Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Venus Revealed: The Pubic Wars 3: 1971 Part 2

After Liv Lindeland's revealing pictorial in January 1971 Playboy only had one other Playmate, Willy Rey in February, flash her fur over the following six months.  In contrast, Penthouse Pets were now showing their pubic hair more often than not.

January's strippers up the quota for Playboy

Playboy's July Playmate kept her groin covered as did the subject of celebrity pictorial, TV actress Linda Evans. However, there were no less than four pictorials that issue and the day was saved on the pubic front  by a feature on strip clubs and porn films.  There was also one shot in a piece on Spanish actress, Natividad Abascal.

Natividad. A small flash.

A more interesting development in the Penthouse v Playboy battle was the racy Penthouse-like cover for Playboy. Their  girl in a see through shirt  recalled Penthouse's May 1971 cover of another girl in a see through yellow top on the beach. Coincidence?

Penthouse May 1970

Playboy's covers had often been visually arresting. Penthouse's covers just featured a photo of one of the girls featured inside; no portraits, clever graphics or abstraction for Guccione. A straight location shot like this, whilst common on the cover of Penthouse was very rare for Playboy whose covers using women tended to be very studio bound.

Over at Penthouse, for July Guccione started a run where every Pet from then on showed her pubic hair (until the days when they didn't have any hair to display, that is).  This was still not the case for Playboy going forward and pubic Playmates were still the exception.

The up-front Vida farthing

Vida Farthing, that month's Pet, gave Penthouse its first real full frontal.  Up until this point the Pet's fluff had been only partially visible or glimpsed from the side.

Vida was also the first girl in the magazine to be shown with her fingers delving inside her knickers.  So not only did she show her pussy she was seen feeling it as well.  Guccione still only had two pictorials per issue as opposed to Playboy's three or even four.  His Pet pictorials, however, contained seven pages of colour plus the centrefold.  At this stage, the second pictorial was inevitably from the set of some nudie film.  Hefner only had three pages of colour, two of black and white and the centrefold in which to display his Playmates

August's Playmate, Cathy Rowland, was the first since Willy Rey in February to bare all but only in this small black and white photo (below left).

The same month Playboy employed English photographer David Hamilton to produce some typical (and, incidentally, very Penthouse-esque) studies including this young lady. The natural light, the soft focus and floaty attire were all hugely reminiscent of Guccione's style. Hefner had always maintained that Guccione's photographs were "crap" despite his own art and photo directors, Art Paul and Vince Tajiri, disagreeing. It is ironic to see a picture such as this therefore in Playboy.

David Hamilton girl

Where Playboy was fighting back against Pwenthouse was in the non-centrefold pictorials it had. The regular features on Bunnies from the various Playboy Clubs had started to get slightly more risque than the Playmate pictorials themselves. Leiko English, for example, had showed her pubic hair whilst posing as a Bunny but when she came back as a Playmate kept herself covered. It is almost as if Hefner wanted to keep his Playmate, his personification of the magazine, as pure as the girl next door should be.

Carole Green. Furry Bunny

Hefner thought that Guccione's voyeuristic photographic style was pornographic and that Guccione was nothing more than a "peeping Tom". That said the Bunnies of 1971 pictorial in August 1971 saw no less than six of the girls flashing.

1971 Bunny Mary Avram

This was a record for the number of pubic pictures in one pictorial for either magazine up to that point. None were more splendid than the luxuriantly thatched Carole Green, a Bunny at the Playboy Lake Geneva (the one in Wisconsin rather than the one in Switzerland) resort and Mary Avram from New York.

Penthouse's Pet for August was Judy Jones who modelled, very effectively, the new fashion trend: hot pants.

Hot pants justify their name!

She was not shy of showing her fluff either and presented Penthouse and, indeed, American newsstands with their first unobscured full-frontal centrefold.  No obscuring flowers in this one!

Rather than have the usual rather dull report from the set of some dreadful European nudie film in this issue Penthouse went back to featuring a model who had some minor form of fame, probably in Europe.

Barbara plays with a puppy and shows her bush in Penthouse

Photographed by Bruno Bernard, we had the fur flashing Barbara Klingered who was described as a German who was forging a career in photography "in the Fatherland".

Barbara in Mayfair in 1973

In fact, Barbro Klingered was born in Sweden in 1946, so was twenty six years old at the time of her Penthouse pictorial.  She had, indeed worked as a photographer, but for a magazine in Barcelona.  She modelled for a number of mens' magazines, including being the Mayfair centrefold in September 1973 under the name Barbara Kingsland.

She made her first film in 1969 and between that year and 1972 made a number of softcore erotic films in Germany such as Hänsel und Gretel verliefen sich im Wald  (1970) (otherwise known as The Erotic Adventures of Hansel and Gretel) an adult update of the fairy story.  Barbara played the very wicked witch (dressed in a yellow catsuit and black boots)!

Barbara plays with a penis and shows her bush in Privat

By the mid seventies she had moved on from softcore magazines like Penthouse, Mayfair and the Swedish FIB Aktuellt and was posing for Swedish hardcore magazine Privat in a number of their graphic photo stories.

Barbara in Breaking Point (1975)

She went on to appear in a number of Swedish harcore films including the notorious Breaking Point (1975), directed by Bo Arne Vibenius the director of cult film Thriller-en grym film (1974) better known as They Call her One Eye and starring Christina Lindberg (who, as Britt Lindberg, was Penthouse Pet of the Month in June 1970). 

Barbara in Swedish Confessions


She also appeared in a film called Hon älskade en sommar (1977) (also known as Swedish Confessions) where she was seen in hardcore action again.  This was her last film, however and she died in 1995 at the comparatively young age of 49.

September's Playmate, Crystal Smith, also kept herself covered up down below and although there were a few glimpses of fluff in a pictorial on the Girls from the American West it was a lean month at Playboy.

In fact, the best bush came in a portfolio of surrealist pictures by Japanese photographer Shig Ikeda. Art? Very nearly.

September's Penthouse Pet, Maureen Rentzen, was another former Miss Holland; competing in 1970 and going on to come seventh in the 1970 Miss Universe competition in Miami Beach.

Maureen in Playboy for March 1971

Maureen had already appeared in Playboy in a pictorial called The Girls of Holland in March 1971 but it was Penthouse who snapped her up for the centrefold.

Maureen was photgraphed in a blonde wig for some of her pictorial shots and so is the first Pet we know of who appeared in the centrefold wearing a wig!  The following month she appeared in Mayfair in the UK.  Compared with some of the incredibly bushy pussies of the period hers was rather sparse which neccessitated some careful touching up in order to hide her labia in one or two shots.

Maureen in Mayfair, October 1971

Maureen was 21 and from The Hague. She went on to be a model and appeared in a couple of Dutch films. The first of which, Frank en Eva (1973) featured a pre-Emmanuelle Sylvia Kristel. The second, Grijpstra en De Gier (1979) starred Rutger Hauer. She now runs her own modelling agency.

Stephanie gives it some major bust effect

Again, Penthouse ran a second non-film pictorial, this time featuring their first US pubic Pet who had been voted Pet of the Year.  Ironically, Stephanie McLean didn't flash  her fur in this pictorial but her other assets were such that she didn't really need to to create an erotic frisson.

October's striking Playboy cover featured Darine Stern, the first African American to appear solo on the cover, something that Penthouse wouldn't do for a very long time.

Jim and Stella mingling

Furthermore, Playboy ran a pictorial feature on the Jim Brown/Stella Stevens film Slaughter (1972) which included these pictures of the two of them. This caused something of a stir with those in the southern states.  A Mr Choat from Southhaven, Mississippi wrote in saying, "As you may know, Southern white people don't mix with coloured people-and they don't like seeing photos showing coloured men mingling with white women.  Please no more race mixing."  Playboy, somewhat disappointingly, didn't comment especially as Hefner had always been a long-time supporter of racial equlity and integration.
Marisa on the sand

Inside, actress Marisa Berensen, was prepared to lie in the sand and not quite conceal her fluff  in this elegant shot.

October Playmate, Claire Rambeau, presented two small but perfectly formed pubic poses in colour, relieving a long drought on the pubic Playmate front.

An article on porn actresses displayed no less than six muff shots including this one for Danish actress Mette Lovstrand. If Hefner was still counting, his nine pubic shots that month outdid Penthouse again.

Helen Lang in 1972

One of the porn stars on display was a lady by the name of Helen Lang who announced that she had given up hardcore films in favour of go-go dancing. 

Helen Lang in 1976

Helen would re-appear, this time in Penthouse, as their Pet of the Month for July 1976.

By October Penthouse had come out with their most full frontal centrefold so far, with another Helen. Helen Caunt was posed with a typical Guccione red carnation (Penthouse must have spent a fortune on carnations in the seventies) and typical weird out of focus shapes in the foreground.  This was all for the purpose of the hidden voyeur effect that Guccione was so fond of and Playboy was so perplexed by.  

Helen Caunt

In 1972 Helen achieved some notoriety as a singer.   She had just been dumped by Rod Stewart when she was approached by pop group Fancy (in reality a collection of session musicians) to do the vocals for their version of Wild Thing.

Helen with Fancy (Ray Fenwick, Mo Foster and Henry Spinetti)

Not exactly a singer she moaned and gasped her way through the vocal to such effect that the BBC refused to play it. It was released in the US the following year, however, and got to number seven in the US charts (you can download it from Amazon!).

Apart from her limited singing talent she started to get ideas above her station, it was said, hiring a manager and putting on  airs and graces.  So, although the group went on to make two albums, Helen only sang on this one track, as they replaced her with an actual singer for the other numbers.  She also appeared on the cover of the single, with a couple of male models, wearing nothing but a lacy shawl. 

The war wasn't just going on below the waist.  Playboy's November cover picture of Debbie Hanlon saw their first real nipple exposure on the cover (other than very small pictures used in their Playmate review pictures in January).  Penthouse had first put a glimpse of nipple on the cover over a year before in March 1970.

A pictorial on women in bed (not very imaginative!) saw one magnificent full page fluff shot. The Playmate of the Month kept herself covered again but  their were a few small pictures in an article featuring Henry Miller and their annual review of sex in the cinema.

November saw a prototypical early seventies Penthouse cover by Bob Guccione.  All natural light, foliage, out of focus forground and headscarf.  This was also the first Penthouse cover and, indeed, Pet pictorial, featuring a girl wearing stockings. It is difficult to appreciate today, when stockings are so ubiquitous in glamour photography, that in the sixties and early seventies they had almost been killed off by miniskirts and tights.

November's Pet, was the aristocratic Lynette Asquith, a descendant of the former British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith.  Not only did she pose fetchingly in her stockings but she gave us gave this first fluff between the thighs shot.

Playboy after a relatively fluff free November was, perhaps, saving itself for the December issue and their presentation of Playmate Karen Christy. Christy was a 19 year old orphan from Abilene when she paraded in a bikini at a Playboy Bunny Hunt competition in Dallas in May 1971. Three weeks later she was sent an air ticket to Chicago to stay in the notorious Playboy Mansion at 1340 North State Street Parkway where stark dormitories of Bunnies literally infested the upper floor of the house. Karen didn't stay up there very long. She was just the sort of girl Hefner liked, young (Hefner was 46 at this time), blonde and curvy and she soon got promoted to having her own apartment lower down the Mansion.

Hefner and Christy already looking cosy together in her Playmate pictorial

By the time she appeared as Playmate of the Month she was Hefner's main girlfriend. Main, that is apart from Barbi Benton who Hefner had ensconced in his Playboy Mansion West in Los Angeles. Amazingly he kept the two running simultaneously commuting back and forward between the two cities on his personal black painted Douglas DC9; The Big Bunny. Even more amazingly whilst Christy knew about Benton, Benton herself didn't cotton on to the fact that he had Christy in Chicago for over a year and only then because it was the subject of a Time magazine article. Christy soon had enough of this and went back to Texas.

This shot from of Karen Christy from Playboy's December issue was Playboy's first real, fully unobstructed full frontal picture in a Playmate pictorial

Her pictorial in December's Playboy featured far more colour shots than usual as there were five, rather than the usual three colour pages in the pictorial and no less than a record four pubic shots. In fact, she would have got the title of first full frontal Playmate if it hadn't been for the intervention of a pesky fish bowl!

Bowled over

By the end of 1971, Guccione was confident enough to put the first bare bottom on the cover of his magazine. Lynn Partington, his December Pet was from Cheshire and, although the magazine didn't mention it she had been a Bunny girl in the London Playboy Club.

Lynn gets cheeky

Between 1969 and 1971 she was the girlfriend of hideously annoying British disc jockey, Tony Blackburn, although she eventually dumped him for American singer Jack Jones just leaving her Bunny eras and tail behind on his bed!

Lynn's photographs were taken at financier Bernie Cornfeld's 12th Century French Chateau. Cornfeld, was a friend of both Guccione and Hefner and the only time they met was at a party at Cornfeld's house in Los Angeles. It was not a happy occasion!

Lynn later appeared in an advertisement for the new Akai video camera and recorder. It cost a whopping $1,295 but you got a video session with a Penthouse Pet thrown in if you bought one. Bargain!

Lynn's six pubic pictures were a record for a Pet or a Playmate but the one where Guccione pushed the envelope again was this one (below) which was just over a quarter of page. It was the first in either magazine that showed a hint of the girl's labia and neatly signposts the way to the next battleground in the war.

This full page picture from an article on erotic photography in Penthouse's December issue gave them the biggest pubic picture title

On pure numbers of pubic shots Penthouse lagged behind Playboy by about 30% for the second half of 1971 and overall for the year Playboy had a narrow lead (56 to 52) over Penthouse. The main difference, however, was that most of Penthouse's pubic pictures were of their Pets whilst Playboy was still agonising how to use their main weapon, the Playmate, in the battle.

In the next post we will look at the first half of 1972 and examine what Playboy decided to do in response to Penthouse's challenge.

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