Looking Back: 63 Years of Playboy

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This December marks the 63rd anniversary of the first issue of Playboy.

The first issue shipped in 1953 and sported a Marilyn Monroe cover with nude photos of the actress inside. That original issue wasn't even dated because the magazine's creator, Hugh Hefner wasn't sure it would get a second issue.

However, the first run of under 54,000 issues sold out quickly and the magazine took off.

By the 1960s, Playboy was deep-rooted in American culture. There was the magazine itself in addition to the famous Playboy clubs, the Bunnies, the television show Playboy After Dark, and Hugh Hefner as the unofficial figurehead of the swinging '60s.

Fast forward to 2016 and not only is Playboy still around, but the infamous bunny logo is still as famous as it ever was. But it wasn't all because of the sensual photos.

Even though the joke “I only read it for the articles” has been around as long as the publication, the importance of the writing featured in Playboy can't be understated.

Some of the 20th century's most important writers were featured in the publication. From Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" serialized between March and May of 1954 to pieces by Roald Dahl, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, and interviews with John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr. and a litany of others, the quality of the writing in Playboy was ground-breaking.

Of course the magazine's history with nudity can't be ignored. In the early years, Playboy was considered by many to be progressive and positive, however it also been seen as misogynistic and anti-feminist.

What can't be ignored is how the women who have posed in the magazine have defended it. Stars like Madonna, Olivia Munn, and Pamela Anderson are all unapologetic for their contributions to the publication.

At the beginning of 2016, Playboy actually changed the magazine to get rid of nudity and the raunchy comics to make more room for articles and focus on broadening their audience to the same people who read Maxim and GQ.

The future of playboy is unclear after significant losses forcing them to even put the historic Playboy mansion up for sale. However, with Hugh Hefner's youngest son Cooper as the new face of the company, a fresh take on the magazine--and the company--might help Playboy stay relevant in these changing times.

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