May 1977 saw Playmate of the Year Lillian Muller, photographed by Phillip Dixon, seductively sucking at an ice cream or rather, as Playboy admitted inside, some carefully sculpted mashed potato.
Sheila Mullen without moles
That months's Playmate, nineteen year old Sheila Mullen, was handled rather strangely by Playboy's retouchers. Now Playboy always says it never retouched its photos and that may have been strictly correct, as photo manipulation was done at the print mastering stage, but it still confirms what Bob Guccione maintained; that Playboy doctored its images. This is apparent here because whilst Sheila displays perfect teenaged skin in all of her pictorial's shots, including this potent groin shot by Ken Marcus, oddly in her centrefold all her moles are on display.
Sheila Mullen with moles
You would ususally expect the centrefold to display the usual Playboy unreal perfection but here the centrefold is the most truthfull shot in the pictorial.
May's celebrity pictorial was of model and actress Patti D'Arbanville, photographed in St Tropez by David Hamilton in characteristic style. D'Arbanville was about to star in Hamilton's film Bilitis (1977), which always sounded like a rather nasty disease to Triple P. The gentleman getting very intimate with her nether regions, in what for Playboy was a very strong shot, is her then husband French actor Roger Miremont.
Someone posted the other month to suggest that Venus Observations needed to display some more mature women. Whether these pictures from Playboy's May pictorial Bewitched by older women qualify or not depends, of course, on your own age! Ann O'Neill (above) was 35 and Gail Berton (below) was 30 when photographed. Berton was a friend of Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy and had also been posing for him as he embarked on what would become a distinguished photographic career (Nimoy studied photography at UCLA after the original Star Trek series finished).
As was often the case in the mid to late seventies at Playboy these "real women" often showed more than the Playmates themselves. We had a comment from a lady, on another Pubic Wars post, whose experience had been that the pressure from professional photographers on amateur women to show that bit more than the models had intended was immense in cases like these. We are sure that from the very beginning of photography those behind the lens were constantly encouraging their models to show more than they had meant to going into a modelling session. Whatever, these pictures showed that Playboy still hadn't abandoned genital shots despite supposedly having surrendered in the Pubic Wars.
Valerie Rae Clark by Earl Miller
They were nothing like what Penthouse was serving up in 1977, of course. May's Playmate was a young lady by the name of Valerie Rae Clark, a twenty-two year old from California. She had studied dance and was working as a stripper when she was contacted by photographer Richard Romero and asked if she wanted to pose for Penthouse.
Valerie Rae Clark by Richard Romero
Romero was a freelance photographer and had taken his portfolio to Penthouse who liked what they saw but told him he would have to find his own model as he wasn't a staff photographer. Romero was working in a photo processing studio to supplement his income and asked one of his clients, a film director, if he knew of a suitable girl. He had just used Valerie as a nude extra in one of his films and so passed Romero her details.
Valerie Rae Clark
The shoot took place in an antique shop on Santa Monica Boulevard in the summer of 1976 and was very low key. Valerie wore her own clothes and did her own hair and make-up. Penthouse, however, decided that they didn't really like Romero's pictures, although they did like Valerie, so got Earl Miller to shoot her again instead. However in the end, Guccione, didn't like Miller's photographs either and so went back to Romero's, using just one of Miller's pictures on the cover. It would be, however, Romero's only shoot for Penthouse.
Valerie Rae Clarke in Caligula (forground)
Valerie had to wait almost a year until her Pet pictorial appeared in Penthouse and she only received her $3,000 fee on publication. In the meantime, however, Bob Guccione had chosen her to go to Rome to film scenes for Caligula. She appeared in the extra Imperial brothel scenes he shot behind director Tinto Brass' back.
Valerie molests a dwarf in Caligula
In the full, uncut version she is prominent in three sequences. Firstly, molesting a dwarf and sucking his penis. Secondly, being kissed by Carolyn Patsis whilst a man sucks her prominent labia into his mouth and then fingers her vagina.
Valerie sucks in Caligula whilst Anneka de Lorenzo looks on in admiration
Finally, in a sequence that is the centrepiece of the second half of the material that Guccione filmed for his hard core inserts, orally ministering to the extra who provided most of the penis shots in the sequence. Valerie displays some impressive oral skills, even deep-throating the gentleman in question.
Valerie goes all the way with John Holmes
There was more evidence of her abilities in this area when she made a hardcore film with legendary seventies porn star John Holmes; notoriously being the first girl to deepthroat the impressively endowed star. We will see a lot more of Valerie in our entries on 1978 as she appeared in a lot of magazines that year.
Also that month in Penthouse we had Gernot Plitz photographing the dark and sultry Rebecca on a piano stool.
The third pictorial in that issue had Hawaiian born Sydne Bradford flashing her bits a lot and indulging in the now usual faux masturbation which was, however, increasingly looking less and less faux.
Suzanne and the stableboy
The final pictorial was a couples one by Earl Miller featuring October 1976's Pet of the Month Suzanne Saxon. Called The Lady and the Stableboy it contained one of the strongest boy/girl implied cunnilingus shots so far in the magazine. Oddly, whilst implied fellatio was now becoming quite common in their couples sets the boy to girl act made a comparatively late appearance behind, even, the girl/girl version.
In the first half of 1977 someone at Oui must have realised that their pictorials were becoming tamer than Playboy's let alone being a credible challenger to Penthouse, as the magazine had been designed to be.
So, for May, they had Francis Giacobetti present a series of double page spreads of centrefold girl Hope in Oui's most concentrated faux masturbation series so far. The lovely Hope is touching herself in nearly every picture in the set and the accompanying text is a rather florid description of Hope's body being the world and her fingers explorers. Hope is, as tipped off to Triple P in a comment below, French actress Brigitte Lahaie, who started off making hard core pornographic films, once these had been legalised in France in 1976, but then moved into more mainstream films.
The couples set that issue was a (basically) black and white period piece about a man and a woman in a lift from which this sequence comes. The implied fellatio is quite strong for Oui.
Over at Club the concentration was on the new erogenous zone for 1977; the anus. Club had always been the most bottom focused of the major magazines but it was really exploiting the new explicitness with its back door shots.
Here the very lovely Georgina displays herself for photographer Olivia in one of around ten anal shots in this issue.
Even more in your face was this anal shot from a "comedy" pictorial called How to turn your apartment into a Dungeon which featured a sinister looking chap wearing a swastika armband chaining up a nice young lady with a frizzy perm.
Despite the rather theatrical nature and "funny" nature of many of the pictures, photographer Jay Myrdal included several pretty strong close-up photos, such as the effective one with the chains above.
Larry Flynt's upmarket (by his standards, anyway) Chic was mainly about getting his more beautiful than Hustler girls to flash their increasingly excited looking cunts in his large format, full-page photos.
Howver, Flynt was being drawn into the rear-view wars as well and May's centrefold Suzette was not only shown flashing her arsehole but actually touching it too.
Back on the pages of his first magazine Flynt was pursuing a number of more explicit poses for his girls.
Here, Suzie Humphrees not only displays her anus but also has her finger probing towards her vaginal entrance.
Centrefold Nicole is not only pulling her labia back, in a way that more and more of the Hustler girls were starting to do, but is also showing a moist looking interior.
June's Playmate posed rather conservatively but the raunch still being displayed in the magazine was clearly demonstrated by Pompeo Posar's shots of Playmate of the Year, and future Mrs Jimmy Connors, Patti McGuire, who he shot in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
As she had in her original Playmate pictorial in November 1976, Miss McGuire was happy to display her bits but the more effective shot was the one where she pulls a swathe of barely concealing, wet fabric up between her legs for one of Playboy's most famous and erotic photographs of the seventies (and, possibly, of all time).
Oui continued with its mixture of softer Playboy-style shots and more assertive Penthouse-style pussy pictures.
So here is Patty, letting the sun get to hers in Francis Giacobetti's second centrefold pictorial in a row for the magazine.
June's Penthouse featured their annual pet of the Year play-off with all the candidates spreading their thighs but although Pet of the Month Dominique Maure did the same the sexiest photos in the magazine were those of her getting a massage.
Photographer Stan Malinowski had taken Dominique (real name Dottie Meyer from Saskatchewan, Canada) to the Habitation LaClerc, an expensive resort in Haiti. This resort had also been used by Bob Guccione for his shoot of Pet of the Month Sonny Smith which had appeared the previous May. Malinowski spotted a masseur arriving at one of the exclusive villas and thought some shots of him and Dominique would make for some great shots.
Unfortunately, Malinowski couldn't make himself understood to the Creole speaking local. The lady at the next door villa did speak French, however, and translated all of Malinowski's directions to the masseur. The lady turned out to be none other than the famous American opera singer Beverly Sills, so we should be grateful for her unexpected intervention in helping produce these beautifully tactile shots.
The statuesque six footer would later go on to have a career with Penthouse doing PR (especially for the Penthouse motor racing team in the eighties) and latterly as Director of Corporate promotions. We will do a Centrefold of the Month post on her in June.
Their final pictorial featured some still unusual light bondage in a pictorial called Bound for Glory by John Thornton where this young lady ends up in the boot of a car.
Chic, living up to its name, had a stylish girl/girl pictorial, supposedly set in a finishing school, which had something of the nineteen thirties about it.
Hustler, meanwhile, who had just hired Suze Randall as one of their photographers got her to do a self-portrait shoot, as she had done for Playboy previously. Suze had just published her autobiography called, with great originality, Suze, so was busy promoting it in many of the men's magazines..
Her pictures for Hustler were, as you would expect, much more explicit than her Playboy ones and employed the sort of spread labia shots that would become typical of her work as a photographer.
Cheri got one of their staff writers, Rene Rousseau to pose and she brought some great smiles and a lot of infectious fun to her shoot, as well as some radical beaver shots.
Penthouse, no doubt feeling the pressure from the increasingly popular Paul Raymond magazines as well as a resurgent Hustler, had increased the number of their pictorials from the usual three to four.
Their love-set for July, however, was a rather curious "comedy" pictorial (in the tradition of what was being done in Oui at the time) which was not explicit at all. Set in the old west and called, How the Breast was Won (groan) we like the not too subtle symbolism of the girl brandishing the pistol, however.
Of the two non-pet model pictorials one featured a lady called Cynthia Miles, photographed by lady photographer Pat Hill. Hawaiian-born Pat had been working for Art Kane, shooting interview subjects for both Penthouse and Viva. This was her first model pictorial for the magazine and, eventually, she would go on to shoot three Pets of the Month in the eighties before setting up her own studio and starting a successful mainstream advertising, beauty and fashion career. She certainly had mastered the Penthouse soft-focus, boudoir style.
Our favourite shot from this pictorial, however, is this one (above). Why do we think that the sea may not be all that warm?
The other non-Pet pictorial had as its subject a fresh-faced girl called Lynn Donahue who was photographed by Earl Miller in this quite unusual for the time bottom-up masturbation shot. This is a very nice study and reminds us (for several reasons) of our particular friend S, from Vancouver.
Pet of the Month was the elegant-looking Christine Davray, a French dancer turned actress, photographed by Jean-Yves Haydar (1939-1996) in Kenya. This would be Haydar's second and last pictorial for Penthouse. He had shot Juliana van Troost back in 1973.Haydar's grandfather gave his name to Haydarpasa, a place in Istanbul on the Asian side of the Bosphorous. Triple P has arrived at its splendid railway station, built by Haydar's grandfather, on several occasions when travelling from Ankara.
Davray was Haydar's wife as Penthouse, unusually, admitted in the magazine. This may explain the particularly intimate shots of Davray with visibly aroused labia and even probing herself with her fingertip. Penthouse claimed she was 26 but she was born in 1947 so was closer to 30 when the magazine came out which, to be honest, she looks in her photos. It's nice to see an older woman in the magazine, though.
Christine in Mayfair Volume 11 number 4
She had appeared in other men's magazines, always shot by her husband, having appeared in Mayfair in April 1976 where, in usual style, they claimed she was a Scottish girl from Aberdeen, although anyone less Scottish looking we can't imagine.
Christine on the cover of a Turkish magazine in 1981
Christine on the big screen
Davray, under the name Kristin Haydar moved to Turkey in the eighties and made a couple of films there (Sarısın Tehlike -Blonde Trouble ( 1980)) and Bedel -The Price (1983)), becoming quite well known locally.
The cover of Christina's LP
She also made a recording of the Turkish Eurovision entry for 1980, Petrol, in a more seductive, bellydance style than the original by Turkish superstar Ajda Pekkan. Apparently the two had something of a bust up when Davray pointed out that she was younger than Pekkan which, we suspect, wasn't true anyway.
The LP also featured a number of other French and international songs and the cover was illustrated with pictures of an enticingly shot Christine.
She added writing to her list of achievements producing a novel called Simone, published in France in 1999, which was set in Montmartre in the nineteen fifties.
Christine over thirty years on. Still got those cheekbones!
1977 was a strong year for Pets but Christine (in a recent picture above) remains one of our favourites, not just from this year, but the late seventies.
Unlike some of the other magazines, which had dialed back on the explicitness on their covers, Swank had their covergirl, Dorothy, photographed by Larry Caye, apparently diddling herself on the front of the magazine. Inside, the letters page featured this enticing close-up of some see-through knickers
Unlike Playboy and Penthouse, which had stopped showing their girls' nipples on the covers Oui continued to do so. Here we have the splendid Felicity Buirski, photographed by Sanders Nicolson. Felicity, born in Orpington in the UK, was a top glamour model and Page 3 girl as well as being the first Sure deoderant advertisement girl who got a tick sprayed on her back..
Felicity as Kate Simmons for Penthouse 1978
She had a small part in the Joan Collins film The Stud (1978) and also appeared on the Benny Hill Show. We will see her again in August's Oui and also as the Penthouse Pet of the Month for September 1978 under the name Kate Simmons.
She reinvented herself as a singer songwriter in the eighties and nineties and has so far made a number of well received folk albums. She had originally been in a singing group of Page 3 models in the seventies. She now works as a psychotherapist and counselor in south west London, not very far from Agent Triple P. A very beautiful girl indeed.
Oui's centrefolds were also now regularly showing their bits in a way that they hadn't until quite recently, as demonstrated here by Patty photographed by Eric Mueller.
July's Playboy had TV actress Pamela Serpe embracing a giant inflatable rabbit's head in a strange but somehow rather effective cover shot by Claude Mougin.
The first pictorial featured one of Triple P's favourite actresses of the seventies and eighties, Barbara Carrera. Unfortunately they chose to pose her in a bizarre take on the Island of Dr Moreau (the film she was about to appear in) with a strange beast man. Not sexy, despite the undressed presence of Ms Carrera.
Playmate of the Month was the really quite lovely Sondra Theodore who became another of Hugh Hefner's Playmate girlfriends. She lasted rather longer than many, however, staying with him for five years. She had a nice bubble bath sequence shot by Ken Marcus where she flashes her cleft pussy and, very unusually for Playboy, her anus as well.
More famously she was the first Playboy Playmate whose pictorial was accompanied by a Playmate data sheet. These, filled in by the Playmates themselves, gave them the opportunity for them to show off their vital statistics, explain their likes and dislikes as well as, rather more spookily, showing pictures of them as young girls.
Detail of the original centrefold which appeared in the magazine
Detail from the version they are now using. Her hand is in a different position, the cushions on the left have moved and her pussy is not visible.
Sondra's centrefold was rather more revealing than usual but, interestingly, since it's publication. Playboy has been using a completely different photograph with less visible pussy. The version in their complete centrefolds book is not the original either. We wonder how many others they have done that to.
Lesllie Bovee presents her self for the lens of Nicholas de Sciose
The final pictorial in the July issue reflected the increasing interest in and accessibility of hard core porn films in America; one of the factors, of course, that pushed the Pubic Wars forward in the magazines of the time. Given that Playboy had, supposedly, backed off from genital shots as they capitulated in the battle with Penthouse the photos in this feature are surprising. Entitled The Girls of the New Porn it featured some of the strongest photos to appear in Playboy at the time and, indeed since.
Laurien Dominique as photographed by Pompeo Posar. She had just completed Hard Soap, Hard Soap with John Holmes. She died of cancer at the age of 29.
Ken Marcus gave us this full-on pussy touching shot of Annette Haven who went on to appear in over eighty films, most of them adult. She could act and nearly got the lead female role in Brian De Palma's Body Double (1984) but just missed out to Melanie Griffith. She stayed on to act as technical adviser, however.
The Playboy feature had portraits of the girls taken by a variety of photographers and then shots of them in action in their films. Some of these, like this anticipatory still of Annette and CJ Laing in Barbara Broadcast (1977) were very strong for Playboy.
Here, in another action shot from the pictorial, is Constance Money (real name Susan Jensen), star of the classic The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976), in another film Mary! Mary! (1977). She made only eight films before retiring and now, apparently, runs an airfreight business in Alaska.
Bringing this episode of the Pubic Wars to an end we have, appropriately, this very un-Playboy like shot, by Nicholas de Sciose, of Tyna Lynn in probably the strongest rear-end shot to appear in the magazine's history.