Venus Revealed: The Pubic Wars 9 1977
For our last of our five looks at the Pubic Wars for 1977 we examine October, November and December of that year.
Playboy eschewed their usual cover dolly for the rather more robust charms of Barbra Streisand. The cover had started from a comment Streisand had made, jokingly: “Wouldn’t it be funny to see me on the cover of Playboy?” Lawrence Grobel, who was going through an arduous nine month interview process with Streisand for the magazine, remembered this and called Playboy to ask them about it, as no Playboy interview subject had ever been on the cover before. Playboy liked the idea and got Mario Casilli to shoot her in his Malibu studio. Streisand actually posed in a bunny outfit but decided that that was too silly and anything too sexy would compromise her feminist ideals. She was the first celebrity on the cover of Playboy since Marilyn Monroe in the debut issue from December 1953. Many more would follow. She also chose the cover image herself, something that Hugh Hefner usually insisted on doing. Her interview made the issue a top seller.
Playboy’s third pictorial was called, rather delicately, Ladies of Joy but actually featured a number of studies of prostitutes. Perhaps not surprisingly some of them posed in a pretty assertive way, such as Sally Keath from Oregon (above) and Linda Ching (top) a masseuse and porn actress.
The final pictorial featured ballet star Rudolf Nureyev and Mamas and Papas singer Michelle Phillips in a number of shots from Ken Russell’s film Valentino (1977). Nureyev showed rather more than Phillips did ,as can be seen from this shot.
Gallery carried on in featuring more entries for its Girl Next Door competition; featuring monthly entries which would culminate in an annual winner, with 1977’s girl featuring on the cover that month. Seemingly more democratic then the Penthouse Pet of the Year or the Playboy Playmate of the Year the standard of entries was variable but their appeal was their reality and seeming accessibility. No impossibly leggy Oui-style European models here.
Oui celebrated its fifth nirthday in the October 1977 issue and had a long. self congratulatory pictorial featuring the girls from the previous half decade.
Inside, Oui was really no more explicit than Playboy, despite being the supposedly “naughtier” publication in the Playboy stable. Although Francis Giacobetti’s picture of Claire had her displaying her anus in a way that Playboy wouldn’t have, even in 1977.
The previous year Oui had poached Jeff Dunas from Penthouse to be their staff photographer. Dunas had been instrumental in developing the style of Penthouse’s couples sets although at Oui by this time they had to be less explicit than his Penthouse work. Here in a set featuring two ladies and one man the gentleman never took off his swimming trunks. Oui’s couples pictorials were gettingless explicit compared with two years earlier.
There were also some signs of gentle de-emphasising of the genitals in the second girl pictorial that month. Georgia’s pictorial didn’t carry a credit (which means it may have been Dunas again) but despite her brazen spread-legged pose everything on show is something of a furry blur.
November’s Penthouse featured a smiling Cheryl Rixon on the cover. The Australian model/actress would become Pet of the Month in December but featured inside the October issue in a lingerie fashion piece wearing a number of lacy, racy outfits including the one featured on the cover.
The first pictorial that month was of Bonnie Dee Wilson (November 1975) who was named as Pet of the Year runner up. At this point Bonnie Dee was Bob Guccione’s mistress and he had intended her to be Pet of the Year. Unfortunately she had a drink problem and was starting to be an embarrassment in social situations. Certainly she could not be relied upon to take on the duties of Pet of the Year so had to settle for the runner up spot.
Bonnie Dee’s pictorial as Pet of the Month in 1975 had been famous for the level of explicitness demonstrated in her photographs. Her pussy displaying spread-legged poses being the most full-on in the magazine to date and included the first open vagina shot in Penthouse.
Guccione was obviously particularly enamoured of this part of her body because her Pet of the Year runner up pictorial features an unusual number of full page portraits of her.
It’s not her face which Guccione, as photographer, is focussing on either. What we get is page after page of Bonnie Dee’s cunt in all its fleshy glory. In some pictures her fingers slide each side of her clitoris in some of the most explicit shots in the magazine so far.
Bonnie Dee arrives at Rome airport before the filming of her scenes in Caligula
Guccione flew Bonnie Dee to Rome to appear in the extra hardcore scenes he shot for Caligula in January 1977. She appeared in the imperial brothel scenes filmed by Guccione using a skeleton crew on the sets of the film at Dear Studios, Rome.
Bonnie Dee gives it some reverse cowgirl in Caligula
Most of the extra orgy scenes that survive in the longer, uncut version of the film feature oral action by the Penthouse Pets. Jane Hargrave, Anneka di Lorenzo, Valerie Rae Clarke and Signe Berger are all shown giving blow jobs. Alone out of the Pets on set Bonnie Dee is shown actually having sex. She is portrayed astride a male actor and then placing his erect penis inside herself before sitting down on it. The camera pans up her body to her face, leaving no doubt that it is, in fact, her.
Pet of the Month for October was Cynthia Gaynor who was another one of those Pets who appeared just once in the magazine before disappearing again. Her pictorial was shot by Stan Malinowski and included this photograph of her spreading her aroused-looking labia and, incidentally giving us Penthouse’s first open vagina shot since Bonnie Dee Wilson’s back in November 1975.
Penthouse’s increasingly masturbatory and pussy poses were the result of the competition offered by the content of Larry Flynt’s Hustler which had long overtaken Penthouse in terms of explicit content. The production values on Flynt’s publication were significantly higher than the days when the magazine had launched with it’s blurred colour printing and unattractive models. By the end of 1977 they could feature striking covers such as this one.
Inside, attractive models not only spread their legs and showed their cunts but they showed wet, excited-looking cunts. It would be a year until Guccione had one of his girls display herself in such an obviously aroused way as that month’s Hustler Honey, Cassie.
Playboy had stopped showing nipples on its cover in mid 1976 so the November picture by Tom Staebler of Susan Kiger (Miss January 1977) in her semi-transparent vest was the raciest one for some time. The idea for the bunny shaped ring pull tab was Playboy Editorial Eirector Arthur Kretchmer’s but it was Staebler who had to hand cut the bunny head. Agent Triple P loves a girl dressed just in a cotton vest and the perky Miss Kiger pulls off the look brilliantly! One of our favourite seventies covers.
The November issue also saw the annual Bunny review and some of 1977’s crop were photographed in a very assertive way that belied the supposedly less explicit approach Playboy was supposed to be taking. Here Hope Olson (Miss October 1976) displays herself in a way that she didn’t in her Playmate pictorial. A lovely girl with a perfect figure Hope would later take a degree in early education in her home state of Wisconsin and set up a day care centre for children.
Denver Playboy Club Bunny Janet Carnell also flashes her bits in this photograph by Nicholas de Sciose. Mr de Sciose, a truly gifted photographer of women, often managed to produce slightly grittier images for the magazine and he was not shy, even at this time, of getting his subjects to display their charms in a rather less than Playboy like way. Although he shot a lot for Playboy he never did a solo centrefold although did do some of the pictures for March 1979’s Denise McConnell Playmate pictorial. He did do some centrefolds for Oui where, perhaps, his slightly more explicit style was more at home.
The final pussy flashing picture of the Bunnies of 77 feature is the most explicit of all with Miami club’s Shannon Starling spreading herself out on a chair. Shannon liked painting, drawing, macrame and…cats. Quite. Another de Sciose shot.
Playmate of the Month for November was Rita Lee, photographed by Richard Fegley who gave us this enticing shot of her wearing a pair of shoes that would look perfectly fashionable on the high street today. Rita appeared on three Playboy covers and became one of Fegley’s favourite models. He shot her in Mexico for his book Dreams which came out in 1982.
Just as the annual Bunnies feature had traditionally been racier than the normal pictorials in Playboythen so were the Sex in Cinema reviews. First appearing, appropriately in November 1969, Playboyhad slipped in early glimpses of pubic hair, lesbian embraces and penises into this feature. The 1977 version had pussy and penis combined in this still from Sweet Cakes (1977) starring Jeanine Dalton.
Playboy had run a pictorial on Valentino (1977) featuring Rudolf Nureyev and Michelle Phillips posing naked in October’s issue but the Russian ballet dancer is showing more of himself than he did in the previous month’s piece.
Finally, there was this photo from the still unreleased Caligula (1979) which was the brainchild of Hugh Hefner’s great rival Bob Guccione. The interesting thing about this picture is that it appears to show, at the bottom right, a man holding his erect penis. Now there were some false erect penises employed in the film but, equally, there were many real ones so it is conceivable that this is the only erection ever shown in Playboy.
Oui had continued to put bare breasts on the cover when even Penthouse had stopped. In this case we had Jodi Lynch who would display the last uncovered nipples on the cover of Oui ever. From now on this part of the girls’ anatomy would be covered by (albeit sometimes quite see-through) clothing or, latterly, printed “patches”.
Jeff Dunas’ studies of Libby featured a bit more in the way of labia on display than had the October issue of the magazine.
Taps the way to do it
Centrefold girl that month was “Gail” who, the magazine claimed was an American who had gone to live in Turkey. All very exotic. In fact “Gail” was from Essex and was, in reality, English model Janet Conway.
The 5’7″ and 34/24/24 Janet, who sometimes went under the name of Jane Connors, was a top Page 3 model, appearing regularly in The Sun in 1977.
Janet posed for a number of European men’s magazines at this time. This fine example is from a German publication.
This is the picture of her that Agent Triple P remembers from the time; of her half spilling out of her top. We can’t remember where we first saw this, possibly Amateur Photographer’s annual calendar review or some such.
Oui’s final November filly was Helen who featured in several enticing upskirt pictures by Francis Giacobetti, bringing to a close a rather more pussy-packed issue than the previous one.
Club carried on using pictorials that had already appeared in the the UK’s Men Only. Although the pictorials were often identical, sometime, the US magazine featured some photographs which were considered too strong for the UK magazine.
Back in Britain Men Only and Club had backed off on the explicitness they had showen in 1976 and early 1977 so this rear end shot did not appear in Men Only but only the American Club.
November’s Penthouse was the annual Pet of the Year issue and featured on the cover the winner, the utterly splendid Vicki Lynn Johnson.
As usual Guccione himself shot the Pet of the Year pictorial and excelled himself with Vicki producing two splendid shots of the natural redhead which are iconic images of that period inPenthouse. Her front view, her body dappled by patterns of sunlight, sees her with one eye covered like Veronica Lake, her legs defiantly apart and her ginger floss looking like burnished copper wool.
Her equally magnificent rear view has the same patterns of light accentuating her round behind, her pussy framed by her firm cheeks like a split fig and that blatantly displayed anus. Although it had pioneered the showing of its models anuses Penthouse wasn’t showing them as much as some of the other magazines (such as Club, for example) so this was still a bold example for them.
Vicki: would cheer up any hospital
One reader was disgusted that Vicki had been given $75,000 as Pet of Year when “her only claim to fame is posing before a camera with no clothes on.” The reader suggested that Penthouse should use the money for women’s causes. Penthouse came back and pointed out the Pet of the Year’s responsibilities included a 22 city tour of veteran’s hospitals and other charity work. They also pointed out that the Penthouse Corporation was one of the first magazines to donate funds to the Equal Rights Amendment. So there!
Another real beauty as Pet of the Month for November. The utterly gorgeous Debora Zullo gave Earl Miller some gently sensuous pussy touching poses.
There was more pussy play in another pictorial called Through a Glass Starkly where an elegant, masked lady teases herself in a feature photographed by David Jones in his only pictorial forPenthouse. The story behind this one was that the lady is supposedly a top Parisian fashion model who fantasised about pleasuring herself in front of groups of men. By appearing in Penthousesuitably disguised she is able to carry out her fantasy. A nice set and the young lady certainly has fashion model quality legs.
David Stevens wrote in from Houston to say that “Your photo story “Through a Lens Starkly” is pure dynamite. I have enjoyed it very much, and so, much to my delighted surprise, has my wife. It seems that one of her fantasies is quite similar to the ones so beautifully and vividly depicted in the story.”
The last set in November’s issue was the rather curious Any Sport in a Storm (trooper) by Earl Miller. It was almost certainly inspired by the previous year’s Tinto Brass film Salon Kitty (1976) which is set in a brothel in Nazi Germany. The girl in the red suspender belt is porn star Serena (Robinson) who appeared in around 100 hardcore films in the seventies and eighties.
Serena acts convincingly affectionate with Jamie Gillis
Her uninhibited performances, especially in S&M scenes with her then boyfriend Jamie Gillis, possibly the only male porn star who could actually act, made her a star. She was inducted into the X-Rated Critics Organisation Hall of fame in the eighties as an adult “film pioneer”.
At a whopping 374 pages the December 1977 issue of Playboy was their biggest ever. Arny Freytag shot Sondra Theodore in far from Christmassy vinyl for the cover.
The first pictorial was of another of Hugh Hefner’s house parties. We don’t know if the magazine editorial team thought that this would be, like the magazine itself, aspirational but it was more likely to make the readers sick with envy as Hefner shared his hot tub with no less than eight lovelies, with another in reserve. In the sauna Lisa Sohm (April 1977), Hope Olson (October 1976), Patti McGuire (1977 Playmate of the Year) and Denise Michele (April 1976) disported themselves to great effect.
Playboy’s photo editor Gary Cole recalls that they had electrical cable all over the grotto for the lights but that the damp kept shorting them out. He was worried he was going to electrocute Hugh Hefner and all the Playmates.
There was more multiple body fun in Swingers Scrapbook which allowed photographer Robert Scott Hooper to put together the sort of copulatory cornucopia that hadn’t been seen in the magazine for some time. Playboy loved its orgies (no doubt inspired by their publisher) and this piece on swingers gave them the chance to drape lots of bodies over each other. The lady on the left is so draped as to show everything and the man she is draped over is showing quite a bit too.
Playmate of the Month Ashley Cox doesn’t look much like the girl next door in this picture from her pictorial. Ashley had already appeared in Logan’s Run (1976) when she appeared in Playboy and had some more minor acting roles in TV and film before giving up on Hollywood in 1984 and returning to Texas.
Playboy had, increasingly excitedly, been following the burgeoning porn film scene during the seventies focussing, naturally enough, on actresses but their Year in Sex review had this picture of the legendary John Holmes displaying his talent.
As we have already seen, Oui used to regularly use models who had appeared in the UK’s The Sunnewspaper Page 3 feature. Here, on the cover of the December edition, is the impressively leggy Delia Whittaker photographed by none other than Mr Page 3 himself, Beverley Goodway.
Beverley Goodway gets a proper send off on his retirement from The Sun in 2003
Goodway, who died last month at the age of 69, spent 33 years at The Sun, photographing literally thousands of girls, including Whittaker, for the Page 3 feature, which had been launched when Rupert Murdoch bought the newspaper at the end of the sixties. Goodway had just joined before the takeover and was doing fashion shots but took on the Page 3 role when he realised that his printed images would be much bigger in the glamour slot.
Whittaker, who also did a lot of specialist leg modelling, is not as well known now as some of her contemporaries. Sadly she didn’t appear nude in that month’s Oui but here is a fine study of her 5’10” frame.
Delia at Ascot in 1971
Before Page 3 Delia had made the newspapers six years earlier in 1971. The Duke of Norfolk had declared that that season’s fashion trend, hot pants, would not be acceptable wear for ladies at Ascot races. As the ban only applied to women, fashion designer Joe Dayland turned up wearing hot pants and was accompanied by the more conventionally dressed Delia.
That month, as trumpeted on the cover, Oui contained a pull-out calendar for 1978. Amongst the thirteen (they included December 1977 as well) young ladies featured was this picture of porn star Virginia Winters demonstrating an exceedingly fine knickers up the crack pose.
There were more upskirt pictures from Francis Giacobetti with the lovely Angela, tastefully displaying her bits, which are nicely framed in the bedstead. Giacobetti (b.1939) is a French photographer whose work for Lui (and, hence, on to Oui) was often stunningly good. Now a hugely respected mainstream photographer he had already shot two Pirelli Calendars at the beginning of the seventies.
Sylvia Kristel by Francis Giacobetti
Just as happy with portraits or fashion work his photos for Lui often displayed a cool but effective sensuality. He also directed the second Emmanuelle film starring the late Sylvia Kristel.
Jeff Dunas provided his own upskirt images of that month’s centrefold, Kim. In fact, no less than seven out of ten of Dunas’s photographs of Kim were upskirt ones.
No upskirt for Russ Meyer starlet Kitten Natividad in a feature on some of his well-developed women. Just this really rather assertive open thighs shot.
Penthouse finished off 1977 with a splendid photo of Danielle Ginibre on the cover. It shows how far ahead Penthouse did its shoots as she wouldn’t appear as Pet of the Month until November 1979 when some images from this shoot were used.
The first pictorial was a couples one called Sea Song by FW Eck which featured a man and a woman frolicking at the sea shore. It was curious in that nearly all the pictures were shot through a coloured filter so they all appeared orange. It was not an experiment that Penthouse repeated and there was not very much passion in it although it did contain this nice, salty cunnilingus shot.
The lady displays her orifices but the man keeps himself covered
One reader protested that whilst the women in couples pictorials were “assuming increasingly uninhibited poses, the males that occasionally appear look positively demure…The absurd limit was reached in the pictorial “Sea Song,” in the December 1977 issue. There, while the woman’s orifices were proudly displayed, the man’s genitals were hidden…The day may never come when Penthouse feels free to picture an erect penis in a couples pictorial (logical though that would be) but you should not so pointedly hide or obscure male genitals.” Penthouse replied that they were, of course, a men’s magazine and that “the vast majority of our readers prefer to view the female form.” In factPenthouse would include its first unequivocal erection in a couples pictorial in July 1978, only four months after this letter was published.
Pet of the Month was the lovely Cheryl Rixon who had graced October’s cover. Her pictorial was not as extreme. on the pussy displaying front. as some other recent examples but, as we will see in the future, she did come up with one very athletic pose that displayed herself to great effect for her Pet of the Year shoot.
Jim Foxx photographed a girl the magazine called Sunshine in the first of what would be three pictorials for the magazine. Here she tickles her fancy with a flower.
The final pictorial of the year featured the impressively leggy Dina. Her flower was in her hair which kept her fingers free for some pussy probing.
So 1977 had seen some magazines becoming more explicit and some becoming less, with cover images, in particular, being less assertive than in 1976. Next time we will look at the first quarter of 1978.