For me, Bettie Page & Bunny Yeager epitomize iconic American pinup photography. Not just of the 1950s… Ever. In 1954, Bettie Page was working with Irving Klaw in NYC and decided a break was in order, so she headed south to Miami for relaxation and fun in the sun. That’s when fate struck. Bettie met Bunny, and the rest is pinup history. Bettie Page never looked better than in the capable hands of Bunny Yeager (herself a former model) who arguably shot the best and most famous images of the black-banged beauty– like the epic Jungle Girl shoot (shot at the Africa USA safari Park in Boca Raton), and the game-changing image of Bettie posing nude in a Santa cap for Playboy magazine in 1955.
“When I first saw Bettie in the nude, I was pleasantly surprised; she looked great. She walked into the room on tippy-toes, like she was wearing high heels, which made her look taller and more natural at the same time. The first thing I noticed was that for some reason when she was nude, she did not seem naked. I had never seen anyone with an allover tan and she looked like the perfect doll or mannequin. Bettie was a true nudist and maintained her glorious golden olive color by sunning herself everyday. She would lie on the banks of the miami River. Maybe it was her tan, or maybe it was her attitude– she seemed completely at ease.” –Bunny Yeager, excerpt from Bettie Page, Queen of Curves
Debuting in 1953, Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine represented the ultimate liberated lifestyle for men of the 1950s, ’60s and beyond. Some called Hef’s imaginative, artistic spreads on architecture & interior design nothing more than self-indulgent, male sexual fantasy cloaked under a flimsy cover of so-called culture. For the man that wanted to be (or fantasized of being) the master of his own hedonistic domain — Playboy was his blueprint. And Hef perfected his own personal blueprint for tapping directly into the wallet of a new consumption-based male ideal that thought (and bought) with their crotch. The Playboy man now sought the aspiration of sleek, modern design that Hugh brilliantly linked with the primal desire of getting laid.
Whatever the angle, it cannot be denied that scores of men were introduced to, and educated on, the finer points of Mid-Century Modern Design and the masters behind the movement that is now an iconic part of our history. And the Bachelor Pad, dripping with sexy, come-hither vibe, an inhibition-busting bar, and the latest modern marvels to dazzle her, was born thanks to Hef — who literally fleshed-it-out and showed us just how good it could look, make you feel, and improve your net worth with the ladies.
Dorothy Stratten — Playboy Playmate of the Month for August, 1979 & Playmate of the Year for 1980.
Anyone who lived during the time of the brutal killing and tragic loss of Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten, probably will never forget how utterly shocking and saddening it truly was. It spawned 2 movies (including the gripping classic, Star 80), books (including ‘The Killing of the Unicorn’ by Peter Bogdanovich, her boyfriend at the time), and many songs written in her memory. Fellow Canadian Bryan Adams actually co-wrote 2 songs about her. The crime is no less shocking today, and we are left with her story of a young girl who seemingly had acheived the American dream of fortune and fame, only to have it violently stolen from her, along with her young fragile life, by an insecure, low-life punk, whose name is not even worth mentioning. RIP Dorothy Stratten. You live on. Many of the photos are via dorothystratten.com the authoritative site on Dorothy Stratten.
“The Medieval Knight stands bold in its shining armour as Miss World of Wheels, Dorothy Hoogstraten (AKA Dorothy Stratten) dubs Ron Bergsma, who is one of the ‘Macho Man’ contestants from Universal Olympic Gym at the World of Wheels Custom Car Show, August 16th, 1978.” –Photo by Paul Snider.
Dorothy Stratten in a bikini with the 1979 Firebird Trans Am custom-built by legendary George Barris and that starred in the Steve Martin film “The Jerk”.
Listening to music properly has a lot to do with having the right environment. A place that’s all your own. I like the warm glow from the perfect level of indirect, low lighting. I want to be surrounded by my favorite things to look at. And I long for seating that you just melt into and disappear in. And another thing– I love my iPod as much as the next guy– but sometimes there are those moments when you need to break out the turntable and throw on some old records. The warm hiss and crackle of needle on vinyl is like hearing your mother’s voice in the womb. Which is what a man cave really is– a dark, personal, intimate womb.
When we first moved to New Jersey, we bought a great old Dutch Colonial home previously owned by an Italian family– the guy’s name was Nick. The basement he built-out was the clincher. It was like a retro 60s gentleman’s club– red and black lacquer paneled walls, mirrors, a full bar with turntable, and even a pool table which they were good enough to leave behind. I’ll never forget the two framed portraits hanging side by side behind the bar– The Pope & Frank Sinatra. Welcome to Jersey– I loved it. I spent many an evening down there with lights down low, the sound of billiard balls slamming hard into a corner pocket, always perfect tunes in the background, and a cold one. Now I’m in a house with no man cave and going insane…
Retro 1960s Hi Fi stereo equipment and mid century modern furniture– great old Tulip table.
Cozy retro man cave w/ Eames chair, animal hide rug, art, books & hi fi– Done.
Vintage wisdom from the pages of Playboy magazine, 1969. Reading this, it’s no wonder guys are so messed up. Just look at the sexually-charged propaganda we’ve been feeding ourselves for years. The article is actually hilarious in retrospect, and paints a pretty shallow picture of us guys as simple-minded children with one thing on their mind– getting their sticky little fingers on the prize in a Cracker Jack box. The writing is so ridiculously laced with sexual innuendo that no girl sitting in any position would stand a fighting chance against a horn-dog armed with this article. Gotta love what they call the poor gal that doesn’t cross her legs when seated– the “Philanthropist”, she’s comfortable with herself and everyone else… Keep reading for more laughs, and legs.
George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Charles Eames and Jens Risom. Playboy Magazine, July 1961.
For fans of Mid-Century modern design, this classic image above from Playboy, July 1961 is like the Holy Grail. Design masters & fellow peers in their prime, beautifully captured in a time that was aesthetically crisp, uncluttered and innovative.
Much has been written, speculated and whispered about the man, Porfirio Rubirosa. One thing is for sure, he led a life that few can imagine, let alone rival. Truth is always stranger and more interesting than fiction, especially in this case– the infamous and always dapper diplomat, skilled sportsman and legendary lothario. Pass the (eh-hem) pepper grinder, please.
The infamous playboy Porfirio Rubirosa with his Polo ponies.