America’s Men’s Lifestyle and Entertainment Magazine was founded in 1953 by Hugh Hefner. 63 years after it’s birth, the famous publication that featured some very high profile nudes (among some great other things) will no longer publish images with nudity as of March 2016.
I had the insane honor to DJ for the Playboy Brand last night and I did some googles on this REVOLUTIONARY BRAND & PUBLICATION and stumbled upon some very fascinating facts and I thought I would share!
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1. HUGH HEFNER WAS A CARTOONIST.
Hugh Hefner, pictured above as a child, was born in Chicago on April 9th, 1926 to 2 teachers. This Aries man had an IQ of 152 and the highest you can score is 160, so that made him a child prodigy. Aside from having the brains on paper, Hugh was also an artist who spent his youth writing his own comic books and horror stories. No wonder Playboy is known for it’s great cartoons by notable artists: including Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Cole, Eldon Dedini, Jules Feiffer, Shel Silverstein, Erich Sokol, Roy Raymonde, Gahan Wilson, and Rowland B. Wilson
2. HUGH HEFNER STARTED PLAYBOY WHEN HE QUIT HIS ESQUIRE JOB.
In 1951 at age 25, Hugh Hefner was working for Esquire Magazine as a copywriter and quite after he was denied at 5$ raise. Talk about finding the positive in a negative! In 1953 at age 27, he took a 600$ loan which he raised by mortgaging his furniture and $8,000 from his 45 investors (including $1,000 from his mother) and launched “Stag Party” which eventually would change to Playboy for legal reasons.
3. MARILYN MONROE WAS THE FIRST COVERGIRL.
December 1953, the magazine devoted with Marilyn Monroe on the cover, featuring her nude calendar shoot. More than 54,000 copies were sold at a bargain of 50 cents!
4. MILES DAVIS WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO BE INTERVIEWED.
Jazz Musician Miles Davis was the first ever to be interviewed in the September 1962 issue.
According to the book description on Amazon, “In mid-1962, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was given a partial transcript of an interview with Miles Davis. It covered jazz, of course, but it also included Davis’s ruminations on race, politics and culture. Fascinated, Hef sent the writer—future Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Alex Haley, an unknown at the time—back to glean even more opinion and insight from Davis. – See more at: http://indiereader.com/2012/09/50-years-of-the-playboy-interview/#sthash.ojf7j1Gi.dpuf
5. THE FAMOUS PLAYBOY BUNNY OUTFIT WAS DESIGNED BY AN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN
That’s right! In 1948, Zelda had opened her own shop on Broadway in New York City which was the first in the area to be owned by an African American. Some of her clients included other notable black women of her era, like Dorothy Dandridge. Later Hugh Hefner would commission Miss Zelda Wynn Valdes to design the first Playboy Bunny costume and at a time when people of color were definitely not getting the opportunities that they should/could have for their talents!
6. PAMELA ANDERSON IS THE MOST FEATURED PLAYBOY COVERGIRL – WITH 12 COVERS UNDER HER BELT!
She made her debut in October 19989 and has since then had 12 covers and features in total! She even wrote the foreward in the Playboy Coffee Table Book “Playboy’s Greatest Covers”.
SIDENOTE: I am a huge fan of their amazing and creative covers!
7. THE FAMOUS PLAYBOY BUNNY HEAD LOGO WAS CREATED IN LESS THAN 30 MINUTES.
Hefner selected the rabbit as the Playboy logo because of its “humorous sexual connotations”. Art Director, Art Paul, admitted to having drawn the logo in under half an hour! By the 70’s, the logo was so popular that one could address an envelope with the hand drawn logo and apparently it would be assured to find it’s way to Playboy!
8. PLAYBOY MAGAZINE IS THE FIRST MEN’S MAGAZINE TO BE PUBLISHED IN BRAILLE.
Yep! In 1970, the magazine published its first Braille version for the blind. Ray Charles’s Braille Playboy magazine is on display on the Hard Rock’s 40th Memorabilia Tour.
9. THE JOKE THAT MEN READ PLAYBOY FOR THE ARTICLES ISN’T SO FAR FETCHED!
The magazine has a long history of publishing short stories by notable novelists such as Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, Saul Bellow, Chuck Palahniuk, P. G. Wodehouse, Haruki Murakami, and Margaret Atwood.
10. HUGH HEFNER & PLAYBOY SUPPORTED CIVIL RIGHTS AND FEATURED INTERIEWS WITH MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR & MALCOLM X!
Whether for sales or for the honest support in a crucial movement, Hugh Hefner and Playboy supported Civil Rights. Aside from the centerfold, according to Wikipedia: “a big part of Playboy for much of its existence has been the Playboy Interview, an extensive (usually several thousand-word) discussion between a notable individual and an interviewer (historian Alex Haley, for example, served as a Playboy interviewer on a few occasions; one of his interviews was with Martin Luther King Jr.; he also interviewed Malcolm X and American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell in the April 1966 issue, then coauthored his autobiography).
“One of the magazine’s most notable interviews was a discussion with then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter in the November 1976 issue in which he stated “I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” David Sheff‘s interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared in the January 1981 issue, which was on newsstands at the time of Lennon’s murder; the interview was later published in book format.”