Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Centrefold Venus of the Month 3: August - Yvonne Ekman

Yvonne. Elegant.

From August 1967 comes the extremely elegant Yvonne Ekman, Penthouse's first Danish Pet of the Month.

Beauty Queen Yvonne had been Miss Denmark for 1965 and Penthouse proudly trumpeted her status on the cover.

Yvonne (far right) in the Miss Europe contest

In its early days Penthouse presented a fair number of beauty queens from around the world.  Miss World (the UK equivalent of Miss Universe) was one of the most popular TV shows of the year on British television and Triple P remembers watching it with his family from quite a young age.

There was no question of any sexual interest in the women at that age, of course, but it was "event" televison, like the Eurovision Song Contest or the Morecambe and Wise Christmas show, and it would be much discussed afterwards at school. 

Agent Triple P's father, of course, who bought the copy of Penthouse from which Triple P scanned these pictures was certainly interested in women and it may well be that his commentary on their faces, legs (he was very much a leg man) and other attributes contributed to Triple P's later appreciation of women.

Triple P's mother, who had been a journalist for a major women's magazine, provided appropriate commentary on the relevant fashions that were paraded.  It was certainly the Miss World competition that made Triple P realise what vital statistics were and why they were important!

From Penthouse's point of view the appeal of beauty queens was, of course, that everyone wanted to know what they looked like out of their swimsuits.  In Yvonne's case the answer was not disappointing!

One fact that was generally agreed upon in Triple P's house was that the most beautiful girl rarely won the competition!  Yvonne had made the semi final of Miss World and also came 5th in Miss Europe that year. 

Penthouse discovered Yvonne on the set of the film The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966).  The magazine often featured pictorials from the set of a film that featured beautiful women and sometimes, as in this case, they persuaded some of these girls to pose for the magazine as well. 

She's in there somewhere!

This was the case for Brides but, oddly, Yvonne wasn't one of the girls chosen to display her charms in the original pictorial, which appeared in the May 1966 issue, as Penthouse rather shamefacedly admitted in the text accompanying her Pet of the Month feature. In fact, Yvonne's hair can just be glimpsed behind the girl in the purple dress in the bottom left picture on the page above.

Yvonne is tied to a pillar second from left in The Brides of Fu Manchu

Yvonne (right) decorates the set as Rupert (Maigret) Davies takes centre stage

In this film, based on Sax Rohmer's character (played by Christopher Lee as one of the unlikeliest looking Chinese on film) Fu Manchu is kidnapping the daughters of scientists and using this fact to blackmail them into working on his death ray.  Yvonne, of course, was one of the daughters who Fu Manchu kept tied up in his dungeon (quite understandably).

Yvonne was born in February 1945.

Yvonne's vital statistics were a nicely symmetrical 34.5/24/34.5 and she was 5'6" tall.

Yvonne was one of the candidates for Pet of the Year for 1968 (losing out to the hugely pneumatic Brandy) and this extra picture (above) of her appeared in the Pet play-off issue.

Yvonne, we have to say, had one of the best figures of any of the early Penthouse Pets.

Yvonne, who was 21 when these pictures were taken, made seven other Danish films between 1964 and 1971. What a splendid rear!

Yvonne appeared in several other mens magazines at the time.  Here she is as the centrefold (there were no other pictures of her) in the weekly Parade.  Published by City Magazines this featured jokes, short stories, cinema gossip, sports and news stories.  In this issue, for example there was an information piece on the new colour televisions (which were going to cost £300 in Britain!).  Black and white pictures of girls in swimsuits and topless (this was pre-Page 3) were scattered through the short (32 pages) weekly. Yvonne's pose here predates her Penthouse feature by two months. 

Here is Yvonne looking very sportif in Figure Photography even earlier, for Spring 1967.

Even more surprising is that photos from the same session of Yvonne's Penthouse shoot had already appeared in Cavalier magazine's May 1967 issue in the US.  This was before Penthouse was published in the US, of course.

The opening shots of the pictorial are all very swinging sixties with Yvonne very much a la mode in London.  We can date the time the pictorial was shot from the poster for the comedy thriller Our Man in Marrakesh on the bus.  This was released in the UK in April 1966; so more than a year before these pictures appeared in Cavalier and more than that until the Penthouse pictorial.  The 73 bus runs from Victoria Station to Stoke Newington via Park Lane, Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and Islington but we don't recognise the building on the right so don't know what road this is.

All the other pictures are of her in the same interior as that in the Penthouse pictorial with the same flower behind her ear..

She was represented by the Paris-based  Élysée 3 modelling agency and here is her model card from 1969.

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