The Seventies was a pivotal decade in America. The social upheaval of the Sixties was over and we figured how to get the puke out of the suede, but we hadn’t been knocked upside the head by Reaganomics and the “Me” generation yet, so the sense of wonder and fun and a weed-hazed innocence hanging over the American Bicentennial kept us from getting up out of the beanbag chair.
But things were changing. Sure, the CB radio craze, microwave ovens, over-the-counter calculators and “Star Wars” had changed our lives forever, but 1979 ushered the decade out with a recession, a nuclear wake-the-fuck-up at Three Mile Island and 53 Americans who introduced many of us to a smoldering tinderbox in the Middle East called Iran.
That year kicked off well, though: a 22 year-old girl from Oklahoma with a natural-born porn star name had submitted a few photos to the Playboy 25th Anniversary Great Playmate Hunt in 1978 and she got the Hef’s attention pretty quickly. Candy Loving was a college student at the time, but she was whisked away fairly quickly to shoot with Dwight Hooker (the guy who photographed Lena Soderberg for Playboy in 1972 –– that centerfold was the image picked up by Alexander Sawchuck at USC in 1973 to use for testing the earliest analog-to-digital imaging technology. Hooker’s photo of Lena, changed to “Lenna” by Playboy, became the most widely-used test image in digital scanning nerd-dom, thus coining the term “lenna” for any standard test image used to calibrate scanners. And because of the obvious link, Hooker inadvertently contributed to Lena Soderberg becoming the “First Lady Of The Internet.”).
Hooker’s photos of Candy rocketed her to the top of the 25th Anniversary Playmate Hunt and she was crowned with the title later that year. She became so popular, for obvious reasons, that Hef claimed she brought the idea of “the girl next door” back into vogue. As far as we’re concerned, Candy Loving epitomized the best of the Seventies: all-natural, great tan lines and our vote for our own hunt, “Best Topless Through The Toll Booth.”
Candy’s living in Florida now, single-handedly turning the health insurance industry into the MILF Insurance Industry and hopefully keeping those tan lines intact. Hell, yes.