Time for just a brief Centrefold of the Month post this time as we try to catch up on our backlog. So it is back to 1977 again for April but this time we look at Paul Raymond's Men Only and a pictorial by Fred Enke, suggested by a comment made by Darkwolf. The fact that this was volume 42 gives something of an idea of the history of this venerable publication,a lthough Raymond didn't take it over until 1971 (volume 36) and turned it into a Penthouse clone.
The cover features our centrefold, Charlie Goode (almost certainly not her real name) in quite a naughtily self probing pose.
Fred Enke was born in Ohio in 1940 but was educated in California. Initially his commercial photographic work was focussed on car magazines.
Enke was spotted by Men Only's photographic editor Alan Walton who signed him up to do a shoot for the very first issue of Club, Paul Raymond's attempt to crack the US market, which came out in February 1975.
Over the next two years Enke shot a lot of pictorials for Club, Men Only and Club International. This period coincided with increasingly frank depictions of the models' genitalia, a trend which Enke's approach, as can be see here, certainly embraced.
However, just two years after the first issue of Club premiered in the US, Enke died suddenly at the age of 36, just two months before this issue was published.
Not everyone, however, liked this blatant approach and in the very same issue the Men Only letters page carried an epistle from H Kilner of York who said: "I'm getting really fed up with all the open-crotch shots in sex magazines: they are so bloody repetitious!" He waxed nostalgic for the less explicit days of Harrison Marks and went on: "There was no opportunity to flaunt cunt in those days...now that you can show "the lot", it would still be more titillating if the cunt were allowed to appear naturally, rather than have it blatantly presented." Mr Kilner suggested that other readers write in with their views.
Write in they did and Men Only published a selection of them over the next six months. In the October issue they admitted that 75% of the letters agreed with Mr Kilner. Paul Raymond publications must have listened because from late 1977 onwards the blatant labia shots started to disappear.
However, given that the publishers were using the pictorials for both the UK and the US markets (where there didn't seem to be any objections to cunts) they started to obscure the girls's bits in post photographic retouching increasingly over the next few years. This was rather similar to what went on in Playboy in the late seventies in that the magazines reversed the trend of the previous few years and got less explicit.
Indeed, even this pictorial, brazen though it was, was considerably less gynecological than Enke's previous centrefold shoot for the magazine the previous month.
The girls still adopted the same spread legs poses, it's just that what they possessed wasn't visible anymore (at least in the UK). The versions that appeared in Club in the US continued to be more explicit as we shall see. Whether this was a genuine artistic reaction on the part of the readership or a move by the publishers to head off criticism from the then vociferous anti-pornography campaigners Lord Longford and Mary Whitehouse isn't clear. Whatever, this pink-pussied centrefold would be the last such for some time in Men Only.
The same month, but using a mirror image of the Men Only cover shot, Charlie was also the centrefold in Club although going under the name Charlene in a pictorial credited to "Olivia".
The different levels of explicitness seen in different markets can be demonstrated by these pictures from the same shoot which appeared in the Canadian magazine Elite two years later.
Elite February 1975
It certainly risked some stronger covers than Playboy or Penthouse did at this time, as this daringly full-frontal cover from 1976 demonstrates.
Here Charlie has now become Debbie and the photographer is listed as "Quark" but it is definitely the same girl from the same shoot.
Her pussy shots are maybe half an order of magnitude more explicit than the Men Only ones.
Oddly, the centrefold was censored by a "banned in Canada" black blob. Canada always had different rules regarding what was permissable compared with the US. This resulted, in the nineties, as Penthouse went hardcore for example, with a proliferation of black blobs being put on offending items in the magazine.
These blobs must have been imposed after printing as no publisher is going to put in a picture that he knows he will have to self-censor before it goes to print. He would just use a different picture.
Triple P first became aware of these black blobs when he bought the May 1997 issue of Penthouse in a newsagent in the World Trade Center in, ironically, Montreal.
Andrea Kurtz tinkles into Penthouse history
We couldn't understand why this picture of Pet of the Month Andrea Kurtz had a large black oblong printed between her thighs. It was only later that we found out that this was the first of the notorious pissing Pets of the late nineties and the Canadians had blocked out her stream.
The other thing that got the Canadians exercised was any sort of bondage; which led to strange black shapes appearing over any rope or chain that might appear in any pictures. Eventually Penthouse had to produce a special Canadian friendly version of the magazine every month.
We can see from these pictures how they have been printed in a much brighter way compared with the shadowy approach of Men Only in the UK.
Whether called, Charlie, Charlene or Debbie this young lady posed for other magazines too and we finish off with a few more pictures of her we have found.
May's Centrefold of the Month will also be from Men Only and should be appearing in a week or so, with luck.