Vargas’ Trick or Treat, 1963

Among the many hundreds of pinups painted by Alberto Vargas, there are two known under the title ‘Trick or Treat’: the first is the one that concerns us here. (The second I will pass over because it is not of a witch, though it has been described as “one of the most popular Vargas Girls to have appeared in Playboy magazine” and, when the original artwork sold in 2003 (see here), it set an auction record for the artist at US$71,700).

Our ‘Trick or Treat’ (detail above) is actually captioned quite cryptically “Trick or treat, Mr Malcolm?”. It appeared in the October 1963 issue of Playboy magazine. I have no idea who “Mr Malcolm” is, nor has anyone online offered any suggestions.

The picture also has a second title hidden within it. If you look closely at the spell book, upside down and obscured by the hat and hand of this sexy witch, you can see the following text “Ecce femi[na]” and “var[ga] Pi[xit]”; on the facing page is “Re[ginae] Ann[o] 1963” (enlarged below). The Latin translates as “Behold the woman”, “painted by Varga” (Varga is the usual signature for Vargas), and “in the year of the queen’s reign, 1963”.

2 Responses to “Vargas’ Trick or Treat, 1963”

  1. How very cool! Small things like this just fascinate me! It’s too bad more people don’t take the time to look.

  2. Wow! Just stumbled on your blog while checking out links for Frank Frazetta, and I like what I see.

    I know this is an old post, but you may be interested in the following information:

    Alberto Vargas was forced to sign his name “Varga” on his Playboy work because his former employer, Esquire Magazine, had copyrighted the phrase “Vargas Girl”, so he was not allowed to sign his own name to his work after that.

    Also, his captions usually referred to gentlemen off-frame using formal salutations such as Mr. Malcolm. I don’t believe there was any direct reference intended, just an acknowledgement to an unseen male participant to carry the joke and sexual implications.

    Thanks for pointing out those details. I’ve stared at this piece a number of times, and never noticed that!

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