Posts Tagged ‘pinup’

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: 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.

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

April 26, 2011

You know. That type.

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

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

…no.

Don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys: Echo Sackett edition feat. Yvonne Buckingham

January 22, 2011


Yvonne Buckingham.

When morning came, and when I had my breakfast, I sat waiting in the sitting room. I was wearing a poke bonnet and a long full skirt trimmed with bows of ribbon and a shawl around my shoulders. My knitting bag was on my lap and my pick was inside my skirt in its scabbard and ready to hand. A girl can’t be too careful.

(Louis L’Amour. Ride the River: Book Five in the Sackett Series. New York: Bantam, 1983.)

Baby, it’s cold outside: Showdown! — The three faces of Miss October 1957, Colleen Farrington

November 27, 2010


Photographed by Peter Basch.

La donna é mobile. Women are changeable. The write-up for this lovely and talented Playmate of the Month (and surprise celebrity mother) featured her in three different hair colors: blonde, brunette, and redheaded. Browse through the spread and pick your poison!


Time was you could make a date with a brunette on Wednesday and, when you picked her up Saturday night, be certain a brunette would be waiting for you.

(“La Donna È Mobile.” Playboy, October 1957.


These days, thanks to quickie hair-dyes, your brunette may have metamorphosed into a redhead or a boysenberry blonde.

(Ibid.)


Click to enlarge any ol’ pic, any ol’ time, but I strongly recommend the one on the right up there. It’s great. She was a lovely ham in this spread.

And just what in the name of easter baskets would a boysenberry blonde look like? Did the person who wrote that ever even see a boysenberry? They’re so deep purple that they’re virtually black. Strawberry blonde is a shade, yes. Boysenberry blonde? Not so much. Those two things do not work together.

I find the pairing weird and it makes me curious to see such a thing in real life. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible outside of food coloring on a junior high girl. Back to the likely made-up story of quickie hair dyes and their metaphorical relationship with the vagaries of the vapid gender.


This sign of the times was dramatized for us recently when photographer Peter Basch sent us a test shot of prospective Playmate Colleen Farrington, a New York TV model*.

(Ibid.)

*In fact, Colleen was at this time modeling on television and doing high fashion on runways. She worked frequently with designer Oleg Cassini, who would go on to permanent international fame in about three years as Jacqueline Kennedy’s favorite designer and the architect of her “look” in the Camelot heyday.


My favorite shot of the spread.

We found her a pert, well-turned brunette, and we wired Pete to go ahead by all means. When the first Playmate photos arrived, however, Colleen (having dyed her crowning glory for a TV show) was a blonde.

(Ibid.)


We liked her better the other way, so she obliged by becoming a brunette again and Pete, in a puckish mood, persuaded her to try a temporary head of red, too, in the interest of utter confusion.

(Ibid.)


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

(Ibid.)

Red, over here. I’ll put the poll at the bottom for easy voting.

I’m curious to see how this one comes out. I think the red suits Ms. Farrington, who sometimes went by Ms. Prince, best, but then again, the pictures of her with red hair are the best done in my opinion, too, so that could be clouding my judgment. If she’d been blonde in the pink corset by the bar pictures, maybe my feelings would be different.

As far as that series of this shoot goes, I’d spotted and saved it a few years ago, just saving it as Colleen Farrington 1, 2, 3, etc. When I started putting together pictures and bios for these winter posts, I was pumped to see I’d be able to include her.

Then when I found her original spread, I was tickled by the prospect of a poll for which hair color was the most pleasing to readers. I’ve been meaning to return to the idea of regularly putting up Showdown!s and this was a perfect opportunity to get back in the swing. Not only that, but Ms. Farrington had one more surprise up her lovely sleeve —

— She is the mother of unbelievably beautiful and talented actress Diane Lane.

I’m sure you’re thinking what I’m thinking — this amazing fact means that Colleen Farrington was, at one time, the mother-in-law of The Highlander. I know, right? There can be only one! Amazing!

Just kidding. I realize not everyone’s life is built around tangentially relating the science fiction/fantasy films and television of their youth to everything they experience, and I’m trying to recover from that shock. I’m sure you were thinking how beautiful mother and daughter both are. And they are.

Ms. Farrington married acting coach, partner to John Cassavetes, and unlikely cabbie Burt Lane and the couple had Diane in 1964. They divorced when the baby was only 13 months old and Ms. Lane lived sometimes with her mother and sometimes with her father until she was 15, when she emancipated herself from her father having already sadly written her mother, living in Georgia at the time, off following some unfortunate family fallouts. They had kind of a bumpy period that I don’t think it’s fair to get in to, but they are reconciled and all is well.

So, back to the poll and how mobile we donnas are: Which of Colleen Farrington’s ‘do’s rocks your world?


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

November 26, 2010


The intrepid reporter makes a call from the field.

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


Ms. Neill in a pinup pose.

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


Ms. Neill in 2008.

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




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

Daily Batman: Still I’d like to express my thanks

November 25, 2010


“Batman v. Turkey” photographed by sltaylor on the flickr, 2008.

Got no checkbooks, got no banks,
Still, I’d like to express my thanks
I’ve got the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

And with the sun in the morning
And the moon in the evening
I’m all right.


“Batgirl resting” by Aubery Mirkwood on the d.a.

Sunshine gives me a lovely day,
Moonlight gives me the Milky Way.
Got no heirlooms for my kin,
Made no will but when I cash in
I’ll leave the sun in the morning
And the moon at night.

And with the sun in the morning
And the moon in the evening
I’m all right.

I’m all right.


(Irving Berlin. “I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning.” Annie Get Your Gun. 1946.)

Girls of Summer: Dolores Donlon, Miss August 1957

August 10, 2010


Photographed by super-great Peter Gowland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Batman and Flashback Friday: First Showdown! edition, sort of feat. Monica Bellucci and Claudia Schiffer

July 9, 2010

Portions of this post originally appeared on November 18, 2009 and on November 20, 2009.

First there was Claudia. Then there was Monica.

From November 18, 2009:

Topless Claudia Schiffer in Catwoman mask by Mario Testino for German Vogue (June, 2008).

Winner winner, chicken dinner! I said goddamn, Claudia Schiffer. Haters to the left.

Internet, I am going to let you knock off early and go home for the rest of the day, because you have truly outdone yourself. Great hustle.

Several days later:

Wow, guys. Monica Bellucci and my fave photographer, Ellen Von Unwerth, are seriously giving the topless Claudia Schiffer Catwoman by Mario Testino of several days’ ago a real run for its money for the internet’s Best [Batman] Picture Ever contest.

Monica Bellucci, photographed in Catwoman mask and leather bodysuit by the stellar and magnificent Ellen Von Unwerth for “Bella Bellucci,” a feature in Vogue España, June 2006.

While Monica’s cleavage is always impressive and, of course, her face is basically the most beautiful on Earth, I’m still giving the advantage to the Mario-Claudia collaboration for toplessness. Better luck next time, Team Monica-EVU!

TODAY:
I’ve brought them both back for this very special Flashback Friday because it’s a tiime for a bat couture Showdown!: Model Citizens as Catwoman edition.



Top: Monica Bellucci photographed by Ellen von Unwerth ; Bottom: Claudia Schiffer photographed by Mario Testino.

And ladies, please remember that in my mind, you are both winners. Pick your feline femme fatale poison below!

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!

Spring Fever!: Felicia Atkins, Miss April 1958

April 19, 2010

I was feeling down, but I’m pulling myself out of it. I need to have more faith that things will work out for the best, for one thing, and for another, holy cannoli, is it ever a gorgeous day out there! I’ve been sitting on some of these shots for just about forever. I love this shoot. Lots of red clothes, cute hats, and opera-style makeup? Yes, please — I am a big These Pictures Guy from Way Back! Miss April 1958 is the lovely and talented Felicia Atkins.


Photographed by Bruno Bernard and Bill Bridges.

An awesome vintage brunette wonder from Down Under, Ms. Atkins still holds the record today for being the longest consecutively-employed showgirl in the history of the storied Folies-Bergère Revue at the Las Vegas Tropicana. Get it, girl!


Felicia Atkins: Pussy Magnet. Ow!

I find the history of Old School Las Vegas really interesting (mainly a result of the intersection between my undying love of The Godfather movies and the fact that I’m perpetually interested in the persistent concept of the fast-and-loose, fancy-free frontier “west” in the American mind especially as it played out in increasingly swift travel methods available to the middle class seeking recreation in the twentieth century — first, trains to national parks, then big steely cars on the new highways roaring along state routes dotted with crummy roadside teepees and Bob’s Big Boys by the mid-century; that interests the shit out of me, seriously), so I’m going to reproduce Ms. Atkins’ original write-up in its entirety and then go in to some historical Las Vegas points of emotional interest as far as the Folies-Bergère goes (went).


Gone are the drear, dread days beyond recall when we were led to believe that showgirls had a pretty bad time of it in the sunshine-and-health department — late hours, smoke-filled rooms, nightclub pallor, and other offenses to God and man. Today, tongue-clucking do-gooders would find it a tough task convincing us that the life of a showgirl (in Las Vegas, anyway) is anything but Reilly. Look at Felicia Atkins, if you haven’t already.

(“Showgirl in the Sun: A Vegas Venus Mixes Vitamins with Va-a-voom.” Playboy, April 1958.)


She spends her nights in the chorus line of the sumptuous Hotel Tropicana, gladdening the eyes of all beholders with her finely fashioned five-feet-seven-and-a-half-inches.

(Ibid.)

By day, she sleeps late in a swank suite of the same hostelry, eats a mountainous breakfast, then squeezes into a bikini and slips out to soak up a skinful of Vitamin C and splash about in a cool pool until it’s time to dry off the corpore sano andfoi get ready for the evening’s extravaganza. For this, mind you, she gets paid. Another nice thing that’s happened to felicitous Felicia is her appearance as our Playmate for the month of April. It’s nice for us, too. (Ibid.)

/End drivel. Phew! Before I go in to more about the show for which she famously worked, a few notes on Ms. Atkins — from what I can gather, after leaving the Folies, she went to work for the MGM Grand, which buffs know was bought by Bally’s. Sometime between the Bally’s acquisition, some bartending gigs at what is now the Crazy Horse, and the revamping of Vegas in to a family destination in the 1990’s (darkly pleased to see it returning to its roots after that failed experiment — boo to themed roller coasters, yay to sequined pasties), Ms. Atkins retired back to her native Australia.


The “Folies-Bergère” opened at the Tropicana Hotel in 1959. Famous for its Cancan girls and statuesque showgirls the “Folies-Bergère” has outlived many hotels as well as shows. The longest continuous running production show in Las Vegas has been updated many times over the years to keep its status as a sophisticated Parisian spectacular.

(“Folies-Bergère: We Can-Can,” Hooper, R. Scott. vegasretro.com.)

When you hear “showgirl,” and automatically picture a leggy glamazon in ostrich-tail and resplendently over-the-top headdress, you are picturing a girl from the Folies-Bergère, the hip grandma of all Vegas revues. As VegasRetro reported, it was the longest-running show in the history of the City, and Ms. Atkins, here, was its longest-running performer. That is really something!


Folies-Bergère, known the world over for gorgeous dancers is not just a show … it’s a legend. The theme of “women through time” beginning in the 1800’s to present day has gone unchanged, but the new interpretations enhance the Folies-Bergère experience.

(“Les Folies-Bergère.” PCAP, Las Vegas Lesiure Guide, 2003.)


The Dressing Room number gives the audience a behind-the-scenes feel of how the gorgeous showgirls prepare for their nightly appearance on stage. Each scenario flows seamlessly into the next such as in La Vedette where male dancers present a stunning showgirl who materializes through smoke with giant butterfly wings on her back.

(Ibid.)


Another popular scene is fashioned in the 1920’s where “women of darkness” were known as vamps. A private boudoir moment, black silk and velvet dressing gowns accompanied by tassels used as erotic props emphasize the sexual natures of these women.

(Ibid.)


The Las Vegas Folies-Bergère, which opened in 1959, closed at the end of March 2009, after nearly 50 years in operation.

(the wiki.)



The Folies-Bergère showgirls have been entertaining audiences at the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for 49 years. In the show’s heyday in Vegas, “The Trop,” where they performed, was considered the “Tiffany of the Strip,” attracting stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Patrons came to rub elbows with stars and with the Folies’ showgirls, who would “dress up” the hotel bar after performances.

But times are tight in Las Vegas, and the Tropicana can’t afford to produce the Folies-Bergère anymore. The showgirls’ last performance will be March 28, 2009 — just a few months shy of the show’s 50th anniversary.

(“Folies-Bergère to close in Las Vegas.” Meraji, Shereen. 23 February 2009. NPR.)


Coupl’a’fine-ass kittens chillaxin’.

These days, Felicia is, like I said, back in Oz. She now lives in a senior care facility where you can write to her at 4 Muller St., Salamander Bay, New South Wales, 4317. Be respectfully advised she has recently started being treated for advancing dementia and may not now recognize photos and autograph requests.

Speaking of these kinds of subjects, I need to go because I am being summoned to have a conversation with my grandmother, who is hot to tell me for probably the sixth time today about how her brother Alvin got the first Model T in Priest River when she was a kid with graduation money from their grandmother and he took all the kids in town for rides in it, and they were speeding and hit a bump and he had to jerk her back down on to his lap at one point because she flew up in the air and almost out the window of the car. She loves that story. He was her favorite brother. I don’t mind when she gets stuck in a groove for a day on the really sweet and good memories. It’s a wonderful break from the Bad Days, plus the repetition ensures that now I will hold on to the memory for awhile. And that’s what we’ve all got ears and got voice boxes for, most likely. Right? It happens. Catch you later!

Spring Fever!: Gloria Windsor, Miss April 1957

April 15, 2010

The lovely and talented Gloria Windsor was Playboy’s Miss April 1957. I’ve had this picture saved on the ol’ compy for a couple years now, actually, because I am delighted by the expression of demented glee in the centerfold. Cracks me up. She is a tiny blonde rocking some powerful Crazy Eyes, and I’m down with that. Seriously, look at her smile. She looks one bump away from straight-up maniacal. I love it!


Photographed by Hal Adams.

The article which accompanied this spread was so, so full of obvious lies that I’m afraid I actually vacillated about even partially reproducing it here. It’s that cheesey. Not only that, it shrouds “Ms. Windsor” in total mystery. Who the heck knows what her name, occupation, age, and temperament really were? The answers are certainly not to be found in a bunch of chili sauce and curly fries riddled with cringe-inducing lines like:

‘ When in the course of human events (which sometimes includes buying a fancy chemise for a dear friend’s birthday) we discovered blonde, brown-eyed Gloria Windsor behind the counter of a lingerie shop, we said to her, “Let us take you away from all this.” ‘ (“Winsome Windsor,” Playboy, April 1957.)



… We explained that we meant to take her away only long enough to shoot a Playmate photograph, something that could be done on her lunch hour. After a brief exchange of coy dialogue which we won’t bore you with here, she consented.

If you’re going to spew … find Garth’s hat. Please don’t do it in my Yankees cap.


The idea of the spread is that they’ve got her trying on the items for sale in her shop — that’s pretty cute and actually fair enough. But why then do they talk in the copy specifically about taking her away from the shop to do the shoot? Chicanery.

Anyway. That article is absolutely ridiculous, and that was just a small sample of it. Dudes, first of all, I loathe it for giving credence to the groundless and terrible assumption that lingerie salesgirls are secretly all a bunch of highly suggestible sluts who can’t wait to shed their suits and model their wares for you. I was a proud Bra Specialist for Victoria’s Secret for two years and have always taken issue with this sterotype, which, believe me, even lonely trophy-wife-type women seem to believe, judging from how they’d constantly call us in to the fitting rooms to “adjust” and “help” them while flashing scary boob jobs and spray tans at us and trying to drop slang and hints about meeting for lunch and cocktails. I like to call them “afternoon bisexuals” — it’s all fine and good to go out to lunch and make out with a like-minded girlfriend while sipping Cosmos and discussing highlights, but when it comes time for the real meal, dinner? You bet your ass they’re going straight back to the man who buys the steak.


Click to enlarge a scan of the original article. If you can stomach it.

New patrons also liked to slyly approach and ask where the “good” stuff was — edible panties, furry handcuffs, etc — at which point I had no choice but to commiserate with them that we sold merely “foundations” garments and did not have “good” stuff. Then I’d tacitly endorse a few places around town which did.

But that does not mean that all lingerie salesgirls have any knowledge of even the most basic workings of sex: assume that what you see is what you get and the girl in that Victoria’s Secret or Frederick’s of Hollywood nametag is just a young woman surrounded by silk underwear which comprises her entire world and nothing peripheral to the use of said underwear is included in her purview. Yes?


Those sparkly gold pants are amazing. My favorite photo from the shoot.

Those who know me might be tempted to point to my lingerie collection and the continued expansion of said wardrobe as evidence of the Victoria’s Secret merchandise/salesgirl’s character relationship — to you I say, corollation does not imply causation. You can’t argue with that, suckas, because it is math.

But what really grinds me about this puffy little article stuffed with fluff is the advancement of the idea that you could do the whole of a Playboy photoshoot on one’s lunch hour. That is the apex of a shysty and misleading shenanigan.

Come on — we have already learned that the b&w shots are usually done separately from the color and on totally different days from Swingin’ Miss February 1968, the lovely and talented and openminded Ms. Nancy Harwood, remember? It took absolutely days to shoot a centerfold spread; hell, it takes up to and sometimes over a week even now and that is with the advent of digital photography, even. Shot on the lunch hour, indeed. That is all total folklore. Fairy Tales and Oral Tradition 101, required course reading, right there. Depend on it. Calling bullshit on that one from a mile off.

That last shot did not actually make it in to the original April 1957 spread, but rather comes from The First 15 Years book. The compilation of 178 centerfolds from the magazine’s earliest history was a Playboy Newsstand Special which came out in 1983. Today it goes for $75. Its success lead to the printing of The Second 15 Years in 1984. Many of those who disapproved of then-modern porn and decried the so-called corruption of morals during the 70’s and 80’s were accustomed to hounding Larry Flynt and Deep Throat and were quite surprised by the success of the The First 15 Years, but I just think it goes to show an old adage that I have always lived by. Ready for it?

PSA: Dudes like boobs.

Doesn’t matter if they’re on a gal whose photograph was taken yesterday or on a woman in a picture who is probably now dead or a grandma, if they are boobs, they are worth a second look. It makes no difference to the gentleman looking at the picture if the hair and wardrobe above and below the boobs are out-of-date — he is not wishing the woman with boobs was wearing more stylish clothing, he is wishing there were no clothing on the woman with boobs at all.

Smart porn purveyors know this and, if they are savvy gents like Hef, have held on to their old photos featuring those wonderful cash cows we call boobs and will play that card from time to time, right about the time they are sure the woman in the picture with boobs in question is too old or living a life too removed from the time of the picture’s taking to raise a protest. So, ladies, when you pose for naughty pictures and they assure you that the negatives will be destroyed, they are probably lying. Did You Know?

On a quick review, this entry is really full of revelations, from afternoon bisexuals to nudie photoshoots taking time to Victoria’s Secret’s lack of “good” stuff and all ending with the earth-shattering truism that dudes like boobs. Y’all please excuse me while I blow ya minds.

Daily Batman: Blinding you with Science

April 14, 2010

Can Beach Bunny Batgirl get Scientific with you?


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

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

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

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

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

March Madness: Priscilla Wright, Miss March 1966

March 17, 2010

Dig those tanlines. Miss March 1966 was the lovely and talented Priscilla Wright, who preferred to go by Pat and was one helluva golfer.


Photographed by Mario Casilli.

This is a great, breezy shoot that emphasizes Ms. Wright’s love of the outdoors and brisk, sporty style. I really dig it.


My favorite shot.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer interdum ultricies nisl in ultrices. Quisque vestibulum fermentum tincidunt. Fusce id lectus vitae massa mattis tempus eget et ante. Nulla facilisi. Sed rutrum dui eget augue varius sodales varius orci aliquet. Etiam adipiscing accumsan mauris. Proin condimentum sollicitudin purus eget gravida. Nunc eget lacus ac nulla blandit mattis sit amet fringilla nisl. Aliquam ipsum felis, ornare vitae rutrum ut, tempus a nisl. Aenean in elit nec purus dictum facilisis at volutpat libero. Vestibulum in urna tellus. Aliquam in ipsum justo, mollis euismod felis. Aenean accumsan dapibus risus, vel dignissim tellus facilisis vestibulum. Mauris quis ligula nec turpis elementum facilisis non ut sem. Integer quis mauris vitae tortor sollicitudin blandit. Vivamus vel est turpis. Fusce ut odio quam. Morbi vulputate ipsum vel nisl scelerisque sit amet interdum velit iaculis. Duis eget sapien vel purus lacinia tristique id vehicula erat.

Integer lobortis lectus lectus, id rutrum justo. Aliquam vitae mauris in nulla sodales tempor. Quisque quis sapien metus, nec dignissim est. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla adipiscing lobortis orci vitae faucibus. Integer magna magna, facilisis id iaculis non, dictum quis massa. Phasellus vestibulum tincidunt tincidunt. Mauris eros erat, mattis sed sagittis aliquet, facilisis ut leo. Curabitur imperdiet tincidunt aliquet. Sed nibh magna, elementum porttitor cursus non, laoreet eu tortor. Donec in justo et mauris ornare interdum. Nam at pharetra velit. Aliquam erat volutpat. Morbi non elit sit amet orci interdum luctus non quis lorem. Pellentesque nisi lectus, consequat et malesuada mollis, mollis vel felis. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vivamus placerat dictum diam vel interdum. Ut nec sem lacus.

Quisque vitae nisl id ante ultricies semper sit amet at enim. Sed odio mi, vulputate ac iaculis sit amet, sollicitudin nec felis. Vestibulum imperdiet lectus ut ipsum facilisis fringilla eu non purus. Vivamus porta euismod tortor, quis malesuada velit elementum in. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Nulla at eros nulla, at vulputate odio. Cras in purus dolor. Duis fringilla lacinia sem, ut tempus augue venenatis pretium. Quisque ac metus a ligula vehicula faucibus eget nec nibh. Nunc sed arcu quis diam convallis dictum non in odio. Donec et placerat eros. Nunc congue gravida neque, sed vehicula nulla bibendum at. Vestibulum suscipit pellentesque lacus, ac faucibus est dapibus id. Etiam fringilla nisi sit amet neque ultricies eget laoreet nisi tincidunt. Maecenas at velit augue, in scelerisque felis. Curabitur dapibus, magna et tempus elementum, nunc libero commodo sapien, vel vehicula metus mi id quam. Praesent volutpat dui ac est feugiat egestas. Vivamus ligula diam, suscipit tempor dictum eget, aliquet id metus.

Donec ultrices pulvinar mi ac porta. Ut eu dolor sapien, in semper lectus. Quisque porttitor pharetra fringilla. Aliquam erat libero, blandit sed mollis ut, tincidunt eget elit. In ut ligula urna. Pellentesque ultricies luctus velit sed iaculis. Donec ut libero risus. Pellentesque pharetra condimentum dui ut ultrices. Morbi ac hendrerit lacus. Donec accumsan lobortis velit eget dictum.

Fusce leo tortor, accumsan at pulvinar vel, dapibus quis justo. Donec tortor leo, vehicula quis venenatis nec, viverra ac mi. Fusce nec arcu enim, id rhoncus nisl. Morbi elit nibh, egestas ut lacinia at, scelerisque id ante. Vestibulum quis turpis id ligula laoreet dapibus. Proin blandit augue vitae enim consequat et euismod justo sodales. Mauris sagittis hendrerit purus a tempor.

Vestibulum orci est, gravida sed vestibulum non, posuere nec elit. In dapibus, velit eget gravida auctor, est quam accumsan quam, ut aliquet felis dui vel metus. Morbi sed est nec risus aliquet aliquam et blandit erat. Integer semper dolor vitae felis semper vel congue nibh iaculis. Donec mattis convallis magna et accumsan. Praesent magna justo, malesuada vehicula elementum quis, mattis ac velit. Duis venenatis convallis eleifend. Proin ultricies adipiscing dui, nec interdum nulla malesuada non. Sed varius rutrum lectus ac rutrum. Pellentesque sit amet diam sed justo sagittis consequat nec a dolor. Curabitur auctor magna quis libero vehicula eleifend in ac lectus. Quisque gravida purus nec augue scelerisque vel imperdiet mi pharetra. Sed in dignissim enim. Phasellus bibendum blandit leo, at adipiscing sapien rutrum vitae. Etiam ornare varius dolor, id venenatis dolor varius ultricies. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer ut egestas enim.

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Nunc quis orci dui. Vestibulum sit amet tincidunt lectus. Maecenas ac diam quam. Nam placerat libero tincidunt ligula volutpat sollicitudin. Nunc urna metus, laoreet sed lobortis eget, lobortis sit amet dui. Aliquam sagittis luctus ultricies. Maecenas velit turpis, tristique vel posuere nec, auctor in ipsum. Nulla id nulla nisi. Morbi iaculis, diam eu faucibus auctor, lectus turpis luctus felis, ac scelerisque ligula sapien vel felis. Donec luctus tempus fringilla. Praesent aliquet leo non massa vehicula ullamcorper a at nibh. Quisque dolor purus, commodo at suscipit at, fermentum vitae orci.

Pellentesque ut pretium tellus. Mauris vitae velit ut neque sollicitudin eleifend ut a leo. Donec sollicitudin accumsan urna vitae aliquam. Etiam et elit id neque tempus molestie ut at ipsum. Pellentesque vitae libero nulla. Integer nec nunc augue, non imperdiet massa. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Proin feugiat laoreet sem, a hendrerit leo iaculis sit amet. Etiam eget est lacus. Fusce sed ligula ac nisi laoreet laoreet. Aenean vel tellus ante. Proin odio dui, tincidunt quis viverra ut, fringilla et risus. Ut nec sem scelerisque justo mollis consectetur.

Etiam in neque id nisl venenatis luctus non eu elit. Duis egestas suscipit diam consectetur iaculis. Curabitur feugiat, nisl eget adipiscing posuere, ipsum purus pretium massa, aliquet congue nibh augue et risus. In lacus lorem, ullamcorper et malesuada ut, rhoncus eget turpis. Curabitur eu ante quis libero consequat varius suscipit eget leo. Aenean porta fermentum dapibus. Pellentesque in ante ligula, sit amet sagittis lacus. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Pellentesque aliquam ante sit amet augue malesuada ac vestibulum neque laoreet. Aenean semper rhoncus risus, vel vestibulum erat laoreet nec. Integer quis nisl aliquet metus venenatis ornare. Pellentesque mollis, felis a suscipit congue, metus justo consequat libero, vitae consequat nisi velit quis nisl. Proin neque ante, pulvinar id elementum eget, congue non elit. Pellentesque vitae eros dui. Praesent id cursus neque. Aenean interdum dictum mi nec congue.

Praesent vitae sem tortor, quis imperdiet lacus. Nullam lectus diam, feugiat at varius in, sagittis eget sem. Vivamus ut ipsum quam. Duis gravida iaculis purus, quis tincidunt diam lacinia vitae. Nunc imperdiet, metus vel cursus ultrices, libero neque fringilla eros, ut vestibulum massa lacus et tortor. Sed eu tortor lorem, pharetra tempus eros. Ut ornare mauris quis orci molestie mattis. Vestibulum justo magna, posuere sed ullamcorper id, blandit nec orci. Donec luctus, mauris ut luctus scelerisque, dolor elit sagittis turpis, vel posuere libero lacus ut sem. Aenean nec velit urna. Quisque rutrum consectetur turpis vitae interdum. Etiam condimentum tristique neque a mattis. Aliquam commodo, enim at convallis sagittis, nibh quam sodales dolor, vitae bibendum lorem nisl eu magna. Phasellus tempor lectus venenatis augue consequat laoreet. Morbi eleifend lorem quis felis porttitor eget elementum nulla sodales. Donec id mollis eros. Integer pretium posuere nulla ut aliquet. Vestibulum arcu lorem, malesuada sit amet elementum quis, commodo sed urna. Pellentesque quis nisl eget augue vehicula aliquet vel nec velit. Maecenas pharetra dictum cursus.

Etiam ac velit lobortis dui accumsan posuere condimentum et justo. Vestibulum eu metus placerat sem faucibus tempus sit amet ut nulla. Proin posuere, turpis vitae aliquet tempus, mauris metus fringilla tellus, eget fringilla ipsum tellus vel lectus. Etiam eu pharetra arcu. Phasellus eget condimentum leo. Maecenas ligula elit, molestie eget laoreet id, mollis at ipsum. Cras in tristique sem. Curabitur consectetur sodales nibh sit amet eleifend. Integer ut sapien in enim iaculis euismod. Aliquam non malesuada erat. Aenean ac adipiscing purus. Phasellus sodales, arcu in ultrices tempus, ante ante commodo dui, pulvinar dictum magna ante non ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum-ing it up ’til I have time to get back in here and add all my actual text: my grandmother was having a really great day and we’d been having fun, but the mail still hasn’t come with a new box of checks for her and she’s beginning to get pretty nervous. I’m going to suggest we make smoothies (she loves the blender because the container is clear and she gets a kick out of watching it whir — the Osterizer she has had since the 50’s has a silver cup and she likes ours better). I could’ve just left no text in between, but I’m too cool and Old School. So old school I drive a yellow bus with gothic arched windows!, to quote Achewood. Catch you on the flip, ASAP.

edit: We made dyed-green mousse instead.





Special thanks to marxz on the v-e forums.

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.

March Madness: Jennifer Miriam, Miss March 1997

March 17, 2010

Miss March 1997 was the lovely and talented Jennifer Miriam, and she is a delightful little pistol. You’re going to love her. Super-awesome!


Photographed by Arny Freytag and Stephen Wayda.

Lord, how I enjoy the glorious 90’s-rifficness of this centerfold photograph. Let me count the ways.

  • Neon x-treme snowsports gear: check.
  • Jennifer Aniston “Friends” shag: check.
  • Hemp woven choker: check.
  • Brown lipliner with pinky-nude lipstick: check.
  • Sunflower doodles on stockings: check.
  • Frayed blue denim top: check.
  • Is it also a corset?: double-check!
  • Does the corset lace-up with light colored leather straps?: you bet your sweet ass it does.
  • Crank up the Cranberries, bust out the hacky-sack, and let’s let it linnnnger, chitlins!

    Jennifer grew up in Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Colorado and Texas. Moving frequently taught her how to meet people, she says. She also learned how to be the class clown.

    “Every time the teacher would leave the room,” she remembers, “I would entertain the class. I got sent home a lot. Like the time in first grade when I crawled under my desk and roared like a lion.” (“Maid Miriam.” Bain, Julie J. Playboy. March 1997.)

    Oh, my effing god, that is so cute.


    TURNOFFS: Anyone who tries to suppress the free spirit in me!
    FAVORITE DISHES: Chicken-fried steak, biscuits, cheesy mashed potatoes, pecan pie — and the man who appreciates a woman with healthy appetites.
    I EXPOSE MYSELF TO: New Orleans blues, Charles Bukowski poetry, art-house films, Andy Warhol paintings and the guitar player in the corner of the cafe.

    (Playmate data sheet.)

    Hell yeah, real food, Bukowski, and exposing yourself to musicians!


    “I dated an actor once who called me from a golf course on his cellular phone. I said, ‘Never mind!’ He was into the right cars, the right possessions. I hate that. I would rather have a guy in a beat-up pickup who’s nice to me and brings me flowers he picked himself.” (“Maid Miriam.”)

    Jeezy Creezy. I love this woman.


    This 24-year-old model, actor and hotel concierge believes in past lives. She says she was a priestess who met, and lost, her soul mate 2000 years ago — and she’s been missing him in all her lives since. But a psychic told her she would meet him again in two years. She can’t wait. (Ibid.)


    She demands of any guy she dates: “‘Let me be me!’ I like people who like to have fun and aren’t worried about what other people think. If he says, ‘You can’t do that,’ I say, ‘Bye.'” (Ibid.)

    In her Playmate interview, Ms. Miriam stressed that her emphasis with acting was on finding roles in meaningful, small films. She had featured parts in The Newton Boys and Pressurecooker, before leaving Hollywood, a move which is not too surprising coming from a woman who does not like falseness and getting her free spirit hemmed in. Good on her for really sussing out the depth of her dreams! She is married with two children, and now makes her living as an artist.

    March Madness: Marian Stafford, Miss March 1956

    March 17, 2010

    The lovely and talented Marian Stafford, Playboy‘s Miss March 1956, is adorable and also full of all kinds of noteworthiness.


    Photographed by Ruth Sondak.

    First, Ms. Stafford was the first gatefold model to get a three page pull-out centerfold: the real deal, the whole fold-out enchilada. This has obviously become a trademark of not just Playboy but a widely-copied staple of the porn mag world as a whole. Way to go, twinkie!

    Unusually, as you can see from the above caption, the lead credited photographer of Ms. Stafford’s shoot was a woman. Ruth Sondak seems to have been an active New York photographer on whom I am having trouble finding complete biographical data.

    I found this link to an interview about Greenwich Village anti-Vietnam War protesters, which had circa-70’s pictures credited as being taken by Ruth accompanying the article, and a 1993 NYT obit that included a picture of a famous educator that was photographed by Ruth in New York in 1972. The links to the photos in both the obit and the war-resisters’ page were no longer active, so I can’t even say I have seen other pictures by her other than these of Ms. Stafford. That’s about all I got on that angle so far. I’ll keep digging.

    Okay, so you may be wondering why Ms. Stafford is ripping up a TV Guide in the two color shots of this spread. It’s not a Sinead O’Connor protest or anything — Ms. Stafford was first “discovered” on the boob-tube in the audience of a show, and became a main stage attraction herself not long after.


    This month’s Playmate is a little girl with big television aspirations. Her name is Marian Stafford and she packs a lot of woman into 5’3″. She wants to be an actress, but so far most of her TV experience has been confined to smiling prettily in commercials for products like Tintair, Pall Mall and Jantzen; she has helped advertise Revlon on The $64,000 Question and RCA Victor on the video version of Our Town. She has had a walk-on in a Kraft Theater production and small speaking parts in two Robert Montgomery shows. (“Playboy’s TV Playmate,” Playboy, March 1956.)


    But her most unique television experience is as a human test pattern for Max Leibman spectaculars, where she spends hours before NBC color cameras during rehearsals and is never seen by the audience. (Ibid.)

    Ms. Stafford did make it back in front of cameras, regularly appearing on shows such as The $64,000 Question and Treasure Hunt. Her adorable pretty-princess looks and sweet nature also scored her the part of Mistress of Ceremonies on the 11-episode children’s story hour show The Big Fun Carnival in 1957. Get it, girl!

    One of the coolest parts of this issue was a short story by Ray Bradbury titled “The First Night of Lent,” about a good-natured and laconic Irish driver named Nick whom a writer employs while he is working on a screenplay in Dublin. The driver gives up drinking for Lent and becomes a reckless maniac, incapable of sorting through the richness of life’s sensory overload and focusing on one thing at a time: he needs alcohol to make it through the day, because the Irish are such finely tuned, sensitive beings that sobriety is an innavigable misery to them. At the end, the screenplay writer gives Nick money and begs him to start drinking again. It’s a mainly classist and racist but still kind of fun story, and Ray Bradbury is my all-time favorite sci-fi writer of all time* so I let him off the hook, cultural pride notwithstanding.



    excerpt from the googlebooks. give it a spin, dudes, and please consider writing to your congressmen urging them to protect free lit on the net! LIBRARIES FOREVER!

    Marian Stafford is one of the few playmates to model both as the gatefold and cover girls. Do you get the cover idea? The bunny is a producer watching her do her NBC color-test job. Super-cute. Again — get it, girl!



    *Nickel in the mail to the first person who gets the “all-time-favorite of all time” movie line reference.

    Valentine Vixen: Jessica St. George, Miss February 1965

    February 7, 2010

    Miss February 1965 was the lovely and talented Jessica St. George, the first Greek centerfold. Can I get a “hell, yeah” for my sisters across the sea? I am all for national pride, but it’s my belief that Mediterranean ladies must lay aside our ancient Greco-Roman differences and stick together when we are swarmed by A-cup blonde WASP-y types.


    Photographed by Mario Casilli.

    Ελληνική n. – (τυπογρ.) σαλόνι, γυμνό μοντέλο του κεντρικού σαλονιού περιοδικού.
    translation:
    centerfold n. – (sĕn’tər-fōld’) a magazine center spread, especially a foldout of an oversize photograph or feature.

    The title of the article that accompanied this distinctly divergent pictorial (some shots are on one day, inside, with bad makeup, and the rest are really good and in-and-outdoors on a different day with much better styling) was, I wish I was kidding, “Greek Baring Gifts.” Ouch. I thought I made bad puns. Man. I am embarrassed for you right now, Playboy, not gonna lie. I mean, we’re still cool — but, dudes, I cannot even look at you right now.

    In the interior photographs, Ms. St. George looks a little uncomfortable. Also, the stylist seems to have slightly wonked up her eye makeup, so her left eye looks different in size or level from the right. Totally outside Ms. St. George’s control. She is doing her best to awkwardly work it despite the handicap of shitty styling. In the outdoors shots, she is more relaxed in appearance and her smile looks less stiff.


    PEOPLE I ADMIRE: Helen of Troy and President John F. Kennedy. She had complete command of men, and he was concerned about young people.

    I wonder what Ms. St. George’s opinion of his widow Jacqueline Kennedy was after her sudden marriage to Aristotle Onassis. She snatched him right out from over beloved Greek-Italian opera diva and personal patron saint Maria Callas, who most Greek- and Italian-Americans idolized, celebrating her tempestuous romance with Onassis as much as her famous chilling voice.

    I love Maria very, very much, and I used to be a big Jackie guy when I was younger, but no more. I know it’s unpopular and some people look at it as sacreligous to so much as cast a smidge of a shadow of hate on good ol’ Jacqueline Bouvier-Kennedy-Onassis-Polly-Wolly-Doodle-All-Day, that paragon of poise, style, Daddy Issues, and anorexia, but facts are facts.

    And at some point in time, if you are going to give a serious read to the tangled web of 1960’s social history, and Ari Onassis and his interactions with the extraordinary, talented, and occasionally scandalous women his fat, arrogant, allegedly bisexual ass managed to land, you must choose sides; my personal journey through the threads of this time and my notions of fairness in love and war lead irrevocably to me renouncing Jackie and her neurotic little sister Lee forever in favor of my Maria. Team Callas. Period.

    That was a long digression. Sorry, I get worked up. Apologies to Ms. St. George. Back to you, kiddo!


    My favorite shot from the spread.

    Jessica vows it has nothing to do with her Greek heritage, but we must admit we found just the slightest trace of chauvinism in the fact that her favorite music star is George Chakiris. (“Greeks Baring Gifts,” Playboy. February 1965.)

    A thousand times, yes. Good call, Jessica! You may know George Chakiris as Bernardo, leader of the Puerto Rican street gang the Sharks and overprotective older brother to Natalie Wood in the role of Maria in West Side Story, for which he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1961. He was a real hottie. I always thought he was much, much better-looking than Tony, the lead.

    I wonder what he’s up to today?

    Looking back, [at 70] Chakiris is satisfied with his career. Chakiris has escorted Marilyn Monroe (he was one of the dancers) during the “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, he recorded several albums in the 1960s, he performed Gershwin songs for audiences in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Monte Carlo, he starred in numerous television guest roles—a spot on Hawaii Five-0 is among his favorites—and he played a villain on Dallas. He last starred [as Mr. Rochester] in a London stage production of Jane Eyre in 1997. (“A Boy Like That,” Holleran, Scott. Box Office Mojo. March 23, 2003.)

    Well, that is all some dang awesome shit, if I do say so myself. Especially being Mr. Rochester — heat!

    Ms. St. George’s ambition was to be a professional dancer and actress. No word on if she achieved her goal, but if I discover more I will update.

    Valentine Vixen: Julie Michelle McCullough, Miss February 1986

    February 5, 2010

    I am so glad to be able to share two super-special gals with you today. First, brooding and sensitive Cheryl Kubert from earlier in the day (R.I.P. and I wish her many hopefully joyful and educational returns to this earth after her unhappy retirement; that’s what reincarnation is for), the solemn, petite brunette with tall skis and deep eyes, and now — for something completely different! — ebullient and absolutely adorable blonde ray of sunshine Julie Michelle McCullough: model, actress, stand-up comedienne, and maligned-but-triumphant victim of sitcom scandal. Take it away, buttercup!


    Photographed by Arny Freytag.


    “I’ve always felt that I have little eyes, a mouth full of teeth and ears that I call elf ears. They kind of poke out.” That’s her opinion. We certainly didn’t notice any flaws when Julie McCullough showed up for our salute to The Girls of Texas last February. In fact, we tucked her ears under a Stetson and put her on the cover. It was the first time she’d ever seen a copy of Playboy.


    Although she was born in Hawaii, Julie was then, and is now, living in Texas. But as the daughter of a Marine Corps lifer, she has moved around a lot. “It bothered me when I was younger, but as I look back, I appreciate it, because it taught me how to get along with different types of people. If you make good friends, you never lose them.”


    During most of her childhood years, Julie thought she wanted to be an artist. “I really love to draw,” she says, “but I could never see myself as a starving artist. So I realized art would have to be more of a hobby than a career. And then, in high school, I started entering pageants, and I got a couple of Miss Photogenic awards. And everybody would tell me, ‘You should try modeling; You should try modeling.’ And all of a sudden, it’s like, ‘Hey!'”


    Playboy’s cover picture, and the less covered picture inside the magazine, caused a furor in Julie’s home town of Allen, a rural community 26 miles north of Dallas. A local pastor, announcing that he planned to preach a sermon on the subject, was quoted as saying — we kid you not — “The easiest thing to do is jump on Julie.” He went on to say that he saw her appearance in Playboy as part of a larger problem, that of “general moral disintegration in the fiber of the nation.” (“Return of the Cover Girl,” Playboy, February 1986.)


    While working as a model, she was also honing her skills as an actress and had landed a part on television’s sitcom Growing Pains, featuring Kirk Cameron. He unfortunately shared the opinion that the easiest thing to do was jump on Julie, it seems, because he used his pull with the network to have her summarily axed off the show when he learned she had posed for Playboy, accusing the network of tacitly endorsing pornography by continuing her employment.

    Because Mr. Cameron was the breakout star of the show and a teen heartthrob who kept the network flush with sponsors (his charming smile conveniently moved hot amounts of Noxzema pads and Snickers bars to both cleanse and satisfy), they went along with his wishes and terminated the object of his objections.


    McCullough appeared in eight episodes until she was fired in 1990, which stemmed from series star Kirk Cameron’s conversion to evangelical Christianity, a conversion that, according to “The E! True Hollywood Story” episode focusing on the show, served to alienate him from his fellow cast members, as he did not invite any of them to his wedding. He accused the show’s producers of promoting pornography. (the wiki)

    Sez Ms. McCullough now:

    [Kirk Cameron] thinks if I read science books that I’m going to hell. I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints … the sinners are much more fun.* And a lot more interesting than some book-burner who is still having growing pains! I am at peace with God. Kirk thinks people like me are going to Hell; if I do, then at least I’ll go well-informed and well-read!

    (Ms. McCullough’s myspace.)

    *That is a reference to the Billy Joel song “Only the Good Die Young,” about young Virginia, a Catholic girl who starts much too late. Rock on with it, Ms. McCullough! Good people quote the Beatles. Great people quote the Beatles, Queen, and Billy Joel.

    Contemporaneous with her being fired from Growing Pains, Ms. McCullough was also stripped of her crown as Wilmington, NC’s “Azalea Queen” for posing for Playboy. Sheesh. I try to keep shit to myself, but I really feel the need to address Mr. Cameron’s and the people of Wilmington’s position on this issue. Leaving aside for now the fact that the lord decreed we enter this earth naked and that nudity is a major factor in procreation, which what good man can decry?, let us address the point where it seems people feel it ill befits a person of “good” moral fiber to celebrate the physical gift of their bodies. As a hippy-dippy meditative and soulful Christian who has thought my way deeply and thoroughly through these issues and can confidently and guiltlessly balance both Playboy and my beloved monthly The Way of St. Francis without throwing out the baby with the bathwater, loving-the-Word-but-thanking-God-for-earthly-forms-wise, I can only cite and gently suggest a review of Matthew, chapter seven.

    Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the plank that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a plank is in thine own eye?


    Thou hypocrite, first cast out the plank out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. At Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and the region across the Jordan, Jesus was talking to the multitudes gathered there after hearing of His message and of His healings to beseech them to not become like the pharisees and hypocrites who think they are above sin. (Matthew 7:1-7.)

    Mmm-hmm. This is an earnestly serious ethical issue. I’m not playing about the no more judging stuff. It’s just like Blessed Mother Teresa said: “If you judge someone, you have no time to love them.” And which one do you think Jesus would rather you worked at doing? Get with the program!

    Today, Ms. McCullough is a well-received and widely admired stand-up comedienne who continues to act.

    Some of her film and small screen credits include The Golden Girls, Beverly Hills, 90210, Jake and the Fatman, the Drew Carey Show, The Blob, and Harry and the Hendersons.

    She is also a published poetess, with a number of anthology and private publishing credits to her literary name, and she was on a basketball team with Casper van Dien of Starship Troopers fame (I ♥ Heinlein and Johnny Rico forever). According to the imdb, she began working full time in 2006 as a stand-up comedienne. She has performed, if the wiki can be trusted, at such well-known venues as the Palms in Las Vegas and the Laugh Factory in L.A. Right on!

    In conclusion, it is a widely known but nonetheless hard and bitter truth that, frankly, haters gon’ hate. All love and good wishes to Ms. McCullough and her sunny resilience!

    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.