Playboy goes retro, slashes price to 60 cents

Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:12am EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It was among the most exciting periods of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's life, so what could be better in a bad economy than to retrace the 1960s' good times and give readers a break on the price of his magazine?

Hefner is slashing the cost of Playboy's October issue, which hits newsstands this Friday, to 60 cents. His editors have styled the men's magazine with retro look matching 1961, when the first Playboy Club was founded, and linked it to the debut of TV show "The Playboy Club" by putting star Laura Benanti on the cover -- and inside the pages.

"It's hard to put into words the fact that, obviously, everything changed for me in that time frame," Hefner told Reuters. And that statement from a man who has made words one of the centerpieces of his life.

The octogenarian known as "Hef" who embodies a stylish life of posh nightclubs, wild parties, men's fashion, free speech and, of course, naked women, said that six years after he founded the magazine in 1953, his life changed quickly.

The magazine that made its biggest splash publishing nude pictures of Marilyn Monroe was, by that time, being read by millions. From late 1959 through 1960, he held his first jazz festival, hosted his first TV show and opened his initial Playboy Mansion in Chicago.

"Those were some of the best and most romantic years of my life," Hef said.

There is no doubt Hef will take a bath at newsstands with the October issue. But Playboy makes more money from subscriptions, and Hef said he expects to significantly make up the losses with increased advertising.

Editorial director Jimmy Jellinek said ad pages are up 70 percent for the October issue compared with last year, well beyond the 16 percent year-to-date boost the magazine had already seen in 2011. Moreover, the book has lured new advertisers in fashion, grooming and entertainment.   Continued...