Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rant #1,187: Playboy, No. 1

If you are a male, you must remember your first encounter with Playboy magazine.

It was probably something that you found somewhere, and you were probably pretty young.

You found it, opened it up, and started to giggle, because you saw naked ladies in its pages.

That is pretty much what happened with me, although a long-ago friend of mine showed me my first Playboy.

It was in his room, hidden under his bed.

He had about five sisters. What more can I say?

Anyway, Playboy has decided to release a page-for-page exact reprint of its first issue, the one with the Marilyn Monroe centerfold, for all to see and buy.

But unlike the 50 cents that the original cost, this one will cost you $9.99.

Who would have thought that a sophisticated men's magazine would sell anyway?

Certainly Hugh Hefner, the guy who currently wears a sailor hat and looks like a dirty old man, thought that it would, and boy, was he right.

And that first issue really did change the world, change the world's perception about women, and changed the world of publishing forever.

There were risque magazines before Playboy which showed off women's bodies--very modestly compared to now--but they weren't mixed with high-brow conversation and talk.

Playboy went one step further than Esquire, basically combining that magazine's wit with the trashy magazines' nudity.

And who else to grace the first centerfold than Marilyn Monroe?

As we spoke about last week, Monroe was the sex symbol to end all sex symbols, and her appearance in the pages of Playboy 60 years ago simply enhanced that image.

And again, by today's standards, she didn't show much, but what she showed was enough ...

Enough to make an empire that lasts to this day.

Will people spend $9.99 for an exact reproduction of the original issue?

Probably, more as a keepsake than anything else.

That issue was pretty tame by today's standards, but back then, it was as risque as possible.

Since that first issue, hundreds of centerfolds have graced those pages, mostly forgotten models who have gone onto careers in just about every area possible, from movies and television to modeling to publishing to being executives at companies large and small.

Many have even gone back home, raised families, and probably showed their young'uns that at one time, they were considered the height of beauty.

But it all started with Marilyn Monroe.

Give Hefner credit. He tapped into something that is in every male--the need to see something they shouldn't be seeing--and he made a fortune doing it.

And it all started with that first magazine.

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