Took It All Off: ‘The Great American Strip-Off’

If you're looking for a camp flashback to the '80s with some juicy sex thrown in, look no further than The Great American Strip-Off, an '80s Playboy Channel show that daringly offered topless girls and mixed male and female contestants in a reality show decades before its time.

Disrobing for dollars (Image via video still)

Of course, watching now, it feels very much behind the times in a charmingly campy way.

Alan Eichler has uploaded the pilot, which offers women with natural bodies (remember those?) and men bragging about all the chicks they're with before prancing across the stage and shaking their booties unapologetically with no concern about it looking "gay."

Interestingly, the Playboy Channel enticed Lyle Waggoner (1935-2020) to host this just over 10 years after he went mostly nude himself in Playgirl.

Mamie Van Doren (b. 1931) was one of the obvious choices to judge, joined by raunchy Dick Gautier (1931-2017), comic Jeff Altman (b. 1951) — the show always had a comic's set as part of the hour) and the late Vegas comic Pudgy aka Beverly Wines (1946-2007).

Michael Gomez from Long Island worked in custom-made formicawear. (Image via video still)

I particularly liked the personality packages, which are '80s time capsules (and remind me of the Love Connection packages) — the guy from Long Island has Madonna's debut album on prominent display in his home.

They were doing all of this to win a paltry $1,000!

Later, actor Dack Rambo (1941-1994) hosted. He was bisexual, though not out yet, but having a bi host for this made sense! In this episode, Dack's guest judges are Waggoner (returning in a different role), Sharon Wyatt (b. 1953), Jim Staahl (b. 1947) and Philece Sampler (1953-2021). Note that all the music on the YouTube upload was changed to avoid copyright complaints.

Richard Hatch (1945-2017), Sandahl Berghman (b. 1951), Debra Maloney (b. 1959), Stephen Bishop (b. 1951) and Ronnie Schell (b. 1931) were on another episode, here.

More here, and don't miss Jenny Jones (b. 1946) during her stand-up phase on this episode.

The devil and Miss Jenny Jones (Images via video stills)

As far as I can tell, the show was produced annually. The episode with Jim Staahl had to be shot in 1983, since he was still on the air with Goodnight, Beantown (1983-1984). I am unsure when the series began or ended, but it absolutely lives in the '80s, doesn't it?!

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