Our History

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    1953

    Hugh Hefner incorporates HMH Publishing Co., Inc. in Delaware on October 1, 1953, and publishes Playboy Magazine in December 1953. The first issue features Marilyn Monroe on the cover, and sells more than 50,000 copies.

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    1953

    Playboy’s first art director, Art Paul, reportedly designs the Playboy logo in about 10 minutes. Today, it is one of the most recognized trademarks in the world.

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    1955

    After almost two years of struggle with the often-censorious Post Office, Hugh Hefner takes them to court and successfully wins second-class mailing privileges.

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    1955

    The company begins marketing cufflinks, the first of many licensed products that help the Rabbit head logo become one of the world’s most recognized symbols.

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    1956

    The Playmate feature is expanded from a double-page spread to a triple-page centerfold. Opening up the pinup picture in the center of the magazine becomes a familiar ritual referenced in popular culture, and the term “centerfold” enters the language as a generic term for pinup photography.

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    1959

    Hugh Hefner hosts Playboy’s Penthouse, the company’s first foray into television. A variety show set in a bachelor pad, Playboy’s Penthouse runs for two seasons and features such cultural icons as Ella Fitzgerald, Carl Sandburg and Lenny Bruce.

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    1959

    The first Playboy Jazz Festival sells out Chicago Stadium and includes performances by jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.

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    1959

    Hugh Hefner purchases the Playboy Mansion at 1340 North State Parkway on Chicago’s Gold Coast, and begins living the good life reflected in his magazine.

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    1960

    The world is introduced to James Bond, the fictional super spy in British writer and former intelligence agent Ian Fleming’s The Hildebrand Rarity.

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    1960

    The Playboy Club and the Playboy Bunny are born. Selling “keyholder” memberships for $25 and charging $1.50 for drinks, cigarettes and meals, the first Playboy Club in Chicago is an instant hit.

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    1961

    Hugh Hefner and a bevy of Bunnies fly on a press junket from Hollywood to Jamaica, an event dubbed the “Big Bunny Hop.”

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    1961

    The first issue of VIP, the magazine for Club keyholders, debuts.

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    1962

    The “Playboy Interview” is born, commencing with jazz musician Miles Davis.

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    1962

    Playboy introduces the Playboy Philosophy, written by Hugh Hefner in 25 installments in response to criticism of the magazine’s principles. The Playboy Foundation is established as the activist arms of the Playboy Philosophy.

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    1966

    Playboy Clubs reach overseas to London with a club and casino that attracts 20,000 keyholders before its official opening; it rapidly becomes the most successful operation of its kind in Great Britain.

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    1968

    Shooting begins on a new television series, “Playboy After Dark.” Similar in format to “Playboy’s Penthouse,” the show features performances by such musical greats as Sonny and Cher, James Brown and Marvin Gaye.

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    1969

    The Big Bunny, Playboy’s extravagant jet, is delivered to Playboy Enterprises. Playboy Productions, a new motion picture and television division of the company, opens in Los Angeles.

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    1971

    Playboy purchases Playboy Mansion West in Los Angeles’ Holmby Hills. Hugh Hefner travels back and forth between Chicago and Los Angeles until the mid-70’s, at which point he makes Los Angeles his home.

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    1971

    Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PLA) goes public with listings on the New York and Pacific Stock exchanges.

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    1972

    Playboy launches its first foreign edition in Germany. Today, there are 29 editions of Playboy published in more than 50 countries.

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    1972

    Playboy formalizes its international product licensing business, signing an agreement to distribute Playboy products throughout Japan. Playboy’s November 1972 issue sells over 7.16 million copies, making it the biggest selling issue of Playboy ever.

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    1976

    Membership in the Playboy Clubs reaches an all-time high of 230,000 keyholders.

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    1979

    As part of Playboy’s 25th Anniversary, Christie Hefner founds the Playboy Foundation’s Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for Americans.

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    1982

    Playboy launches a national pay cable television service.

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    1988

    Christie Hefner becomes Chairman of the Board and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. Hugh Hefner remains Editor-in-Chief of Playboy Magazine and Chairman Emeritus of the corporation.

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    1994

    Playboy TV expands to 24-hour programming. Playboy becomes the first national magazine to launch its own website, and Playboy.com rapidly becomes a leading entertainment and lifestyle destination for men online.

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    1999

    Playboy Fashion makes its global debut spreading its fun-loving style across the world.

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    2002

    Playboy Fashion debuts in Asia with its first free-standing boutique. The boutique’s success prompts Playboy to continue opening stores throughout the world.

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    2003

    Playboy’s 50th Anniversary celebration includes a special collectors’ issue of the magazine, release of limited-edition Playboy products, and lavish, exclusive parties at the Mansion and New York Armory as well as public parties nationwide.

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    2005

    The Girls Next Door launches on E!

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    2009

    Scott Flanders becomes CEO of PEI. Hugh Hefner continues as the Editor-in-Chief and the Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Magazine.

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    2010

    Playboy Club Cancun opens. Playboy celebrates its 50th Anniversary of the Playboy Bunny and the Playboy Club with 50 parties in 50 cities around the world, all in one night.

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    2011

    Playboy Club returns to London. Playboy is taken private.

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    2012

    Playboy reopens its global headquarters in Beverly Hills, California.

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    2014

    Playboy celebrates its 60th Anniversary.