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Friday, August 17, 2012 - Page updated at 10:00 a.m.
Herb Alpert's 'Whipped Cream Lady' now 76, living in Longview and looking back
By Erik Lacitis
Seattle Times staff reporter
Guys, the girl of your teen dreams now is 76.
Her name is Dolores Erickson and she has been living in Longview for around 35 years, after a career that included being an Eileen Ford model in New York.
She appeared at a Seattle record store Wednesday and wants to tell you teen dreamers, "Enjoy the memories."
You don't know her by name — maybe as the "Whipped Cream Lady" — but certainly by the album cover on which she is featured: the 1965 Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass' "Whipped Cream & Other Delights."
There she is, seemingly naked but covered in what is supposed to be whipping cream looking at YOU.
Whenever a list of the most memorable record covers is put together, that album is right at the top.
How did a 2006 New Yorker magazine article explain the impact of that photo?
Oh, yes, it: "fogged the minds of many young men, as they gazed at the... personalized come-hitherhood to the woman staring back ... the inner portion of a bare breast protrudes from the foam. She is licking cream from the index finger of her right hand... in the virtually pornless atmosphere of the suburban mid-sixties it was ... the pinnacle of allure."
The record spent 141 weeks on Billboard's Top 40 albums chart.
In later years, at concerts, Alpert would tell audiences, "Sorry, but I can't play the cover for you."
Erickson drove up here to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Golden Oldies, the used-record store in Wallingford. A steady stream of fans stopped by, including, surprisingly, women.
Toni Weschler, 56, got signed copies for her brothers. She remembers growing up in New York and playing the album.
She remembers how her brothers couldn't take their eyes off the LP. "They stared at it constantly. It was very risqué. They hadn't seen this much breast in their life."
For Erickson, the photo shoot was one of many in her career.
She is a 1954 Cleveland High School graduate, and her modeling began when she was 14 and won a contest at the venerable Frederick & Nelson department store in downtown Seattle.
Her modeling career blossomed, and she ended up a staff model for Macy's in San Francisco, in the days when department stores could afford such things.
Erickson spent time in Los Angeles, signed to contracts by Paramount and then Warner Bros., but her movie and TV career mostly consisted of bit parts.
At age 24, she went to New York City and ended up being signed by Eileen Ford. She was in ads for Max Factor and was in all the women's magazines. Erickson is 5 feet 7, with dark brown hair and green eyes, and still weighs about the same as in the modeling days, which is around 119 pounds.
But she's cognizant of time having gone by. "Please don't do any close-ups," she tells a photographer.
In 1965, she got a call to fly to Los Angeles for a photo shoot for A & M, a new label started by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. The photographer was Peter Whorf, with whom she had done other covers.
Payment would be around $1,500 ($11,000 in today's dollars), plus expenses.
The shoot began midmorning and lasted through the afternoon. Erickson put on a bikini, but with the straps down.
She was 29 and three months pregnant. "But I wasn't showing," she says.
Erickson sat on a stool and from the waist down, Whorf placed on her a white Christmas tree blanket.
Then shaving cream was sprayed on Erickson. Under the bright lights, whipping cream would melt, although it was real whipping on top of her head.
The shoot kept going, Erickson remembers, and she didn't notice that the shaving cream kept slipping down.
Months later, Whorf mailed her two outtakes.
"He sent them to shock me. And it did shock me. I screamed," says Erickson. "I was a Christian girl."
Erickson has kept a copy of one of the outtakes, and it is a bit more revealing, but not by that much.
But she worried that her then-husband, a New York shoe manufacturer, and "conservative," would become upset. She hid the two photos behind the refrigerator at a girlfriend's home. Later, she'd tear up the photo she deemed the most revealing.
In the mid-70s, raising a young son, Erickson moved to Longview to be near her sister, and for years, ran an art studio.
Actually, it was by happenstance that back in 2000, while visiting here, that recognition began for Erickson's role on that memorable album cover. She had stopped by Golden Oldies to buy some used copies of "Whipped Cream."
She didn't have any copies herself and wanted to sign some for friends. Before that, the album's importance in pop culture hadn't registered with her.
But when Dean Silverstone, owner of Golden Oldies, found out he was dealing with the actual Whipped Cream Lady, he thought, "It was like finding a jewel that's been buried in the desert for 40 years. Everybody knows about the album cover but nobody knows about her."
By 2012 standards, that album cover is demure.
Yet it endures. Teen dreams.
"I looked at it as being an ice cream sundae," Erickson says.
Erik Lacitis: 206-464-2237
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