Mister Crew

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Tag: Playboy

The Playboy Club

A fun history read on the first Playboy Club in Chicago:

February 29, 1960 was a historic day for Chicago and the world. Playboy magazine owner Hugh Hefner decided that Leap Year would be an appropriate time for him to open up the world’s first Playboy Club on Walton Street in the Gold Coast. The club, having hired from the local talent pool, provided the first appearance of the Playboy Bunnies. These Bunnies, with their satin corsets, bunny ears and fluffy white tails served those fortunate enough to be “Keyholders” in the style of the old gaslight clubs. As VIPs of the club, Keyholders could enter the club at anytime and indulge in an atmosphere filled with music, alcohol and nubile women. The flagship Chicago location was so successful in its inaugural year that, it not only become the busiest club in the world, but it was also the first of 40 locations – each being referred to by Newsweek as a “Disneyland for adults.”

Back in the 50’s and 60’s, Playboy wasn’t just porn – it was a lifestyle brand for the mid-century American man.

Further reading on The Selvedge Yard: Iconic Branding of a Bunny Kind

Heffner was gifted with an ironic stroke of fate when the original “Stag Club” name that was going to grace his new men’s magazine was legally blocked by Stag magazine. He needed a new handle, and the stag was soon converted to the now iconic bunny, in a historic and innuendo-laden rename. Playboy later ran a pictorial article on Chicago’s Gaslight Club, and was overwhelmed by thousands of readers requesting to join this exclusive key members club. Playboy execs smelled a golden opportunity, and soon plans were laid to open their own private key holder’s club. All that was needed now was the vision.

The Playboy Cartoon Album, Revisited

This post will be mostly safe for work. From an earlier post for reference – I had forgotten I had it until this weekend when I attempted to organize a few stacks of books I had lying around. Not all of the comics in the book are adult themed, and many focus on current events of the time and general life troubles. And after going through it again, I was surprised to learn that Shel Silverstein worked for Playboy quite a bit during his career.

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The Playboy Cartoon Album, circa 1959

While browsing a local bookstore this afternoon, I came across an interesting book with a collection of cartoons found in early Playboy magazines.  It was published in 1959.

The Playboy Cartoon Album, 1959

The Playboy Cartoon Album, 1959

Some excerpts from the forward written by Hugh Hefner:

Peter Arno, of The New Yorker, has been mistakenly credited with the creation of the one-line cartoon caption and if, in fact, this wonderful form of graphic wit is somewhat older than the early Twenties, when TNY first saw the light of day, it’s real popularity can be traced from when, and Arno and his fellow New Yorker cartoonists are most responsible for that.  Before them, cartoons were more to be illustrated jokes with captions two, four, or more lines long (of the He: She: He: She: variety) and usually a very dull business, with the drawings quite incidental and often unnecessary to the humor.  The New Yorker changed all that.  The drawing became the thing and a single, pointed caption (and sometimes no caption at all) was all that was needed to tell the story…

… A magazine says a good deal about itself in the cartoons it publishes.  You’ll find no drawings about Mom’s new hat, Junior’s report card or balancing the family budget here, for Playboy is a magazine for the young, urban male.  The cartoons, therefore, are urbane, sophisticated and quite masculine in viewpoint – a refreshing change, we think, from the female-dominated Togetherness stressed by so many publications today.  Playboy is edited to entertain, so most of the cartoons are about the fun and frolicsome side of life…”

From skimming through the pages, you can see that sexual humor has not changed much at all in the past 50 years.  I’ll post a few scans sometime soon.

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