Ah yes, Playboy Magazine, I have fond memories, as if that’s a strange recollection for a man my age to have. Actually I do have old Playboy Collecting stories as around the time my Dad was collecting comic books back in the 70’s he was collecting men’s magazines as well. His collection stopped around 1980 and so it was probably around that time, no later than ’81, when I was nine and he had stacks upon stacks of nudie mags spread around the living room … and I entertained myself absorbed in this brand new world until he snapped at me asking what I was doing and I gave the now tired response of just reading the articles.
In the mid-80’s when Dad was looking to sell I took what I felt was the appropriately jaded position of mocking my 8th Grade English Professor when he came to the house as a prospective customer. Well, not to his face, but I still chuckle thinking about it as he tried selling us on the fact that he was mainly interested in the literature inside those skin magazines. Dad eventually unloaded the collection to a fellow baseball card dealer during those card show days I so fondly look back upon, getting $1,000 cash and a few hundred in trade which he kindly passed my way.
But time marches on and suddenly half of my own business is dealing in magazine back issues and what title do I love to stock as much as any other? 1960’s issues of Playboy, and yes, it’s for the literature and the literature alone that I do so!
Just this week I was pleasantly surprised to receive a dozen issues of Playboy from my favorite years, 1965-66, that were in such immaculate condition I felt like I’d just returned from a time machine trip to a Johnson Era newsstand. Forget that the pages are immaculate and the centerfolds are firmly attached, these are so nice that when describing them I’m noting dust-free covers and shiny staples in the binding. Bee-yoo-tees, they are, inside and out, and despite, yes, taking a quick gander at Catherine Deneuve in the buff, circa 1965, I swear, scout’s honor, it’s all about the lit.
- Serialized portions of two James Bond stories by Ian Fleming, The Man With the Golden Gun over several 1965 issues; Octopussy in 1966
- Serialized fiction by Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov
- Fiction by P.G. Wodehouse
- Fiction by Henry Miller
- A Lee Harvey Oswald article by John Clellon Holmes
- Interviews with Bob Dylan, Peter O’Toole, Bond himself, Sean Connery, among others
- A wonderful nostalgia article by Jules Feiffer titled The Great Comic Book Heroes: Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel and all the rest of that marvelous crew; whence they came, who created them, and why they occupied a special place apart in the fantasies of our youth.
Plus them pictures. Sure, I may take a gander at Ursula Andress, er, I mean Catherine Deneuve, when paging through and noting contents, but the real meat inside vintage 1960’s issues of Playboy isn’t in the skin, it’s in the lit. I swear!