The History of the Playboy Centerfold


The New Yorker's Joan Acocella leafs through the new book The Playmate Book: Six Decades of Centerfolds and says thanks for the mammaries:

Six hundred and thirteen women are represented, but there is one basic model. On top is the face of Shirley Temple; below is the body of Jayne Mansfield. Playboy was launched in 1953, and this female image managed to draw, simultaneously, on two opposing trends that have since come to dominate American mass culture: on the one hand, our country's idea of its Huck Finn innocence; on the other, the enthusiastic lewdness of our advertising and entertainment.

Read the whole thing to find out why Playboy is like that other great, decade-defining '50s mag, Mad, only more successful. Online here.