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If you were under-aged and oversexed with six dimes and a fake ID in August 1962, you could afford to plunder the newsstand downtown for a freshly minted issue of Hugh Hefner's Playboy magazine.

You might admire the tasteful presentation of a bathing beauty in the Ava Gardner/Rose McGowan tradition on the cover, comparing its appeal to the turn-of-the-century Gibson Girls in Harper's, or more likely you raced into a closet with a flashlight and Jan Roberts' silver-blonde gatefold, lensed by the legendary Pompeo Posar, and rigorously pleasured yourself while dad mowed the lawn.

jan robertsSo just what does the sexy side of square look like? Exactly 12 1/2 bare mammary glands in a 124-page magazine. After that, you were free to congratulate yourself on what a classy, informed – less boring than Life! – magazine you just purchased. Talk about progress!

You could check out "The Thin Red Line," a WWII novel by James Jones (author of "From Here To Eternity"), which would hit screens in 1964 and again in 1998. You also studied the now-classic Vargas girl painting, some brilliantly morbid full page color cartooning by Gahan Wilson, the inevitable Leroy Neiman splashing paint in Vegas, plus panels of TV images satirized by Shel Silverstein. It's clear there's a pronounced resemblance between immortal publisher William Gaines' 1950s EC/Mad Magazine empire and Hef's own use of humor, color and graphics (and many EC artists like Jack Davis and Harvey Kurtzman).

You could puzzle over Arthur C. Clarke rhapsodizing about a "A World Without Distance" or explore "The Prodigal Powers of Pot" in an article so dry and boring we were unable to finish it even after huffing copious amounts of the demon weed.

Jan's 39-23-35 figure is most definitely the show-stopper. Still, it's hard to believe this sort of thing led to canings, shamings and brimstone-hellfire oaths on Sunday. Nonetheless, this was something that couldn't be ignored: the mass production of erotic images – unprecedented in the U.S.

Now of course the problem is you can't get away from it. Naked & Greed have formed the ultimate corporate merger.

geza meikenBy contrast, check out actress Gesa Meiken, the 5'7" German/Italian fox with a definite Mira Sorvino thing going on, captured by photo-master Mario Casilli at Cinecitta Studios in Rome.

Then there's the Chesterfield girls. Classy but not too classy, if you follow my meaning. Yes sir, the Chesterfield pimps pandering "pleasure too good to miss" want us all to remember something. First, Chesterfield is a blend of 21 great tobaccos. Second, these fine tobaccos are too mild to filter. Third, smoking like a chimney is the fastest ticket to promiscuous sex with a desirable partner.

abigail   jenny

Just open a pack and a nicotine-crazed sea nymph will have her hand down your trousers in a snap.

Say, a fellow could get to like that!

The weeks pass. By the September issue, you flip to the center crease to find – Holy cow, it's Elly May Clampett naked in the hay! And 1962 was the year the "Beverly Hillbillies" began running. Coincidence?


Hey, Jed! We told you not to let your daughter wander around on Sunset near the Hustler store. Oh great! Now she's swelling up from an allergic reaction she got from that urine-soaked hay. Good Lord, everyone knows that barnyard hay is about the most inhospitable place in the world for the naked body, but somehow the myth persists about having a good old time "rolling in the hay."

Still, you gotta give credit to Miss September Mickey Winters, playing the role of Hef's "girl next door" (she's the five foot lass with the 36-18-34 figure) for making the farmer's daughter routine play for the push-button age. Did we mention Mickey digs "picnics, Cannonball Adderley, walking barefoot, twisting, T-birds, Mort Sahl and helping herself to huge strawberry sundaes"? Don Bronstein clicked the shutter on this classic slice of vanilla cheesecake.

And you gotta love this – Mickey's gatefold is the only nude photo in the entire 208 pages! Inconceivably stingy by modern standards, but hey, I guess you had to be there.

Then there's the jazz, which Playboy covered more brilliantly than anyone during its post-bop golden age. Check out the intro feature on sax man Sonny Rollins, 32, who warns off fancy-talkers with the quip: "Too much praise can mix you up
worse than a lot of raps."

Which brings us to the first-ever Playboy Interview, and an excellent choice: Miles Davis. "I get sick of how a lot of (critics) write whole columns and pages of big words and still ain't sayin' nothin'." Miles, we're with you (from a safe distance) all the way down the line, yes, even for those '80s albums where you cover Scritti Politti tunes.

Taking readings from this issue you get the sense that both sides of the sexual revolution were mobilizing their ranks. Perhaps everything appeared normal, but by the early '60s the times were definitely getting away from the squares. Just at that moment the Beatles were showing small clubs crammed with German hipsters the time of their lives. Dylan was scribbling on napkins in the Village. The President was humping a bipolar movie star and facing down Castro and Kruschev. And somewhere, Richard Nixon was wringing his hands like the villian in a Republic serial and muttering curses against all those damn teenagers ruining the country. With liberty, justice and rising skirtlines for all.

johnny carsonSo just how long ago was 1962? For one thing, two freshmen named Walter Cronkite and Johnny Carson (right, under Jack Paar) each started their chronic, decades-sprawling nightly bombardments of TV rays upon the citizens of reality prime.

Cronkite was the crotchety newshound. All he lacked was the senseless Southeast Asian land war. Carson was the instantly likeable Nebraskan taking over "The Tonight Show." All he needed was a drunken Irish sidekick and an upbeat honky bandleader trying to outdress Supafly.

And so a nation was destined to watch a glowing box filled with good American boys — the kind who fought the 'Cong with Playboy rolled up in their back pocket — expiring from gaping chest wounds followed by the vaudeville one-liners of "Karnak."

Strange times, the 20th Century.

And this was throbbing, buttoned-down heart of it all: the Sixties, the Hugh Hefner harem, and a 208-page magazine featuring one bare boob that threatened the stability of all America.


Issue One
Previously on Five-O
Evel Knievel & more!
hitman elvis
Dark Elvis
Compelled to Kill
by the King!
swingtime strippers
Swingtime Strippers
Babes Ahoy!
isaac hayes
Isaac Hayes
Shaft vs. South Park
at the Hollywood Bowl
jason priestley
Jason Priestley
Man of Action!
The Five-O Salute
mexican wrestling
¡Viva el Santo!
L.A.'s Lucha Libre
Cinema Slam
stanley rubin
Ace Producer Stanley Rubin
With the RKO
Studio Scoop!
 werner herzog
Werner Herzog
Plotted to Kill Kinski!
Condemns Psychoanalysis!
Five-O July/Aug
Evel Knievel & more!
jeter girl
Jeter Girl
Kristielee Wilcox
From Box Seats
to the Bronx Jail!
lawrence tierney
Lawrence Tierney
Noir Superpower
The Five-O Farewell
burning man
Burning Man
Pagans Take Nevada
Five-O Undercover
40 Years
August/September 1962
Playboy Magazine
jermaine jackson
30 Years
Jermaine Jackson
Debut Album
20 Years
william shatner
10 Years
William Shatner
National Lampoon's
Loaded Weapon
my bloody valentine
10 Years
My Bloody Valentine
U.S. Tour 1992
theron productions