Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Venus Revealed: The Pubic Wars 10 1978 part 1

Playboy went into its 24th anniversary year with this elegantly sensual shot by Tom Staebler of Miss November 1977, Rita Lee, being undressed by a barely visible man.  Her come thither look at the camera gives it a very effective voyeuristic quality. She would also feature inside in the annual Playmate Review.

Playboy's first pictorial for 1978 handed the art direction to a number of eminent film directors.  The results varied from the weird to the dull.  Most conventional but, perhaps, most successful as an image was this one by Richard Brooks, director of Looking for Mr Goodbar (1977) who was inspired by a hurricane in the Florida Keys.  The resulting image, shot by Richard Fegley, certainly has a lot of steamy, southern sultriness about it.


Playmate of the month was Californian Debra Jensen, photographed by Philip Dixon.  Although Playboy was supposed to be backing off from shots of their models labia Jensen's pictorial still included this fairly small but still rather explicit shot.  Jensen later married (and subsequently divorced) Peter Criss of the pop group Kiss.


The annual Playmate review had, in the past, often used pictures of the previous year's centrefolds which were rather more explicit that those found in their Playmate pictorials.   The review of the 1977 crop was, perhaps surprisingly, rather racier than some of the previous efforts.  That Month's cover girl Rita Lee opened up the feature with this two page, er, spread.



April 1977's Lisa Sohn (top) presented this fairly assertive rear-end shot and on the opposite page was Nicki Thomas (March 1977) in a really rather effective sweet but naughty take on the girl next door.

Sir Jimmy Saville dons a cunning disguise

Finally, in 1976 Playboy had run a pictorial article called The Year in Sex which looked at a wide variety of stories, from nude beauty pageants to X-rated films and other curious events that could be illustrated (largely) with pictures of naked people.  Most of these illustrations just went to confirm how unattractive most naked people are.  From this issue The Year in Sex would would become a regular annual Playboy feature but eventually would be shifted to the December issue rather than the January one.  Incidentally, the Year in Sex feature was really the only place that Playboy would ever show penises; which they could probably get away with because the pictures were generally quite small.

The beginning of 1978 saw Oui start to conceal their models' nipples on the cover of the magazine.  They had continued to have unobstructed tits after Playboy had stopped doing so but for 1978, while there would still be some see-through tops, the girls' busts stayed covered.

Oui's first girl of the month, Maria, showed a well lit pussy in her opening pages but shots like this were becoming less common in Oui as it backed off on its levels of explicitness compared with the likes of Penthouse.  It was now only slightly racier than Playboy.

Centrefold Eve's pictures were even less explicit: with her being photographed just giving a few hints of shadowed labia.  In fact, her most enticing shot was this nice knicker tugging camel toe one.

Oui had a comparatively rare lesbian shoot, Two Girls in Paris, which was beautifully photographed.  The two girls in question, known as Rita Topping and Louise Drake, went through a series of rather passionless poses which never got steamier than this.  Elegant, though.

Stephanie on Page 3 November 1970

In fact the girl on the left is none other than Stephanie Rahn The Sun's first ever topless Page 3 girl on November 17th 1970.  Her name was actually Kahn but was misspelled by the newspaper who had bought the image from a freelance photographer whose name they subsequently lost.   Later attempts to trace                  her for the various Page 3 anniversaries failed but, weirdly, under the name of  Stefanie Marrian she became a top Page 3 girl of the mid and late seventies.  The Sun never made the connection and it wasn't until she was in hospital in 2005 with MRSA that she telephoned them in disgust at her poor treatment and revealed who she was.

Stephanie appeared in many other men's magazines around the world during the seventies and early eighties  as well as in advertisements and on record and book covers.

Penthouse's January issue had jumped in to all the excitement about Louis Malle's controversial film Pretty Baby (1978) and the appearance of a 12 year old Brooke Shields in it.  Shield's nude scenes caused it to be banned in many places and, even now, the DVD is re-framed to eliminate most of her nudity. We don't think you could get away with a tagline like "Our most ravishing 12 year old sex symbol to date" these days!

Inside, the magazine had a poster of Pet of the Year Victoria Lynn Johnson which included an update on her activities since she was last  featured in the magazine.  There were more pictures of her by Bob Guccione as well, including this delicate pussy touching one.

The first proper pictorial had more pussy touching with Lonnie Westin's fingers pressed either side of her bits, in a still unusually assertively tactile shot for Penthouse.

Even more explicit fingering was on show in Pet of the Month and cover girl Carrie Nelson's pictorial by Stan Malinowski.  One of our visitors has already commented on the passion in Nelson's all fours picture here, as her finger slips between her labia in one of Penthouse's strongest Pet masturbation pictures to date.

We will see more of Nelson later in 1978 when she reappeared in Penthouse and also had a pictorial in Swank. She was also featured in Club in May 1979.  Here she gets touched up by the Penthouse team for her Pet pictorial.

The final girl that month, Celine Demy, was rather more reminiscent of one of the girls in Oui/Lui.  Our favourite picture of her demonstrates that a dark haired girl can still have a nice coating of golden hairs on her body.  Sparkly!  This was famous Swiss photographer Otto Weisser's first of just two Penthouse pictorials.

Recent work by Otto Weisser

Weisser (b. 1937) started out working in film production.  He came to glamour photography having been studying photography with a former racing driver and was commissioned to do a calendar called Cars and Girls for Marlboro in 1973.  He shot for Lui and Playboy (especially the international editions) and now lives and works in Brazil where he continues to shoot interesting and striking pictures of women.

Is she trying to look sexy or make herself sick?

Genesis was still owned by founder, Benihana restaurant king Rocky Aoki, and was very much following the Hustler approach, even out doing Penthouse in the explicitness of its beaver shots at this time.  Its boy/girl sets were not so adventurous, however, so whilst our young lady in this-aviation themed pictorial is expected to spread her legs, her male companion keeps his trousers on.



The other girls were displaying their excited-looking labia and pulling themselves apart so we could see what they had for lunch.  Genesis was also going in for full page genital (and anal) close-ups, again, which Penthouse wasn't (yet).  The printing quality and, indeed, the quality of the girls were a step or two down from its second rank competitors.  Hustler had raised its standards in both by this point but not all of its rivals could afford to follow.

However, extra quality came at a cost and a reader wrote into the January issue complaining about the cover price of $2.50.  Gallery was $1.75.  Cavalier and Cheri were $1.95, Genesis and Playboy were $2.00.  Chic, Hustler's large format, glossy, stablemate, was actually cheaper at $2.25 as was Club and High Society. Only Penthouse was at the $2.50 price as well. Hustler explained that their cover price was high as they didn't take much advertising, compared with their rivals.

Hustler had one of its typically quirky covers, photographed by James Baes, for January with a young lady inserting a party trumpet into her pert bottom.  Hustler had moved away from its original Penthouse-clone covers to a more creative approach, which often resulted in covers quite unlike any of its simple girly photo featuring competitors.  Baes was one of the key factors in raising the photographic standard of Hustler.  The French born photographer had been doing fashion work for Stern magazine in Germany.  Hired to shoot Clive McLean and his wife, Penthouse Pet Stephanie (the first Pet to show her pubic hair in her April 1970 pictorial), this assignment led to him shooting some Penthouse pictorials in the early seventies before meeting Larry Flynt and moving to Hustler in 1975,  He would later recruit McLean into the Hustler fold too and the two of them would mastermind Flynt's magazine empire for decades to come.  This picture of Connie, the first pictorial in Hustler's January issue, shows the skills in lighting he brought to his inevitably spread-legged subjects.

Hustler Honey for January 1978, Crissy

Hustler's January life-seized Crissy

That month, Hustler included one of their regualr life-sized centrefold in the shape of Crissy, sprawled on her back in the sun, her skin covered in a light sheen of sweat.  Like most Hustler models her genitals looked engorged and aroused in many of her photos.  You can almost smell her. These uncredited photos also display the James Baes style.

Hustler's third girl that month, Blue, appeared in just five pages and never took her top off, which probably meant that she had no bust to speak of.  That wasn't a problem for Hustler as their concentration was firmly below the waist.

Hustler's juiciest girl for January was Allyson, who spread her sopping and, unusually for the time, hairless pussy in a way which defined the key difference between Flynt's magazine and Penthouse. Although Penthouse was showing plenty of beaver it hadn't yet shown a girl as apparently wet as this.  This would change in December of this year and we shall examine the well lubricated Amber Ramsay in due course.  The other difference was that the Hustler girls were spreading their bits for the benefit of the male viewer.  The Penthouse girls were more likely to be depicted playing with their pussies as if for their own entertainment. Despite all the wet pussy, there were a lot less masturbation shots in Hustler.

One of the oldest men's magazines in America, back in the nineteen forties Swank carried a mixture of stories and mild pin ups published by Magazine Management Company which would go on to set up Marvel Comics.  By the mid-seventies it was just another Hustler clone offering explicit pictures of girls on poor quality paper.

Playboy's February issue had a clever cover.  Hope Olson (Miss October 1976) was the Queen of Hearts, photographed by Claude Mougin who got his inspiration from a nineteenth century playing card.

Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) was all the rage and alien-themed magazine articles were everywhere. Surprisingly, given the number of Science Fiction couples pictorials that Penthouse would have in ensuing years, it was Playboy who had the first sex with an alien set.  It was quite a raunchy one for Playboy too; as the female grey alien is transformed into the lithe form of a centrefold to have energetic sex with her male abductee.  The alien/centrefold is May 1975 Playmate Bridgett Rollins and her simulated sex positions are very much at the racy end of Playboy's couples' pictorials spectrum. 

Playmate of the Month was Janis Schmitt from Missouri who flashed her bits rather more than most recent Playmates.  These revealing colour and black and white shots were on the same page in her pictorial.  Schmitt was a comparatively elderly 31 when her pictorial was shot and had had a son at the age of 19.  Several readers wrote in to the magazine to express their surprise at her age.  She had a tiny part as a vestal virgin in Mel Brooks' History of the World: Part I (1981)

Another one of Playboy's regular travelogues to a nice warm location where everyone can take off their clothes saw them take Playmates Laura Lyons (February 1976) and Susan Kiger (January 1977) to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico.  Poor Laura hardly featured in the pictorial but Susan was shown in several naked embraces with the male models: including this shot where she is happily caressed by two of them.

The final pictorial featured girls from Playboy's overseas editions.  At this point Playboy had foreign versions in Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and Mexico.  This pussy-flashing young lady, Elizabeth Plaza (which makes her sound like a shopping centre), was from the French edition which had first appeared in November 1973.

The first issue of French Playboy, November 1973

The various foreign editions used the US source material to a greater or lesser extent.  Some editions reproduced the pictorials exactly, some used alternative layouts and pictures and some, such as the French one, used a lot of their own material of French models and actresses and, often, different covers.  Right from the first issue the French were bolder than the American edition at showing breasts on the cover and carried on showing nipples long after the US did.

For February Oui had one of its high fashion-looking girls, Mary McElree, on the cover in a lacy dress.



Inside, Penny and Isabelle demonstrated the new Oui disappearing pussy syndrome.  Both pose with their legs defiantly apart but between their thighs a sort of shadowed miasma is starting to appear in line with what was starting to happen in Playboy.

The odd thing was that this approach was not consistent.  Centrefold girl Carrie, photographed by Eric Muller, has this shot which would have been perfectly at home in Penthouse at the time.

Oui also had one of their "concept" pictorials of a girl being sprayed with a hosepipe and we got some gentle pussy stroking and a shot of water to her pussy.  All of this appears to show a magazine that couldn't decide where its niche was.  It had been set up to challenge Penthouse but lately it hadn't been much different from Playboy.  Well, maybe half a point more revealing in its photography.  There were definite signs, however, that it was back pedalling.

February's Penthouse also jumped on the Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) bandwagon with their cover highlighting an interview with director Steven Spielberg. We can't think that Spielberg would agree to be interviewed by Penthouse today, even though the pictures in the magazine back in 1978 were actually more explicit than they are today.

Demonstrating this, in the magazine's opening pictorial, was Millicent Ann Palmer who is indulging in some gentle fingering whilst looking, unusually for Penthouse, at the camera.  The credit for this pictorial was W Shaw but we have never seen this credit for another Penthouse pictorial.  Nor did we see Millicent again, sadly.  The out of focus greenery in the foreground is very typical of the house style though, so maybe it's a regular photographer using a pseudonym.

Pet of the Month for February was the very lovely Laura Storm shot by Earl Miller.  Laura was another girl who appeared just once and we have never found any other pictures of her anywhere.  This splendid, sunlit up-the-skirt pussy shot is one of Penthouse's best pictures of the year.

There was some, unusual for Penthouse, implied bondage in the third pictorial that month with Colleen McCaffrey, also by Earl Miller, interacting with a bull whip.  Perhaps it gave Steven Spielberg the idea for Indiana Jones! This shot, with the plaited leather pulled up between her labia, is particularly effective.    Colleen was supposedly from Ireland but now living in San Francisco.  Another lady who we haven't seen elsewhere.

The same can't be said of one of the protagonists in Penthouse's final February pictorial: the lesbian love set Women in Love, photographed by Gajda.  The girl on the right in the picture above is Linda Gordon, one of the most active nude models of the period.

What set this pictorial apart from most of Penthouse's previous lesbian sets was that the girls looked like they were actually getting turned on by their activity.  This set had some real passion in it.  Here Linda (in the gold stockings) gets what looks like a good fingering from her companion.  An unusually suggestive pose for the magazine at this time.

Linda appeared mainly in the second and third division magazines and also featured a lot, not surprisingly considering her 38DD-23-34 figure, in the big bust specialist magazines such as Big Juicy JugsGent and Gem.  

Linda confirmed her status as one of the busiest models of the period by also appearing in Club that month.

Every other model must have been on holiday because here is Linda, yet again, in that month's Cavalier.

February's Hustler promised their most shocking pictorial so far and they weren't lying.  The rather kitsch Valentine's day cover gave no suggestion as to the notorious pictorial inside.

The girls were as you would expect, with the really rather lovely Pantera displaying her pink pussy in classic James Baes style.  She later went on to work as an assistant in the Hustler Florida studio.

The "shocking" pictorial begins with a naked woman being brought into a room in a prison.  She is no glamour girl and looks, with her short haircut, as if she could conceivably be a prisoner.  Her head and pussy are shaved on camera.  Full credit to the model, whose acting throughout is very good, for agreeing to this.

Still handcuffed, she then appears to be assaulted by her guard before having a post coital cigarette.  Maybe the cigarette is to make it look more consensual.  We don't have the text so can't tell.

She is then led to the electric chair and electrocuted.  This pictorial  The naked...and the dead, really  was "shocking" and a totally anti-Valentine pictorial, in complete contrast to their rather cute cover.  It's not erotic (unless you are a bit strange) and just strikes us as one of those pictorials which was done purely for its shock value.  It certainly made Penthouse look mainstream.

Things weren't nearly so grim over at Hustler's stablemate Chic, which had the nautically themed Diana on the cover and inside enjoying giving herself a good, vigourous towelling down.

The pictures in the large format Chic were full page or double page but it meant that each pictorial only had around half a dozen photographs.  Babes in Joyland offered a twist on the now common shots of their girls opening their labia with their fingers in that they now had a girl spreading another girl's lips.  While Penthouse had got close to this they not got quite this interactive at this stage.

Playboy's March issue featured a photograph by Phillip Dixon of January Playmate Debra Jensen in a Ferrari, shot for a pictorial inside called Sex on Wheels.  She certainly is.  Someone actually wrote in to complain that the Ferrari hadn't received enough acknowledgement in the text. What Ferrari?

There was a long pictorial featuring photographs from the set of Louis Malle's Pretty Baby with specially shot pictures by Maureen Lambray.  The previous year she had published a celebrated book of portraits of film directors. She took photos of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in Beirut in 1979 and in 1980 covered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, disguising herself as a man at one point.  Lambray married Caroline Kennedy's ex boyfriend in 1980.  Her pictures of Bill Holliday and Cheryl Markowitz in this love scene convey a sense of sexual passion usually missing in Playboy's couples photos.

Playmate of the Month was California-born twenty year old Christina Smith. Arny Freytag gave us this curious but effective shot of Christina's rear emerging from under a blanket.

Christina's centrefold is remarkable in that, unlike any other Playboy centrefold, it offers a clear shot of her perineum.  Why, at a time when they were supposed to be dialling back on the explicitness, they went for this shot is a mystery.  But it's an enticing offer.

More unexpected raunch in their Sex on Wheels pictorial, which demonstrated that Playboy hadn't entirely abandoned the lesbian shots which got it into trouble with the advertisers in 1975.  Here two young ladies get carried away when washing their Volkswagen Beetle with one girl offering up a very revealing shot in the meantime.

March's Penthouse featured bubble permed Pet of the Month Carmen Pope on the cover in an effective crocheted bikini, photographed by Stan Malinowski.

The first pictorial was a reportage one on punks in New York clubs.  From Triple P's point of view, who observed the punk phenomenon at close quarters in London, none of them looked like punks and none of the pictures were worth posting here.  So it is straight to Miss Pope who, the magazine claimed, was eighteen at the time.  We have never been fond of perms so prefer this shot of her with wet hair.  Although she revealed her labia in several shots her pictorial's photographs were not as explicit as some that had come before.  She is the possessor of a quite splendid bust, however.  We will see her again in the future (without the perm, thank goodness) as she was one of the few Pets of the Month who appeared in the Penthouse centrefold slot twice (January 1983).

Another less explicit pictorial than usual for Helena Spiros, photographed in Greece by Siwer Ohlsson.  Ohlsson's sexy but tasteful style was more suited to the likes of Oui at this time rather than the spread thighs Penthouse approach.  His studies of perfect bodies on (usually) beaches saw him produce a number of books of nudes at the time.  This positively classical, sculptural one of Helena in a wonderful "S" shaped composition demonstrates his talent (and hers).

All the visual raunch in March's issue came in the final pictorial of Linda Keller.  In another upskirt set by Dieter Schmidt, Miss Keller is shown playing with her fleshy pussy in many of her pictures and even, in this one, pressing her fingertips on her anus.

In this picture her gently probing finger could almost be slipping inside her but, of course, you can't quite see anything.  An excellent and erotic set to finish Penthouse's March issue.

Moving considerably down market who should we find within the covers of Ace but Linda Gordon once again.  She featured in not just one but two pictorials but with different hair and under different names.

The girls in Genesis were of variable quality.  Some were attractive and some were rather plain.  For March, however, they got the very pretty Nina to flash her rosy anus in this mirror shot.

Another magazine of variable quality was High Society, under its theoretical female publisher Gloria Leonard.  The format was the brainchild of Peter Wolff who had been sacked from Gallery for introducing the Girl next Door feature where readers sent in nude pictures of their wives and girlfriends.  An innovation which subsequently proved hugely popular.

High Society was his first opportunity to devise a magazine from scratch. Wolff was driven by a desire to have as much input from his readers as possible so there were pieces such as Reader Fantasy of the Month.  In March's case this involved a Geisha girl.  The boy/girl pictorials were not as explicit as some of the others at this point however.

Likewise the lesbian sets, such as March's Looking for Mr Sandbar, involved a lot of leg spreading but not much in the way of genuine (or, at least, convincingly simulated) passion.

Although the High Society girls were revealing all, like Natasha here, they weren't quite as "out there" as the Hustler girls at this point.

Hustler's cover for March explained how Larry Flynt explained how he was going to give $1 million to a random reader, having failed to give the same amount to try and get the Commission on Pornography and Oscenity reinstituted.  Flynt couldn't miss out on a personal dig at Hugh Hefner and Bob Guccione either.



Both Angel and Bonnie are shown displaying their arseholes but Bonnie's shot is that bit more radical as her anus is slightly distended in this picture, compared with the other shots of her rear end in the piece.   The  anus as an erogenous zone which had first been seen in the magazines the previous year was continuing.  Hustler had been at the forefront (rearfront?) of models showing this previously always hidden part of the anatomy and it looked like they were continuing to push it (as was Bonnie).

The most bottom-fixated of the mainstream men's magazines was Paul Raymond's Club, now easily holding its own, circulation wise, against Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler.  This picture of Carla, from the March issue, is typical of the anally focussed pictures they were regularly showing.

Also in that issue, the ubiquitous Linda Gordon puts in yet another appearance in the first quarter of 1978.  This time photographed by Paul Raymond regular Rupert Daines.  She benefits from the much higher quality printing and paper stock compared with some of the other magazines featured in this post.

Also in Club that month was the girl with the distinctive (and at that time most unusual) tattoo Melanie Sutherland.  We have already seen her over on our The Seduction of Venus Site in her pictorial Auto Erotic. She had also appeared in the October 1975 issue of Penthouse.  Auto eroticism is certainly what she is up to in these two pictures.

Oui's flash of nipple on the cover would be its last for eight years

We will finish our round up of the first quarter of 1978 with Oui which had just relocated its offices from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Here the staff of Oui pose on top of their new office building on 8560 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.  Editor Richard Cramer is at the back in the centre.  Staff photographer Jeff Dunas is in the front row wearing the hat.  The editorial that month declared that they did not do "that tired OB-GYN sleaze that others flash about".

Well, there may not be as much pussy as in many of the other magazines but it hadn't disappeared altogether as this shot of Athena by Eric Muller shows.  She is still in the pink and hasn't suffered from the increasing brown outs seen elsewhere in the magazine.

Catherine flashes her pussy in Oui

Increasingly, the pussy shots in Oui were being reserved for the centrefold and here is Charlotte Alexandra flashing hers.  Charlotte's full  name was Charlotte Alexandra Seeley and she is Jane Birkin's cousin.  She found fame appearing in Walerian Borowczyk's Immoral Tales (1974) but also appeared in things as varied as the Peter Bowles TV series about a gossip columnist, Lytton's Diary (1986) and the comedy directed by Monty Python's Terry Jones, Personal Services (1987) as well as the third official Emmanuelle film    Goodbye, Emmanuelle (1977).  

Catherine flashes her pussy in Une vraie jeune fille 

Her most notorious film, however was Catherine Breillat's Une vraie jeune fille (1976) where, as a twenty one year old she plays a fourteen year old.  The scenes of sex and, particularly close ups of Charlotte's pussy, meant that is was immediately banned in most places and wasn't released until 1999.

It's appropriate to finish on a rear end view and here we have an unusually naughty, for Oui, Beverly photographed by Jeff Dunas.  This was part one of a two part pictorial.  We will look at part two in April when we cover April to June 1978.

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