Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Venus Revealed: The Pubic Wars 7-1975 part 1

The usual January Playmate review cover had the usual amount of fur. It would be the rather sinister Playboy rabbit's penultimate outing on the cover

1975 would be the last official year of the Pubic Wars between Penthouse and Playboy although, as we shall see, the battle actually dragged on for several more years.

I've got all this and you haven't! Hefner shows off. Tony Curtis looks on in admiration

Playboy started the year quietly with the January issue using much of its pictorial pages for a breathless 14 page photo essay on Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion West in Los Angeles. By this time he had virtually given up on his original mansion in chilly Chicago, preferring the all round sun and Hollywood lifestyle of Los Angeles. The article gave the impression of a sybaritic life of excess, naked women, group sex and film stars. Which is exactly what it was like.

Playmate of the Month Lynnda Kimball gave us this sensual pose in her centrefold pictorial.  Her carefully placed hand just draws attention to her hidden groin.

The annual Playmate review had Miss September 1974, Kristine Hansen, with her thighs slightly apart and displaying her labia, nestled in her golden curls

Gallery had originally began as an almost exact copy of Playboy.  It would have been expected, therefore, that they would have copied Playboy as regards the explicitness of their visual approach.  Their January cover, hoever, showed that they were starting to move more in the Penthouse direction.  A trend that would continue during the year.

Hustler, meanwhile was going for a subtle Penthouse type approach for its January cover, although 1975 would see it move away from copying Guccione's magazine to something raunchier and more distinctive.

Penthouse was also less assertive than it had been with its Pet for January, Juliet Morris, who was also showing less than some of the previous year's bolder Pets.

Nonetheless, there was this large pussy touching picture spread across two pages and the slightly more explicit one below where Miss Morris' labia are just about visible.

The UK edition, which had been censoring or omitting the more extreme beaver shots did show those where Juliet was (just about) flashing her bits.  Increasingly, however, they were using different Pets from the US edition.

The January UK edition, for example, had a Pet who never appeared in the US edition, Joanna Steele, who didn't flash her bits but is notable for giving Penthouse its very first knickers-up-the-crack photo.

Oui carried on with it's habit of using former Playboy Playmates on the cover.  For January we get May 1967's Anne Randall in a see-through dress.

Oui featured another celebrity couple in the forms of I Spy actor Robert Culp and his lissome wife Susan.  Unlike Jean-Claude Killy, the previous year, however, Culp bravely flashed his penis in his pictorial.

An article on aphrodisiacs had another photograph where the male model was showing his penis but this was an even clearer shot than Mr Culp's example.  Even more racily, the lady has her leg actually pressed against the man's prick.  All these male members continued to be controversial with the readers, however.

The thrust (so to speak) of most of the objections being that looking at penises was gay or might make them gay.  They would, no doubt, have been much happier with the gentle pussy caressing of that month's centrefold, Alicia.  She looked nicely abandoned with her dishevelled stockings and relaxed looking pose.  Such explicit pussy touching was new for Oui.

For February, Playboy ran a pictorial on Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace in the slot usually reserved for a Hollywood starlet. 

Linda Lovelace enjoys her body

The fact that she was well known enough to merit a feature demonstrated how America's  (or at least a significant minority of the population) attitude to hard core pornography had changed.  A change that was one of the drirving forces of the Pubic Wars.

Indeed, Genesis had put another porn superstar, Marilyn Chambers, on the cover in January along with a feature covering other hard core stars of the moment.

Laura Misch looks all innocent

Playboy's centrefold, Laura Misch, modelled a fetching, not quite see through, outfit. This ploy would become increasingly popular with Playboy over the years as they wanted to get their girls to sprawl about invitingly with their legs apart without actually getting them to show too much. Laura later went on to work in newspapers and have a novel, Carry me Back, published (as Laura Watt) in 1997.

Everybody ought to have a maid

Elsewhere in the magazine, Playboy ran another of their increasingly frequent couples pictorials which, as part of their "sexing up" policy. Penthouse had first run a pictorial like this at the end of 1972 and again the following year but Playboy was now following suit, along the lines of those in Oui.  The Playboy pictorial, photographed by Richard Fegley, was called The French Maid and was about...a French maid. It was all very tasteful but was very much like a Penthouse couples pictorial.

Penthouse went one better that month by having a pictorial featuring two girls and a man. Their feature Three in Love was altogether racier and featured glimpses of something Playboy hadn't dared show in its pictorials so far, a penis and some strong implied fellatio.

Penthouse's centrefold for February was a rare, for them, ethnic Pet: the part Filipina Lona Simpson.  Penthouse actually published a letter, a couple of months later, asking why they didn't have more ethnic Pets.  They didn't give an answer.

The beautiful Lona appeared in several shots where she was displaying her labia.  In this one her pussy has been illuminated to draw special attention to it, whilst her face remains in shadow.

Lona rides astride

Her pose astride a chair was, when shown the following month in Britain, the first time the UK edition had shown a Pet's labia, without censoring the picture, as they had been doing up until this point.

Pamela in the grass

The third pictorial in the February issue of Penthouse featured a young lady named Pamela Martin whose clitoral hood was clearly visible in one picture.  Penthouse started to publish appreciative letters from readers supporting their depiction of the girls' labia.  Interestingly one or two started to come in asking for anuses as well.  Whether these were real letters or were written by the editorial team to support the direction the magazine was taking in the Pubic Wars is not known.

Club's first issue, February 1975

February saw a new entrant into the mens' magazine market in the US and a new participant in the Pubic Wars.  British  publisher Paul Raymond launched Club in the US in February 1975.  Like Larry Flynt he had originally started out in strip shows or, as he had to originally, shows featuring nude but immobile ladies; as it was only legal to have naked ladies on stage in the UK provided they didn't move!  To make these tableaux more interesting he often winched the ladies across the stage using a variety of devices to make them "move"!

Paul Raymond in the Revuebar, 1972

He later discovered a loophole to this bizarre law in that it did not apply to private clubs, so he launched the Raymond Revuebar in London in 1958.  He copied the Playboy Bunny uniforms, much to Hugh Hefner's annoyance. Using the profits from his clubs he started his own mens' magazine, King, in 1964, although it was not a success and he eventually sold it again to a celebrity consortium that included actor Peter Sellers, director Brian Forbes and TV star David Frost.  Eventually King was bought by Raymond's arch rival Mayfair magaxine which Raymond later, in turn, acquired.

Raymond and his bunny girls check out his new magazine in 1964

It wasn't until 1971 that he tried again in the magazine market.  He bought the venerable pre-war publication Men Only and turned it into a Penthouse clone.

Paul Raymond's first Men Only, June 1971

Appearing in June 1971, just a few months after Penthouse had gone pubic with a couple of pictures of Stephanie McLean, Raymond put down a marker by having a dozen pubic pictures in his first issue.  Penthouse would gingerly move forward with only four or five for the rest of the year.

The first issue of Club International in the UK

The following year, in September 1972, Raymond launched a brand new magazine, Club International, in the UK.  This would follow Club into the US market as well, in December 1976.  Confusingly, Club in the US used material from Men Only in the UK whereas Club International used material from, er, Club International.  So, like Bob Guccione before him, Raymond had plenty of material already for his new Ameican magazine.  Before long Club and Club International would move into fourth and fifth spots behind Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler, circulation wise.  They had many more girl pictorials, however, and much less literary pretensions than Penthouse and Playboy.

February's Oui featured future Dallas star Deborah Shelton in a boudoir style Penthouse-like cover shot.

February's couples pictorial in Oui was less about trying to build an atmosphere of authentic passion and was more of a "comedy" approach; never a successful combination, although it wouldn't stop Oui persisting with this approach for a number of years.

For the centrefold girl Oui experimented by including two very small groin shots but they were nowhere near as racy as what Penthouse was doing.

Finally, Oui seemed to be jumping on the Penthouse-led self-caressing bandwagon with this picture of Vanessa from the last pictorial in that issue.

March's Playboy had a clever cover which trailed a pictorial inside called Ripped-Off which got seven photographers to handle this particular theme.

This effort, by Garrick Peterson, had more passion than most of Playboy's couples material and also featured a rarity for them, male pubic hair. 

March's cover featured Pet Susan Ryder who, after a wash of soft focus pictures earlier in her pictorial, came into clear focus for a full page picture where, coolly gazing at the lens she clearly reveals everything for the first time in Penthouse. (For more of Susan see her full pictorial here)

Susan displays all

Larry Flynt reacted to Susan's pussy picture in his editorial in the May issue of Hustler.  "If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I definitely feel flattered after reviewing the March issue of Penthouse. The open beaver shot on page 77 (the one of Susan above) is the first admission by Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione that Penthouse has been playing second fiddle to HUSTLER for quite some time. When I started HUSTLER one year ago, I expected a reaction from Guccione long before now. Especially when you consider the fact that he has never had an original idea of his own. However, I commend Mr. Guccione for his decisive action, at least it indicates that he has balls, but it is going to take more than balls to keep up with HUSTLER. He will need a few brains as well, an asset that he has failed to demonstrate very well." 

Rite of Spring from March 1975

Meanwhile, back in the March issue of Penthouse also had another of its pictorials featuring two girls; something they had first done back in 1970 with the unimaginatively titled Two Women. Photographed by Earl Miller in Penthouse's dreamy, super soft focus style the pictures were romantic rather than particularly sexual.  Penthouse was being much less visually explicit with its two girl sets than with its Pets and models, obviously thinking that the concept of portraying two women together was naughty enough of itself, without having to show their bits.

March's Oui had a rather curious pictorial with accompaniong text written in the style of Winnie the Pooh.  We're surprised they weren't sued by the estate of AA Milne.  This opening page shows the girl with her dolly but in complete contrast to this child like scene she is displaying the first really clear labia in Oui.

It was still about posing ecstatically whilst appearing to pleasure yourself for Oui's models as well, as demonstrated by Vicky.

Streubel on a chair in 1975

The final girl in that month's issue was Brigitte Streubel, who gave us this potently erotic pose.  Streubel is a German model (from 1969 until 1976), poet and latterly actress, film camera operator and yoga teacher.  She is part of The Harem a sort of arty/philosophical commune of five women and one man (!) who live in Munich.

Streubel on a chair today

April saw Cavalier join the ranks of magazines bold enough to get their cover girls to flash their nipples on the newsstands (although some were now insisting on covers or wrapping for the increasingly explicit examples).

Penthouse was equally upfront that month with Judy Clayton displaying her nipples for their first topless cover of the year (by Jeff Dunas) and the most brazen they had ever done. No concealing strands of hair, profile views or partly clothed breasts here.

Signe grabs it

Pet of the Month Signe Berger was photographed by Earl Miller in Penthouse's raunchiest faux masturbation shot so far; clutching her groin in ectasy. Signe would later go on to be one of the Penthouse Pets Bob Guccione took to Rome at the end of 1976 to shoot the additional hardcore footage he felt the film needed. 

Signe is on the left with Penthouse model Henrietta Kellog (who appeared in the magazine as Rhiana Post in August 1976)

During her short time in Rome she had an affair with Guccione's assistant.  She is visible in the Imperial bordello orgy scene indulging in some graphic fellatio.

The increasing use of the implied masturbation shot wasn't just confined to the likes of Penthouse and Hustler however.  Gallery had always firmly modelled itself on Playboy, with an equivalent level of explicitness.  Just as Playboy was starting to get more explicit in its war with Penthouse, however, so Gallery had to up the stakes as well.

Their young lady from the April edition, Alix, is photographed in arched-backed ecstasy by Fred Enke, who would also lens some of the most explicit shots for Paul Raymond's magazines in the UK  which would then also appear in his US publications.

In fact Enke was in action with several pictorials appearing in the third issue of Club to hit the newsstands, in April.

His photos of the beautiful Chris contain some tasteful labia revealing shots and she like Flora (below), who he also photographed for this issue, also appeared in a see-through leotard.   In fact the two leotards look identical so they could have been the same one!

The see-through outfit gave an extra tease factor to Flora's effective self-caressing pictures in that issue.

Playboy's March 1973 Playmate Cyndi Wood kept her top on the cover but her suggestive pose with a bottle of Champagne showed that Playboy hadn't given up the battle yet.

From Bed and Board. Picture by Ken Marcus

Inside, the suggestiveness continued with a pictorial on sexy food including this couple being naughty with grapes and oysters.

The gorgeous but ultimately tragic figure of Carole Augustine graced the cover of April's Oui although she didn't appear inside the magazine, which was an annoying habit of Oui's.

Michael and Karen get friendly

Another real-life couple featured in that month's boy/girl set,  although we have to confess that we had not heard of the actor Michael Callan.  Subsequent research, however, has shown that he appeared in one of Triple P's favourite Ray Harryhausen films, Mysterious Island (1961), with the lovely Beth Rogan

Michael Callan and Beth Rogan in Mysterious Island

He was also in Cat Ballou (1965).  Starting as a Broadway dancer/actor he was in the original run of West Side Story but missed out on the movie due to contractual problems.  He was forty at the time of this pictorial and the lady who was described in the text as his "friend Karen" was a minor actress called Karen Malouf who he eventually married (she was his third wife).  She looks  a lot younger than he does.  He flashes his cock even more than Robert Culp did, which won't have gone down well with some of the readers!

That month's centrefold, Elena, is shown touching herself as Oui starts to copy the Penthouse faux masturbation trend in earnest.


Penthouse's May issue continued to gently at push the boundaries having another fully bare breasted cover.

Ava spreads

Inside, Ava Gallay, the Pet of the Month, was photographed in the, still rare, legs spread, pussy-revealing from the rear pose, in full-on soft-focus mode by Jeff Dunas.

Another boy/girl set, this time from Geoffrey Rian (an alias for Jeff Dunas which he used when he already had another pictorial in the magazine), appeared in this issue called On the Beach.  This was another first in that the girl was actually shown with her finger in contact with the man's penis. Playboy never showed a penis in any of their couples pictorials although they had no compunction about showing full frontal pictures of actors in their annual Sex in Cinema features.

Octavia indulges in some serious pussy play

The third pictorial featured a lady under the name of Octavia Cornell, whose pictorial is noteworthy for several reasons.  Firstly, she was shown in a series of photographs rolling around on a bed with her hand firmly on her pussy in the most sustained faux masturbation shots in the magazine so far.

Photographer Gernot Plitz captures Octavia's arsehole

In addition, there was this full-page mirror shot which meant that Octavia was the first girl in Penthouse to clearly show her anus, thus satisfying a gentleman from Quebec who had written in some months earlier requesting just this.

Lori has her hair done for Caligula

Lori Wagner (left) gets a touch up on the set of Caligula whilst Anneka Di Lorenzo (who would be Pet of the Month in October 1975) looks on

Octavia's real name was Lori Wagner and she was 22 years old when these pictures were taken.  A former beauty queen she was appearing on Broadway at the time.  She left a production of Let my People Come to fly to Rome to appear in Bob Guccione's Caligula.  She was one of only three Penthouse girls to work on the whole shoot.  Although other Pets appeared, they were mainly in the extra heardcore footage Guccione shot secretly in January 1977.

Lori (right) in the Temple of Venus scene

Lori was very visible in the Temple of Venus scene enthusiatically snogging her friend Anneka Di Lorenzo, who was Pet of the Month for October 1975.  This was a scene shot by original director Tinto Brass and wasn't one of the Guccione's extra scenes.

Lori with Caligula himself

She also got some visibility sat next to star Malcolm McDowell in a banquet scene.  Her character was Aggrippina and she had been told that it would be a speaking role but gradually the role got smaller and smaller as the shoot progressed.

Lori attacks Anneka in the famous lesbian scene in Caligula

However, it was two other scenes that would gain her worldwide notoriety, to the extent that when the film was actually released and she was doing publicity for it the bad response from critics helped drive her away from the public scene for years. 

Lori's arsehole makes another appearance in Caligula

Firstly, the notorious lesbian love scene with Anneka Di Lorenzo which was one of the "extra" scenes shot by Bob Guccione.  Highly touted at the time as the most explicit lesbian love scene in a generally released motion picture it was intercut with another sex scene between Helen Mirren, Malcom McDowell and Teresa Ann Savoy. Lori is seen giving cunnilingus to Anneka, being penetrated by Anneka's fingers and indulging in a sixty nine session.

Lori sprays

The second scene features Lori and Anneka again, in a scene where Proculus is killed.  Lori stands over his body, hikes up her dress and pees all over him whilst Anneka washes the blood off her hand in Lori's stream.  They made Lori drink enormous quantities of water for this scene and then made her wait three hours before filming.  It's no wonder it is such an impressive flow, therefore!

Lori (left) with Anneka in Messalina! Messalina!

In the interim between shooting and the film's release, because of Caligula's lengthy release delay, Lori and Anneka appeared in a cheap Italian exploitation film called Messalina! Messalina! (1977) whose sole purpose was to use some of the sets and costumes from Caligula to make some money in case the main film never saw the light of day (which looked likely at one point).  Lori came back in the nineties and made some more exploitation films before retiring in 1999.

Lori in Penthouse aged 38

When Penthouse featured the Caligula lesbian love scenes pictures again in February 1991 they photographed a new pictorial of Lori, at the age of 38 but still looking sensational.

Anyway, back to May 1975 and Playboy, meanwhile, was also jumping on the girl/girl bandwagon and presented this page from a pictorial about tee shirts. Whilst trying to evoke a playful, girls dorm sort of feeling the picture at the bottom of the page was easily as racy as anything Penthouse had done in this area at the time.

Girl on girl fun in May 1975

Furthermore, Playboy's Playmate that month, Bridget Rollins, presented readers with the magazine's largest split beaver picture to date, as she reclined across two pages her legs apart and not a hint of soft-focus to be seen.

Bridget reclines

Oui's progression in the faux masturbation approach was moving apace with May's Judy giving them their most explicit centrefold to date.

Club had Fred Enke, again, getting his model, in this case a ravishing creature going under the name of Debbie, to flash her bits.

The editions for the end of the first half of the year brought both the Playboy Playmate of the Year and the candidates for the Penthouse Pet of the Year. For Playboy, the outrageously busty Marilyn Lange appeared completely naked on the cover.

Marilyn twiddles

Inside, in a double page picture she playfully twists her pubic hair. Playboy had come a long way since the anxious meetings as to whether to show a hint of Liv Lindeland's curls or not four and a half years earlier.

Love the red boots!

An article on Sex in Cinema: French style which looked at all the erotic films coming out from that part of Europe gave Playboy another excuse for one of the increasingly popular lesbian shots.

Nina Carter on the cover of June's Oui


Playboy's sister magazine Oui had been designed to be a "European style" (for which read, racier) challenger for Penthouse.  It sourced many of its pictorials from its co-parent Lui, in France with added pictorials provided by the US team.

Oui had often featured couples sets; even more so than Penthouse at this time but they were relentlessly tasteful as this example from the June issue, purporting to show a pair of flying trapeze stars, shows.  Slightly naughtier than the Playboy equivalents eagle eyed readers could just see that the gentleman trapeze artist is flashing his penis in the picture at top right.

The incomparable Nina Carter

Oui had yet to go as extreme as Penthouse on its split beaver shots but they were now occasionally letting a hint of something through, as in this photograph of the gorgeous Nina Carter (later Mrs Rick Wakeman) by John Kelly, then the husband of Vivien Neves.

One other picture from the June issue showed where Oui was going.  Every month they included a painting by French artist Aslan who had been producing a pin-up girl a month (inevitably accompanied by a pretentious quote from a French writer) for Oui's French co-parent (with Playboy) magazine Lui since the sixties.  His June girl is obviously enjoying the friction from her black knickers in the most overtly sexual of the pictures he had produced so far.

An idea of what Oui and Playboy were competing with came in the June issue of Penthouse, which still had one eye on the increasingly successful but more explicit Hustler.  July's Pet, the far from enticingly named Wendy Blodgett was the third in a row to go completely topless for the cover. However, unlike her rather coy predecessors Wendy looks like she is squirming in ecstasy.

Inside, in her Pet pictorial, she was shown with both her hands between her legs; one from the front, one from the rear, mirroring Octavia Cornell's small shot in the May issue, except this was a full page picture.

Another of Penthouse's increasingly regular girl/girl pictorials, the second of what would be four in 1975, depicted rather more passion than previously.  Eschewing the usual wandering hand in hands in the woods  approach these two young ladies looked like they were actually having sex with each other.  The pictorial, The Friends, culminated with this two page spread of one girl pulling the succulent looking nipple of the others into her hungry mouth.

Also, in that month's issue was the annual Pet of the Year play-off. The candidates were all presented using pictures from their original pictorials. There was one exception. Anneka de Lorenzo had this full page, explicit spread legs picture which hadn't appeared in her original pictorial back in September 1973.

However, as Penthouse continued to push the barriers there were starting to be rumblings in the Playboy camp about the competition between the magazines. This was to come to a head in the second half of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment