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Posted Nov 12, 2009 in Arts | 0 Comments

Playboy’s Peep Show

Playboy

Cads of the world, breathe a collective sigh.

For once in his career, Hugh Hefner has proclaimed, “in with the old, out with the new!” as Playboy, in a slew of viral goings-on for its 55th anniversary, has granted free access to an online archive of over 50 of the magazine’s classic issues in high def over at CovertoCover.

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Spanning from 1954 to 2006, the compendium follows the highlights of Hef’s storied career, from the top-baring-only ’50s through to the fake-titted ’80s and into the brave new world of the 2000s with the WWE’s Chyna (shudder to think she was one of their topsellers). The archive comes replete with Playboy’s historical advertisements, editorials, and articles (for those who actually read Playboy for the articles). But, if you’re looking to head straight to the good stuff, skip forward to the ’60s centerfolds. It’s like Joan Harris slipped out of her blouse and pencil skirt; in other words, it’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of. Not coincidentally, then, this promotion bears a striking similarity to Playboy’s ’60s throwback promotion for the season three premiere of Mad Men, in which they unveiled their entire catalogue from the 1960s online.

While Playboy’s calling this just one part of their 55th birthday partypartyparty, others are billing it as an effort to churn up a little interest in the magazine and keep it from folding. Lord knows that large publications are having trouble keeping afloat these days and it would seem that even Playboy isn’t spared. In recent weeks, the mag has reportedly cut its rate base from 2.6 to 1.5 million, a nearly 40% drop. Apparently, you can’t even peddle that shit with nude cartoon characters. I mean, really, what more could pervs want?

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As the above photos attest, the archive is also rich with Sterling Cooper-esque advertisements. Skim through the ’50s and ’60s collections for the cream of the crop.

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All told, the compendium displays what an integral part Playboy has been in shaping our cultural sexual consciousness. Really, though, it’s always been about the girls and, in that regard, the collection proves that nostalgia can be a strong aphrodisiac.

Cheers, Playboy, and here’s to another 55 years!

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