THE PLAYBOY FAQ

The First Issue

When did the first issue of Playboy appear?
Where did the name Playboy come from?
Why is there no date on the cover?
How many copies did the first issue sell?
Why did it sell so well?
What else did the issue contain?
What did Hefner tell his new readers to expect from Playboy?
Why doesn't Hef's name appear in the issue?

When did the first issue of Playboy appear?
Our first issue hit newsstands in December 1953. Seventy thousand copies were printed.
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Where did the name Playboy come from?
It was suggested by a friend after the original name Hugh Hefner had chosen, Stag Party, was challenged as a trademark infringement by Stag magazine. Hef asked artist Arv Miller to change his dapper buck mascot into a rabbit.
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Why is there no date on the cover?
Hef had so little money, he wasn't sure there would ever be a second issue.
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How many copies did the first issue sell?
At 50 cents each, Hef sold 54,175 copies of his first, 44-page issue of Playboy, a phenomenal return for a new magazine that had little advance publicity.
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Why did it sell so well?
Largely because of its Centerfold -- a nude shot of Marilyn Monroe that Hef purchased from a local calendar printer.
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What else did the issue contain?
A Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an article on the Dorsey brothers and a feature on desk design for the modern office, "Gentlemen, Be Seated." Hef wrote much of the copy himself and drew all the cartoons.
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What did Hefner tell readers of his first issue to expect from Playboy?
On the issue's first page, Hef wrote:

If you're a man between the ages of 18 and 80, Playboy is meant for you. If you like your entertainment served up with humor, sophistication and spice, Playboy will become a very special favorite.

We want to make it clear from the very start, we aren't a "family magazine." If you're somebody's sister, wife or mother-in-law and picked us up by mistake, please pass us along to the man in your life and get back to your Ladies Home Companion.

Within the pages of Playboy you will find articles, fiction, picture stories, cartoons, humor and special features culled from many sources, past and present, to form a pleasure-primer styled to the masculine taste.

Most of today's "magazines for men" spend all their time out-of-doors -- thrashing through thorny thickets or splashing about in fast-flowing streams. We'll be out there too, occasionally, but we don't mind telling you in advance -- we plan on spending most of our time inside. We like our apartment. We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d'oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.

We believe too, that we are filling a publishing need only slightly less important than the one just taken care of by the Kinsey Report. The magazines now being produced for the city-bred male (there are two -- count 'em -- two of them) have, of late, placed so much emphasis on fashion, travel and "how-to-do-it" features on everything from avoiding a hernia to building your own steam bath, that entertainment has been all but pushed from their pages. Playboy will emphasize entertainment.
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Why doesn't Hef's name appear in the issue?
If the magazine failed, he felt it would be easier to find another job in the industry. The second issue and every one thereafter has contained his name.
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