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  #51  
Old 03-19-2020, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Guest-starring: Id! View Post

So, who was the hottest of 'em?

Marriane Gravatte?
Patty MacGuire/Connors?
Glenn Close?
Shannon Tweed?
I think we should have a pole on this.
  #52  
Old 03-19-2020, 11:19 PM
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I think the problem with the playboy brand is that its image turned and remained sleazy, not sophisticated, even though the nudes in the magazine stayed about like they were. If you had people over and they see GQ or Cigar Afficionado on your coffee table, their impression was that you're a fashionable man with an expensive cigar hobby (or interest in those). If you have Playboy, you're a skeeze that didn't hide his porn (and today you'd also be someone who pays a lot for not-that-great porn). I remember seeing playboy-logo shirts and hats and stuff when I was younger, but I also remember just about everyone considering them really tacky to actually buy and wear. They had strong brand recognition with the bunny logo and the name, but it wasn't really a brand you wanted to be associated with by other people.
Even back in the 80s, the image many people had of someone who was into Playboy and its related gear was basically Bloom County's Steve Dallas. Playboy once hired an image consultant agency about how the publication could increase its appeal among readers who weren't so intensely hedonistic and they responded with a short film about the dilemma faced by a young executive when his boss recommends he buy an issue of Playboy in order to read a relevant business article. At one point, there's an imagine-spot where the executive envisions himself looking like a lost Festrunk Brother when he goes up the counter to buy the magazine. Playboy responded to the film by politely declining any further consultation from the agency.
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  #53  
Old 03-20-2020, 01:57 AM
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But that looked silly by the 1990s. One line from the Spy article summed it up succinctly: "Nowadays, it's the guy with washboard abs who lands the girl, not the guy with the paisley ascot driving the English sports car."

And at the risk of sounding repetitive, the interviews were often really good. You didn't see such controversial topics and individuals in more mainstream publications back then.
It looked silly in the '70s also. I remember that they ran articles on what college students wore in 1970 - and showed stuff that no college student, anywhere, would ever go near. They were very 1950s in their outlook.
Porn, tasteful and otherwise, is free. No magazine, even the New Yorker, can attract advertisers with articles any more. Their interviews were good, and so was their fiction. But it's a dead market.
  #54  
Old 03-20-2020, 01:19 PM
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Ive never visited it.

My late Chicago-based mother-in-laws final job was as a fact-checker for the Playboy editorial department. Back in the 80s, she asked if I wanted a free subscription.

My 13 year old self in 1974 would have jumped at it. By the mid-80s, the fashion for feathered hair and heavy makeup on the models was a turn-off, and the cartoons and written content were in sharp decline. I apologetically declined the offer.
I interviewed at Playboy for a job on their web development team back in the early 2000s (didn't take it as the work was out in the burbs rather than at the headquarters near Mag Mile.)

Every single person I talked to there was a woman. Part of it may have been Christie Hefner's doing, but from what I understand, they had a very difficult time hiring men. I was asked if my wife would be OK with me working for Playboy, and they told me a lot of wives and girlfriends of potential hires objected.
  #55  
Old 03-20-2020, 01:52 PM
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Well, from what I understand, there was a Braille edition of Playboy, so someone really was reading it for the articles.
There was indeed. When I was volunteering with Recording for the Blind a braille edition came through, as a curiosity not to be recorded. We were joking that it used to have RLDs (raised line drawings) but they had to stop because the most interesting parts would get worn out.
  #56  
Old 03-20-2020, 02:37 PM
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"What sort of man reads Playboy?"

Remeber that page in the magainze? Always it was some dapper-suited dude with his peopre cigar and peoper car and proper ascot or whatever.

I thought that was unrealistic, so in college I took a short series of photos of my friends, with the same caption. Guys in their bathrobes with a beer and chew, with a handy spittoon on the floor, and Nagel prints on the wall. Much more accurate. Funny, PB never bought any of my photos....
  #57  
Old 03-21-2020, 02:51 PM
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Even back in the 80s, the image many people had of someone who was into Playboy and its related gear was basically Bloom County's Steve Dallas. Playboy once hired an image consultant agency about how the publication could increase its appeal among readers who weren't so intensely hedonistic and they responded with a short film about the dilemma faced by a young executive when his boss recommends he buy an issue of Playboy in order to read a relevant business article. At one point, there's an imagine-spot where the executive envisions himself looking like a lost Festrunk Brother when he goes up the counter to buy the magazine. Playboy responded to the film by politely declining any further consultation from the agency.
The Playboy Club opened it's Dallas franchise in '77 and a friend of mine had a membership. He invited me to the club a time or two for a drink and I remember that the clientele was most definitely not the sophisticated men-of-the-world type in accordance with the image presented in the mag (my friend included.) My prior image was that of people like Jean Shepherd, Ray Bradbury and Ian Fleming sitting around a table with ancient scotch being poured and engaging in deep, witty conversation. What was there instead were guys who looked like their next destination would be one of the nearby strip clubs.

The women working there definitely met the image presented by the magazine as they were conversational and rather nice looking. My shy, early 20's self definitely felt a bit intimidated.

Last edited by txjim; 03-21-2020 at 02:54 PM.
  #58  
Old 03-21-2020, 05:34 PM
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I thought it already had.

... and Penthouse Forum was some of the best fiction I've ever read.
Fiction? As I recall, every story began with something like "I can't believe this actually happened to me." You're telling me that was fiction? I'm crushed.
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  #59  
Old 03-21-2020, 05:53 PM
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Every single person I talked to there was a woman. Part of it may have been Christie Hefner's doing, but from what I understand, they had a very difficult time hiring men. I was asked if my wife would be OK with me working for Playboy, and they told me a lot of wives and girlfriends of potential hires objected.
I used to hang out with the prepress folks for Playboy (at trade shows back in the early 90s) and they were all women. They hardly ever met the models, but said that almost all of the photogs were self-absorbed assholes with delusions of grandeur. Then they would complain about the work involved involved in doing so much retouching to the photos to make them look "Playboy".
  #60  
Old 03-21-2020, 11:56 PM
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. . . and Penthouse Forum was some of the best fiction I've ever read.
But only because we aren't allowed to publish fiction like that here on the Dope.
  #61  
Old 03-22-2020, 12:08 AM
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Playboy was one of those institutions that was a huge deal when it served a need that few or no other outlets did, but then way overstayed its welcome. I've grumbled about how the fricking jokes never, never, never, ever change (to the point where simply discussing the contents of the magazine has become absolutely impossible), and now I believe that this, in a sense, encapsulates why this venerable company could never adapt to the times...it wasn't meant to. Seriously, go rewatch some of the videos or movies sometime and pay attention to the imagery, the style. Manual typewriters. Vintage muscle cars. Country houses. Gothic style mansions. Picket fences. Handwritten letters. Analog everything. Maybe it was a rigidly enforced policy, maybe it was a tradition that nobody dared defy, but there was a big push to keep things old-fashioned, classic, "timeless", and that's never going to be a formula for success in the age of smartphones and woke feminism and YouTube.

I'll probably miss the videos more than anything else. Yeah, yeah, the 90's and early 00's had tons of porn, but if you wanted skin...not gangbangs, not anal, not "cherry popping", and, most importantly, no disgusting semen spraying all over the goddam place, just beautiful women with no clothes on...Playboy was the way to go. There were other "softcore" companies (man, does the Internet ever use that word?) at the time, but none with the scope or variety of Playboy. If you were to ask me where the best places on the internet were for female casual nudity, I wouldn't have any idea how to answer.
  #62  
Old 03-22-2020, 03:07 AM
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Some of my favourite things about the rag were The Vargas Girls and (less so, but still dug) Leroy Neiman's stuff .
I've always liked Doug Sneyd myself.
  #63  
Old 03-22-2020, 04:07 AM
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Remember when Playboy got a network TV show trying to cash-on the success of Mad Men but their period 60s drama only got headlines due to some local TV stations also having 60s values and refusing to air "pornographic content" despite being tamer than an episode of Survivor?
  #64  
Old 03-22-2020, 05:08 AM
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How is a morality that lets you do what you like different from having no morality at all?
That's a really good question. I think the difference is, someone needs to poke the religious restrictions from time to time to see if they still serve a valid purpose. Does God seriously want us to eat fish on Friday? Or lock the liquor section of the store on Sunday? Or keep our daughters virgins until their wedding night? I don't want to make Playboy out to be more important than it was, but it sure did facilitate some awkward conversations that needed to be made.
  #65  
Old 03-22-2020, 11:16 AM
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Remember when Playboy got a network TV show trying to cash-on the success of Mad Men
Playboy served as a consultant (in a fairly minor role) but it was really a 20th Century Fox show trying to cash in on Mad Men. Much like the short lived Pam-Am show.
  #66  
Old 03-22-2020, 11:39 AM
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I have to admit this news is just a little sad.
I preferred Penthouse. It made me sad after Guccione died and the magazine decided to take a stand in favor of incels and right-wing extremists.
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  #67  
Old 03-22-2020, 11:58 AM
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Then they would complain about the work involved involved in doing so much retouching to the photos to make them look "Playboy".
Thank-you. I'm perplexed as to how that's not so incredibly off-putting - more so than any basic hardcore. (shrug)

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Originally Posted by Drum God View Post
Fiction? As I recall, every story began with something like "I can't believe this actually happened to me." You're telling me that was fiction? I'm crushed.
I'll wager that you were whooshed. At least I'll pray JAQ was sarcastic. Playboy, on the other hand, didn't fare too badly with contributors like, oh - Updike, Cheever, Joyce Carol Oates, Mailer, Shirely Jackson...

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I've always liked Doug Sneyd myself.
Ah, slipped my radar. (and just found out - a fellow Canuck!)

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I've grumbled about how the fricking jokes never, never, never, ever change...
::Go, memory banks, go!!!::

Recalling an unabridged dictionary definition mentioning the opposite of a 'quickie' as being a 'slow poke'.
  #68  
Old 03-22-2020, 12:22 PM
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The brand could absolutely be rebooted and bounce back. Don't overthink the existential gender-relations aspect of it, and forget about the nudity. Midcentury-modern aesthetics and "cocktail culture" are back in a big way. Mad Men helped bring this about, but there's also been a general rediscovery and appreciation for the way things looked back then, among my generation, people in their 30s. There's also growing interest in finely crafted consumer goods and vintage analog technology, especially stereo equipment and cameras. And God knows there's plenty of political and social commentary to go around.
Some few people are 'back in a big way' to the trappings of the past in an IRONIC way. Like playing dressup. Like when young boys (in the past of course). played Cowboys and Indians.....There are young girls like to wear bonnets and play store like they do in Little House On The Prairie. Plenty of young women like to play '50's dressup' with red lipstick, 50's girdles and full skirts, wearing aprons and cooking with vintage pyrex. Untold numbers of all kinds of people are enamored of Star Wars and Harry Potter stuff. It's fun, a little hobby, an escape from modern life.... Playing Mr. Suave, with an ascot, a martini, and lounge music is fun. But real life takes over, who are these Playboy wanna-bes who are buying finely crafted goods and collecting vintage technology? A few filthy rich snobbish frat boys living off their parents. Posers.

Last edited by salinqmind; 03-22-2020 at 12:23 PM.
  #69  
Old 03-22-2020, 12:35 PM
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...or that should be unabashed dictionary...

Weird seeing the Lennon i-view just after he was shot.
  #70  
Old 03-22-2020, 02:25 PM
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Plenty of young women like to play '50's dressup' with red lipstick, 50's girdles and full skirts, wearing aprons and cooking with vintage pyrex.
DO NOT badmouth vintage Pyrex. That shit's gold. The current versions are shit in comparison.
  #71  
Old 03-22-2020, 02:30 PM
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They were very 1950s in their outlook.
Porn, tasteful and otherwise, is free. No magazine, even the New Yorker, can attract advertisers with articles any more. Their interviews were good, and so was their fiction. But it's a dead market.
The New Yorker, AFAIK, is doing OK or at least holding its own. I think this is a combination of consistent high quality writing and reporting and the lack of very much serious competition, other than the Atlantic and perhaps some of the New York Times offshoot magazines. They have, however, toughened their soft paywall, which means they either want more money or need more money to stay afloat.

But Playboy was mired in a bygone era whose time has come and gone. The best I can say for it is that Heffner really did make a largely successful effort to attract some really good writers and interviewees, in part I think by paying very generously.
  #72  
Old 03-22-2020, 03:38 PM
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Circa five decades ago in San Francisco the first MrsRico and I (long story) attended gatherings of youngish adults in a nearby Methodist church where books, music, films, and the latest issue of PLAYBOY were discussed. PB was that vanilla even then. It was quite irrelevant not much later. Ian Shoales (I GOTTA GO) dismissed PB in 1983.
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Playboy likes to think it appeals to men who like to think they're hip and attractive, but hip and attractive men don't spend their free time gawking at gauzy pictures of naked women. Hip and attractive men gawk at gauzy pictures of men's clothing and stereo component systems.

Playboy gives us the squarest of music tips, excerpts from the most boring best-sellers, stupid cartoons, and tips on the new electronics that are roughly six months out of date.
But the nekkid wimmens! Airbrushed, shooped, denatured into innocence. Sure, there was all that great literature, the fine interviews, the music polls, the... nekkid wimmens! All that remains is a stack of old centerfolds stuffed in a manila folder. Time marches on.
  #73  
Old 03-23-2020, 08:24 PM
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I'll wager that you were whooshed. At least I'll pray JAQ was sarcastic. Playboy, on the other hand, didn't fare too badly with contributors like, oh - Updike, Cheever, Joyce Carol Oates, Mailer, Shirely Jackson...
NO, I mean Penthouse Forum was all made up. Just like pro rasslin'.

Even though every one started with "I never used to believe forum letters, until ONE DAY..." they still aren't true.

Like the guy, who is probably a best selling novelist now, who wrote a gem of a tale about having immoral congress with the chicken he was preparing for a get together, and how everyone complemented him on the unique flavor of his stuffing. Well written, but somehow I don't believe it was true.

Last edited by Just Asking Questions; 03-23-2020 at 08:27 PM.
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