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Playboy Magazine: History of An American Icon

Aug 17, 2007
Playboy Magazine continues to be the premiere American adult magazine selling over one million copies every month in the U.S., fifty-three years after its inaugural issue. Indeed Playboy magazine has surpassed the true test of time from its first issue in 1953 with none other than Marilyn Monroe as the centerfold. Despite getting banned from various countries due to explicit pictures of its female models, Playboy M..agazine continues to see sales continue to increase.

Playboy Magazine was founded by Hugh Hefner (affectionately known as Hef) and his associates who formed Playboy Enterprises, Inc. Hef, initially wanted to name his magazine Stag Party, obviously aiming for male readers. However, Stag Company had patented the name and threatened to sue Hefner and his associates if they proceeded to use the trademarked name. After discussing the problem they decided to think of another name. One of the associates of Hefner suggested the name Playboy, from the Playboy Automobile Company where he previously worked.

In December 1953, the first issue of Playboy Magazine was published bearing no name since Hefner was not sure at that time whether a second issue would be published. The first issue featured Marilyn Monroe as the centerfold which was originally intended for a calendar issue. Despite the uncertainty on the second issue of the Playboy magazine, the maiden issue was sold out in two weeks time. Actual sales for the maiden issue of Playboy were pegged at 53,991.

With the success in sales of the first issue, Hefner and his associates moved on and published the second issue. This time, Playboy magazine had an official logo, that of a bunny wearing a tuxedo bow tie was born. The rabbit was chosen to be the official mascot of the magazine for the playfulness of the animal, which is what the magazine was trying to impress upon its readers.

Through the years, Playboy Magazine has featured many celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Drew Barrymore, Charlize Theron, Madonna, Belinda Carlisle, Tiffany, Shannen Doherty, Katarina Witt among other famous celebrities who have posed for the magazine in their most provocative poses and barest beauty. These celebrity models were photographed by such notable photographers such as Stephen Wayda, Ron Harris, Russ Meyer and many others.

Another proof of the success of playboy was the string of international country specific Playboy editions that came out. Playboy International editions were published in Brazil, Australia, Argentina, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, among other countries.

Of course, because of the nature of Playboy magazine, it was not widely accepted in some of the more conservative countries. Most countries in the Asian have banned the sale and publication of Playboy magazine due to what is described as its lewd nature and vulgarity that is contradictory to the norms and values of the people.

During the 1970s, when Playboy magazine reached its peak, circulation of the magazine dwindled down. This was attributed to the rise of new competitors in the adult magazine business, such as Penthouse. The proliferation of adult videos also contributed to the decline in sales of the magazine.

Currently, Playboy magazine is being run by the daughter of Hugh Hefner, Christie who assumed the post of Chief Executive officer in 1988.
About the Author
Lisa James is an avid reader of books and magazines. She is also a staff writer for www.suscriba.com, a seller of Playboy Magazine Subscriptions and over 1100 other popular magazine subscriptions.
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