Agent Triple P's friend HMS is a laconic Northener and one of his distinctive phrases, when being presented with something perhaps not of the highest quality or otherwise ill-conceived, is that something is "most unfortunate". Some time ago we looked at all our favourite Playboy centrefolds month by month; picking a handful as being especially pleasing to Triple P. We have a screen saver which puts up pictures of Playmate centrefolds of that particular month and occasionally we are taken by a particularly bad one. So this post looks at all the really bad centrefold pictures there have been. The choice is no reflection on the women concerned; just their centrefold pictures.
The American science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon created Sturgeon's Law a few years ago; which is that 95% of anything is crap. On the whole Playboy centrefolds do not fit this rule although it is arguable that most are a bit dull and that often, given the limitations of the format, better pictures of the girls are often in the main pictorial. A couple of dozen are, however, for Triple P more than just dull; they are actually just awful and often make an otherwise attractive young woman look terrible. British TV is full of "list programmes" at this time of the year (Fifty worst celebrity moments of 2011 etc.) which give gainful employment to a small group of second rate comedians who only seem to appear on these sort of shows. So this is our particular selection of the most unfortunate 25 centrefold pictures Playboy has produced over the last six decades or so. As is the case for list TV programmes we will attempt to put them in some sort of order, with the least awful being at number 25 and the worst being at number one.
Number 25: Athena Lundberg, January 2006
Really a demonstration of everything that is wrong with current Playboy photography. Super bright, over-saturated bubblegum colours, over-photoshopped, plastic-looking body and lighting provided by a searchlight. It's included here, though, because of the ludicrously over the top and utterly distracting cartoon background. There is a girl in this picture but it may take you some time to spot her.
Number 24: Jillian Grace, March 2005
Jillian is a lovely girl with a fine, natural body but they have made her adopt a most uncomfortable and clumsy looking pose here, with her right leg bent and placed to one side. We never look at the rest of her as we can't take our eyes off that awkwardly placed knee and foot.
Number 23: Sandra Edwards, March 1957
Sandra is an attractive lady but not in red tights, which make her look extremely solid below the waist and completely dominate the picture, despite the attempt to ameliorate this effect by placing other random blobs of red in the frame. We don't like the heavy flick up eye make-up either.
Number 22: Marianne Gaba, September 1959
The wearing a shirt and nothing else look can be very effective (Penthouse used the clothed top and unclothed bottom half extensively in the mid sixties, for example) but this is an ungainly pose which doesn't even show off Miss Gaba's impressive posterior to best effect.
Number 21: Gwen Wong, April 1967
Gwen is a spectacularly pretty girl and her outfit is cute as well but we just can't get past that hair! It just completely dominates her rather delicate features and is just plain silly, even for the sixties. We suspect that underneath that huge pile of hair she is really a Martian from Mars Attacks!
Number 20: Stella Stevens, January 1960
There is nothing particularly wrong with this shot of actress Stella Stevens; it's just dull. However, January 1960 is our birth month and we really wanted a better centrefold than this. She just sort of lies there as an inert object, like a tuna on a fishmonger's slab.
Number 19: Lorrie Menconi, February 1969
It's easy to spot the two reasons Lorrie was chosen as a Playmate but Triple P can't take his eyes off her strange bendy mouth smile. Unlike one of the other shots in her pictorial where her smile looks genuine this looks terribly forced; not surprising after days of posing, probably, but it puts Triple P off completely.
Number 18: Zahra Nobo, March 1958
In Playboy's pre-pubic days the need to hide their models' groins was a constant source of difficulty. However, there were considerably more elegant solutions than standing her behind a post and then having to get her to bend sideways so we could still see her face. This pose also makes it look like she has no waist either. The hand to the face makes it look as if she has bad toothache too.
Number 17: Felicia Atkins, April 1958
More terrible eye make-up makes poor Felicia look positively demonic. Unusually for a Playboy centrefold she is not looking at the camera which just makes her appear to be in some mad reverie of her own. Triple P finds this image very disturbing!
Number 16: Linda Moon, October 1966
Linda is a big girl in every way but this low-angle shot on her face, a very unflattering haircut and the pose make her look like an East German shot putter. Elegant it is not.
Number 15: Nadine Chanz, October 1996
Another very awkward pose for Nadine whose dropped right shoulder and tilted head makes it look as if her face has been badly photoshopped onto her admittedly impressive body. She looks very uncomfortable in every way.
Number 14: Mercy Rooney, December 1972
So, lovely all the way down to her hips and then...GOAT! Who could possibly have thought that this was an attractive outfit! Bizarre and offputting!
Number 13: Gay Collier, July 1967
So Gay might have been able to just get away with this cheesy pose and unattractive smirk but any chance of redeeming the picture is ruined by that ridiculous flower which makes her look like the centrefold of Playclown. They even titled her pictorial clown princess even though there was nothing about clowns in the piece, just her wanting to be a ballerina, but presumably even the copywriter was overcome by this most bizarre of all Playboy centrefolds.
Next time we will look at the most loathsome dozen centrefolds and announce our all time worst.