The glamour and glitz of the Playboy lifestyle is traveling across the American landscape and coming to a club venue near you. Playboy Magazine is celebrating 50 years of white cotton bunny tails, floppy rabbit ears, satin sheets, silk robes, eye candy centerfolds, and of course, the darling Femlin. The rabbit head silhouette immediately identifies the Playboy brand.
Playboy as a revolutionary concept has morphed from a groundbreaking magazine originating in Chicago, to Playboy Enterprises, a globally recognized logo and marketing bonanza that presents the world's most alluring women on the planet in vivid color. Both the Playboy Playmate and the Playboy Bunny are mythical models of female perfection that all young red-blooded adolescent males dream of.
Hugh Marston Hefner was born in Chicago, Illinois, on April 9, 1926. A species of rabbit was named specifically in his honor; Sylvilagus palustris hefneri. Hef was the first magazine publisher to become a major celebrity in his own right. His trademark robe and pipe have made him a living legend.
Playboy has weathered the shifting social climate of America for five pioneering decades. The iconoclastic American model of femininity, Marilyn Monroe, appeared nude as the first "Sweetheart of the Month" in the inaugural issue of Playboy, published in December 1953.
Just do the math alone: 605 monthly Playmates have graced the centerfold of Playboy (no more staples!); 50 incredibly beautiful women were selected as an annual Playboy Playmate of the Year; and only 10 extraordinary females have been chosen Anniversary edition Playboy Playmates. Every individual smile is both priceless and precious.
Memories, Mammories & Memorablia
The Anniversary Club Tour set up camp at the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Saturday, April 17, 2004. The Playmate agents, totaling a Baker's Dozen of gorgeous girls, were positioned to meet and greet the throng of magazine fans at designated stations. The Club Tour is blitzing 50 American cities, featuring a bevy of bodacious beauties on hand.
V.I.P. attendants received an exclusive Playboy Club Tour gift bag full of Golden Anniversary goodies. Each V.I.P. was given a current copy of Playboy's April 2004 issue, a V.I.P. 50th Anniversary Laminate Pass, promotional items, and several alcoholic beverage vouchers. These V.I.P. guests were granted private access into the world of Playboy-on-wheels one hour early before the doors were opened for general admission.
This catered crowd enjoyed easy-access photo opts that offered one-on-one interaction with the collection of Playmates present. The V.I.P. Anniversary Laminate pass surpassed the standard Club Tour badge distributed afterwards.
The Xanadu Showroom was enshrined like a Playboy museum bursting with Playboy artifacts, collages of cover shots, centerfold images, Playboy Slot machines, and a Playboy Pinball table. Hugh Hefner's personal round bed was on display, which mesmerized Club Tour guests and motivated them to pose and pounce on the circular mattress for photographs.
Primarily young men swarmed around the Playmates, jostling for autographs and photographs with the luscious ladies. The Centerfolds girls posed, signed, and looked like knockouts just standing still. The women were smothered with unrelenting attention from their male admirers. A Playboy merchandise booth offered all kinds of Anniversary memorabilia for sale to collectors.
D.J. Shortee welcomed everyone to the Playboy Club Tour. She worked a turntable, flanked by a series of rotating dual Go-Go girls dancing energetically to the beat of the driving music. Later into the event, the D.J. diva was spinning tracks for the assembled crowd on the dance floor.
The entertainment of the evening was the international burlesque star Dita Von Teese, who appeared twice before the audience. Dyed blonde and dolled up to resemble the late Marilyn Monroe, Von Teese pranced, puckered, and paraded on a tiny stage dwarfed by an excessive cigarette promo. Her seductive performance was reminiscent of the forgotten, tasteful striptease artists from a half-century ago.
Von Teese flaunted two huge feathers and a lengthy boa during her stimulating vaudeville presentation and sensual burlesque choreography. D.J. Shortee introduced her second crowd-pleasing appearance. All of the Playmates gathered together on stage to celebrate Playboy's Golden Anniversary with a humongous Champagne Glass toast, highlighting guest of honor Dita Von Teese.
The Girl Next Door and more
The sophistication and playground of pleasure that represented the Playboy Club atmosphere, debuted in 1960. The 2004 Club Tour exemplifies a luxurious adult touring carnival, enhanced with stunning Playboy Playmates, Bunnies, Cyber Girls, exquisite models, and gyrating Go-Go girls. The marvelously vivacious Playmates paraded throughout the Xanadu Showroom during the after-hours affair.
A V.I.P. section adorned with red carpeting was situated along the raised rear level of the venue. Couples, groups, and individual minglers all partied together in a rave-up environment. Atlantic City was only the 25th city on the Club Tour. Playboy's Girl-next-door attitude was an inviting welcome to the men and women who attended the birthday bash.
The Playmates were done up in a rainbow of colorful Bunny outfits complete with a bushy white bunny tail and floppy rabbit ears. A smiling Centerfold is charming, alarming, and disarming all at once! Thirteen Playboy Playmates acted as hostesses of the evening merriment.
1995 Playmate of the Year, Julie Cialini, was the single bunny babe to hold that special title among the wonderful women assembled in Atlantic City. Her stellar Playmate pictorial issue, originally published in February 1994, also featured an interview with Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Who guitarist Pete Townshend.
Have Centerfold, Will Travel
Each Playmate had her own personally engaging tale about how she became a centerfold model in Playboy Magazine. Colleen Marie (Aug 2003) is a veterinarian who was born in the same month she appeared as a Playmate. Her centerfold stint empowered her to pay off her student loans and travel.
Marketa Janska (July 2003) is a foreign beauty born in the Chezc Republic. She auditioned for Playboy to land her centerfold. "I moved here to sing as a musician, seeking citizenship", Janska mentioned. She is in pursuit of a recording contract, promoting her performance demo.
Lana Todd (Dec 2002) had done a shoot similar to the rose petal scene in "American Beauty". She was passionate about her participation, "It's such a big part of Americana. It's amazing to me to be involved in the Anniversary". Playboy totally changed Todd's life; "I've traveled places that I would have never seen".
Miriam Gonzales' (March 2001) ex-boyfriend sent in her pictures. She said, "Playboy promos keep me really busy. It's pretty special. It's given me opportunities meeting people and traveling around, being a part of He's world". Gonzales continued, "You stay at the house in Los Angeles when you are shooting. Hef has the final say", on selecting the Playmate of the Month.
Cara Wakelin (Nov 1999) auditioned for Playboy when the Millennium Tour visited Toronto. "Bringing the Club Tour lets the average person experience the party of a lifetime", she enthused. She also confirmed, "I've been able to travel a lot and meet great people".
Julie Cialini's (Feb 1994 & POTY 1995) pix were submitted by a swimwear company. Becoming Playmate of the Year, "Is a special honor. I was very happy. I told my Mom. I think it's a very classy magazine". Cialini gets recognized by her fans and revealed, "It's all very good".
Ava Fabian (Aug 1986) loves her body, affirming, "I'm proud to show it, and I'm proud to be a woman in Playboy". She went on to say, "Playboy made my life, I am who I am because of that". Fabian naturally traveled all over the world and is about to launch her second restaurant in Los Angeles.
In between the pages of Playboy Magazine appear some of the most astonishingly magnificent female creatures known to roam the Earth. Hugh M. Hefner has spent his lifetime indulging the fantasies and desires of men the world over since 1953. He single-handedly upgraded the average Girl-next-door into a woman of intelligence, elegance, and influence.
What sort of Man reads Playboy?
If one didn't know any better, anyone attending the Atlantic City Club Tour party could have mistaken Tim Cahill and Joe DiStasio as Playboy Ambassadors. The two glad-handed the crowd, distributing homemade Playboy slogan lapel stickers promoting the Anniversary celebration. The two of them looked like terrific twins in their Hef-inspired fire-red robes complimented by wooden pipes.
Media photographers and ticketed guests alike were snapping pictures of this dynamic duo as they posed with playful Playmates. The two pupils, schooled in the Playboy philosophy, were good-naturedly gregarious, interacting with the crowd and having a ball.
Four recent United States Naval Academy graduates bought their tickets in advance and drove down from Elizabeth, New Jersey, to enjoy the Anniversary festivities. Stationed aboard the U.S.S. New Jersey, the four Ensigns all graduated together in the Class of 2003. They had eagerly anticipated coming to Playboy's birthday party.
Philadelphian, Lou Frigo, commented, "I'm here to see what it's like - the Playboy Party. Hugh Hefner is like a milestone, like The Beatles". Now 56, he had served in the Viet Nam conflict and recalls Playboy was big in the service with the soldiers, although he never collected the magazine himself. Frigo mingled with a few Playmates and got a souvenir signed as a memento.
A Starlet is Reborn!
Selina Hower, an eye-catching 22-year-old model, attracted attention on the dance floor. She was attending the Club Tour soiree as a guest of Playboy Magazine, driving out to the New Jersey coastline from her hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. Hower's photographer had submitted modeling shots of her to Playboy for consideration as a future Playmate.
"Playboy invited me to this event", she said, flashing her captivating smile. Asked why she actively auditioned for Playboy Magazine, she responded, "It's prestigious. I'd rather be a Playmate than a Pet". Her traveling companion, Jamie, won $1,300 gaming at the Trump Taj Mahal slots.
Another young woman partying among the Xanadu revelers was Laura Linder, who turned 24 at the stroke of midnight. Several small clusters of Hooter Girls were circulating throughout the audience, manufacturing their own magnetic appeal among the young men.
I wish I were in the Land of Cottontail
Bill McCaffrey, a Maryland resident now 69, reminisced about the departed Playboy Club located on Light Street in Baltimore City during the late 1960s and early 1970s. He noted his personal Playboy Club Key and Club Card that came with his Club membership had long since gone missing.
"It was a great place, great entertainment, and great drink. And a lot of good looking women dressed up as bunnies", McCaffrey stated. He added enthusiastically, "You'd think it was Easter in the dead of winter. I love the Playboy Club. It was a shame the Baltimore franchise went out of business".
On one occasion, McCaffrey remembered taking pro-football player Dale Hackbart, who was in town to play the Baltimore Colts, as his guest to see Billy Eckstein perform on stage at the Baltimore Playboy Club. Hackbart spent 13 years in the N.F.L., playing for the Washington Redskins, the Minnesota Vikings, the Saint Louis Cardinals, and the Denver Broncos.
My favorite personal Hugh Hefner memory is when he appeared on television as the guest host on Saturday Night Live in October 1977, with the original Not-Ready-for-Primetime Players cast. Hef sang the classic Perry Como ballad, "Thank Heaven For Little Girls". Jane Curtain, Loraine Newman, and the late Gilda Radner posed, donning bunny costumes for a chuckle with Hef.
Karen Elaine Morton - her name makes my heart skip and my attention percolate with exhilaration. Karen is a former Playboy Playmate of the Month, appearing in the July 1978 edition. Her centerfold was the first copy of Playboy I purchased as an under-aged minor! John Lennon's Playboy Magazine interview in the January 1981 edition is another genuinely memorable issue for me.
Playboy has withstood the test of time, tolerance, and taste. Five decades is an impressive track record for any magazine publication. Hef changed the prevailing attitudes in America with a magazine dedicated to the eternal, natural beauty of women. Playboy has launched successful careers for many of the women who have graced its pages as centerfold models. Thank Hef for little girls!
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with a Dozen Playmates
Playboy's Anniversary Club Tour strikes the jackpot
by Timothy Tilghman