PLAYBOY'S PENTHOUSE PLAYMATE we discovered our nifty New Year's Eve on our own TV show
Being old hands at looking long and far for prospective Playmates to grace our gatefold, we're always gratified when we uncover a comely young miss close to home. Our January jeune fille, Merle Pertile, projected prettily on more than a score of Playboy's Penthouse television shows originating in Chicago before she left the Windy City for the Pacific Coast -- specifically, Hollywood and the acting scene. Twenty-year-old Merle's professional pursuits have since borne further fruit with appearances on 77 Sunset Strip and The Tab Hunter Show, plus a hatboxful of mannequin chores ranging from fashion modeling to illuminating industrial films for outboard motors and auto mufflers. Her particular outboard assets (38-22-34) can hardly be muffled the way they're arranged on her 5'5", 112-pound frame. Since Merle, an enthusiastic outdoor-sports buff and California native (she was born in Whittier), returned to the West with her mother, she has replaced her Midwest-nurtured ice-skating addiction with a consuming passion for skin-diving. Much pleasured by such plebeian delights as nutburgers, she is conversely bugged by buglike compact cars, finds Cadillac and Continental convertibles (top down) much less claustrophobic. Titian-tressed Merle has her big blue eyes firmly focused on a film career, is busy studying acting in the hope of breaking the Hollywood sound-stage barrier. If and when Merle does soar to moviedom's heights, we'd like to think that Playboy's Penthouse provided her with a launching pad to success.