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Old 09-12-2017, 03:04 AM   #71
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Is this pic of Karen to the right of her husband doing a trapeze act?

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Old 10-31-2017, 02:34 AM   #72
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Default Thoughts on Other People’s Thoughts on Hugh Hefner’s Passing

It seems like ages ago when PB was at the heart of our culture—when every straight male of a certain age (puberty until death!) was a fan and when beautiful women competed for our affections. There’s no point in fighting to bring PB back as it was. I wish Hugh Hefner’s son well, but there are good reasons not to fight. We need to make the social world as welcoming to women as to men, and winning a beauty contest—including PB’s ultimate beauty contest—is no longer the honor it once was for a young woman.

Still, it’s upsetting that an artistic, sophisticated magazine that captivated every heterosexual American male is now portrayed as pornography, pure and simple, rather than as fun and sexy. And it’s upsetting that fans, as well as many of our favorite PMs, have been held responsible for the goings on at the PB mansion and for the excesses of Hugh Hefner’s hedonistic lifestyle—a lifestyle that in his golden years embarrassed even his sons. There was more than a bit of desperation in the way he lived his life. It’s one thing to look at young women and to have fond memories of the women who swept us off our feet in our younger years. But older men like Hugh Hefner, who can’t be smitten and fascinated by women their own age, and who’ve forgotten the down side of relationships between young women and young men who have a lot of growing up to do, have got a screw loose somewhere. And Hefner was well aware that many of the famous, wealthy, powerful men he invited to his mansion took advantage of their status as they hit on his young female guests or worse, as in the case of gropers like our current president, rapists like Harvey Weinstein, batterers like O. J. Simpson, and their ilk. There’s much not to celebrate about Mr. Hefner and his predatory crew.

What’s most upsetting, however, is the failure of critics to understand how most fans think about the women who appeared in PB. I read an editorial, for instance, that ridiculed the latest edition of the Centerfold book. The writer challenged herself to leaf through the entire book in an hour. She found the exercise boring. The women looked alike. Nothing to see, in her opinion, but stale poses and pro-forma nudity that dehumanized and objectified women.

The writer, of course, didn’t understand the purpose of centerfolds. Like PB’s calendars, they were never meant to be erotic, because they were supposed to be suitable for semi-public display. That’s why they’re a bit formulaic. Just think of the two photos in Karen’s layout that fans love the most. Not formulaic, but no chance of being the centerfold. Just too hot!

But beyond that, the author failed to see that she, not we, dehumanized and objectified the women who appeared in PB. She looked at each PM perfunctorily—less than 13 seconds each—and concluded on that basis that men think of PMs as mere sex objects. Then she went on to dehumanize us, the alleged dehumanizers.

I’m pretty sure, however, that I’m not speaking just for myself when I say most PB fans see PMs very much as people—extraordinary people. We’re in awe of PMs, and we’re quite aware that in real life they, not we, are on the top of the heap. To say that we feel some kind of awesome power over women by looking at erotic photographs reverses the polarity. When it comes to everyday guys, the power flows in the opposite direction, just as it has for most of us in real life since puberty. And I bet most PMs felt and enjoyed that power. They knew we’d be crazy about them, and reveled in it.

Certainly, the prominent men who haunted the mansion might have had the upper hand with some PMs. But it’s quite the opposite for fans who stand in line for autographs at car shows and Glamourcons. And think of the millions of us who would have loved to have met PMs at a car show or a Glamourcon, but didn’t go because we worried we might look pathetic in the eyes of the most beautiful women in the world. That’s why I never went! I imagine most PMs are kind to fans and do what they can to make us feel welcome, but there’s no question in my mind about who has the power in these situations, and who doesn’t.

And please, the claim that PMs look alike to straight men is laughable. Maybe to a straight female author or anti-erotic activist, but the beautiful women in PB don’t look alike to us. Every true PB fan could tell you chapter and verse about how different Candy Loving is as a person and a beauty than Patti McGuire or Cynthia Myers, about the photos that drive them wild, and about their favorite GND photos. The poses aren’t stale to us, but inventive and unique. We all wish we could see our favorite PM strike some of the poses other PMs did. I wish I could have seen Karen Price strike some of the poses of Candy, Patti, Cynthia, and, well, my list goes on and on. Believe me, I wouldn’t mind seeing Karen pose for us like this,

Or this,

Or this,

Or this,

Or this!

I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on the subject, and on Hef’s passing, if they’re willing to post, or if they’d be willing to send me a message and let me post their thoughts anonymously.

P.S.—I’m not a fan of Camille Paglia, but she had interesting things to say about Hefner, PB, PH, and feminism, as a self-proclaimed “pro-sex feminist.”

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Old 11-03-2017, 02:37 AM   #73
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Thanks for that thoughtful post. And a great selection of photos and poses by Candy Loving, my own perennial favourite (Karen's a close 2nd.)

I agree that anyone who posits that all the women in PB were indistinguishable is, as you say, as guilty of objectification as those they accuse of it. How the heck did all of us PB readers wind up with favourite Playmates if they're all the same?

No, we recognized that these were real women with real personalities. We recognized, on some level, that PB's "girl next door" did indeed live nearby, in our cities and towns and communities and neighbourhoods. The concept taught me that girls could like sex too and that that was something to be celebrated, not feared or disdained. And it taught me that the woman I married could be more than just a housemate--she could be a playmate too. I didn't need a wife and a mistress; the same woman could be both.

So I do think Hef and Playboy changed the world, or at least western culture. It didn't do so on its own but it was part of an array of forces that shook up the repressed, retrograde culture of the 50s and early 60s. It was still enough of a force to affect an impressionable young lad like myself when I read the mag in the late 70s and 80s.

I think it was the internet that ultimately robbed PB of its power. When I was in my early teens I had to summon up the courage to retrieve that precious stapled collection of pages from the upper regions of the magazine rack and brave the critical gaze of the middle-aged drug store sales clerk when I paid for it. Now you can look at as many naked women as you please from the privacy of your home or bedroom.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not pining for a return to the good ol' days! Forums such as this have allowed me to amass a complete collection of all the glorious images of my favourite Playmates from years gone by. What a great change from the few precious photos in a couple of increasingly-dog-eared old magazines! But yes, at the same time, we've lost something. Are we better off for it? Only time will tell.
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Old 05-01-2018, 09:52 PM   #74
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It was a version of Playboy but... well, they didn't have the rights or franchise.
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Old 10-19-2018, 03:28 PM   #75
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Was Miss Price ever photographed as a Bunny-girl? She'd look spectacular squeezed into that iconic satin corset, adorned with the bunny ears and other accessories.

It would be a challenge, of course, to design a costume capable of accommodating her stupendous upper body. But the example of Petra Verkaik shows it can be done.

At any rate, if the promotional duties of Miss January 1981 didn't include a requirement to do a Bunny-girl shoot of some kind, I think somebody slipped up.
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Old 10-22-2018, 11:43 AM   #76
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Originally Posted by cqnew1648 View Post
Dear fellow fans of Karen,

When Karen spoke with the reporter for the Regina Leader in April, 1981, she put a more positive spin on her experience as a PM than she had a few days before in speaking to the reporter for the Brandon Sun. The reporter for the Leader spent an hour speaking with Karen, and it seems that the reporter was genuinely interested in Karen—charmed, even—and attentive to what Karen had to say. That’s why I was startled by something the reporter wrote. “Now, with all the work and excitement of being a playmate, Karen is a svelte 118 pounds. Carrying drinks and playing bumper pool in a bunny outfit at the Century City Playboy Club in Los Angeles is history.”

I’ve never seen Karen on any list of PMs who were former PB bunnies, but the article in the Leader is so detailed that it’s hard to believe the reporter didn’t hear that straight from Karen. After all, why would a reporter from Regina know that the LA PB club was in Century City?

My question for my fellow fans is: is there any way to know for sure whether Karen worked at the club? And if so, when? If she did work at the club, did she work there at PB's request after she agreed to be a PM but before she appeared in PB? Or was she already working there when her father sent her photo to PB or when PB approached her? It would be interesting to know, because it’s hard to sort out Karen’s feelings about the whole business from the few interviews we have. Karen said that she “didn’t feel good about it” when her father asked her if she would like to appear in PB. But she never worried for a second, it seems, whether PB would want her. She knew PB would be thrilled to have her.

I wonder if working in the club—if indeed she did—would have given Karen confidence, at the very least, that she would be a stunning PM. I wonder too if working in the club would have made being a PM more thinkable to her than it would have been had she not worked at the club. Maybe the whole idea didn’t come entirely out of the blue for her father. And maybe Karen had a very good idea of what it took to be a PM and realized how great her centerfold might look on the wall of the club. As we all know, she certainly wasn’t out of place on that wall!
Very interesting question raised here. The reporter's reference to Miss Price working as a Bunny girl as "history" gives the impression that it happened quite some time before the article was published in April 1981.

Detective work needed, I think. Some clues:

1. Miss Price's profile, published with her pictorial (January 1981 edition), made no mention of her working in a Playboy Club. If she had worked in one, it would be unusual not to refer to this fact. Bunnies-turned-Playmates such as Janet Lupo, Liz Stewart and Jessica Burciaga all had references to their work in Playboy Clubs in the profiles that accompanied their centerfold features.

2. We know that Miss Price's pictorial was shot over a four-month period, and that the January 1981 edition was published in December 1980. So the shoot could have taken place as early as Spring-Summer 1980. If Playboy required her to work as a Bunny-girl prior to publication of her pictorial, this could have happened in the period June-November 1980. By April 1981, when the report appeared, those days would certainly have seemed like "history".

3. The report refers to her weighing 118 pounds. Her data-sheet referred to 123 pounds. I'm not sure how - if at all - these figures help to solve the puzzle.

One further thought. If Miss Price did indeed work as "Bunny Karen", I wonder how she reacted to the strict regime that applied in the clubs. Before going on duty, a Bunny had to present herself for an appearance inspection by the Bunny Mother. Every girl's hair, nails, shoes, makeup and costume had to be "Bunny-perfect", and no Bunny was permitted to begin working unless appearance specifications were met.

Given Miss Price's distaste for some aspects of the promotional work she was required to undertake as a Playmate, I can't imagine she would have been thrilled at having her bunny-ears checked to ensure they were correctly centered and tilted. And having to turn her back so the Bunny Mother could check that her Bunny tail was properly fluffed can't have been much fun, either.
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Old 10-22-2018, 12:07 PM   #77
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When did PB start putting PMs into the costume solely for promotional purposes: Lillian Muller did it, so did Kelly Monaco, and Claire Sinclair, oh, and Jodi Paterson. Many others, I'm certain, so it's plausible that there could be a promotional thing somewhere.
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Old 11-14-2018, 01:57 AM   #78
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Default Did Karen Price have a longer shoot than most PMs, and what about our wish to see Karen in a Bunny costume?

Thanks, Ruderberry, for your thoughts. You’ve persuaded me that there is little chance Karen was ever a Bunny. And I know you didn’t mean to be mean by pointing that out: I know that you wish as much as I do that she had been a Bunny. Still, we can always hope. I wish we could have access to non-confidential matters in Karen’s PB personnel file, so we could answer the Bunny question and learn more about her time with PB, including the schedule of her shoots and public appearances. Sad they keep such things classified, when there’s no reason to do so.

Which raises a question: was it typical for shoots to last four months, as they did for Karen, and sometimes fill three or four days a week? That sounds way over the top to me. I think I remember a few PMs who said their shoots were efficient and over in a few days. Ken Marcus said that PB wanted him so badly that it gave him a free hand and a huge budget, compared to PH. But I wonder if even he had a “standard” number of days and number of scenes he planned for each shoot, and if Karen’s shoot was “standard” or over the top. Does anyone know?

As for Karen in a Bunny costume, it’s great to fantasize about it, but I’m not sure it would put her to best advantage. I enjoyed Ruderberry’s tribute to the Bunny costume in his post on another VEF thread.

I love the way the Bunny costume focuses attention on the beauty of women’s faces, which I’m sure is by design, because the outfit leaves women pretty much covered below their shoulders. But we must remember, too, that a Bunny costume is a “uniform”—that is, an outfit designed to make everyone wearing it look alike. That’s a boon to women who wear B-cups. The outfit uplifts and enhances their breasts, so they look quite stacked.

But the outfit restrains and represses the breasts of women like Karen, who are double-Ds, because the outfit is designed to make them too look a standard 36-24-36. Consider, for instance, what a Bunny outfit did to Elaine Reynolds. Elaine, like Karen, has enormous, shapely breasts, as we can see from her layout. But in a Bunny outfit, Elaine looked like just another Bunny.

You’d never know what a spectacular figure she’d cut it she were to hop out of that costume. The same goes for Janet Lupo. As you can see, her figure wouldn’t have stood out, if she were dressed in a Bunny outfit and standing next to other Bunnies. That’s especially true in the photos taken well before she was a PM, when she was first a Bunny.

Finally, I agree with Ruderberry that Karen would be hard-pressed to find a Bunny costume that would fit her. Karen found that a problem with every kind of clothes, which is why she made most of her own. And remember that Karen’s data sheet didn’t tell the truth about her weight, which she said was 135 pounds when she shot her layout, down from 148 pounds a few months before. Karen has struggled with her weight her entire life, as do many voluptuous women: women rarely develop breasts that big without a prodigious capacity to store fat, and for women who have that capacity, it’s a life-long battle to keep that fat in the right places. I love Karen at 135 pounds, which to me is her best weight, and about where she is today in her most recent publicity photo.

She looked thin and hollow-cheeked at 118 pounds. At 135 pounds, however, she would have had a hard time squeezing into a Bunny costume, and I imagine it would have been uncomfortable for her—again, because they’re designed to make every woman of Karen’s height look like she weighs 123 pounds. And Karen just doesn’t look her best at that weight. And I want the world to know that Karen is anything but a C-cup.

So yes, I hope there’s a least a publicity photo of Karen in a Bunny outfit, as Keats hopes in his post, even if she was never actually a Bunny. But if they couldn’t find a Bunny costume to fit her, I would be quite happy to see Karen in the best Bunny costume ever, which Patti McGuire modelled happily in 1976.

What I’d give for a photo of Karen vamping for us, and dressed like that! And it would have been great to see Ken Marcus smiling beside Karen (as Pompeo Posar did beside Patti), so he could celebrate, together with his favorite muse, the most artistic, erotic, and acclaimed shoot he ever did for PB.

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Old 01-26-2019, 08:00 PM   #79
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Default Karen Price: Another publicity photo and another newspaper article

I found another beautiful publicity photo of Karen, published in the Regina LEADER POST.

It was a front page photo to introduce a full length article in the LEADER POST, which Togolane posted here.

I also found, however, a disheartening article that confirms how deeply Karen regretted her decision to become a PM, and how hard her first months on the “appearance” trail were for her, thanks to the crude and nasty behavior of many of the men she encountered.

The article, which appeared in the MORNING NEWS of Wilmington, Delaware, on February 26, 1981, was about Jo Ann Safford, Miss Delaware 1980. She worked at the time as an assistant for magician Jimmy Dixon. She had graduated from the University of Delaware, but she decided that she didn’t want to teach. She took acting classes, entered the Miss America pageant, and for a lark (and an entrée into show business) took a year off to get sawed in half or disappear magically at auto shows in Canada and the US. She had a wonderful time in the limelight on Dixon’s tour, but she realized her experience was quite different from that one of her best friends, Karen Price. They became “good friends” because Karen appeared at the same auto shows that Ms. Safford did. Here, sadly, is what Ms. Safford had to say about Karen’s experience.

“Men would say the weirdest things to her. She would try to laugh it off, but she came to my room at night to cry.”

The rest of the interview with Ms. Safford was an implicit indictment of the way PB treated Karen and allowed her to be treated. Ms. Safford had nothing but praise for her own employer, Jimmy Dixon, and the way he treated her and his other female assistant. They travelled everywhere with Dixon and his 18-year old son, who was learning the business. Dixon treated them as his daughters, and was as “protective” of them as he was of his son. They always appeared first on stage in evening gowns, before donning leotards for the more athletic portions of the program. And whenever they went out into the crowd after a performance, he insisted that they wear their evening gowns, and he was with them every step of the way, to ensure they were treated with respect. Ms. Safford didn’t say anything specific about how PB handled such matters, but she didn’t have to: she was saying that PB fed Karen and her fellow Playmates to the wolves.

Does anyone know what kind of support PMs had from PB when they went on the road? Did they leave it to the auto show organizers themselves, and hence to people who had no financial interest in hiring security staff or in telling their customers what they could and couldn’t say to Playmates? That was PB’s job, and it seems they may have dropped the ball. Then again, as they’ve shown in recent years, they don’t quite know how to run a business, so it’s not surprising!

I’m sure there were PMs who toughed out the bad behavior better than Karen did, but they shouldn’t have had to. And I’m sure there are probably fans who would say that Karen should have known what she was getting into. But as we’ve shared, most PMs of her era were, like Karen, wonderful girls-next-door, who were treated with affection and respect by nearly everyone they knew. Yes, she loved to turn men on, and she enjoyed the power her beauty gave her. But it would have been a shock for Karen to find that so many men would treat her shabbily (and I’m being euphemistic here) for agreeing to be their dream girl. Karen was sensitive to a fault—a strength in her personal life, in her art, and in the emotional power of her shoots for PB—but a brutal liability in her time on the road and at the Mansion as a PM.

Anyway, this all makes me sad for Karen, and angry. All the VEF fans I’ve gotten to know through private messages and Karen’s discussion thread are standup guys who understand the difference between fantasy and reality, and adore the PMs they’re stuck on. The behavior Karen suffered makes me mad—so wrong, so uncalled for, so undeserved. As a friend on VEF put it, young women like Karen leave themselves vulnerable when they share their beauty with the world, and they place great trust in us as men to treat them with respect and to appreciate the playful spirit in which they posed. As my friend said, “It was a violation of trust for men to act that way.”

But part of the fault is probably ours: most of us were too shy or embarrassed to show up at car shows, which left the PMs we admire at the mercy of jerks who weren’t shy about being jerks. I wish Karen had known, and knows today, how her true fans feel about her. We will always admire her and pray for the best for her. Just a shame the way it turned out.

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Old 01-27-2019, 12:03 AM   #80
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I went to a couple of those car shows and races, and I met 6 different PM's. Each of them was friendly, looked you right in the eye, was happy to have a picture taken, and smiled most spectacularly.
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