Erotic depictions of women in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography from the dawn of man to the present.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Most Unfortunate Venuses: 25 bad centrefolds from Playboy - Part one: 25-13

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.


  1. There is definitely some awkwardness going on in these photos, hahah. Can't wait to see the next set!

  2. I consider 1972 the best year The Bunny ever had, but I agree that Mercy Rooney's centerfold pic isn't very good.

  3. "Number 15: Nadine Chanz, October 1996" - looks a lot like Gillian Anderson to me.
    I see the "goat legs" as a sort of play on fantasy like she's a female satyr, some mid-summer night's dream girl...?
    Great info all around! Can't wait for the next installment.

  4. Gillian Anderson. Sigh. See what you mean though.

    Mid-summer night's goat girl. That sounds like a story Scarlett Knight could write!

  5. I agree wholeheartedly on most of them (especially the first--Hefner's "plastic" look is one of the most ghastly aberrations in the history of woman-as-sex-object). But I think Felicia Atkins is pretty damned sexy. Maybe I'm just drawn to amazons with bad tempers.

    And speaking of Gillian Anderson... how about a feature on her sometime?

  6. I think Felicia is a little too The Munsters for me!

  7. Miss Manconi's first name is spelled "Lorrie," I believe. And even though Mercy's lower half is off-putting, she's still my favorite blond of all time. That face. Marrone.

  8. You are quite right about Lorrie, I have corrected it, although she is of course Menconi not Manconi.

    I agree that Mercy is lovely when she doesn't look like a goat.

  9. Yes, yes, yes, NO! NO!
    Don't you DARE pick on Gwen Wong and Lorrie Menconi! I have been in love with those women, and those CFs, since nervously unfolding them back when I was in my formative mid-teens! OK, so I may be biased, but those were gorgeous pics then, and still are!
    I love your site, though! Thanks!

  10. I like them as woemn...just not their centrefold pictures which do them no favours!

  11. Sorry, but you're off base with Gwen Wong. That's a CLASSIC centerfold, a great pose and kitsch galore! Did you ever see Madonna's version of this centerfold? Can I upload a copy? Love your site buddy.

  12. I love Gwen, I love the pose but cannot get past that huge hair!

  13. Gwen has some serious, serious mammaries. Not such a great perspective of which is given in the fold out. Keep up the good work lads.

  14. I disagree with several of these; I love the pictures of Sandra Edwards, Nadine Chanz (gorgeous pubes!), Lorrie Menconi and Gay Collier. My personal least favorite centerfold of all time is Gillian Bonner's; her issue was the first Playboy I bought on my own, and I was not just disappointed but distraught to see that she not only had barely any pubic hair, but truly distracting tatoos and navel piercings...which would unfortunately soon become commonplace. But there are other "classic" centerfolds that are even worse: Rebecca Armstrong and Rebecca Ferrati looked grumpy, unfriendly and totally uninviting in their layouts. They also had awful hairstyles, as did Debi Nicole Johnson, Kathleen Hushaw and Kymberly Paige. But the absolute worst was Becky Delos Santos, whose body was not just posed stiffly and awkwardly, but looked constipated more than anything else.