Vintage Men's Mags #37: Cheesecake Curios

Most skin rags were done on a shoestring, and that meant setting up shop in their own living rooms.  There was no budget for a Malibu beach shoot or money to pay airfare to shoot on location.  Nope.  You worked with what you had.... and what you had often meant utilizing anything on hand for props.  There are literally thousands of examples of this - some mildly amusing, others downright mysterious.

In Men's Mag post #36 we looked at the rather unoriginal prop - the couch.  This was sort of the default.  Once the photographers got tired of that they moved on to the bed and chairs.... after that, things get interesting. Time to start bringing in the Hummel figurines and globe (see image above).  We've looked at cuddly toys already, but there's plenty of other stuff on the shelves to immortalize in a cheesecake photo shoot.  Let's have a look.

At one point in our great Nation's history every single citizen owned a bunch of fake grapes.  Maybe your mom, or maybe your grandma.... I guarantee someone in your lineage had decorative plastic grapes on display.  Why? Call it mob mentality.  Call it a collective thirst for synthetic fruit innate in our human nature.  Call it what you will - whatever the reasons, they were there.... and now mysteriously gone.  (insert foreboding music)

Seems an odd ornament for a small foyer.  I wonder if this is the bust of the homeowner.  I dig the doorknob plates as well.

This one is just straight up dynamite.  The nudie coffee table book, the rotary phone, the aquarium, the stax-o-wax, the hi-fi... a Bachelor's Den Royale.  On the bookshelves: a tome called Agency List, a barbeque cookbook, and a figure drawing book.

Warning: Clicking censored images may yield uncensored versions NSFW.  You have been duly notified.

Why, for the love of all that is holy, did they feel the need to put a Stan Laurel statue in this picture? Such an odd little addition to the composition.... sort of steals the mood.  Note to photographer: Stan Laurel manikins do not enhance erotic photos.

I can't help but think that including family photographs in your girlie magazine pictures was a bad idea.  Granted, their safely blurred in the background.... but still.

It's not so much the doll itself, as the way it sort of lurks in the shadows.  I think that poodle senses evil.

 Another oddly placed doll.

If you zoom in on the blackboard it reads: "teacher is a nut case", "1+1+1=6", "8+8=24" and "2+2=5"

I wonder if the little girl whose room this actually was ever knew they were taking pictures for skin magazines in her bedroom.  I spy a "What's New Pussycat" record and a troll doll.

Well, this room looks very familiar..... and yet, things have changed ever so slightly.  

A Paul Newman poster tacked to a peg board wall..... did I mention these photo-shoots were done on a shoestring?  And there's something a tad disturbing about Newman's gaze....

I take that back - there's something very disturbing about his gaze.  Paul, you naughty boy.

I wonder if it even crossed their mind to get up and move the sweeper out of the picture.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the smallest trophy in the world! (That, or the woman is a giant)

Compared to that last one, this trophy is gargantuan.  You could put five of those other trophies inside this trophy.  How embarrassing for that micro-trophy girl. Awkward.

Like I always say, "There's nothing that says 'erotic' like a deck of flash cards'.

 Allow me to introduce to you, Mrs. Bob Ross.

These are twins - so, could it be that the Siamese cat is a pun on Siamese Twins?  Or have just been looking at these waaaay too long.  I think it's time to close up shop, folks - before I start seeing more veiled references that aren't there.


  1. Another typically great post!
    The one shot with the Stan Laurel figurine jogged my memory...can anyone explain why statues of Laurel and Hardy were such popular decorating ideas in the late 70's? I distinctly recall seeing them in a lot of places as a kid, circa '78, '79...I wasn't old enough to critique anyone's style at that time!

  2. "I wonder if this is the bust of the homeowner." Ha ha.

    "flash cards," she's nude, get it?

    The Paul Newman ones look like they were done in a flea market.

  3. Nothing classed up a room like plastic grapes. I need to forage my parents' basement for the green, red, and purple ones that Mom always had in the top of statue of a cherub holding a bowl above its head.

  4. Ah the good old days when women wore stockings, had real breasts and would never even think about shaving the area inside their squirrel covers.

  5. All that skin and not a tattoo in sight. My the times have changed.
    I think the plastic grapes still get pulled down from the attic around Thanksgiving time along with the obligatory cornucopias.

  6. Notice that in the two color pics that resemble each other so very much that one of them has been mirrored. Night table could be moved but the paneling details certainly confirm the mirrorizaton.

  7. i think the one with the sweeper is more like "ah yeah baby, nice boots. oh, there's a big stain on the carpet there... why don't you uh, grab the sweeper and clean it up? ah yeah..."

  8. Maybe grapes were an attempt to create an ancient Roman villa setting?