1/26/15

Ola Ray in Japanese Playboy

Michael and Ola watch "Mysterious Skin."
I know what you're thinking.  Are you Johnny Ray?  Are you Slim Ray?  Are you Faye Ray?  Who wants to know?  Who wants to know?  ...And also, who the hell is Ola Ray?

Ola moved from the United States to Japan when she was thirteen because her stepfather was in the U. S. Air Force and was stationed there.  She formed a band with her twin brother while she was a teenager and toured Japan.  Then she moved to Hollywood when she was fifteen.  But nobody cares about that.  She co-starred in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video in 1983.  That's what she's known for.  Other than "Thriller," her acting career includes such iconic roles as "Hooker #1" in Body and Soul (1981) and "Playboy Playmate" in Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), and then she was convicted of cocaine possession in 1992.

I have a completely uninteresting anecdote about the "Thriller" video that I'm sure everybody wants to know about.  I was really little when the video came out, and of course, I heard how scary and cool it was but I wasn't allowed to see it because my mom said it would give me nightmares.  Fair enough.  We couldn't watch the thing at our house anyway because we only got three channels if the weather cooperated and you could adjust the antenna just right.  However, our neighbor had a satellite dish which got MTV, and my older sister and the neighbor's daughter were best friends.  I pleaded with her to let me watch it at her friend's house because often times she would.  That's how I saw Krull and The Road Warrior.  But not this time.  She said it would give me nightmares and Mom would kill her.  Fair enough.

Then I saw it.  Not the video, but something else.  On one of our three fuzzy channels was a commercial for a mutherfuckin' "Thriller" View-Master 3-D thingy.  I already had a View-Master so surely Mommie Dearest would allow me to buy this new one if I paid with my own allowance money.  Right?  Hell, View-Masters were made for kids!  How could she say no?  She said, "No."  Apparently, I was such a nancy boy, and the video was so traumatic, that even viewing pictures of it in 3-D would give me nightmares and pervert my precious mind.  But I was obsessed with this thing.  It was all I could think about for days.  It burrowed into my brain so completely that one night my stupid preoccupation with this stupid Thriller View-Master thing gave me one of the scariest nightmares of my childhood.  I had never seen the video and I had never seen any pictures of it except from those commercials, but my imagination did a hell of a good job filling in all the blanks.  Not being able to watch the actual video had given me a goddamn nightmare.

A couple of years later, I got the chance to finally see the whole video and I walked away thinking, "What the hell was that and how the fuck was it supposed to be scary?"  Granted, my father had already let me watch stuff like The Forest and Silent Night, Deadly Night and other B-movie gems that I can't remember the names of... but I still remember the blood, and screams and dismembered heads when I close my eyes.  So in conclusion, abstinence is never the answer If my puritanical mother had just let me watch the video I wouldn't have had a goddamn nightmare.

Anyway, three years before the "Thriller" video was released, Ola posed for Playboy.  So after the success of the video, the magazine released a special "Thriller" pictorial of her.  These scans are from the Japanese version.


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