Amber Batura

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Hugh Hefner in his office, working on an installment of “The Playboy Philosophy.” Credit Playboy Enterprises, Inc.

In December 1953, the inaugural issue of Playboy magazine hit newsstands without a date. Hugh Hefner, its creator, was unsure of the magazine’s success and its future, so by withholding the date he hoped he could continue to sell that issue until he sold out of that first run.

Mr. Hefner, who died on Wednesday at 91, had nothing to worry about.

In its prime, the magazine ranked among America’s top-selling publications, alongside Life and Time, sometimes beating their subscription rates. The magazine, aimed at men, quickly transcended Mr. Hefner’s target audience, with a subscriber base that cut across gender, race, class and ideology.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dan Mouer in Vietnam in 1966. The magazine was sent by his wife, along with a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

There’s a famous scene about halfway through “Apocalypse Now” in which Martin Sheen’s river boat pulls into a supply base, deep in the jungle. While the crew members are buying diesel fuel, the supply clerk gives them free tickets to a show — “You know,” he says, “the bunnies.” Soon they’re sitting in an improvised amphitheater around a landing pad, watching as three Playboy models hop out of a helicopter and dance to “Suzie Q.”

The scene is entirely fictional; Playboy models almost never toured Vietnam, and certainly not in groups. But if the women were never there themselves in force, the magazine itself certainly was.…  Seguir leyendo »