I realize this post is basically coming from the mindset of a horny 15-year-old boy, but then again, we here at Cheese Magnet aren’t really known for our intellectualism and sense of decorum. So please, join me on this little journey, won’t you?
Yesterday’s review of California Casanova got me and Tanzi to talking about the famous TV “jiggle queens” of the 1970s and 1980s, in particular the ones who never — as Tanzi put it — “gave up the goods,” i.e., got naked. This might sound pretty dang retarded to the mature, refined folk out there (those people shouldn’t be reading this website anyway), but from the point of view of a teenager in that era, man oh man was it painful.
Sure, we eventually caught a glimpse of Farrah Fawcett’s nipple in Saturn 3 (1980), and Lynda Carter was topless in Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976) just as she became TV’s Wonder Woman, and Adrienne Barbeau delivered some astonishing groceries in Swamp Thing (1982) (and was, I believe, naked in some darn thing before she hit the airwaves). Heck, even Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke) appeared without a shirt in a terrible movie (Nicole, a.k.a. Crazed — 1978), although I don’t know anyone who was aware of that flick at the time. And Suzanne Somers, of course, was topless in Magnum Force (1973) before Three’s Company came along.
But what about some of the other big (ahem) names of the period? C’mon, let’s be honest here — how freaking disappointing was it, after being driven insane by them on stuff like B.J. and the Bear and The Love Boat, to pick up that January 1983 issue of Playboy in your trembling hands only to find that Audrey and Judy Landers, the famous Landers Sisters, didn’t show anything more than a bit of sideboob? Tanya Roberts had raised the bar by delivering the action in The Beastmaster (1982 — although her tie-in Playboy pictorial was a bit of a letdown, too), so we were all anticipating at least a nipple courtesy of Judy. But sadly, it was never to be.
Loni Anderson (WKRP In Cincinnati) is another good example of a TV sex goddess who never got naked, although with her gigantic hair helmet I was always a little put off by her (I was much more of a Bailey Quarters guy). My dad sure dug Loni, however, and even bought her poster under the phony pretense of gifting it to me.
Another one I always hoped would get naked somewhere was Lydia Cornell, one of Ted Knight’s daughters on Too Close For Comfort (a show I thought was supercool because Knight played a cartoonist). I’ll cop to having bought her poster for myself. But again, she never brought the thunder in anything that I’m aware of.
Then there were the Heathers — Heather Locklear, who I was never a big fan of and really didn’t care about seeing naked (although I wouldn’t have averted my eyes, either), and Heather Thomas, star of The Fall Guy, who I realllly wanted to see without her clothes (a body double in Zapped! doesn’t count). I remember renting Fred Olen Ray’s Cyclone (1987), thinking Fred’s a guy who delivers the goods, surely Heather Thomas will be topless in this! But alas, even the good Mr. Ray wasn’t able to work his usual magic (but he certainly gave us lots of Tanya Roberts nudity in other films as a consolation prize).
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not condemning these women for keeping their clothes about them. I actually find it kind of depressing when an actress’s career takes a downturn to the point where she can only get roles if she does nudity. But I’d be lying if I said I weren’t able to fight down that depression and enjoy the show, too — otherwise I’d be sitting on a hill somewhere in a robe and sporting a Jesus beard instead of writing about movies like Lapdancing. And let’s face it, I’d leap at the chance to see any of the women I’ve mentioned here get naked even now, because most of them still look pretty damn good.
Truthfully, in our modern world where talentless chippies who appear in “stolen” sex tapes in order to further their careers seem to rule the airwaves, I miss the innocent days of “jiggle TV,” and the girls who drove us crazy without ever giving us a peek behind the curtain.
For that review of Lapdancing and more funky movie goodness, check out my book Unsafe On Any Screen: