Thursday, July 28, 2011

Charlaine Karalus at Dartmouth College in 1959

[Click all images for enlargement.]

College hasn't changed too much...only the wrapping. Charlaine Karalus [changed by Hugh Hefner to Janet Pilgrim] was Playboy magazine's first playmate and in 1959 visited Dartmouth College.

Janet Pilgrim [Charlaine Karalus]

June 13th, 1934


In 1955 Playboy was in its second year of production and had previously used professional models as Playmates. Karalus worked for Hugh Hefner in the subscription department and agreed to pose for the July 1955 episode in exchange for a new addressograph for the office. Hefner reportedly chose the name "Janet Pilgrim" as to make fun of sexual puritanism.

Karalus appeared topless with a tuxedo clad man reported to be Hefner in the background with his back to the camera. The caption read in part: "We found Miss July in our own circulation department, processing subscriptions, renewals, and back copy orders. Her name is Janet Pilgrim and she's as efficient as she is good looking."


Readers responded well to her appearance as Miss July and sent in letters asking for more Janet Pilgrim. Despite getting offers to model for outside agencies, Janet chose to appear twice more as a Playmate and was listed on Playboy's masthead as head of reader's services department for the next 10 years. Hefner at one point offered a personal phone call from Pilgrim in exchange for enrollment in a lifetime subscription to his magazine.

Pilgrim is said the be the prototype of the "girl next door" approach to Playboy Playmates from that time onward.

Hugh Hefner on Janet Pilgrim

Here are the three centerfolds for Playboy...all rather tame by today's standards.

July 1955

December 1955

October 1956
[Click all images for enlargement.]

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