Monday, October 2, 2017

Playboy 1955

I started downloading old Playboys and coincidentally, we lost Hugh Hefner this week. There have been pros and cons about him, ranging from total monster to progressive crusader. My opinion is neither. He was contradictory. To readers a woman wasn't a partner but a commodity like a car or stereo. At the same time he was a champion of civil rights and great patron of the arts. Though he did write in favor of abortion and birth control, it may have been more for his convenience than anything else. Regardless of what he was, the magazine he published was for only 50% of the population. The whole Playboy lifestyle was somewhat anachronistic, the way life was supposed to be for men fifty years ago, to be like a frat boy but with manners. But to paraphrase a cliché from the magazine's heyday, I only read it for the cartoons. And as an aspiring cartoonist himself, Hefner sought out what he deemed were the best and I've been skimming through them in my spare time.

From July 1955. Jack Cole was one of his main artists early on.
February 1955
In their early days, at least half of what they published was reprints, like these drawings by John Held Jr. in August 1955.
More Cole in January 1956

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