Friday, May 22, 2015

How Hugh Hefner Got Lucky with Marilyn Monroe

Talk about getting lucky.

It takes good fortune for a regular guy to land a babe, and that was doubly true when that regular guy was Hugh M. Hefner, age 27, preparing his new magazine on his kitchen table in 1953.

Everyone has seen that classic first Playboy centerfold photo of Marilyn Monroe, her creamy perfect flesh set off against red velvet. But who wondered how an unemployed nobody whose major financial backer was his mother, who kicked in $1,000, got the greatest sex goddess and movie star of the late 20th century to grace the cover of his first issue and pose in the buff for his first centerfold “Sweetheart of the Month?”(“Playmate” wouldn’t come until the second issue).

Short answer: he didn’t. He bumbled into it.

“How did you manage that piece of good luck?” a magazine called U.S. Camera asked Hefner, in its April, 1962 issue.

“At that point the MM calendar was very, very famous, but almost no one had seen it,” he replied. “It had received all kinds of publicity, but it never appeared anywhere.” He noticed, in a newspaper clipping, that the photos were owned by a calendar company in the Chicago suburbs.

“So I took a hop out there,” Hefner said, driving his beat up ’41 Chevy.

The pictures were taken nearly five years earlier, at the request of John Baumgarth, a Chicago calendar maker, shot by Hollywood photographer Tom Kelley. Monroe was an unknown then.

“When he made the picture it was just another picture of a girl. No one had heard of Marilyn Monroe at that time,” Hefner said. “He paid about $500 for this and a number of similar photographs.”

The calendar company certainly wasn’t planning to use them again.

“Thus from his point of view, he had gotten back all his initial expense in purchasing the photographs,” said Hefner. “From my point of view, however, for $500 for the Marilyn Monroe and for a year’s contract for $300 for 11 more.”

Hefner had his first year of centerfolds without talking one woman, never mind Marilyn Monroe, out of her clothes.

“This was our Playmate for the first year–simply straight calendar nudes from the Baumgarth Calendar Company,” he said.

Playboy wasn’t the first magazine to print nude photographs. But it was first to print nude photographs of a well-known personality, and that made all the difference.

‘It legitimized nudity by embodying it in arguably the most famous woman in America,’ Roger Ebert wrote, celebrating the centerfold. And the results are all around us, to this day.

Source: National Sun Times

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Marilyn Monroe Collection Featured in Newsweek Magazine Special Issue on Marilyn Monroe

Several items from the Marilyn Monroe Collection are featured in a Newsweek magazine special issue focusing on Marilyn Monroe.

This special issue on Marilyn includes an introduction written by Joshua Greene, and has many photos of Marilyn along with comments from photographers Douglas Kirkland, Lawrence Schiller and Elliott Erwitt.  Other information on Marilyn is also included in glossy, full color spreads.  This Newsweek special issue is on newsstands now across the US, and will soon be available worldwide.  It's a must have for every Marilyn Monroe collector.

MMC items featured include:
Also showcased are Marilyn Monroe items from the Greg Schreiner Marilyn Monroe Collection, a frequent co-exhibitor with the MMC.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Seven Year Itch Subway Scene Costume Crowned Most Iconic

The Billy Travilla designed white halterneck dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in the Seven Year Itch has been voted the most iconic screen costume via a survey commissioned by the British Heart Foundation. It's no surprise that the billowing white gown topped this survey. Every time a celebrity or a member of a royal family has a hem that billows in the wind the press refers to it as a "Marilyn Monroe moment."

Costumes rounding out the top five are:

2. Dorothy's blue and white gingham dress and ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.
3. Olivia Newton-John's infamous Grease "bad girl" black outfit worn in the final scenes of the film.
4. The bikini worn by Ursula Andress as she emerges from the sea in Dr No.
5. The black Hubert de Givenchy cocktail dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany's.
Included in the top 10 list are the red Baywatch swimming costumes, cartoon character Jessica Rabbit's glittering split-to-the-thigh red dress and Michael Jackson's red leather Thriller costume.