Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Venus Revealed: The Pubic Wars 9-1977 part 2

Having concentrated on just the opening month of 1977 last time, in this post we will look at February, March and April of that year.  Playboy had a striking cover of Swedish model Lena Kansbod modelling a diamond and platinum bunny pendant by Oscar Heyman of New York.

Lena was personally spotted as a potential model by John Casablancas, the founder of the Elite modelling agency, checking coats in a Stockholm restaurant in 1973.  She moved to New York in 1976 and by early 1977 she was one of the world's top models, indeed, the month before she had been on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

In fact, the month before that she had been the cover girl for the Penthouse owned Viva magazine.  Lena's Playboy cover perfectly demonstrates the erotic power of the face alone; if it's the right face, that is.

From The Love Feast, February 1977

Inside, Playboy was persisting with its own couples pictorials although they were, by this stage, far less explicit than Penthouse's equivalent.  This rather peculiarly suggestive shot demonstrates the sort of tricks they had to get up to to appear raunchy.

Playboy's Playmate for February was Star Stowe who flashed her bits as much as any Playmate before or since in multiple pictures. Star (real name Ellen Louise Stowe) was another Playmate who came to a tragic end.   She went from being the girlfriend of Kiss' Gene Simmons to a life of drugs, alcoholism and prostitution.  Eventually being found murdered in Fort Lauderdale, having been strangled,  just short of her 41st birthday in 1997, whilst working as a streetwalker.

Penthouse had a three girl set called Class Reunion photographed by Ken Marcus in about the softest focus they ever presented (which is saying something!).  This shot, in particular, manages to be very erotic despite (because of?) the diffuse light.

Class Reunion

The Pet of the Month for February proved rather controversial.  Billed as Betsy Harris the young lady flashed her rather prominent labia quite a bit in her pictorial by Earl Miller.  So far, so typical.  However, later it was said that Betsy Harris was really a lady called Terri Nunn who was an actress (she got down to the last two to play Princess Leia in Star Wars (1977)) and a singer who, in her group Berlin, had a major hit with Take my Breath Away, from Top Gun (1986).

Betsy Harris

Now, Terri Nunn, who is still singing with Berlin, absolutely, categorically denies that it was her posing in Penthouse.   The problem being that, if she was Terri Nunn and if her birth date was correct she would have been sixteen at the time.  Now Guccione had had sixteen year olds in Penthouse in the sixties but photographing a nude at sixteen wasn't illegal in Britain at that time (not until 2003, in fact) but was in America.

Now whilst some women have appeared in mens' magazines and subsequently denied it we actually believe Terri here.  If you look at a picture of Betsy (left) and Terri (right, appearing in an episode of Lou Grant in 1978) they do look similar but Betsy appears to have a more upturned nose and the cleft above her top lip is more pronounced.  What do you think?

Much more grown up looking was Celine Martin, who gives it plenty of pussy power, as photographed by Gajda that month in their third pictorial.

Over at Oui we had a young lady enjoying her loofah in the accurately, if unimaginatively, entitled Donna takes a shower in another successfully sensuous set by Nicholas DeSciose whose work we featured here.

Mr DeSciose contacted Triple P with some kind words after we featured his January 1977 centrefold for Oui.  He said that he had done over twenty pictorials for Oui at this time and Donna here was his second centrefold in a row for them at the beginning of 1977.

Oui continued to feature the paintings of  Aslan from partner Lui magazine in France.  By this time, however, they came with added bits.

Another top photographer featuring in the February issue of Oui was Helmut Newton who gave us this over exposed young lady in a French photo booth.

Paul Raumond's Club continued to use material shot for Men Only in the UK.  The pictures, however, were rather more explicit than those used in his UK magazines where gradually over the next three years the pcitures would become less explicit than they had been in 1976/77.  On the cover they have their model with her fingers inside her knickers.

The February edition showcased the impressively leggy Annie who joined in the trend for arsehole displaying that was such a feature of the year.

On to March and on the cover of Playboy we have January 1977's Playmate, Susan Kiger looking completely splendid in a wetsuit in the sea at Santa Monica, somewhere that Triple P has spent some time in the past.

March playmate was Nicki Thomas still giving it a bit of faux masturbation.  Or is she just covering herself up?  Playboy manages to keep us guessing.

Oui's centrefold shoot for March is by British model turned photographer Suze Randall.  Randall was the first woman staff photographer for Playboy having got her break discovering and photographing, later Playmate of the year, Lillan Müller for Playboy.  She was also the first woman to shoot a Page 3 photo for The Sun newspaper. 

Debra Tate by Suze Randall

Her pictures for Oui are, characteristically, rather more explicit than some of those shot for Oui and, in fact, she was just on the point of leaving Playboy and moving across to be the first woman staff photographer at Larry Flynt's Hustler.  Her model, in these bold, anus revealing shots, was Debra Tate, tragic actress Sharon Tate's younger sister.

Over at Hustler whilst they continued to push the pussy boundary Jap, in March's issue, showed how far they had come as regards props, lighting and costumes since they had started up. 

Jap for Hustler

Although when Suze Randall arrived at the magazine she would discover that Larry Flynt wouldn't allow any sort of soft focus, which gave her a challenge in dealing with less than perfect girls.

Maggie in the pink

Hustler also had a girl they called Maggie in the March issue.  In a series of photographs by James Baes she was shown clearly displaying visibly aroused labia.  We will see her again when she becomes the Penthouse Pet of the Month for November 1979

Gallery was slowly moving from Playboy territory into Oui territory and their girls were showing a little bit more whilst still not going as far as Penthouse.


Their particularly beautiful cover girl, Babette, had also appeared under the name of Lois in Men Only and Molly in Club International in the UK.

Finally, for March we look at Penthouse for an edition that would give them lots of grief in the future.  They had a girl/girl set remarkable only for the fact that it showed one of the models with cellulite on her bottom. 

Another pictorial featured a girl called Nicole Carole posing fetchingly in a corset and including several of the now de rigeur pussy teasing shots.

That month's Pet went under the name of Jolanta von Zmuda (born Jolanta Duchi) who, it was said, was a Polish lady from Gdansk.  In a pictorial shot by Bob Guccione, we get half a dozen pages of Jolanta photographed in the dreamy, romantic soft focus way that he pioneered in 1975.  These are far from explicit and hark back to his pictorials of several years before. In fact, it seems that Jolanta's pictorial was, in fact, shot in 1975 which makes her appearance, half way throught the pictorial, with her fingers on her prominent clitoris even more surprising, given that he couldn't have put such a shot in the magazine in 1975.

There are some lovely pictures of Jolanta smiling but the smiles would soon stop as, just over a year later in July 1978, she tried to take Guccione to court.  She claimed that Guccione drugged her for the pictorial and then sexually assaulted her.  She sued him for £2 million but we believe that it never went to court.  As always in these cases you do wonder why it took so long to take action...

Club had their cover girl with her fingers inside her knickers for the second month running whilst at the same time brandishing a part-eaten apple; no doubt as an allegory of sin.

Inside, Club's centrefold for March was the previous month's cover girl, Nina photographed by Dwight Fox in an extraordinarily anus focused picture, even for Club.  Nina's head and shoulders are in the shade but bang in the middle of the bright area is her arsehole in all its sunlit glory.  Even her divided labia play second fiddle to her rectal opening. 

On to April and we actually get that month's Playmate, Lisa Sohm, on the cover for a change.  Dolled up in period lingerie and an American Civil War kepi she manages to tie in with another pictorial that month; the Girls of the New South.

Lisa relaxes

Lisa presents several rather graphic spread-legs shots in what turnd out to be one of the more assertively explicit issues for some time.  In the aformentioned Girls of the New South feature several of the ladies boldly display themselves for photographer David Chan, not least the exotically monikered Rhonda La Canillas.

Rhonda peers

The issue's third pictorial featured former Bunny girl Jennifer Edl and her work as a sculptor in Phoenix.  Whilst she doesn't open up like some of the other girls she does have this very raunchy and beautifully lit faux masturbation shot by none other than Nicholas DeSciose, who was obviously a busy man at this time.

Jennifer cups

Larry Flynt's up market (well compared with Hustler, anyway) Chic featured a striking cover of two young ladies in swimming gear. 

Inside the ladies were photographed posing together and looking extremely shiny as well as also carrying on the relatively new trend of anus flashing.  

Strikingly, the two girls never removed their dark swimming goggles for any of the pictures in the pictorial, which gave it  a rather sinister aspect.

Also flashing their arseholes were some of the girls in Cavalier that month, which carried on with its strange mix of styles; inevitable considering the bought-in nature of their material. 

Bondage and banging in Cavalier

That month also including a rather ropey lesbian, set enlivened only by the fact that it was an interracial one.  and a very soft core boy/girl set with a baseball theme (to celebrate the beginning of that sport's season).

Candy gives it some tail

In fact, by this point Cavalier was rather like Hustler had been two years before, featuring not that attractive models badly photographed and then printed on poor qulity paper.  This shot of Candy and her cute arsehole was probably the best photograph in the whole issue.

Finally, Penthouse had three pictorials in April.  It had a girl/girl set called Swept Away which was photographed by Patrick Barnes and featured some convincing looking kissing by the two ladies in question.

Interestingly,  a picture of the girls in a hot tub, where one has her face in the groin of the other did not make it into the British edition.  Obviously this was just too graphic for the UK.

Secondly, there was a pictorial called Sweet, Saucy Susan which featured a girl called...well, Susan.  She was photographed in a very suggestive masturbation shot.  There is no visual evidence that her finger really is in her cunt but that is certainly the implication of the picture.

Fingering fun for saucy Susan

That month's Pet Shona Lynne leaves this Pubic Wars post with another plump pussy shot and next time we will see, for the third month in a row, a Pet with large and prominent labia in the shape of Valerie Rae Clark, who would appear in Bob Guccione's Caligula.  We will also see some older women, a photographer's self portrait and the inspiration for a song photographed by David Hamilton.

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