5 ‘Playboy’ Magazine Firsts - Top 5 Videos
5 First Nudity-Free Issue
During the 1970s, Playboy boasted a circulation of approximately five million copies. By 2011, its circulation had dropped to 1.5 million copies. This was due to the more salacious content of competitors such as Hustler and Penthouse, Internet sites offering free soft-core and hard-core fare, and Playboy‘s loss of status as the premiere men’s “lifestyle” magazine to upstarts Maxim, Stuff, and FHM.As a result, Playboy executives saw the need for a change in its marketing strategy. The magazine’s iconic logo had been licensed for a variety of products, and the huge market for it was still growing overseas.The magazine itself also generated a lot of publicity when its first nudity-free issue was launched in March 2016. The Playboy website had eliminated nudity in August 2014. But Playboy‘s decision to discontinue publishing nude models didn’t last long. A year after the debut of its no-nudity issue, naked women once more began gracing the periodical’s pages. Hefner’s son Cooper, the chief creative officer, admitted it had been a mistake to eliminate nudity.“Nudity was never the problem because nudity isn’t a problem,” he said. Former CEO Scott Flanders, who’d jettisoned nudity as “passe,” left his position in May 2016. Cooper said, “Today, we’re taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are.
4 First Club
Photo credit: The Atlantic
The first Playboy Club opened its doors in 1960. It was a way to make the magazine a reality for men. The clubs featured the decor of a swinging bachelor pad, lots of cocktails, and beautiful Bunnies with their cute cotton tails.The last company-owned club closed its doors in the mid-1980s. But at the height of their popularity, over 30 clubs existed in the US and abroad in such countries as Japan and the Philippines.The London Playboy Club, which opened in 1966, attracted celebrities such as Julie Christie, Sidney Poitier, Ursula Andress, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, David Frost, and Rudolf Nureyev. Elsewhere, Tony Bennett, Johnny Carson, and various Beatles visited clubs or became regular clients.The clubs’ servers were beautiful, young women costumed in outfits with ears and strategically positioned tails. Hefner named them “Bunnies” in honor of Bunny’s Tavern in Urbana, Illinois, at which he occasionally dined when he was a University of Illinois student.Bunnies weren’t permitted to date the clubs’ other employees. They couldn’t drink on the job or chew gum while working. A Bunny mother supervised them.
3 First Club Exposé
Photo credit: dazeddigital.com
Feminist icon Gloria Steinem, who later founded Ms. magazine, worked undercover as a Playboy Club Bunny for 17 days in May 1963. The results of her scathing exposé, “A Bunny’s Tale,” appeared the same year in the May and June issues of Show magazine.While Hefner penned monthly essays that he claimed would constitute “the Emancipation Proclamation of the sexual revolution,” Steinem chronicled the truth (as she witnessed it) about what took place in one of Hefner’s Playboy Clubs.A wardrobe mistress stuffed Steinem’s bosom with a plastic bag. The club collected small fees for a variety of services related to mandatory duties, including charging servers for their false eyelashes. The club also took as much as 50 percent of the Bunnies’ tips. In these and other ways, servers were subjected to patronizing and exploitative treatment, Steinem wrote.
2 First Braille Items
Photo credit: timeline.com
In the 1980s, Senator Mack Mattingly of Georgia proposed that the Library of Congress be prohibited from making such features as Playboy magazine’s “Party Jokes,” “Ribald Classics,” and “Playboy Forum” available in braille. With bipartisan support, the prohibition was adopted and the Library was ordered to cease producing the items.Blind Playboy enthusiasts sued, claiming that the prohibition violated their First Amendment rights. The Congressional ban was overturned, and the Library resumed offering the once-prohibited items.
1 First Foreign Edition
Photo credit: scmp.com
Playboy magazine’s first foreign edition was published in West Germany in 1972. Since then, the magazine has been published in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, and Turkey.The first Chinese-language edition of 50,000 copies sold out in two days in Hong Kong. “The overwhelming reader response . . . underscores Playboy‘s strength and ability to cross geo-cultural boundaries,” said William Stokkan, president of the Playboy licensing and merchandising group.
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