Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Bye, Hef.

Hugh Hefner has died. He was 91.

It's hard for people, now, to appreciate how much Hefner and Playboy changed things. The centerfolds were almost prudish by today's standards, but they certainly were not back then. Besides the soft-core porn, Playboy published lengthy interviews with people of note; the interviews often made considerable news. They did some investigative reporting. The magazine published some of the best fiction outside of The New Yorker. More than one ship's postal clerk told me that the most subscribed-to magazine on the ship was Playboy.

Hefner's empire also included Playboy Clubs, a chain of nightclubs where the waitresses wore skimpy costumes, there was often cutting-edge entertainment, the food was decent, the liquor flowed and there was an air of sophistication. You had to be a member to get in and yes, there was a dress code.

Hefner even had a jet, probably the first private citizen to have a jet of that size and luxury.


It didn't last. Times change. Sophisticated nightclubs were so Rat-Pack era. Between harder stuff like Penthouse and Hustler to the Internet, Playboy's circulation dropped by nearly 90% From making news itself and helping to start the sexual revolution, Playboy became irrelevant. As did Hefner.

But he did change things.

RIP, Hef.

UPDATE: This is what shows up today on Playbody's web page

9 comments:

Thomas Ten Bears said...

Not sure about this. On the one hand there is my life-long conviction that at some point around ten thousand years ago the Judea Christian Muslim Mormon Cult of Male Domination upsurped the woman's proper place in the general ordering of the world and all hence: War, politics, culture, The Church, and pornography serve naught but to reinforce that domination, yet...

As the product of mid-fifties promescuities and sixties serial Southern California divorce, a not quite white dude rippin' and runnin' the streets of Seattle, Portland and San Fransisco Playboy was as much a part of my reading as everything else I was reading back then. Indeed, it could be argued Hep's sexual liberalism had a more direct impact on my world than as just reading, as cosmopolitan as it may have been, material. Not unlike Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard, or the Eagles, Credence and the Dead as the soundtrack of my youth, Hef, and the Village Voice, Rolling Stone and all of that was the social media.

I mark his passing thus, as that of Thompson and Kesey, though without the emotional attachment.

Another Piece of America gone.

LRod said...

I worked that airplane once (1973-'76) in ZAU. Actually, it might not have been that one. It was a Playboy airplane, but the crew said it was actually a North Central DC-9 and they were NC crew. Hef might have figured out that a PRN lease might have been a whole lot cheaper than actually owning/leasing one permanently. Also, he had opened his LA mansion by then, and may not have been travelling to Chicago like he used to.

I was a member for a brief time. Visited both the Miami club and the Chicago club, as well as played golf at the resort in Lake Geneva, WI. I think there were a couple of courses, there. I played the links style one.

LRod
ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired

Comrade Misfit said...

My dad wanted to join. $25 wasn't exactly chump change fifty years ago. Mom told him that he'd better not.

Nangleator said...

Wish I could be at the funeral. Or the mansion afterwards.

dinthebeast said...

When all of the other "men's magazines" got into an arms race to actual porn, Playboy was the lone holdout, and maintained the level of class (for the most part) that had been the brand they made their fame with. And the only one of the bunch you could actually pick up and read.

-Doug in Oakland

3383 said...

I miss Hef already.

Playboy was very appreciated before the Net. Pictorials, movies, interviews, the Advisor, pictorials, preseason sports, short stories, music, and of course the pictorials!

I wasn't old enough for the Clubs, but I subscribed until too many Playmates of the Month had visible tattoos (personal preference, hey).

Agree with T10B's close.

BadTux said...

Towards the end, his financial situation became so dire that he had to sell his mansion for money to live on. He sold it to his next door neighbor on the condition that Hef could finish living out his (by then few) days in it. That was last year.

Playboy in its prime was one of the top outlets for high quality fiction in America. They were willing to take a chance on fiction that the staid mainstream magazines weren't willing to accept, like science fiction during the 1960's and 1970's when it was considered "vulgar" by mainstream magazine editors, including science fiction by feminist authors like Margaret Atwood and Ursula LeGuin, and they paid top dollar. But: You had to be *GOOD* to make it into Playboy. They didn't buy junk.

Granted, their high quality fiction and non-fiction was to a certain extent intended to offset the notion that it was a porn magazine with no redeeming value. Playboy never got taken off of news stands like Hustler did, because it was impossible to say that a magazine with such high quality fiction and non-fiction had no redeeming social value as required by the Supremes' porn test. Still. You could say you were buying Playboy for the fiction and articles without a bit of shame. Sadly, that literary excellence, too, eventually fell prey to Playboy's financial problems. They haven't been a good market since 2000 or so... but then, neither has anybody else. The entire market for literary short fiction has collapsed. Science fiction magazines that had a circulation of 250,000 in the 1970's and paid 5c per word today have a circulation of 2500 and *still* pay 5c per word.... Playboy didn't avoid that same collapse even as they tried to pivot from being a soft porn magazine to being a literary magazine. People just don't buy literary magazines anymore. :( .

So anyhow, Hef went out the way he wanted -- on his giant romper bed surrounded by beautiful women. I guess if you gotta go, going the way you want to go is how to do it...

Comrade Misfit said...

John D. MacDonald once wrote that he was able to make an living from short stories in the late `40s and into the `50s because there were so many magazines that were publishing short stories. Certainly isn't true today.

Mike Jones said...

I hit puberty in '65. Playboy made oral sex acceptable and I actually had a good idea about how to do it when I got to college. There was a Bob Bondurant on high performance driving too.