Tuesday, 7 September 2010

July Venus: Yvette Vickers

Yvette Vickers from 1959

Yes, we know that it's September but we have been rather caught up with holidays and a business trip to Canada so we will have to catch up on some of our regular features over the next week or so. So it's back to July for our review of the best of the month's playmate centrefolds. Triple P has found selecting his top centrefolds for July to be the most difficult so far, as it has proven to be a particularly strong month with no less than ten girls in our initial cut.

Linné Nanette Ahlstrand from 1958

We have had to be very disciplined and throw out some of our favourite girls because whilst they are lovely maybe their centrefold wasn't so strong. So, very unhappily, we have had to discard the original Baywatch babe Erika Eleniak as we found her nautical picture rather contrived (oddly, there was a rash of nautical themed centrefolds for July running from 1989 to 1991). After a lot of consideration we have only manged to get it down to six. There is no doubt about the winner, however, and, even though we have featured the picture before, Russ Meyer's shot of Yvette Vickers' from 1959 is one of Playboy's great centrefolds and probably their best of the fifties. Running it a close second is the previous year's Linné Nanette Ahlstrand. It's a classic picture and we like it because it still looks contemporary, its beautifully lit by photographer Frank Bez and Linné exudes the cool allure of a Hitchcock blonde.

Angie Dickinson for Esquire (1966)

Bez started his artistic career as a band leader before moving on to photography. He would later be the stills photographer for The Sound of Music (1965) and take an iconic photograph of Angie Dickinson which would appear in Esquire the following year and be re-used as the magazine's cover in 1993. Bez would shoot four more centrefolds for Playboy: one each year from 1959 to 1962. Later he specialised in portraits of musicians and record covers. Sadly, Linné died of cancer in 1967 at the early age of 30.

Karen Elaine Morton from 1978

We weren't that impressed by the sixties July centrefolds and so we have to jump forward to 1978 and Karen Elaine Morton for our next pick. Karen handles the rather arch pose, devised by photographer Ken Marcus, very nicely whilst providing Playboy's most explicit centrefold to that point; displaying her bits in a way that would hardly ever happen again. We particularly liked the contrast between the bare foot being enticingly kissed by the bubbles in her bath and the ludicously impractical stiletto slipper!

Elaine Morton in 1970

Karen was the cousin of Miss June 1970, Elaine Morton, here pictured in a not dissimilar pose.

Dorothy Mays from 1979

Jumping forward 12 months we were also very taken by the luminous eyes and tantalising fluff of Dorothy Mays, in a picture taken by staff regular Richard Fegley. We also like the idea that she has just come back from a bike ride!

Teri Peterson from 1980

Another 12 months forward gives us the impressively shiny Teri Peterson photographed by Phillip Dixon. It's all about the hair and the hair grip in this one.

Finally, we can't leave out Liz Stewart from 1984 with her starched collar and cuffs complete with Playboy cufflinks. Liz's centrefold is, with Karen Morton's above, one of the most forthright of any of Playboy's centrefolds

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