Wednesday, December 18, 2013

12.18.13 Hero of the Day: Playboy Magazine

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on



Name: Playboy Magazine
Age: 60
Occupation: men's leisure magazine
Last Seen: Chicago, IL
Awarded For: hitting the big 6-0


It's official: Playboy Magazine is 60 years old.

And it doesn't look a day over 30.

It was 60 years ago this month that the first Playboy hit the newsstands. Hugh Hefner was a young, enterprising publisher who wanted to publish a magazine about a taboo subject: sex. And he started it off with a bang: Marilyn Monroe.

Borrowing $1,000 from his mother, Hefner had his doubts that a magazine with Ms. Monroe's naked body would sell copies. But, it did. In the early years, Playboy was pure class, teaching men how to dress, what to buy and it also entertained and informed them with thought-provoking articles and humor. And yes, their naked centerfolds.

Playboy became a hit, and Hugh bought his first mansion in Chicago in the 1950's. He even launched a syndicated TV show, Playboy's Penthouse that featured numerous celebrities and notable people. He even started up the Playboy Clubs where women in bunny outfits served up drinks and noshables to those living the Playboy life. Its motto: "If you can't swing, don't ring!"

Of course, competition popped out not long after Playboy was launched. Penthouse was introduced in 1965 with a similar stance to Playboy, except that it featured one thing Playboy refused to have: a woman's vaginal region. Hugh Hefner wanted his models to be the "girl next door": somebody who was fun, flirty and sexy, but not slutty. With Penthouse showing more vag in the late 60's, Playboy decided enough was enough and in 1969, they hit two birds with one stone: the first woman in the magazine to officially show part of her public region was black actress Paula Kelly as part of a centerfold featuring the stars of the hit Broadway musical Hair.

As the 1970s moved on, Playboy was hot. Their best-selling issue was in November 1972, selling over seven million copies. However, the 1980's wasn't so nice to the famed magazine thanks to the Religious Right and their attack on anything adult-related. Many stores that sold Playboy ended up dropping it, including 7-Eleven. Despite being the classiest of the nude magazines out there, Playboy started dropping to new lows. Even worse, the untimely death of 1980 Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten was a huge blow to Hef and his life. Not to forget the AIDS crisis that scared people into not having sex. Hef suffered a stroke in 1986, and made some changes. One was making his daughter Christie the president of the company. Thankfully, the Religious Right started to fumble thanks to scandals involving the likes of the Bakkers and Jimmy Swaggert. Playboy was cool again.

The 1990's gave us some of Playboy's most-noted Playmates: Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy. However, their print edition's circulation started to slip because of the internet. Why rush out to the store to whap down $8 for an issue when you can get nude chicks for free, and they tend to show more skin then what Playboy allows? Today, Playboy's circulation is just over a million copies sold a month, about 1/7th of that back 40 years ago.

Not to mention, Playboy did sell out to the likes of Heidi Montag and Lindsay Lohan, who barely showed much of anything in their pictorials.

However, Playboy does deserve a hero's tribute. They changed the world of sex for the better, making it less prude and more fun. While it's spawned off a lot of broken broom pieces ala The Sorcerer's Apprentice, people should remember where it all began: when Marilyn Monroe had only one thing on:

The radio.

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