One More Kathy Ireland Cover… Please!

Kathy Ireland
BobLee
October08/ 2019

Oct 8, 2019

Just One More Kathy Ireland Cover… Please!

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Did you miss last week’s announcement that Sports Illustrated (SI) is “laying off”  50% of its full-time staff (LINK)?  Not that big a deal really, if, like me, you stopped reading “SI” 10+ years ago.

NOTE: It was 14 years ago that I cancelled my subscription to Raleigh’s The News & Observer thereby missing umpteen sanctimonious faux-intellectual screeds from their infamous Editorial Board.

“Laying off” is among the Top Ten silly euphemisms in Corporate America.  At The N&O instead of “laying off” they call Friday “Downsize Day”.  I digress…

Speaking of “Friday”… during its heyday – the 70-80-90s – “Friday” was the day SI arrived in your mailbox and local newsstand.

During that last quarter of the 20th century, SI WAS the preeminent sports magazine.  SI’s cover was the pinnacle of “making it” as a sports celebrity despite the mythical “jinx” that evolved around “being on it”.  Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali holds the record SI covers with “a whole bunch” each.

NOTE:  A number of UNCCH J-School alums toiled at SI during its heyday including Larry Keith, Sandy Treadwell and Curry Kirkpatrick.  To my knowledge, “my buddy Art” did not; but he knew all those guys that did.Cheryl Tiegs

The first SI Swimsuit Edition was in 1964, but no one paid much attention until 1978 … and Cheryl Tiegs and her quite scandalous “fishnet swimsuit”.

BetchaDidntKnowFarrah Fawcett-Majors infamous “red swimsuit and HAIR poster” was released upon a generation of sexually frustrated males in 1976… two years earlier.

Raise your hand if you woulda said “Cheryl Tiegs in SI predated Farrah Fawcett’s poster”.  Nope.

In America’s SoftPorn Hall of Fame… there will always be a debate over the actual rankings; but everyone’s Top Five includes:

Marilyn Monroe standing over the steam grate

Betty Grable’s over the shoulder WWII pin-up pose

Cheryl Tiegs in the fishnet in SI

Farrah Fawcett’s red swimsuit poster.

I would include Jane Russell in the hayloft from “The Outlaw” but let’s not get hung up in that Great Debate.  You can note your choices in our Reader Comments.

It says something about The Decline of Western Civilization that you can “see more” today on an NFL sideline than any of the above.  Not to mention what you can find with two clicks on a computer keyboard.

Blah Blah Yadda Yadda … I want to talk about Kathy Ireland.

KathyIrelandBBB.

Yes, SI Swimsuit Models are like Bond Girls and BBQ Joints.  Everyone has their personal favorites and no one – including me – has the authority to declare an Official #1.  I would not dream of doing so.  Such arguments tend to divide into generational preferences… as do so many discussions of preferences of anything.

Oh…the CORRECT answers to the above are… Bond Girl -Honor Blackman and BBQ Joint – the long-gone Barbecue Lodge “on the bypass” in Kinston.

Names sure to appear on everyone’s “name 5-6 SI Swimsuit models” the most popular names will be Cheryl Tiegs … Christy Brinkley … Elle MacPherson … Tyra Banks … Heidi Klum … Brooklyn Decker (“Best Name” for sure) … Kate Upton … AND … Kathy Ireland.

All of the above appeared in umpteen SI Swimsuit Editions and hold various records for “Most …”.

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This past weekend Blondie and I were in Greenville SC (a very nice city by the way) forTwinkleScooter the wedding of Pastor Danny’s twin sister.  My assigned duty was “Granddaddy of the two adorable little flower girls – Twinkle & Scooter”… AKA “ReRe & YaYa”.   I performed flawlessly… as did they.

Which is why there was not a BLSays column on Monday.

Pastor Danny’s Dad Dan (say that really fast while eating crackers) and I were sitting around discussing “stuff” when I asked out-of-the-blue “Do you know who Kathy Ireland is/was?” 

Sure“, Dan immediately replied… “she was an SI Swimsuit model.”  Thereby proving my theory …

I’ve known Dan Hindman now for 4-5 years since the nuptial coupling of our families.  He is a “Good Guy” Baby-Boomer in all the categories I value.  He passes all the tests for “socio-cultural awareness” that I require of anyone I even attempt a conversation with… a passing familiarity with:

Lonesome Dove

Bonanza

The Statler Brothers… or Ray Stevens

and now… Kathy Ireland.

(Random facts about the 1960 World Series (Mazeroski’s Walk-Off HR vs The Yankees) is an extra-credit category.  Ralph Terry was the NYY pitcher in that 9th inning of Game 7 … Bobby Richardson was the Series MVP despite playing for the losing team…)

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In my considered opinion… Kathy Ireland was unique among the pantheon of SI Swimsuit Models.

She appeared in 13 consecutive SI SS Editions in the 80-90s.  Her 1989 SI cover – see above – was judged Greatest of All Time Time by SI staff.  She NEVER appeared topless albeit “scantily-clad” for sure.

 

At 56, Kathy Ireland is worth over $400,000,000 thru a series of very successful entrepreneurial branding ventures in housewares, cosmetics, fitness products, et al.  She was the first SI Swimsuiter to Kathy Irelanddevelop successful businesses beyond modeling.  She is married, since 1988 to her ONLY husband – Greg Olson, a physician – she is outspoken in her Christian faith, Pro-Life and Pro-Israel.

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I can’t find authoritative proof of this, but I firmly believe Kathy Ireland invented the “drop-dead gorgeous smile”.  I defy you to find anyone who has ever done it better.

Gorgeous women tend to “make enemies” of jealous “not gorgeous women”… for their crime of “being gorgeous”.  I bet Kathy Ireland has far fewer such enemies than most because… I’m pretty sure… she is even nicer than she is gorgeous.

If I was tasked to “explain Kathy Ireland’s enduring popularity” I would say…

If you were a 14 y/o boy “growing up on Maple Street”  in sit-com America in the 60-70s… Kathy Ireland was the “17 y/o “girl next door”.  She was so pretty she made your teeth and hair hurt but she was “even nicer than she was pretty”. 

NOTE: In my neighborhood her name was Rena Stapleford.  Who was yours?

She actually knew your name and always said “Hi (insert your name)” when you were both out in your respective yards at the same time.

Your frisbee flew over in her yard once and she threw it back… and she did not “throw like a girl”.

One summer day she was sunbathing on the Ireland’s back porch… NOT topless or anything but WOW was she SOMETHING!! 

At 14 you weren’t sure “what” but years later the phrase “a dog chasing a car but not sure what he would do with it if he caught it…” reminded you of that summer day … and your pretty next door neighbor Kathy Ireland.

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Over the past decade or so… Sports Illustrated made the exact same mistake 92% of print / electronic media has made / is making these days.  It went “woke” whatever the hell that means.   It hired a bunch of wannabee social justice warriors (SJWs) and stopped being what had made it so successful… actually SI stopped being successful at all.

SI went all Kaepernicky and Rapinoey … and all it’s long time “readers like me” went away… never to return.

Maybe I would return for …  Just One More Kathy Ireland Cover…. sigh.

LATEST UNCCH Sports-related Scandal … Breaking Tuesday AM … All I know is what you can see in these videos …. 

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More BobLeeSays Columns … LINK

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BobLee

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Dan
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Dan

Ive been away from your column awhile but attending UNC -Duke yesterday led me to Google Junction Boys. Great article and the Kathy Ireland today. I’ll be back for more. Regards from an Ehringhaus ’65-’66 resident. Good stuff Bob. Keep it up.

RK
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RK

I was born in 1979, so I didn’t know about those SI covers; however, the name immediately rang a bell for another reason: Kathy Ireland was the star of the hilariously schlocky 1988 movie Alien From L.A. which was also part of an awesome Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode (the one with the famous “Dull Surprise!” sketch). It’s as silly as Mike and the ‘bots say, but there was one awesome scene in there in which Kathy Ireland’s character is strapped to a table and drugged, whereupon she temporarily gives up the squeaky voice and starts speaking with a much… Read more »

Fayettewuf
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Fayettewuf

I have to add Rita Hayworth, in the ‘are you decent scene?’ from Gilda to your iconic very soft porn list. IMHO Kathy Ireland stands out from that very sexy group for the same hard to pin down reason that Barbi Benton did from the Playboy models.
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Someone gave me a subscription to SI, I seldom read it after about 2000. The downsizing is pretty much no surprise at all. Even sales of the swimsuit issue is dwindling I suspect.

Former96Heel
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Former96Heel

I’ve been out of the loop for work the past week. UNC has another mess? They are literally the Beetle Bailey of institutional dysfunction. I haven’t the time nor concern to even read about this one, but can they just go a solid month without stepping into it some year?

Wolfdon
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Wolfdon

It broke my 10 year old heart when Betty Grable married Harry James and I was getting over it and you had to remind me ????:(
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I can vouch that BK is a real person…went to State when he was there at the same . Remember that he was admired by we lesser students as a 3 sports player while being an A student in Nuclear Engr. The legend lives on!

NCSU68Grad
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NCSU68Grad

Sometimes I wonder at all the trivia my poor cranium has collected on the years. Betty Grable comment and “POSE” hit a chord. YES, it was supposed to be very “Coy and Sexy”. BUT, as Paul Harvey would say….here is the REST of the story. Yes….I knew that but goodled to verify. WHY? Haven;t a clue…. In her iconic pin-up photo, Grable has her back to the camera as she looks over her shoulder, smiling coyly. While it may seem like the pose is an artistic moment of genius, the pose was actually done for a very practical reason: Grable… Read more »

Queen City
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Queen City

It’s hard to fathom that Dan Jenkins was once employed by SI. I actually thought they went out of business a while back.

LN.GSBO
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LN.GSBO

Is this Kennel character for real? What a nutjob!

Thomas.Mebane
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Thomas.Mebane

Just took time to watch two segments of the UNC report. Disturbing, but I think we knew that…..or the disturbing part of it. Loved your reply to Kennel. Maxine Waters or Adam Schiff. loved it.

Wildatheart
Guest
Wildatheart

Leo Hart was one of my childhood heroes, along with Wes Chesson (they made a pretty good combo at Duke). Athletics just seemed different back then. I have eight or ten anthologies of Gil thorp comics and they always take me back.

Wildatheart
Guest
Wildatheart

I have the very first issue of Sports illustrated.My dad was a charter subscriber. Like most I cancelled a while back. It was one of the few things my dad and I had in common because there were so many great writers back in the day. Before “instant everything” a lot of the stories were illustrated by artwork, also great. My dad and I would always share a laugh over the “They said it” feature.

DM Carpenter
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DM Carpenter

Grable, not Gable…

Superfluous STALAG 17 quote.

Doug
Guest
Doug

I made a boo boo. The fishnet swimsuit was Cheryl Tiegs but who’s keeping score. Me.

Doug
Guest
Doug

A high dose quadrivalent flu vaccine and a vintage KI SI swim shoot issue is a soul vaccination, sure to cure many ills. Thank God for Google images. Even in that fishnet swimming costume, those come along eyes paired that come along look was…… let’s just say, inspiring.

Robert P Kennel
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Robert P Kennel

If you can’t get Kathy Ireland, would you settle for Laura Ingraham? She’s now available. . I’m more into the old catchers for Cards and Dodgers successfully having their last hurrahs. . I cancelled my SI subscription yesterday, primarily because they were trying to get me to re-up and the cost too high. Have too many magazines to read anyway. . PS: Just finished seventh book and pick up copies today. Called “21st Century Letters to Editors” compiling 65 letters I’ve written in past 20 years. You wouldn’t like most of them :>)) Also includes some editorials, essays, and favorite… Read more »

RowdyBlueTarHeeler
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RowdyBlueTarHeeler

I agree 100%!
Sadly, my bride insists on renewing my subscription every year.
I have save some 30+ years of SI swimsuits and all Tar Heel covers.