Exploring the most significant and hidden stories of the 20th century through iconic magazines and the titan of publishing behind them.
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Women in the Media, Then and Now
No matter the cutting-edge journalism and pop cultural coverage, Penthouse will always be best known for pictorials of nude women. Likewise, Guccione first and foremost was a purveyor of such images, and it is important to remember in his crusade against censorship he was ultimately fighting to keep up his own magazine sales.
Valentine’s Day Lessons From Iconic Celebrity Couples
Valentine’s Day conjures up messages for love notes and candy grams for some, plans of movie marathons with good friends for others, and for the pop-culture obsessed images of celebrity love stories might come to mind. These iconic partnerships still provide inspiration in the realms of fashion, artistic production, and activism, from the very 1960s-style wedding of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, to the music inspired by David Bowie’s marriage to Iman, and the philanthropic work of Elton John and David Furnish.
Omni Magazine: Pseudoscience Then and Now
For every science-fiction fan who remembers Omni magazine as the first place they encountered the work of Ursula K. Le Guin, William Gibson, or George R. R. Martin, there is another former reader who remembers the increasing number of pages dedicated to UFOs, non-peer reviewed medical recommendations, and paranormal discoveries.
M3GAN and OMNI-scient AI Predictions
Over the weekend a film starring a blonde, impeccably dressed, out-for-blood robot swept the box office. “M3GAN” grossed over $30 million domestically opening weekend, behind only James Cameron’s highly anticipated “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
The OG "Nepo Babies"
On December 19 Vulture published a collection of stories about “The Year of the Nepo Baby.” The very on-the-internet term has been used to discuss the current rise of celebrities’ children in the entertainment industry, where an actor who emerges from obscurity seems to be the exception and not the rule.
Imagining the Curtailed Future of Minx Through Viva
One of the latest casualties of an overhaul of HBO Max done by Warner Bros. Discovery was Minx, a comedy centered on a semi-fictional erotic magazine for women published in 1970s Los Angeles. Despite a strong critical response to the first season, which premiered on March 17, 2022 and holds a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, new leadership at the streamer pulled the series even after a previous renewal and days ahead of production wrapping on the second season. Co-executive producer and star Jake Johnson has since said that filming will wrap and that the Minx team is hoping for a new home for the show.
Inside the Supreme Court Case that Included Centerfolds, a Pre-Trial Arrest, and an Exploding Wheelchair
With each Supreme Court term comes landmark decisions, headlines about Justices’ remarks, and politicians’ reactions. Every once in a while there is a case that creates a significant legal precedent and has enough tawdry details to land in both the tabloids and in an FBI file. Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, Inc. argued in 1983 and decided in 1984 has this bombshell combination.
Peek Inside Bob Guccione’s Office Through his Archives
One of the first steps of the archival process is to inventory each item in a collection. This undertaking occurs after background research, which for this collection included watching archival interviews with Bob Guccione and reading many issues of Omni, and before physically rearranging any items. Observing thousands of original sketches, illustrations, and scribbles, reveals the inner workings of Guccione. His sketchbooks and drafts support the understanding of Bob as a constant thinker, entrepreneur, and innovator, as well as confirm other facts key to understanding the OG Collection.
Hulu’s “God Forbid” Uncovers the Legacy of Sex, Power, and Money Passed Down from Jerry Falwell, Sr., to Jerry Falwell, Jr.
On November 1 Hulu released “God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty,” a thoughtful documentary about the bombshell news in 2020 that Jerry Falwell, Jr., and his wife Becki Tilley had a years long affair with Giancarlo Granda. The scandal, which involved another photo of Falwell, Jr., in a state of undress alongside a former Liberty University student, as well as questions about Falwell, Jr. ’s financial ethics, led him to resign as president of Liberty University in August 2020.
Cheesecake Photography: What can we learn from the origins of the Pin-Up?
Bob Guccione’s first foray into the business of erotic entertainment was not the publication of the first issue of British Penthouse in March 1965. Before he was a maverick and titan of publishing, Bob was “Robert Gucci,” a purveyor of cheesecake photos to customers around the world. His market included prisoners, government officials, and everyone in between.
“Welcome to Chippendales”: Who was Dorothy Stratten?
The latest prestige show to tell popular culture history, “Welcome to Chippendales” sees Robert Siegel, the writer behind “Pam & Tommy,” reveal another tale of sex and crime that informs culture to this day. The show stars Kumail Nanjiani as Somen “Steve” Banerjee, who founded Chippendales in 1979. Much more salacious than how Bob Guccione built the Penthouse empire, both the show and the true story behind it features the “Chippendale murders,” when in the late 1980s and early 1990s Banerjee directed one murder and two attempted murders of former business associates he felt wronged him, namely Nick De Noia (portrayed by Murray Bartlett), Michael Fullington, and two ex-dancers.