(PCM) The iconic Playboy bunny symbol is without a doubt one of the most recognized brand logos throughout the history of pop culture. The magazine was started by Hugh Hefner back in December of 1953 and the very first issue is actually undated because they were not sure if there would even be another copy printed at the time.
The first issue of Playboy Magazine ended up being fairly successful and ended up selling over 50,000 copies when it went to print with the price being only 50 cents. The first issue featured a fully nude spread of actress/model Marilyn Monroe that was snagged from her 1949 calendar shoot. It also featured a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The first issue of Playboy only contained 44 pages and Playboy was actually not the original name for the publication. Hefner originally called the magazine Stag Party, and instead of a bunny the logo was actually a buck. Hefner changed the name to Playboy at a friend’s suggestion after the name Stag Party was challenged in a trademark infringe.
That was probably the best thing that could have happened for the magazine! The infamous Playboy rabbit logo that everyone recognizes has appeared on every cover since the second edition which was published in January 1954. The very first Playboy centerfold did not make an appearance until the March 1956 issue when Marian Stafford posed for the photo shoot.
Actress Pamela Anderson has been featured on Playboy’s cover more than any other model, appearing 10 times between October 1989 and July 2001. While it has been mostly women featured on the cover of Playboy, several men have appeared on the cover over the years including Peter Sellers in April 1964, Burt Reynolds in October 1979, Steve Martin in January 1980, Donald Trump in March 1990, Dan Aykroyd in August 1993, Jerry Seinfeld in October 1993, Leslie Nielsen in February 1996, Gene Simmons in March of 1999, Seth Rogen in April of 2009 and Bruno Mars in March of 2012.
Playboy even managed to make James Bond famous! Spy author Ian Fleming’s Bond character was introduced in a short story he wrote for Playboy’s March 1960 issue. Playboy also featured the first cartoon character on their magazine cover with Marge Simpson in November of 2009. Hefner also made a guest appearance on “The Simpsons” back in 1993 when he guest-voiced himself on the episode titled “Krusty Gets Kancelled”. He also guest starred as himself in a 2006 episode of Seth Green’s “Robot Chicken” which aired on the mature cartoon network Adult Swim.
Playboy launched into the merchandising business in 1956, when it began selling cufflinks shaped like a rabbit’s head which first appeared on a magazine cover. Playboy opened the first of its famed Playboy Clubs – staffed by bunny-costumed hostesses – in Chicago in 1960 and closed the last ones amid a severe economic downturn in 1986, when Hefner called the bunnies “a thing of the past.” As of the December 2003 issue, 602 the women have been called “Playmates” rather than “Bunnies”.
Hefner was known to have many girlfriends, many of whom resided at the luxurious Playboy Mansion located in Beverly Hills, California. The girls who resided in the mansion were expected to follow certain rules which included absolutely no drug use and a curfew of being home by 9pm unless they were out with Hefner himself of course. The mansion was actually put up on the real estate market back in 2016 for the price of $200 million, but the buyer had to follow the condition that Hefner would still be allowed to reside and work there.
For some fun trivia, it is rumored that Hefner owned over 100 pairs of his signature silk pajamas and drank up to 36 bottles of Pepsi per day and musician John Lennon was almost banned from the mansion after he drunkenly stamped out a cigarette on a Matisse painting.
In 1982, Hefner’s daughter Christie took over as president of Playboy Enterprises Incorporated, although she has since stepped down from the position. There are 18 international editions of Playboy around the world, with the magazines printed in Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain and Taiwan.
In 1992, Hugh Hefner purchased the plot next to Marilyn Monroe’s grave in Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery for the amount of $75,000. The Playboy brand continues to thrive to this very day despite the death of the creator Hugh Hefner who sadly passed away due to natural causes at the age of 91 on September 27, 2017 and was buried in the purchased plot right next to his beloved Marilyn Monroe.