Some centrefolds resonate with Agent Triple P more than others and Victoria Lynn Johnson from August 1976 is one of those.
Possibly the reason was the style of photography or even the nature of her poses (those featuring the young ladies' posteriors for example!).
In other cases it may have been the circumstances surrounding Triple P's acquisition of the magazine in question; several were gifts from girlfriends, for example.
Finally, it may simply have been because they remind Triple P of a particular time in his life so we can add nostalgia to the other possible factors that caused particular appreciation for one girl over another.
In the case of Miss Johnson, here in the pictures from her Penthouse pictorial, it was because it was because she got us to think about redheads in a positive way.
Up until this point we had never thought about red-headed women, something which those who know Triple P now would find somehat surprising. Now there are a lot of red-heads in the British Isles; far more than in most places, but Triple P's experience is that not that many red-headed women are attractive.
For a start they are cursed with pale skin which, back in the seventies, was certainly not an attractive feature when desirable women were supposed to be tanned (and blonde - maybe the latter hasn't changed much). Recently a TV documentary in Britain had a scientist positing that redheads were discriminated against because their pale skin made them look unwell and therefore, subconsciously, less desirable as healthy breeding material.
Secondly, we had observed that many redheads' hair often had a thick wiry texture and was often, horrors, curly. It did not look like it would give an enjoyable tactile experience but would instead be rather akin to rubbing your hand on a Brillo pad.
Finally, and there is no way around this, many redheaded women we had seen had an undeniably porcine appearance.
So as far as visually appealing women went for Triple P at the time, redheads dismissed as pale-skinned, wire-wooly headed, pig-faced lumps.
This extremely unfair view changed when we acquired this copy of Penthouse and gazed upon these pictures of Victoria Lynn Johnson photographed by Stan Malinowski.
In particular, it was this photograph (above) that caught Triple P's attention because here was a red-head, with a magnificent body, long straight hair and a flaming orange bush. We were amazed! It hadn't really occured to Triple P before that red-heads would have red pubic hair (possibly because our experience of most of the blondes in men's magazines was that they had, surprise, dark hair down below) but Victoria had this amazing coppery fluff.
We wondered whether the vibrant colour was perhaps, down to the late afternoon light that Triple P knew that photographers often used. Such matters were often discussed in Amateur Photographer magazine which was, as we all knew at school, a very good way to acquire pictures of scantily clad, topless or even naked girls (especially the annual calendar review issue) without all the problems of the eighteen year old requirement on mens' magazines.
We acquired this issue (UK issue ) from a friend at school shortly after it came out, although these scans were made from a more recently acquired copy of the US edition.
The UK cover Volume 11 no 6
Unlike some editions of Penthouse at this time and, very much more often, later, the US and UK editions had the same covers apart from the taglines.
There were basically three sets of pictures in her Pet of the Month pictorial. We have arranged them by these sets rather than having them scattered randomly as they were in the original pictorial. The first, as we have seen, were shot by the sea shore. The second featured her in black lingerie and stockings.
Girls in stockings were still comparatively rare in Penthouse, rather surprisingly considering their ubiquity in modern erotica. Girls in black stockings were even rarer and so these pictures were particularly effective Triple P felt.
Any thoughts that Victoria's orange bush was a trick of late afternoon beach light were soon dispelled by this sequence of photos; all from her original magazine pictorial.
Whilst Penthouse consistently devoted more pages of photographs to its Pet of the Month than Playboy did to its Playmate the neumber of pictures featured varied from month to month.
For example, Dawn Shaw in her September 1976 Pet pictorial had fifteen pictures, including her centrefold, whereas Victoria had no less than twenty nine pictures in her pictorial including her centrefold.
As a result some of them were very small on the page as some pages contained as many as five images on a page.
The final set within the pictorial were the "white" pictures featuring Victoria in a fetching selection of feathers, floaty garments and lacy lingerie.
Again, some of these images were very small in the magazine itself so they haven't scanned that well.
Penthouse occasionally had pictures of their Pets smoking which, we have to say we do not like but we include the photo for the sake of completeness.
Mid 1976 was really the period when Penthouse started to show much more explicit photographs of their models genitalia and Victoria was certainly one of the these; displaying her bits in several pictures.
This was a nice up the skirt picture which seems to suggest that Victoria has simply forgotten to put her knickers on and has no idea that she is displaying herself.
These last four pictures made the strongest impression on a seventeen year old Triple P as they were the first photographs of a masturbating girl we had ever seen.
Although Penthouse had shown girls touching themselves before these ones of Victoria were the strongest so far, as she actually looked like she was really doing it, rather than just posing with her fingers on her bits.
So these are the final two pictures from Victoria's August 1978 pictorial but, before we move on we will include some alternative shots from this shoot.
Another smoking one begins a few more from the seaside location.
Another wonderful orange bush in this one, as Victoria demonstrates an excellent hip/waist ratio: 35-24-34 according to Penthouse.
Two more of the excellent yellow outfit including another version of the all fours picture from the magazine pictorial.
Next we have some more of the black lingerie ones which are Triple P's favourites of all of her photos from this pictorial. In particular, the study above, with its black white and ginger, is a lovely picture.
Another couple where she is toying with her ginger pussy complete a fine set.
Finally, we have some more of the "white" ones which, again, benefit from the limited colour palette, showing off her red hair (all of it!) to perfection.
We like the one above as it just the way we would want to wake up and find Miss Johnson on our hotel balcony!
In her pictorial, the text mentioned that she was co-starring in a film called Grizzly (1976). In fact the film had already been out over a year by the time her pictorial appeared.
"Co-starring" may have been pushing it a bit but, billed as Vicki Johnson, she played "Ranger Gail" (most Penthouse girls who appeared in films tended to have screen credits like "stripper", "girl at party" etc. so, having a speaking part, she did better than some) in this first of the post Jaws monster B-movies.
Victoria gets a bear hug
Despite being on the search for a rogue eighteen foot tall grizzly bear, Victoria's character takes time out to go skinny dipping in a waterful (actually she says she is going to soak her feet so, of course, that involves stripping down to her underwear) where a nasty surprise awaits her. Filmed in November in the North Georgia mountains she did two takes: one in a bra and pants the other naked, in apparently freezing conditions. Sadly, only the clothed version made it into the final film so we never get to see her frozen ginger bush!
The following year she had another reasonably sized role in low-budget Canadian SF film Starship Invasions which managed to be a rip off of both Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars.
Victoria in Starship Invasions
About evil aliens who want to take over the earth (naturally) they have a nasty ray which causes people to commit suicide.
Victoria with Christopher Lee!
The film also stars Christopher Lee and Robert Vaughan, both taking the money and running.
The film was supposedly based on accounts of real encounters with aliens and so the appearance of the aliens and their ships was "authentic". We doubt if the same can be said of Victoria's classic seventies SF costumes, however! The same year she also had a small uncredited part in Smokey and the Bandit.
Victoria was back in Penthouse the following year having been chosen as Pet of the Year for 1977. Her pictorial appeared in the November 1977 issue.
As was ususual for the Pet of the Year shoots, Bob Guccione shot it himself in his mid-seventies soft focus style. The pictorial title page is a hymn to Victoria's magnificent legs!
Guccione, of course, loved to photograph through out of focus floweres in the foreground, to increase the voyeuristic quality, but he also loved to get bowls of fruit in his pictures too. Whether this is there as a symbolic comment upon his subjects or whether, as a painter, he just liked still life we are not sure!
It was an artistic conceit of Guccione's that he included a self-portrait with the Pet of the Year so here he is with Victoria. Despite being very happily married to Kathy Keeton he continued to have relationships with many of his Pets. Whether he did with Victoria or not we are not sure but they certainly look quite close.
Guccione admitted, in an interview for Rolling Stone in 2004, that the pictorial work they were doing back in the seventies was superior to that which was being done today. This pictorial, we venture, exemplifies that statement perfectly.
No men's magazine today would bother to include portraits of its models as Guccione has here.
From some angles Victoria had a somewhat angular face but Guccione has softened her appearance considerably compared with Stan Malinowski's efforts in her original pictorial.
This softly sensuous picture is reminiscent of one of the rococo confections by Fragonard or Boucher.
Here is madame in her boudoir: a grande horizontale, perhaps, or even a mistress of the king.
Front and back views (albeit with a change of hosiery). Victoria's displaying rather more extrene tan lines than she did in her original pictorial; something Agent DVD will no doubt appreciate.
Victoria really is quite the laciest Pet we have had for some time. We particularly approve of this falling our of her corset shot.
You can't beat a leggy girl in boots. Well, actually you can and that is exactly what Victoria seems to be inviting in this splendid shot.
This particular shoot was the subject of an ABC TV documentary for Special Edition so here Victoria gets ready for "action!"
One of her prizes was the car that more than any other defined 1977: a white Lotus Esprit, which had, of course, been featured in that year's James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
We wonder whether Victoria ever got her prizes. Guccione had a tendency to "forget" to give his Pets of the Year their rewards, to the extent that a subsequent Pet of the Year, Cheryl Rixon, took him to court over it.
These shots seem to indicate that Victoria's bush orange bush was not quite as bushy as in her 1976 pictorial.
Here, in what was still an unusual example, Victoria displays her anus; only the fourth Pet to do so after Joanne Witty (March 1976), Anna Grimwood (July 1976) and Suzanne Saxon (October 1976), Victoria's is the most explicit example so far, however.
This final photograph from her Pet of the Year pictroial is really the definitive Victoria Lynn Johnson shot: auburn locks over one eye like Veronica Lake, an assertive expression and defiantly open legs displaying her gorgeous ginger pussy. She is like a sexy lioness!
Here we have a few more pictures from her Pet of the Year shoot including an uncropped one of the a picture that appeared in the magazine (above) and a nice one with black stockings.
The final four from this shoot feature Victoria's posterior and a return for the dreaded bowl of fruit.
In her Pet of the Year pictorial it mentioned that Victoria was about to appear in a film called Racket. This eventually surfaced as Raquet (1979), a rather lame comedy about a tennis professional at a country club which also featured Phil Silvers and Bjorn Borg!
Victoria publicises Racquet
Lead babe was the luscious Tanya Roberts but there were walk on parts for Penthouse Pets Susanne Saxon (October 1976), Debra Zullo (Novemner 1977) and Mariwen Roberts (April 1978).
Victoria doesn't appear in the IMDB credits but she did feature in a pictorial featuring the girls from Raquet in Penthouse in 1979 so maybe her part was so small that it didn't register or was cut.
Some new pictures were taken of her, however, so at least we have those to appreciate and we show a selection here.
Her hair appears darker than in her original pictorials so perhaps she had started dyeing her hair. Triple P's first proper girlfriend was a redhead with similarly coppery pubic hair but she used henna on the hair on her head which gave it a similar chestnut hue. She told Triple P that redheads had less pigment in their hair than other people and so tended to go grey younger, hence the need for artificial tints at an earlier age.
Triple P is not sure of where these more "modern" looking red ones come from, They weren't published in the magazine, as far as we know. Given the rather curious headgear, perhaps that was wise.
Victoria on video in the eighties
Sadly, other than the three appearances noted above, Victoria didn't appear again in Penthouse. It is a shame, for example, that we never saw her in a "love set". She did appear in a Girls of Penthouse video (possibly Volume One from 1988) where she displayed her fiery bush to great effect.
Although she didn't feature inside the magazine she did appear on the cover three more times
Victoria soaps up nicely
Easily her most viewed performance, however, was her role as Angie Dickinson's body double in the opening of Brian de Palma's Dressed to Kill (1980). This film also had a small role for Penthouse Pet (September 1973) Anneka di Lorenzo as a nurse. When the film first came out the producers encouraged the then 48 year old Dickinson to claim the body in the masturbatory opening sequence was actually hers. However, it soon came out that it was a body double (although initially it was suggested that it was de Palma's wife Nancy Allen) before the truth emerged; her ginger muff is a dead giveaway).
As we indicated at the beginning, without our appreciation of Victoria, we would never have linked up with the aforementioned lovely red-headed lady at our university interview and that would have been a great shame. Indeed it was C who introduced us to Pre-Raphaelite art and hence, onto the Victorian classicists who feature so much in this blog, so we have much to thank Victoria for!
Finally, we have a nice quartet of Victoria wafting around the woods and what better way to leave her...
Thanks to the anonymous reader who pointed out this picture of Victoria in Toronto last year, promoting the documentary about Guccione, Filthy Gorgeous, in which she appears. Still looking fabulous at sixty.