When I first saw the pictures below, I was going to post them without asking my father-in-law, Clark Gillies. But then I realized he could still kick my ass, and I figured I needed a few questions answered, so I dialed him up for a quick chat.
First, here’s how I first stumbled across the interesting news that my father-in-law once posed in his underwear for Penthouse magazine.
The other day, @NHLHistoryGirl fired me this tweet:
@jtbourne When did you first find out about your dad posing in Penthouse? I just blogged about it and am curious about your reaction.
— Jen (@NHLhistorygirl) August 3, 2012
This is not a tweet any man wants to receive, at any time. Thankfully, as she noted in a later tweet, it was actually my father-in-law, and now it’s just funny. (She wrote about the pics the other day.)
Even better, is that the pictures are totally harmless – they were asked to model certain types of underwear, and boy, did they ever. “They” includes Bobby Nystrom (who rocks leopard prints in a picture not shown here), Gordie Lane and Wayne Merrick.
(This could never happen today, could it? Seems like a PR nightmare.)
I feel like models in magazines like Penthouse wear slightly less than she is these days…
Also, I’m assuming the ad slogan was something like “Check out our brand new line of racy underwear, called ‘generic white briefs.’”
My wife and sisters still refer to Bobby Nystrom as “Mr. Sexy.” Guy is still incredibly fit.
And finally, the best for last.
He would choose topless.
I put in a call to Clark to get the scoop on how something like posing near-nude in Penthouse comes to happen. Here’s what he had to say:
JB: First and foremost….did Pam (Clark’s wife) know?
Gillies: Oh yeah.
The people from Penthouse just came into the dressing and said, “Well, we need four guys to do it, you can let us know tomorrow if you need to go home and get permission,” and I said “Welllll, I’m in.” And Bobby Nystrom goes “I’m in.” And Gordie Lane goes “I’m in.” And Wayne Merrick goes “…I wanna do it but I better ask my wife.” I said “….What?” And said “Ah well, you know, Carol…” So I said, “Yeah, you better go ask her…” She didn’t have any problem though.
I just went home and said “I’m doing a spread in Penthouse, it’s going to be an underwear ad” and Pam’s like “Oh, okay, whatever.”
JB: So they just approached the team and wanted a few guys…why the Islanders?
Gillies: Well that was in, what, ’82 I think?
JB: I think so, yeah.
Yeah, well….hmm, well it wouldn’t have been during the playoffs, cause we weren’t allowed to do anything then. But we had won two or three Cups at that time, and so, ahem, we were the hottest thing going (editor’s note: half-joking at best there), so they thought it’d be kinda neat to have us skating around in our underwear, so…
So what did the day entail? Like once you actually showed up, what did they have you do?
Gillies: Well, the best I can remember we just came in, we had underwear we could choose from, mostly briefs, a couple boxers and stuff like that, we just had to pick out different underwear that you wanted to wear. The first shot was out on the ice – there was a Penthouse model in this thing, so the first shot we just sat on the boards and gathered around her. Then they had us do the whole skate-around, take some shots stopping, spraying snow and all that. The four of us all together. I think they used that one.
What was funny is that we were shooting this thing at the Coliseum, we were playing Pittsburgh the next night, right? So Pittsburgh had to go use the practice rink. They couldn’t practice at the Coliseum. So we’re out there skating around in our underwear, and who comes walking back into the rink but the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was hilarious, they see us out there skating in our underwear…
We did another shot in the locker room with the girl – we never really “saw” the girl, she was either fully clothed or had a towel or something, but there was a shot where she was laying on top of the lockers, and she was….well, I don’t remember if she was totally naked…you’d have to look up the article. But we never did see her, we had to have our back to her. So we couldn’t see her.
JB: Were you a subscriber to Penthouse at the time?
Gillies: Oh, I’m sure I was, yeah.
JB: Did you guys get in any shit with the public for that, or?
Gillies: Nah, everyone thought it was really well done, it was classy at the time. Most people just had a laugh at it more than anything.