18 June 2006 | bbhlthph
Harlequin on the Screen!
This is a made for television film portraying a fictionalised version of the actual romance between ex-Playmate Linda Vaughn and a Playboy magazine reader who was attracted enough by her pictures to make a successful bet that he would somehow meet her and date her. Shortly after it occurred Playboy made a feature of it to help show how normal the lives of some of the girls who became Playmates actually were, and probably also to encourage other bachelor readers to think that they too might actually meet and date a 'real Playmate'. (This concept was also featured in a number of Playboy TV programs such as 'Duelling for Playmates'). The NBC channel decided the story would make a good basis for this full length fictional TV film, and the result is a film that comes closer than any other I can remember to being a Harlequin Romance presented in movie form. Fortunately it includes some genuine comedy and, if one excludes the very overdrawn final few minutes, is never unbearably syrupy. Although IMDb do not list any DVD information, Platinum Disks have released a DVD version of it for the North American market.
The 'centerfold' in the film is Debra Bryan, played by Teri Copley, a Playboy magazine cover girl. Two other featured 'centerfolds' - ex-Playmate Karen Witter and Linda Wiebe - are in the cast so there is no shortage of eye candy; although this is a 'wholesome' romance intended for family viewing, with an MPAA rating of PG, and does not feature nudity. Debra's rather nerdish suitor, Kevin Coats, is played by Timothy Daly. Bert Remsen has a delightful cameo part as 'Gramps', and Diane Ladd is convincing as Mrs Bryan. Some of the acting is spotty but it was adequate to hold the attention of my wife and myself. If you are looking for a romance of this type, and are expecting nothing more, you are likely to be very happy with this one. For romantics interested in the actual story on which the film is based, I saw a news clip quite recently that featured Linda and her husband still running a very successful stables and equestrian centre somewhere in California.