. I may be oversimplifying to avoid talking about it more. Sorry.

An American Dream is a Mailer-adapted picture, sadly too crappily, or perhaps too quickly, executed to be called camp, about Stephen Rojack, a former war hero – turned also-run politician – turned call-in talk show host who murders his rich-bitch wife and basically goes on a postmodern movie-length bender with Janet Leigh (story as old as time — we’ve all been there). He spends the film in a pingballing search for the meaning of existence via sex, drugs, murder-rap evasion and jazz, pissing off underworld gangsters along the way. The story does not so much end as “halt” in what amounts to a lot of, to quote a deservedly better praised writer, sound and fury, signifying nothing. Mailer’s original source material has marginally greater depth — but only marginally.

Ms. Denberg plays Ruta, the luckless harpy Mrs. Rojack’s German maid. In his March 14, 1965 New York Times review of the book, Conrad Knickerbocker said of Ruta’s character that she “must have attended charm school with Ilse Koch.” For those who don’t know, Ilse Koch is the “Red Witch of Buchenwald,” an infamously horrible Nazi war criminal on whom Ilse, She-Wolf of the SS is super-obviously based (except Koch was not hot — and she has spent way longer burning in hell).

Koch was a fat, genuinely evil brunette who tortured and murdered interred Jews for pleasure at one of the most horrible concentration camps the earth has ever known. Ruta is a slightly mercenary, lithe blonde sexpot who is willing to screw her boss’s husband if it will get her ahead. Absolutely nothing in book or film merits Knickerbocker’s sensationalist comparison, other than both women being German. Disgusting and not at all funny, if that was the attempt. Bleah.

But then what do I expect from a rave review of a randomly constructed crock of self-indulgent shit? Knickerbocker praised the book as a modern masterpiece and said people who didn’t like An American Dream wouldn’t like it because they wouldn’t want to admit that it speaks to the true soul of America and what-have-you. All like, J’accuse, bourgeois pigs! You don’t like it because you’re judging it, and you’re judging it because you don’t understand it, and you don’t understand it because you’re afraid to.

Cool story, bro.

Yeah, there’s always been a lot of so-called values getting touted around that are hypocritical at best and hollow, tarnished, destructive compulsions at worst. But that’s not my soul, and it’s not the soul of most people I know. Most people weren’t and aren’t rich, disaffected, murdering alcoholics — most people were and are just trying to hold a job, find some love, and eat dinner. Like, Jesus. What a hopeless and lackwitted thing to assert. Not to mention, if you do want a story about rotting American dreams and rich, murdering, alcoholics, why don’t you just pick up a little timeless piece of exponentially greater writing called The Great Gatsby?

In the book, Rojack sleeps with Ruta after killing Deborah, then pretends to discover Deborah’s body and tells Ruta she must have committed suicide. In the film, Ruta tries to seduce Rojack after his initial fight with Deborah, but he doesn’t go for it. Then he returns to the bedroom to fight with Deborah again, which is the fight that results in her death.

I assume the change in “he-did,” “he-didn’t,” with Ruta from novel to film is an effort to make Rojack’s character seem more sympathetic in the movie, in much the same way that making Cherry (Leigh’s character) in the film be Rojack’s fallen-on-bad-times childhood sweetheart from before he “made it” — versus her role in the source material as a trashy torch singer that he just meets that night — is supposed to make Rojack’s affair with her, begun the day after he murders his wife, more reasonable. There is also the little matter of Rojack allowing his wife to slip from the balcony of her own drunken accord, falling to her death only to then be further run over by a mafioso’s limo in the movie, rather than Rojack strangling her and throwing her body over the railing himself, the corpse falling to the street only to then be further run over by an et cetera’s et cetera, in the book.

Ugh. I spent forever talking about a thing I don’t like. I guess spite is as strong a writing motivator as enthusiasm. So let’s get back to enthusiasm. Fun fact follows.


For a while … it appeared as though Susan might not be Susan at all by the time [An American Dream’s] release date rolled around. As part of a nationwide contest to find a nom de cinéma for its latest ascending starlet, Warner Bros. offered a $500 award for the winning entry and received 5,000 name suggestions from cinemaphiles throughout both hemispheres before wisely deciding to leave Susan — name and all — exactly as they’d found her.

“Some of the names submitted were pretty far out,” recalls Susan. “But the funniest entry of them all was Norma Mailer.”

(Ibid.)

She just doesn’t look like a Norma.

The main thing of it is, on the set for An American Dream, Ms. Denberg worked with Star Trek‘s George Takei (Sulu), Warren Stevens (Rojan, “By Any Other Name”), and Richard Derr (Commodore Barstow, “The Alternative Command” and Admiral Fitzgerald, “The Mark of Gideon”). Plus An American Dream’s director, Robert Gist, was involved as a director for TOS.

Ms. Denberg subsequently appeared on the then-fledgling sci-fi series Star Trek as Magda Kovacs, one of the three mail-order bride hopefuls voyaging to Ophiucus III with honey-tongued con man and Venus drug purveyor Harcourt Fenton “Harry” Mudd (Star Trek: TOS. “Mudd’s Women.” Season One, Episode 3. Originally aired October 13, 1966.).

On their way to Ophiucus III and being tailed by Kirk and co., petty criminal Mudd pushes his little class J ship too hard and breaks down in the middle of an asteroid belt. The pursuing Enterprise has their own shields up and throws them hastily over Mudd’s ship as well, but three of their lithium crystals are destroyed by this shield extension. Scotty beams Mudd and his passengers aboard the Enterprise just as the ship is struck by an asteroid and obliterated.


Eve McHuron (Karen Steele), Ruth Bonaventure (Maggie Thrett), and Magda Kovacs (Ms. Denberg).

The Enterprise plots a course to mining planet Rigel XII to replace the lithium crystals. It is revealed that the alluring women are being made more beautiful by the illegal Venus drug, which Mudd doesn’t want Kirk to find out. Mudd further wants to screw over Kirk and get back to peddling wives on Ophiucus III so of course the logical solution is for hot chicks to seduce Kirk; first Magda and then Eve. (Neither bid succeeds in the final aim but he gets flirty action in the short run.)


Magda without the apparently beauty-enhancing Venus drug. Rough.

Long story short, Magda and Ruth marry miners from Rigel XII over subspace radio (and you thought internet hookups were risky), who are concerned when it turns out they’ve been fleeced by a con man and druggies, and Eve marries their boss, Ben Childress. It is also discovered that the Venus drug’s efficacy lies completely in the mind of its imbiber: the ladies appeared more beautiful because of their confidence in the drug and not any transformative elements of its composition, which is a good thing because the scenes of them not under the influence made them look pretty deliberately rough. Also, the miners don’t negate the marriage as a fraud when they find out the chicks are hot again, plus they like companionship or whatever. Still waters run so deep.

Ms. Denberg next appeared in the 1967 Hammer horror film Frankenstein Created Woman, alongside perennial Hammer favorite Peter Cushing. The film is lucky number four in the production company’s Frankenstein series.

Frankenstein Created Woman finds Baron Frankenstein (Cushing) awakened from a sort of cryogenic sleep by companion Dr. Hertz and his lab assistant Hans, the latter of whom is shortly executed by guillotine for murdering an innkeeeper following an altercation with local toughs.

Distraught over his gruesome death, Hans’s disfigured and paralyzed ladyfriend Christina (Ms. Denberg), whose father Hans was wrongly convicted of killing, kills herself.

Baron Frankenstein resurrects Christina’s body in the same way he was resurrected by Hertz and Hans, but gives her Hans’ soul and not her own. See, Frankenstein has become concerned with the question of whether the soul leaves the body at the moment of death, and if not can it be separated from a body, and if so can it be preserved and transferred to a different body after being divorced from its original corpse, and what would the consequence be for consciousness, and all sorts of similar metaphysical things pondered over as only Frankenstein would do. (The guy is simply a maniac for severing and swapping stuff around. You cannot stop him.) You get the gist.

The resurrected soul of Hans in Christina’s body results in a confused consciousness, driven by compulsions of revenge against Christina’s father’s actual killers (the three local toughs with whom Hans had fought earlier on the evening of Christina’s father’s death), for Christina’s part to avenge her father and for Hans’ to avenge himself. This is of course inexplicable behavior to the good doctors because the actions are based on information only Hans and Christina technically know, but which Dr.s Frankenstein and Hertz could have easily found out if they weren’t constantly playing God.

The struggle of living with an infant consciousness and two memories of bad shit and all the rest, and probably also Dr. Hertz’s cooking, drives Christina to kill herself again — but not before all three of the men who beat her father to death and pinned it on her lover have been murdered in return. The End.

It’s one of the most critically acclaimed Frankenstein Hammer movies because of the concern with metaphysics and the fairytale-like revenge structure, or so says the wiki. Later this week I’ll show you one of my most critically acclaimed Hammer flicks. It has nothing to do with Frankenstein, I’m afraid.

Ms. Denberg was the victim of a very weird rumor circuit beginning in the 1970’s. It was said for, like, two decades that the excesses of the Hollywood life were too much for Susan and that she either a) moved back to Klagenfurt with her parents but then killed herself, or b) took too much acid and was in a mental institution. These rumors were probably based on some stuff Susan said in the National Police Gazette in 1968.


“[I became] hooked on LSD and marijuana. It calmed me down, and I made such wonderful love. I needed LSD every day, almost every hour. I took all sorts of drugs when I was in Hollywood… I used to do wild, nude dances at parties held by big-time Hollywood stars.”

(The National Police Gazette. September, 1968. qtd. in Susan Denberg Biography.)

However, she did not die and is not in a mental institution conversing freely with invisible sentient orange juice (again, we’ve all been there).

These days, the 66-year-old Ms. Denberg is alive and well and presumably acid-free back home in Klagenfurt, where she is back to being good old Dietlinde Zechner. She has happily settled in to family life after her brief splash in films and television.

John Milton June: As stars to thee appear

June 26, 2011


Andre de Dienes.

A broad and ample road, whose dust is gold,
And pavement stars, —- as stars to thee appear
Seen in the galaxy, that Milky Way
Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest
Powder’d with stars.

(John Milton. Paradise Lost. Book VII, 577-581.)

John Milton June: Imparadised

June 2, 2011


These two
Imparadis’t in one another’s arms,
The happier Eden, shall enjoy thir fill
Of bliss on bliss.

(John Milton. Paradise Lost, Book 4, 505-508.)

Charming, romantic, a little sexy even, yes? These lines crop up on “quotes about love” here and there. But the scene is not so romantic when you consider it’s being reported to you by an envious, voyeuristic Satan who is literally hellbent on revenge on Man. Here’s what’s actually around that quote:


      Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus
[these two imparadised blah blah blah bliss]
while I to Hell am thrust,
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,
Among our other torments not the least,
Still unfulfill’d with pain of longing pines.

(Ibid. 505-510.)


via.

So the lines are really more an illustration of how Paradise is still agonizingly out of Satan’s reach on every possible level than they are a spectacular commentary on the magic of love or whatever.

Suck it, romantics. Milton will have none of your frippery.

May Flowers: Dolly Read, Miss May 1966 with bonus “Showdown!” dishevelment

June 1, 2011

Thought this got out last night and just checked the main page and realized it didn’t. Sorry, dudes.

You are all like, Will the girls of summer be back this year, E? And I am all like, Well of course. What kind of shoddy outfit do you think I’m running here? But first, we have to close out the May Flowers.


Photographed by Pompeo Posar.

This year’s last May Flower is the lovely and talented Dolly Read, Playboy’s Miss May 1966.


Britannia’s first Bunny-Playmate, Dolly Read, recalls excitedly the night she was spotted by staff photographer Pompeo Posar during her training stint as a Chicago Club bumper-pool Bunny. “He asked me if I would like to consider becoming a Playmate, and I thought it was a smashing good idea,” says Dolly.

(“Bunny From Britain,” Playboy. May, 1966.)


The former Miss Bristol Teenager had a budding stage career before opting for Bunny satin instead. She entered the Eleine Hartley-Hodder School of Drama at the age of eight and emerged an aspiring actress some ten years later.

(Ibid.)


Renting a flat in the Marleybone section of London, centerfoldom’s latest Commonwealth import saw several workless weeks before landing her first acting job in a local TV series called Compact.

(Ibid.)


IIt was sort of a feminine version of your own Valentine’s Day, says Dolly. “All I had was a walk-on part, but it seemed like the greatest role since Lady Macbeth to me.”

(Ibid.)


Soon after, she was signed on for her first film role in Kiss of the Vampire, and went on to play a number of “rather prosaic” video roles until Bunnydom beckoned.

(Ibid.)


Click to enlarge.

Dolly and her five British cottontail cousins arrived in Chicago last October. Each member of this sensational sextet–which includes Doreen Allen, Kathleen Bascombe, Joan Findlay, Catherine MacDonald and Magie Adam–won top ratings among 1000 entrants in last summer’s nationwide British Bunny Contest sponsored by Radio London.

(Ibid.)


Having since graduated from Bunny Training School and now completing a seven-month apprenticeship at the Chicago Club — with equal emphasis given to such curricular requirements as the Bunny Dip, tableside photography, tending the Playboy Club Gift Shop and Door Bunnying, bumper-pool playing and the extra-special VIP Room service.

(Ibid.)


This group will return to England shortly for the upcoming opening of the ultra-U London Playboy Club.

During off-hours, Dolly and her compatriots bunked in one of the Playboy Mansion Bunny Dorms and spent many fascinating hours fancy-that-ing most of the Second City’s sights. “Chicago’s a bit of all right,” reports the 21-year-old Miss May in her charmingly clipped British accent, “and Mr. Hefner’s house is a proper palace, but we’re all a trifle homesick.”

(Ibid.)


Dolly recently added several promotion trips for Playboy to her busy Stateside schedule, including visits to Michigan State University (“What I liked most about American college men is, they never let studies foul up their dating”), Great Lakes Naval Hospital and a trip to Boston for Playboy’s opening night there.

(Ibid.)


“I’ll start as the Door Bunny,” Miss May explains, “but eventually I hope to put in some time as a Croupier Bunny in one of the Club’s gaming rooms. More excitement there, you know!”

(Ibid.)

Dolly got even more excitement when she wung her way west to Hollywood. After appearing in the low-budget lesbian film That Tender Touch, Dolly landed the lead in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, one of the greatest camp films of all time. Written by Roger Ebert and directed by Russ Meyer, the film is unforgettable, and Dolly shines in it. Highly recommend. Depending on your cult film tolerance.


Favorite shot.

Ms. Read married Dick Martin of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In in 1971, then divorced him in ’75, and remarried him in ’78. They must have worked things out because they remained married after that until his death in May of 2008. She continued to appear in film and television cameos throughout the 1970’s and beyond.

You can try and hit Mrs. Martin up on the myspace (current mood: none), but it looks like she may not use it much.


Scans of the original spread. Click to see full-sized.

The similarity of the poses, lighting, and makeup in the following three pictures inspired me to finally do another “Showdown!” feature. So, pick your poison! Which “Dolly Read in dishevelment” shot rocks your socks?

One of these days we’ll have a full-on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls movie moment, but for now, enjoy this final screencap:

Catch you on the flip!

Art of the cover: Year of the Rabbit inaugural edition

May 31, 2011

Technically it’s the year of the Hare. The metal Hare, even, which sounds like a band name: TONIGHT ONLY — Metal Hare with openers Loose Gravel — $3 cover charge — featuring Open Trench and Soft Shoulder! (I get a lot of band name inspiration from road signs, sorry). But I’m going with rabbit.


via.

Elegant both physically and intellectually, Rabbits will always stand out from the crowd either as extremely stylish dressers or because they create an individualistic fashion statement of their own.

(source.)

It happens.

Daily Batman: Bat tat, too

May 30, 2011

May Flowers — Joanne Arnold, Miss May 1954

May 11, 2011

The lovely and talented Joanne Arnold, Miss May 1954, first appeared in Playboy’s March 1954 pictorial “Sex Sells a Shirt.”

Click to enlarge the shots and read the story, it’s actually a really interesting little piece with a kicky, fun insight in to 1950’s advertising. Far more risque than you might expect. The PR folks for Hartog were some skilled and creative dudes.

However. Please do not tell me to watch Mad Men.

I know it’s, like, all cool and retro and sexist and clever, but I just don’t feel like getting in to it. Yet I keep getting told to. Everyone wants me to watch it. I can’t swing my arms without hitting someone who’s saying, “E, you have to watch Mad Men. You’ll love it. Also, stop hitting me with your swinging arms.” I say, Never! to both!

Ms. Arnold was a hit with readers as the Hartog “keep your shirt on” girl, but Playboy did not pick her as Miss May because of that (they did feature her the following August, which we’ll get to). There was no such linear relation between her appearance in March and her gatefold in May. Two totally separate things, as it ends up.


Purchased from the Baumgarth Calendar Co.

The kind of wonky centerfold shot is, like the centerfolds from most of ’53-54, a purchased photograph. And, like Marilyn Monroe’s and several other of the first “sweetheart/playmate” gatefolds, the photograph was purchased from the Baumgarth Calendar Company.


The one on the right is hands-down my favorite.

I was sick of having no photographer credits on all the Baumgarth shots, and I wanted to know more about the John Baumgarth Calendar Co. so I took the light rail down to Googlytown.

I was hoping to find out specific names of photographers other than Tom Kelley, who did Marilyn’s picture, but when I googled “Baumgarth Calendar Company,” my own goddamned site was the second link. Also the fifth. I’m not the mayor of Playmate Googlytown — but apparently I’m something like an alderman. Frustrating.

Here’s what I know. The “company” was run out of Melrose Park, Illinois, a suburb on the west side of Chicago. However, not only can I find zero way to get in touch with the now-defunct company’s former employees, it turns out that besides the rare occasion of hiring a dude and arranging their own photoshoots, they also, like Hef in the first six months of Playboy, mainly purchased photos from private photographers.

The thing is, the centerfold picture could have been shot by anyone and the credit kind of doesn’t matter anyway. In May of 1954, the Playmates did not have names listed or anything like that.

Keep in mind, this was only the sixth issue of Playboy to even hit newsstands, and the magazine was still finding its feet.

Like a new struck foal stumbling around in the brave new world into which it has been thrust: Aww. The adorable, stumbly, delicate colt that we call “skin rag.”

Anyway. This particular month’s centerfold was, like, an isolated, anonymous picture. It’s possible no one at Playboy was even aware the model from the Hartog feature and cover had been the purchased photo of Miss May until a few months after the fact. They did know by the following August because they mention it in her second official appearance in the magazine, which I’m about to explain.

The rest of these gorgeous shots, however, come from a spread shot by superfly BAMF Peter Gowland entitled “Gowland’s Cool Pool.” The piece appeared in the August 1955 issue of Playboy, by which time the practice of credits had entered play and Ms. Arnold was cited as the model.


Scan of the article which accompanied the spread.

She also appeared as the cover model/mermaid for the same issue, a shot taken by Gowland and painted on and embellished for a little under the sea come-hither adventure.

This scan is of the newsstand edition; in the subscribers’ mailed edition, her nipples are not painted over, I have heard.

But SPEAKING of her nipples —

Ms. Arnold has a third nipple on the underside of her left breast. When I first read that I made a loud, “Pfft” noise of disbelief, and, browsing through my pictures, thought, “No way. I never noticed that and she’s all moley to boot: this is probably folklore based on a regular beauty mark.”

But then …


Click to enlarge it … it’s clearly nipplish and not a mole. I was surprised.

Lo and behold and hell and goddamn — seems she does, indeed, have a supernumerary nipple.

All right, all right — I’ll king you. Sheesh.

No idea where that shot came from, Ms. Arnold was a very successful and busy men’s magazine model in her lovely heyday. I just wanted another splash of color … and to make the tacky “king me” joke.

What is she going to do when big hats go out?

I stole that joke from Gypsy. My funny is just not operating at full capacity today. (Hangs head, Charlie Brown music.)

I guess the theme of the photograph is that, like, men are toys to her? Is that the idea? Or is she a big, scary giant about to eat them?? I could go either way. Giant’s more exciting but I’m pretty sure the former is more accurate.

By the way, that’s called vore porn. Jonohs linked me to some a while back. Ridiculous. Normally I am the last one to judge a kink for obvious reasons, but when I saw CG animation of giant women totally eating dudes, I said, “No. Ridiculous. You are being ridiculous.”

I say again: if you get off on fantasies of enormous women crushing you and grinding your bones between their gigantic teeth and then digesting you slowly in their acidy stomachs, you are ridiculous.

I’m sorry, but I needed you to know how I feel. And please don’t link to vore in the comments. I won’t go. I neither wear clown shoes nor dwell in Florida. Keep that nasty shit in your favorites folder.

As her career progressed, Ms. Arnold starred in a string of cheesey B-movie popcorn flicks. This is my favorite poster.


via.

“Don’t get frank with me, young lady.” So much sassy molassy! I hate it when young people are frank! … I just think frank was a bit of a mild word to use on a poster with so many exclamation points.

Questions for discussion:

  • Do supernumerary nipples have sensation? Please get back to me quickly.
  • Is vore porn ridiculous? Be specific.
  • If you had a girl gang, what would you call it?

  • 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.

    Music Moment: Cat Stevens, “Peace Train”

    May 6, 2011

    Cat Stevens — Peace Train

    I’ve been smiling lately. I really have.


    Photographed by Julie Lansom.

    Now I’ve been happy lately,
    thinking about the good things to come
    And I believe it could be,
    something good has begun


    via.
    Oh I’ve been smiling lately,
    dreaming about the world as one
    And I believe it could be,
    some day it’s going to come


    With Shelley Duvall, via.
    Cause out on the edge of darkness,
    there rides a peace train
    Oh peace train take this country,
    come take me home again


    Now I’ve been smiling lately,
    thinking about the good things to come
    And I believe it could be,
    something good has begun


    Richard Hamilton.
    Oh peace train sounding louder
    Glide on the peace train
    Come on now peace train
    Yes, peace train holy roller


    Everyone jump upon the peace train
    Come on now peace train

    A few weeks ago, I came home triumphantly wielding a near-mint Cat Stevens LP from a trip to a nearby touristy mountain town — only to see in going through my collection that at some point in the past I’d brought that exact record in pretty much the exact same condition.

    My organization skills may be in the toilet, but the important thing is, I’m consistent.


    via.

    Get your bags together,
    go bring your good friends too
    Cause it’s getting nearer,
    it soon will be with you


    With Carly Simon, via.
    Now come and join the living,
    it’s not so far from you
    And it’s getting nearer,
    soon it will all be true


    Now I’ve been crying lately,
    thinking about the world as it is
    Why must we go on hating,
    why can’t we live in bliss

    I’ve been trying to balance my recent heady busy-ness in the areas of work and returning to school with the activities I love, like country driving, taking pictures, listening to my records, and of course spending time with my mad rad friendohs.


    via.

    Cause out on the edge of darkness,
    there rides a peace train
    Oh peace train take this country,
    come take me home again.

    I don’t know by what trick or trends in behavior I’ve done it, but, despite recent roller coasters of emotion, anxiety, and obligation, I still just feel really happy and mellow about things in assessing the Spring, even accounting for the ups and downs.


    via.

    I have this optimistic and even confident feeling as I enter the Summer. Here’s hoping it sticks around. I feel like everything is beautiful.

    In related news, did you know you could smoke banana peels? The brown spots talk about their dreams while they sizzle and pop. Fact.

    (Not fact.)

    Knock-knock: Who’s there? Still alive and quick explanation with bonus preview of coming attractions

    April 1, 2011


    via
    .

    Don’t tell anyone I did this but … unannounced hiatus has been due to Lent: wanted to see if I could give up something that was actually hard not to do this year. It is way tougher than diet coke or dessert, from which I’ve also been abstaining. But I didn’t give up smoking or bloody beer — I’m not completely crazy.

    In the meantime, a preview of coming attractions:


    La Maschera del Demonio/The Mask of Satan/Black Sunday/The Black Mask (Mario Bava, 1960).

  • Some actual in-depth Mario Bava Movie Moments. It’s a scandal that I only did, like, one. I’m such a hack. Super-sorry. Feel free to browse the complete Movie Moments or Movie Milliseconds category while I’m gone and take a stroll down memory lane.
  • Even more Men Aren’t Attracted to a Girl In Glasses, Sk8 or Die, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, and Hot Men Bein’ Hot of the Day.

  • May Flowers — E’s favorite Miss Mays of yore. Pictured below is the lovely and talented Cindy Fuller, Miss May 1959. Other May Flowers will include Dolly Read and Anna Nicole Smith (posing as “Vickie”). Like, are you simply all kinds of psyched?

    In the meantime, remember that all the past spotlighted Playmates in the journal’s various projects have now been placed in their own Playboy category for your streamlined browsing pleasure, as well as to make it even more convenient for Hef to one day sue the everloving crap out of me.

  • Liberated Negative Space is a given.
  • Haven’t forgotten about the Bond Girls project. Name will be “Naughty Girls Need Love, Too,” because the best Bond Girls are the bad ones. Ow! (Please do not talk to me about Miss Moneypenny. I will clap my hands over my ears and sing the Goldfinger song, and you don’t want to hear that, believe me.)


    via
    .

  • Milton May: a month of quotes and insights on the antiheroic nature of Satan from that uniquely dogmatic, blind, old-timey charmer, John Milton (Paradise Lost).
  • And finally, in Teevee Time news, the Simpsons will get their own category, along with screencapped scandalous moments from a mystery shuck-and-jive sitcom of days gone by at which you will just have to guess.


    via
    .

    …. And at which you have now guessed, correctly, unless you did a lot of tranqs in the last fifteen to twenty years. Don’t do drugs, kids. Don’t be like Carol Brady. Not ever.

    All in all, I’ve been storming along, barbituate-free, like a Lent-observing bat outta hell and I got a lot of dogs in the fire — I’m looking forward to a strong return as soon as Easter has passed. As you can see, I will be back with a bang in a few weeks. This has just been a “can I even do it?” excercise to flex my muscles of restraint.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to see a man about a Giants’ game.


    via.

    Don’t you dare.

    Catch you all on the upcoming flip side!

  • Vonnegut month: The meaning of life

    February 12, 2011


    via.

    The moral of the story is, we’re here on Earth to fart around.

    (“David Barrancio Interview With Kurt Vonnegut”, NOW, PBS. Original airdate: October 7, 2005.)

    This gets misquoted a lot as, “We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anyone tell you different,” but the gist is the same.

    Vonnegut Month: The people on the edge

    February 8, 2011


    Nous allons a la lune! via.

    “I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.

    “Big, undreamed-of things — the people on the edge see them first.”

    (Player Piano. Scribner, 1952.)

    I think this is more important now than I ever have before. I stayed comfortable in the past, I kept nervously to the middle and tried not to draw attention to myself even though I found it unfulfilling and dissatisfactory, purely because the idea of doing anything else and letting the real me out seemed far too iffy.


    via.

    And now I have been galvanized in to action, in to pursuing the things I want, and I can’t believe I ever kept away from the edge, kept myself boxed-in and low-key and up-and-up. I don’t regret the time I spent hiding and gathering courage to myself, because that’s no use, and I don’t disdain myself for my fears or insecurities, nor anyone else for feeling like they are not able to be a jumper just yet, but I’m just so glad I’ve begun.

    Vonnegut Month: A sensational invitation

    February 7, 2011


    via.

    She was a dull person, but a sensational invitation to make babies.

    (Slaughterhouse-Five. 1969.)

    Is that often the case? I’ve been trying to get to know dull people more, because I did this thing when I was younger where I participated in cheer and rushed a sorority and I discovered that all those people that I’d a), reverse discriminated against by assuming they thought they were too good for me; therefore, I considered myself the superior one and assured our mutual alienation and b), speculated must be completely empty-minded automatons programmed to do nothing but stroll down the street saying, “Where you at?” on their cell phones like cockroaches who keep living despite having lost their heads, were at any rate just as real and authentic as me, and during this time of social expansion I found that I was the guilty snobbish one, and they each had their own personal memories and dreams and private tragedies. This probably seems overwhelmingly evident to you but it was brand-new shit to me: I’d always assumed that those type of people were just dull sheep. I’ve found myself slipping back in to that sort of deliberate ignorance of slick or facile-seeming people, and I’ve been trying to fight this bullshit reverse-elitism by purposely starting conversations with waitresses with bump-its and guys in leather car coats at the bank. I encourage you to give it a whirl, too. … Especially the waitresses.

    Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Jean Cannon, Miss October 1961

    February 5, 2011


    Photographed by Ron Vogel.

    The lovely and talented Jean Cannon was Playboy’s Miss October 1961. According to a source I trust from Kalamazoo, Ms. Cannon was enticed to pose partly out of pique with her husband, who said she was “too ugly” to be a Playmate.

    The only thing about that story that doesn’t quite totally ring true for me is that she was already working as a Bunny and I think you must rate yourself at least decently attractive to apply for that job, don’t you? But maybe I’m way off base.

    Besides the gorgeous photography by Ron Vogel, my favorite thing in this spread is the case of Jeannie’s disappearing, reappearing, cheek-switching beauty mark. In the above picture, the mole is on her right cheek (viewer’s left).

    In the above picture, it has moved to her left cheek, or the cheek on our right as we look at the photograph. Is it a case of reversing the photograph? Or was makeup retouched and the mole accidentally moved to the opposite side? We’ll never know.

    And here, in one of my favorite shots from the spread, she has no mole at all. At least that we can see. Much like the case with Miss July 1957, the lovely and talented Jean Jani, it’s really a tiny little continuity error but kind of fun to examine.

    I like this shot best because it is not as posey as the others. I don’t know if Vogel caught her getting ready to pose, or in the middle of speech, or what, but it is for me the most natural expression of the bunch.

    A gorgeous composition — and a wonderful addition to my ongoing series of Playmates topless in silly cropped pants (why are they so often red? I don’t know but I love it) — but a very tense expression from Ms. Cannon. Sad face. Then again, according to her write-up, she had a lot on her mind.


    Nature-loving (and clearly loved by nature) Jean Cannon’s natural habitat is any reasonably shady glen, except when she’s water-skiing, showing her prize-winning pooches or boning up on the hippest way to crack the Hollywood enigma (she’s a stage-struck emigree from New York’s very “in” Neighborhood Playhouse).

    (“Nature Girl.” Playboy, October 1961.)


    While we’re not usually enthused over rambles through the greensward, the prospect of prospecting for dryadlike Jean would send us into the California woods faster than Apollo pursued Daphne.

    (Ibid.)

    Okay, so here’s that backstory since I know you’re dying to hear all about classic Greek mythology right now.

    Apollo, who is roundly a dick in almost every story about him — ask Cassandra; I assure you she thinks he’s a real motherfucking asshole — mocked Eros, the tiny cherubic assistant of Aphrodite, for carrying a bow and arrows, since he wasn’t a warrior like Apollo (picture this as a Lucas type taunting exchange). Eros took offense and made two arrows, one of lead and one of gold.

    The golden arrow strikes love in the heart of whoever it hits: the lead one does the opposite — it causes the stricken person to hate the object they see next.


    The above shot is my favorite of the pictures from the standpoint of color and composition. And, holy cow, a ghost of a smile. It’s a Very Special nakey miracle!

    Eros shot the nymph Daphne with the lead arrow and Apollo with the golden arrow. Apollo fell madly in love with her, but she despised him. Daphne already had many suitors but preferred not to get married at all, which makes me wonder if the original story didn’t have shit to do with arrows in the first telling, and was more in the vein of stories about Artemis or Atalanta.

    In any case, they got in a race (like Atalanta) and as Apollo gained on her, Daphne begged her father, the river god Peneus, to save her from having to be with Apollo. So she changed in to a laurel tree. Apollo was still in love with Daphne depsite her transformation (those kinky greeks) and gave the tree his special protection and powers of eternal youth, which is why Bay laurel leaves stay green.

    /backstory.


    Jean as a Bunny at the L.A. club, right.

    Doe-eyed Jean hasn’t met a satyr on her sylvan romps, instead speaks warmly of silver birches and her pet poodles (she brings out the beast in anyone). But the satyr’s loss is our gain, all 38-24-37 inches, so join us in a birthday toast to our sable-haired October Playmate, a tempting twenty this month.

    (Ibid.)

    According to the Playmate Book, Ms. Cannon was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2002. She passed away at the age of 64 in November, 2005. R.I.P.

    Men aren’t attracted to a girl in glasses: Friends of the library edition

    February 2, 2011


    via.

    What’s got two thumbs and became a Friend of the Library this week? This flyass bitch right here, that’s who!

    Now how do I tell the library I’m ready to take our relationship to the Next Level?

    Daily Batman: Hidden underneath

    February 1, 2011


    I think hidden underneath a lot of teachers are very sexy women.

    (Andie MacDowell).

    I know I have been a total slug about posting lately and the last time I did that was because I nearly croaked, but fear not. This time it’s nothing so dire, and is good news instead. I’ve been scrambling to get my shit together to make this whole substitute-teaching my Scamps thing in to a full-time gig, and I felt that I had to put all my fire under that. I was busy being well-dressed and using my gracious telephone voice while applying to a credential program, throwing my hat in the ring for an open position at the private school where I teach, and sending out queries for letters of recommendation — my least favorite thing to do on the planet. I don’t just burn my bridges: I dynamite them in my wake and launch the ashes in a coffee can in to space and I sow the land around where the bridge used to be with with salt and then I seek out the bridge-builder and I rough him up and cut out his tongue in front of his family. You cannot imagine how horrible I am at looking back, seriously.

    And I’m even worse at admitting I need a favor. I’d rather drink bleach then ask for help. I’m working on all this, honestly.

    But now it’s basically all in other people’s hands so I’m back.

    It was recently pointed out to me during my absence that even though I like plenty of comics and link them to literature and artistic tropes all the time in conversation, I don’t focus much on anything except the Bat on this journal. That’s true. It’s lazy and misrepresents the entirety of my interests. I’ll work on remedying that more often. I’ll try and throw something up today as an example.

    Mean Girls Monday: Let ’em down easy

    January 24, 2011

    Very smooth decline. No Big Deal.