Playboy is an American men's magazine, founded in Chicago, Illinois, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, which has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with a presence in nearly every medium. Playboy is one of the world's best known brands. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.
The magazine has a long history of publishing short stories by such novelists as Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, and Margaret Atwood, as well as monthly interviews of notable public figures, such as artists, architects, economists, composers, conductors, film directors, journalists, novelists, playwrights, religious figures, politicians, athletes and race car drivers. The magazine throughout its history has expressed a libertarian outlook on political and social issues.
The first issue, in December 1953, was undated, as Hefner was unsure there would be a second. He produced it in his Hyde Park kitchen. The first centerfold was Marilyn Monroe, although the picture used originally was taken for a calendar rather than for Playboy. The first issue sold out in weeks. Known circulation was 53,991. The cover price was 50¢. Copies of the first issue in mint to near mint condition sold for over $5,000 in 2002. The novel Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, was also serialized in the March, April, and May 1954 issues of Playboy magazine.
The logo, the stylized profile of a rabbit wearing a tuxedo bow tie, was designed by art designer Art Paul for the second issue and has appeared ever since. A running joke in the magazine involves hiding the logo somewhere in the cover art or photograph. Hefner said he chose the rabbit for its "humorous sexual connotation," and because the image was "frisky and playful."
An urban legend started about Hefner and the Playmate of the Month because of markings on the front covers of the magazine. From 1955 to 1979 (except for a six month gap in 1976), the "P" in Playboy had stars printed in or around the letter. The legend stated that this was either a rating that Hefner gave to the Playmate according to how attractive she was, the number of times that Hefner had slept with her, or how good she was in bed. The stars, between zero and twelve, actually indicated the domestic or international advertising region for that printing.
Since reaching its peak in the 1970s, Playboy has seen a decline in circulation and cultural relevance because of competition in the field it founded — first from Penthouse, Oui (which was published as a spin-off of Playboy) and Gallery in the 1970s; later from pornographic videos; and more recently from lad mags such as Maxim, FHM, and Stuff. In response, Playboy has attempted to re-assert its hold on the 18–35 male demographic lled through slight changes to content and focusing on issues and personalities more appropriate to its audience — such as hip-hop artists being featured in the "Playboy Interview".
The best-selling Playboy edition was the November 1972 edition, which sold 7,161,561 copies. One-quarter of all American college men were buying the magazine every month. On the cover was model Pam Rawlings, photographed by Rowland Scherman.
Perhaps coincidentally, a cropped image of the issue's centerfold (which featured Lena Soderberg) became a de facto standard image for testing image processing algorithms. It is known simply as the "Lenna" (also "Lena") image in that field.
Playboy is still the largest selling "men's magazine", selling about three million a month in the U.S.
An Indonesian edition launched in April 2006, but controversy started before the first issue. Even the publisher said the content of the Indonesian edition will be different from the original edition but the government was trying to ban it by using anti-pornography rules, since the Indonesian government cannot ban any medium. A Muslim organization, the Islamic Defenders Front (IDF), opposed to Playboy on the grounds of pornography. On April 12 about 150 IDF members clashed with police and stoned the editorial offices. Despite this, the edition quickly sold out. On April 6, 2007 the chief judge of the case dismissed the charges because they had been incorrectly filed.
In 1986, the American convenience store chain 7-Eleven removed the magazine. The store returned Playboy to its shelves in late 2003. 7-Eleven had also been selling Penthouse and other, more extreme, magazines before the ban.
In bookstores throughout the world, it is common for Playboy, as well as other adult publications, to be put on a higher shelf than other magazines, keeping them out of the reach of children. They are also often wrapped in opaque plastic bags so as to not reveal the cover.
Playboy was not sold in the state of Queensland, Australia during 2004 and 2005 but has returned as of 2006. Furthermore, due to declining sales, the last edition of the Australian edition of Playboy was January 2000 .
|1960–1963||$500 plus $250 bonus|
|1982–today||$140,000, an automobile, and a motorbike.|
During the 1960s and 1970s all PMOY's received pink automobiles, the hue of pink used was known as "Playmate Pink", the same shade as awarded to Mary Kay's independent sales force, a frequent source of confusion.
One example was the case of Pamela Anderson and the "disappearing labia". In Anderson's February 1990 Playboy centerfold appearance, there was a rear-view photo with her legs slightly apart and her labia minora visible. In reprints in later "Newsstand Specials" as well as a poster-sized print, she had been "defeminized," this area having been painted over in the color of the object in front of which she was standing.
Similarly, in Rena Mero's ("Sable") first Playboy shoot, one photo of Mero lying on her back was edited to add pubic hair over her genitalia. However, in the 50th Anniversary issue, this picture was printed in its original, unedited state.
Rival adult magazine Hustler and owner Larry Flynt has often been critical of Playboy and airbrushing. This has led Hustler to promote the fact that their nude pictorials are never airbrushed and are completely natural.
Many celebrities (singers, actresses, models, etc.) have posed for Playboy over the years. This list is only a small portion of those who have posed. Some of them are:
(starting at the accompanying date, or during the accompanying date range)
The growth of the Internet prompted the magazine to develop an official web presence called Playboy Online or Playboy.com, which is the official website for Playboy Enterprises, and an online companion to Playboy magazine. The site has been available online since 1994. As part of the online presence, Playboy developed a pay web site called the Playboy Cyber Club in 1995 which features online chats, additional pictorials, videos of Playmates and Playboy Cyber Girls that are not featured in the magazine. Archives of past Playboy articles and interviews are also included. Playboy Cyber Club has opened up a new door for girls interested in posing. It is much easier to access, because it is online. It attracts just about as many as the magazine, and brought a whole new line of girls. Some Playmates start in Cyber Club and work their way to the magazine. In September 2005, Playboy launched the online edition of the magazine Playboy Digital.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has published a Braille edition of Playboy since 1970. The Braille version includes all the written words in the non-Braille magazine, but no pictorial representations. Congress cut off funding for the Braille magazine translation in 1985, but U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan reversed the decision on First Amendment grounds.