Pat Sajak is retiring from Wheel of Fortune and just did his final spin of the ol’ wheel this week. But that’s not important right now. What is important is that Vanna White has extended her contract for another two years, so we still have two years left before we feel VERY old.

I remember sending my brother to Sal’s Deli and the SPI gas station/convenience store down the road to buy every copy of Playboy they had featuring Vanna White’s nude spread. April 1987 (May issue hit stands in April). I was 14. Then, as I always did, I cut all the images out, bundled them up, loaded up my bookbag and sold the collections at school the next day for $20.

I ran out and needed more, so after school, I gave my brother $100 to go buy 20 more copies and keep the change. He ended up only finding 12. It was selling out everywhere. FAST.

Playboy (May 1987)

Vanna White was one of the hottest chicks going at the time. And unlike porn stars or supermodels who you expect to see nude, seeing Vanna’s delicious lady parts was like a dream come true for all the men (and boys) (and some girls) (perhaps ALL girls) who fantasized about her as she somehow turned letter-turning into something weirdly erotic and oddly sexual. It solved the puzzle of our horny, thirsty minds.

I ended up having an overstock of Kimberly Paige centerfolds that month (she was the centerfold for the Vanna issue) which I had to blow-out for $1 and $2 each — but I’d already made over $300 in profits, so it didn’t matter. I bought a Rockman headphone amplifier for my guitar.

I’ll buy all the vowels…

I did end up with about two dozen Vanna White covers that I ultimately used for a gag. I took the covers and a stapler and went to the Schenectady Library and stapled them over copies of Popular Mechanics and Good Housekeeping. One entire shelf of magazines was faux Vanna White Playboys.

I saw Vanna on TV tonight, she still looks great for 120 or whatever she is by now. I read somewhere that she always regretted doing the Playboy photos. I don’t think she realizes how much joy she brought to people (men, mostly) by doing that. It created a special bond with many of us which I truly believe is one of the main reasons the show lasted as long as it did. Every time I look at her, I still see nude Vanna from May 1987. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Had Pat Sajak done a nude spread for Playgirl, the show would have ended abruptly. Cancelled. And a congressional hearing would have been called to investigate.

In closing, just a reminder that an issue of Playboy cost $3.50 in 1987. That wasn’t pocket change back then. A pack of cigarettes was $1.50. (Magna’s were 80 cents). In contrast, today, cigarettes are $12 and nudes of Vanna (or any other star) can be found for free online within seconds.


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