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Playboy's Silver Anniversary Issue: January 1979

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9/21/06 - Life magazine November 29, 1963 - premiere of Magazine of the Week

9/28/06 - Sports Illustrated November 28, 1983 - Michael Jordan's 1st cover

10/12/06 - Verve, Paris, December, 1937 - Matisse and the world of art

MAGAZINE OF THE WEEK

17 reasons to love this classic of the men's magazine genre. by Rick Gagliano - 10/26/06.

Playboy January 1979 25th Anniversary issue Collectors have their whims, curiosities and idiosyncrasies, but most will agree that certain items either make or break a collection. In the world of Playboy magazines, I've found a number of issues - about 6 of them - that I call "classic": combining great composition, art, writing, features and thus, collectibility.

Playboy's Silver Anniversary issue of January 1979 is one of those classics. I'll dispense with the rhetoric and simply offer the list of features which make this a "must have" for any serious Playboy collector:

  1. It's the 25th Anniversary (silver) issue, obviously, a collector's item.
  2. The cover has a clean, three color (red, black, silver) design featuring an updated, embossed version of the original Playboy Bunny logo by original art designer, Art Paul.
  3. Page 3 is a message from the founder, Hugh M. Hefner; pages 81-92 offer excepts from Hefner's 25-installments of "The Playboy Philosophy" which began in the December 1962 issue and rambled on for years. Though Hef was a frequent contributor in the early years, his insights have been poignant and prescient and as he matured (and wrote much less) in many instances will prove timeless.
  4. Playmate Candy Loving, the end result of a year-long, nation-wide search, proved to be one of the most popular playmates ever.
  5. The issue is enormous: 410 pages, one of the largest Playboy magazines ever published.
  6. The feature, "The Illustrated History of Playboy" (pp. 263-282) offers a delightful overview of the publications roots, finest moments and some of the most memorable features.
  7. Inside the aforementioned feature (pp. 273-280) is an eight-page fold-out with thumbnails of every cover from the first 25 years on one side and every playmate on the other. The playmates are handily indexed on the following two pages.
  8. The interview with Marlon Brando, by Lawrence Grobel, is compelling and was conducted on Brando's private atoll of islands, Tetiaroa, extending north of Tahiti. The lengthy interview is one glimpse of very few with Brando, an intensely private person.
  9. The pictorial, "25 Beautiful Years" is adorned with some of the most intensely beautiful women of the 20th century: actresses Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, June Wilkinson, Anita Eckberg, Ursula Andress, Kim Novak, Catherine Deneuve, Elke Sommer, Brigitte Bardot, and playmates Janet Pilgrim, Jo Collins, Christa Speck, Barbi Benton, Patti McGuire, Liv Lindeland and Debra Jo Fondren.
  10. Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke. Two of the greatest science fiction writers have separate features in the magazine. Bradbury penned an essay, "Beyond 1984," while Clarke offered the first installment of new fiction, "The Fountains of Paradise."
  11. Gore Vidal wrote a enlightening essay, "Sex is Politics" which is as true today as it was then.

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  13. The mistress novelist of the night, Anne Rice, narrates a pictorial, "Interlude With the Undead," with provocative photos by Phillip Dixon.
  14. None other than George Hamilton is the focus of the fashion pages, suitably attired in tux and bow tie.
  15. The Symposium, "Has Women's Lib Created a New Man?" by Robert Kerwin is an exposition of 17 women on the movement, including revealing lines from Zsa Zsa Gabor, Marie Osmond, Phyllis Diller, Bianca Jagger, Eileen Ford and others, but none so amusing as the one line by famed Barbary Coast topless dancer, Carol Doda, who lamented, "I'm tired of being the aggressor."
  16. Fiction by John Updike, "Gesturing."
  17. Fiction by Tom Robbins, "The Purpose of the Moon" may be one of the best works of short fiction from the seventies.
  18. Little Annie Fannie takes to the ski slopes... almost.

As usual, there's much more to like about this issue, from Rupert Murdoch's Page 3 Girls of London's Sun newspaper in Playboy's Roving Eye, to odd couples John Travolta and Marisa Berenson, and would you believe NY Mayor Ed Koch on stage with Dolly Parton?, or, David Steinberg's Guide to Disco Etiquette. Bill Cosby, David Halberstam, Judith Wax, Sydney Omarr and Shel Silverstein also contributed to the issue.

Amazingly, though the January 1979 issue of Playboy has been with us for more than another 25 years, solid copies of this edition can still be had for as little as $10, and if you're good or lucky or both, even less. This particular issue is one of my Top 50 Playboy magazines to own.

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