Saturday, 14 March 2009

American Venus: Elizabeth Ann Roberts

Miss January 1958

Twenty-one years after the death of Chabas another furore erupted in Chicago regarding public decency. Hugh Hefner had been publishing Playboy there for just over four years and the authorities had constantly tried to stop him. His Playmate of the Month for January 1958 gave them another chance to have a go at him.

Elizabeth as college girl

Rather naively, Playboy though that because a mother gave permission for her daughter to pose and because she accompanied her to the photo session no-one would care that college girl Elizabeth Ann Roberts was only 17 at the time (some even say 16 -it does look like her mother claimed she was 18). Her pictorial's title of "Schoolmate playmate" probably didn't help.

She does look pretty young

As a result both Playboy and her mother were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Now, one of these is art and one of these is a teenage girl with a nice arse

Hefner planned to defend himself using the fact that the model for September Morn by Chabas was also a young girl (possibly only 15, as we have seen in our previous entry).

It sounds perilously close to the "it's art therefore it's permissable" defence. In this case we are not sure how well it would have worked.

In the end he didn't get the chance as the case was dropped for lack of evidence. Playboy had learned its lesson, however, and immediately insisted all its models had to be 18 years or over from then on.

Elizabeth looks pensive. Not quite sure what her mother was thinking but it probably had dollar signs in it somewhere

Would you like to twiddle my knobs?

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