The Centerfold – Or The Staples In The Good Bits


I am assuming that you have seen a Playboy magazine. If you have not, the following may be confusing.

Centerfolds – or centrefolds if you insist upon being British about it – were the paper Phooo-Arrr of my youth. A youth spent in the 1960’s I hasten to add and spent mostly in Canada and Australia. I don’t know if the Playboy publishing company were the first people to come out with them or whether they were a feature before that. In fact, I don’t know if they were used to display products other than ladies with bare chests at that time.

We see them nowadays – referring to other products, though we are always glad to see ladies with bare chests – in a lot of magazines. The Hot rod mags that I subscribe to regularly run fold-outs with cars and pinup girls in their center section. Sometimes they give it over to cartoonist’s art or tattoo art but as they are car-orientated the pictures are really more about the rods than the girls.

The original Playboy ones were pretty girls with bare chests in various attractive poses. Apparently the centerfold shot was an incredibly complex affair – I believe an 11 x 14 Sinar  or De Vere monorail studio camera was used for the transparency and in some cases the set was an especial construction. I guess you could say it always was but in some of the early ones they did make use of general recreation or bedrooms.

In any case, if there was a down shot quite a gantry was constructed and the big camera needed massive support as well as a vacuum line for the large film holder to keep the film in register. Digital workers have no idea!

It was a team effort – not just one model and one photographer. Stylists makeup artists, lighting technicians, assistants, art directors, and probably ol’ Hugh poking about somewhere in the background. The final images were fabulously fetching but Ill bet the work was fierce. And I’ll bet there was language…Heck, I even use language when I am doing toy cars and the tiny prop trees fall over…

Do people look at pictures of pretty girls with bare chests any more? Has it gone the way of the black and white sitcom on television? Is it all just memories, rather than mammaries? I must raise the question at the next meeting of the Quaker Temperance Society.



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