Posted 3 years ago
Pinup Centerfolds. Does anyone pin up a pinup anymore? I don't mean young pop singers, I mean a comely, airbrushed woman posed looking silly. I know Playboy still has them but I don't know if anyone is actually sticking them on the wall anymore. Who would?
Growing up in the Sixties, there were literally 50 magazines on the top two racks of the local newsstand with pinups. Wrapped in cellophane frequently. Boys would slit them open when the proprietor wasn't looking. The "staple in her stomach" gag was common. The places men changed oil, rotated the tires and buffed out dings always had a few hanging around. I don't miss those days in the least, nor do I intend to romanticize paper dolls. The few still being produced look like frosted hair Dallas Cowboy cheerleader rejects, and going back to the earlier ones is not really a treat either. They all look contrived and shallow, with strategic props, unreal colors and women you know just didn't age well. After a few years of nightclub fame, most of them probably had difficult lives and debt like everyone else.
Today the closest thing left is Maxim and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. From literally thousands of titles at one time, we've gone to a handful, and they are likely hurting. I suppose the Womens Movement took the first shot and the internet croaked them for good.
Marilyn Monroe in the middle of Hugh's first Playboy probably runs neck to neck with Betty Grable for the dubious honored "most famous pinup of all time". The first Playboy with Marilyn as sweetheart of the month in mint condition is worth thousands of dollars. But the most RARE pinup?
Satan Magazine ran for only six issues in 1957. It wouldn't take a marketing genius to question the use of the title...so I guess 6 issues is surprising. "Charlie...SATAN is here!" In 1957 it was probably hard enough to sneak a pinup magazine home without it being named after a fiendish diabolical despot with horns. The unofficial and short lived slogan was "A hell of a good magazine."
Satan didn't have a very large print run to begin with, and so the few copies existing today carry a steep price. Figure in the number which were tossed, destroyed, buried (or as intended, ripped apart and nailed to the garage wall) and you have virtually none left to go around. That is why you'll not find this pinup on the web. Until now. And then I'm only putting up her face.
Of course, I have cropped it, but not because the photo is too "bold." Far less is shown than the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. (seriously) It is a classic of horrible taste...Bettie is surrounded by mink coats and her shapely figure is covered with jewelry. There is indeed a staple in her stomach, and what looks like a ruby in her naval. Paste diamonds are applied as pasties. Slathered in stones. The epitome of a gold-digger. She poses not demurely, but there is no need for the Hope diamond. She is called "Satan's Angel" a title they used for each of the 6 centerfolds. (Others who share the demonic honor include Judy O'Day and Tana Louise).
The caption reads "Mink, jewels and Betty Page--what a combination. Even SATAN, that old reprobate, is tempted by the scene!" The photograph is credited to Charles Kell. It is accompanied with several black and white photographs, also seldom seen, of Ms. Page primping, trying on the jewels and having a drink before the work. Spare text claims "SATAN had a lot of fun working with Betty Page. She's such a buoyant girl...when she heard the Royal Command of the Prince of Darkness, she dropped everything and came arunnin'. A face, figure and a happy Southern drawl, that's the proper recipe for an angel."
Bettie Page also posed for a Playboy centerfold, as a naughty Santa for the Christmas issue dated January 1955. It is hard to find an original of that one too, but compared to this two-page spread, it is common as a bedbug just south of the Port Authority Building.
Original centerfold pinup 1957 collection Victor Minx
Jim Linderman is the author of Camera Club Girls: Bettie Page, her Friends and the Work of Rudolph Rossi available at Blurb.com.