Bought my first copy of Playboy magazine in 1963. It was, for a 14-year-old boy back then, an eye-opener.
The Playmate of the Month in that first issue was Victoria Valentino, who is now 73 and is one of the women who have publicly accused Bill Cosby of drugging and raping here in 1970 at the Playboy Mansion.
Subscribed over the years, even took photos of some young ladies while living in the St. Louis area who wanted to be considered as Playmate of the Month. Interviewed and photographed Patty McGuire of St. Louis who was Playmate of the Month, the Playmate of the Year for 1976 and who is now married to retired tennis star Jimmy Conners.
With Playboy getting out of the business of publishing photos of women completely nude, I brought my last copy in January of this year of the magazine of what becomes a no-nude publication with the March 2016 issue. It featured Pamela Anderson on the cover and Kristy Garett as the last nude Playmate.
Hugh Hefner used a recycled nude calendar photo of Marilyn Monroe as his first Playmate of the Month in 1953. It would take sixty three years and a lot of photos of breasts, backsides and more “private areas” before publishing the last nude in the magazine he still runs at age 89.
The mostly covered nude photos of Victoria Valentine might have been considered risque when published in 1963 but you see more on network TV nowadays. Not so for Kristy Garett but what she shows in the last “nude” issue of Playboy is not close to the raunchiness one finds on the Internet.
Some teenage boys at Floyd County High School probably have more revealing photos of their girlfriends on their cellphones and/or laptops.
“It’s no big deal,” a teenager in Floyd told me recently after she admitted her boyfriend has a photos “that show a few things” her parents wouldn’t approve of on his smartphone.
Hefner says he accepted a recommendation from his editors to do away with nudity because it is too “mainstream” nowadays for a magazine that used to be hidden in homes of subscribers and feels that it needs to explore “new areas of life, culture and society.”
I kept my first copies of Playboy in a box in the trunk of my ’57 Ford when I was in high school and lived at home. I did put them on the coffee table of my first apartment on Grandin Road in Roanoke and other abodes when I worked at the Roanoke Times from 1965-69.
I stopped subscribing to Playboy in 1969 but purchased a copy from time to time when it featured an article or pictorial of interest. A copy purchased in September 1997 features a short item about a article on my political news web site, Capitol Hill Blue. Now, got the first time in nearly 20 years, I’ve bought the copies of the last issue of the edition with nude photos and the one that starts the new era with “no nudes.” They will be kept as items of interest.
Why? For the same reason we have front pages of newspapers from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, of the St. Louis Rams winning the Super Bowl 39, Washington Redskins victories in Super Bowls and Neil Armstong’s first steps on the moon in 1969. For the same reasons we have copies of the last issue of the Chicago Daily News, the Washington Star and other publications. They are part of history.