Bob Guccioni at home with dogs

Collectible Penthouse Magazines, An Overview

(Included is a view of Penthouse Playmates from 1969 to 2016 at the end.  You Can click on any image to view details)

The Penthouse magazine story is a unique tail of rags to riches and back. It’s a story that could only happen against the backdrop of the turbulent 1960’s, the sexual revolution of the 1970’s and the resultant backlash of the more puritanical 1980s. At the heart of it all was a very unique character who helmed this ship to the heights of worldwide publishing before seeing it dashed on the rocks of a changing market and extreme financial missteps. The collectible Penthouse Magazine issues offered by Doodle Dan’s Deals  offer a chance to own a piece of a world that will never exist again.

Bob Guccioni at home with dogs

Robert Charles Joseph Edward Sabatini “Bob” Guccione, was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 17th 1930 to Italian-American parents Anthony and Nina. Bob was always interested in art and trained to be a painter. Early on he took jobs as a cartoonist to make ends meet and even spent some time managing a string of laundry mats. His first wife started a mail order business selling pin-up photographs. At the time they were living in the United Kingdom and Bob became fascinated with the American publication, Playboy. He envisioned a magazine that would emulate playboy but have a very definite British slant. It would take the Playboy business model but go further. The articles would be more cutting edge and controversial, the pictorials would feature more nudity and more suggestive poses than Playboy. Using the information gleaned from the Pin-up business Guccione launched the UK edition of Penthouse Magazine in 1965. It was an immediate success and caused immediate controversy. The politicians in the UK wanted to either ban it or educate people about the “Dangers of Pornography”. All this did was give the magazine a LOT of free publicity, and soon it was difficult to keep on newsstand shelves due to demand.

In 1965 Guccione, who continued to use the art of parody he learned as a cartoonist, made a parody flyer of a West End burlesque show. The star’s manager contacted him, irate over the parody, and insisted that if he saw the talent of the show’s star, Kathy Keaton, he would never make fun of it again. Guccione went to the show and was instantly taken with Keaton. He offered her a job selling advertising for his fledgling magazine, and a business partnership was born. It was a rarity for women to be in advertising sales in the 1960’s, but the South African born beauty Keaton had a knack for it. She soon rose in responsibility and began to hire other female employees. Soon Penthouse rivaled feminist icon Ms. Magazine for number of female staff. This trend would continue through the life of Keaton’s tenure at the magazine.

Bob Guccioni and Kathy Keaton Working at Penthouse
Bob Guccioni and Kathy Keaton

In 1969, building on the roaring success in the British Isles, Guccione and Keaton decided the time was right to take on the biggest competitor on their home turf. They opened a New York office, devised a “Rabbit Hunting” advertising campaign, and began the American edition of Penthouse Magazine. It was an instant success. People who had heard of the more racy British version of Playboy were chomping at the bit to get their hands on the magazine.

From the beginning, the “Penthouse Pictorial” style was very different from the “Playboy Pictorial“. Playboy tended to go for the brightly lit, Bubblegum Pin-up style of photo with a brightly smiling model. Guccione had never used a camera professionally before starting the magazine. After asking a UK photographer friend to explain to him how the device worked, he began to use carefully placed light and shadow, along with a soft filtered look to establish what would become the “Penthouse Style”. Guccione had another firm rule -He didn’t fraternize with the models he was shooting, even though many made advances toward him. The usual 3 day shoots would start with the model thinking “What a nice guy” when he didn’t make a pass at them. By day 3 many would be VERY aggressively trying to seduce him. This fit perfectly with the sultry, hyper sexual style of photo he was looking for.

After the Rabbit Hunting series of ads (again showcasing Guccione’s talent for parody, and cartoon prowess), Penthouse wasted no time in pushing the limits of the established US obscenity laws. In a pictorial in June, 1970 a model was shown at a distance walking on a beach with a bikini top but no bottom. Her pubic hair was clearly visible. The photo was small and no one noticed. The next month, a model was more clearly shown with her pubic area visible. The censors had an immediate reaction and contacted Penthouse to inform them that this was not acceptable. Guccione countered informing them that they had lodged no complaint about the former month’s issue and he could therefore stand on precedent. In that one move “The Pubic Wars”, a pun on the historical Punic Wars, were launched.  Hugh Hefner instantly shot back that Guccione had stepped over the line. In an interview Hefner made the definitive statement on the subject saying that “Pubic Hair will NEVER be shown in Playboy Magazine”. It took exactly 9 months (shorter if you count publication time) for sexy Norwegian blonde playmate Liv Lindeland to appear clearly showing pubic hair in her pictorial. Lindeland would go on to become Playmate of the year (getting a sweet playmate pink DeTomaso Pantera in the deal), and Playboy’s stance on pubic hair was changed forever. Hefner conveniently forgot that he ever made his proclamation.

Penthouse Sponsored Formula 1 Car

As Penthouse continued to grow its American readership, it pushed deeper and deeper in to controversial territory. Though some of the stories in the 1970’s bordered on conspiracy theory, many more dealt with very real issues. Guccione was a firm supporter of the US Military and in particular injured veterans. He consistently used the magazine as a platform to expose the plight of veterans returning from the Vietnam war only to face a disapproving public, and a completely inadequate support system. Nearly all Penthouse press junkets included extended visits by the Pets to VA hospitals. This focus continued for the entire run Guccione had as publisher of the magazine.In the late 1970’s Guccione decided it was time for Penthouse to enter the film market. He proposed an X rated film about one of the most X rated characters in history, the mad young Emperor Caligula Caesar. The film would feature massive sets for the extravagant orgy scenes. It would be based on a script by award winning author Gore Vidal and directed by auteur Tinto Brass. The cast included luminaries Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, John Gielgud, and Malcolm McDowell as Caligula. The film was difficult from the beginning, and had massive budget over runs. When it was finally completed after the longest production schedule in history at the time, no distributor would touch it due to the real sex acts and X rating. Guccione ended up buying a theater in New York and playing the film there continuously for a year where it was only a moderate success. Where it found it’s true audience was on the emerging VHS home video format.

Caligula- The Imperial Edition Blu Ray DVD (other editions available)
Caligula- The Imperial Edition Blu Ray DVD (other editions available)

The profits from Caligula were earmarked to complete Guccione’s Penthouse Casino project in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Unfortunately he had gone against the advice of his most trusted advisors in starting the casino in the first place. He had begun construction prior to receiving a gambling license from the fledgling NJ Gambling Commission. Afraid to taint their new reputation by granting a license to a pornographic casino, the commission refused to grant the license. Real estate developer Donald Trump was coming off an early bankruptcy and had many tax concessions from Atlantic City to develop multiple casinos. Trump used his influence to stall Guccione at every turn and the project languished. Eventually it was scrapped, losing an estimated 150 million dollars.

In 1980 Penthouse reached a milestone. US sales surpassed Playboy for the first time. In 10 years, the British born magazine had unseated the reigning champion on its home turf. Guccione would use this bully pulpit to continue to advocate for his causes and push the envelope even further. The 1980’s would see the rise of Ronald Reagan and the “Moral Majority” led by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, and televangelists like Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. Guccione took them on head to head, and spent a great deal of money investigating every aspect of their lives. He hit pay dirt when he found a New Orleans prostitute who had Jimmy Swaggart as a frequent customer. The expose would lead to the downfall of the powerful preacher and end the massive operation he had in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It left many partially constructed buildings to rust and decay, in a explicit example of the pen being mightier than the sword. In another issue he revealed a gay speechwriter in Falwell’s Moral Majority organization.

Waco Raid Expose Gay Moral Majority Speech Writer Jerry Falwell Penthouse
Waco Raid and Gay Falwell Speechwriter

Not all controversial topics worked out so well for the juggernaut magazine. A center spread featuring adult film star Traci Lords became illegal when it was revealed that Lords had used false identification to prove her age and was in fact 15 years old at the time. A running correspondence with the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, failed to gain any traction. But perhaps the worst backfire was the purchase of a photo spread featuring the first black Miss America, Vanessa Williams. All contestants of the pageant had to sign a pledge stating that they had never participated in any activity that could publicly embarrass the organization. Williams didn’t reveal that she had posed for an artful, but nude and very sexual pictorial with another woman. Penthouse purchased the photo set and published them, without permission from Williams. With the public announcement that the photos would be published, Williams was forced to relinquish her crown near the end of her reign as Miss America. There was a massive amount of backlash from the public, angry that a youthful indiscretion would tarnish the record of the first African-American to hold the crown. Many feel that though the publication of the photos was a landslide financial event, the magazine never recovered the status it held before purchasing them. It could be said that Williams had the last laugh, launching a very successful film and TV career, and in 2015 getting her crown restored, a formal apology from the pageant, and a spot as a pageant judge.

Waco Raid Penthouse April 1995Golden Showers Issue of PenthouseThe trend continued as Penthouse published several issues featuring Bill Clinton affair accusers Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers. Penthouse broke the story of Playboy sweetheart Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee sex’s tape, including stills of Pam and Tommy engaged in sex acts at home and on their boat. Another Playboy darling, Anna Nicole Smith was also poached by Penthouse in a “Lost Nudes” issue. Candid shots of celebrities were a draw as well. Madonna, and Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss were shown in “Private” photos. A highlight was when Claudia Schiffer was caught nude on a friends yacht and the photos were published in the magazine. B movie queen Julie Strain was featured on a cover with Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen and in a nude pictorial inside. The 25th Anniversary edition featured the infamous Tonya Harding with her “Leaked” sex tape.
25th Anniversary Edition Penthouse Featuring Tonya HardingPamela Anderson Sex Tape PenthousePaula Jones Penthouse Available for salePaula Jones Penthouse #2 available for saleAnna Nicole Smith Lost Nudes PenthouseHeidi Fleiss Leaked Nudes Penthouse Issue for SaleCharlie Sheen Julie Strain Penthouse issueClaudia Schiffer Penthouse Magazine Nudes on a Yacht

As the 1990’s began, trouble was on the horizon for Penthouse. Guccione was a man that never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like. He spent increasing amounts of money investigation things like CIA / FBI cover ups, and secret Alien Autopsies. He railed against Janet Reno and devoted several issues to the Branch Davidian raid in Waco Texas. He was a very confident man, and he treasured that in others. But sadly it is a very short leap from confident man, to confidence man. Guccione was mislead over and over with bogus stories. A group of would be researchers claimed to have the ability to produce a “Fusion Power Plant”, a technology that would replace nuclear power. Guccione sunk untold millions into the project that was later revealed to be a complete scam.

John wayne bobbitt's penis penthouse issueFirst Alien Photos Penthouse MagazineUnibomber Penthouse IssueWicked Wanda Penthouse Comix MagazineMetal People Issue of Penthouse MagazinePuerto Rican Brothel And Olympic Games Penthouse MagazineLuis Royo Art Issue of Penthouse MagazineOn September 19, 1997, Kathy Keaton died. Guccione’s wife, longtime partner and firm controller of the General Media empire was gone and without her firm hand on the tiller the company spiraled out of control. Guccione was convinced that he needed to return to the original formula, turning the magazine in a much more raunchy direction. Pictorials featured actual sex acts, penetration and urination. He firmly believed that the more people told him he was wrong, the more it proved he was right. He ignored the emerging technology of the internet, and in 2003 the company (Longevity and Viva) that had boasted such titles as Penthouse, Forum, Variation and the non-adult Omni, declared bankruptcy. Longevity and Viva was purchased by an investor group, that originally promised Guccione a spot as CEO, controlling the artistic direction of the new magazine. Shortly after the acquisition, Guccione and his long time assistant Jane were both fired in an abrupt phone call from a junior partner.Guccione unsuccessfully tried to sue to regain control. As his health declined, he was in financial ruin. His massive art collection was sold to pay tax debts, and on October 20, 2010 Guccione died from lung cancer.Through the amazing back issues that exist, the reader can see a time capsule of some of the most turbulent times in world history. They can visit places that no longer exist, and go deep inside the lives of people who have left us. From the amazing, lovingly shot Pet of the Year pictorials, to the long running comic Oh Wicked Wanda, featuring an animated dominatrix, Penthouse magazine is one of a kind.
If you are interested in learning more about Bob Guccione and the Penthouse story I highly recommend the documentary Filthy Gorgeous.  See Bob explain things in his own words and get to hear from numerous models, staff, and Bob’s own children. You can also read “No One’s Pet” Sheila Kennedy’s account of her work with Penthouse.

Watch Filthy Gorgeous at Amazon
Watch Filthy Gorgeous at Amazon

No One's Pet by Sheila Kennedy
Buy No One’s Pet at Amazon

PENTHOUSE PETS 1969 – 1999

1969 – Launched in September (US Edition)

Penthouse-Evelyn Treacher September Pet 1969
Evelyn Treacher  September

Kelly McQueen - October
Kelly McQueen – October
Penthouse-Ulla Lindstrom
Ulla Lindstrom – November

Janet Pearce - December
Janet Pearce – December

1970 – First Full Year – Pet of the Year Evelyn Treacher

Katherine Mannering Penthouse Pet January 1970
Katherine Mannering – January

Tamara Santerra - February
Tamara Santerra – February
Ilse Hasek - March
Ilse Hasek – March

Stephanie McLean - April
Stephanie McLean – April
Benedikte Andersen - May Penthouse Pet
Benedikte Andersen – May

Christina Lindberg - June Penthouse Pet
Christina Lindberg – June
Polly Anne Pendleton - July Penthouse Pet 1970
Polly Anne Pendleton – July

Françoise Pascal - August Penthouse Pet
Françoise Pascal – August
Tina McDowall - September Penthouse Pet
Tina McDowall – September

Heide Mann - October Penthouse Pet
Heide Mann – October
Franca Petrov - November Penthouse Pet
Franca Petrov – November

Jennifer Furse - December Penthouse Pet
Jennifer Furse – December

1971 – Pet of the Year Stephanie McLean

Viva Helziger - January Penthouse Pet 1971
Viva Helziger – January

Cassandra Harrington - February Penthouse Pet 1971
Cassandra Harrington –
Lottie Gunthart - March Penthouse Pet 1971
Lottie Gunthart – March

Jacquie Simmons-Jude - April Penthouse Pet 1971
Jacquie Simmons-Jude – April
Billie Rainbird - May Penthouse Pet 1971
Billie Rainbird – May

Josee Troyat - June Penthouse Pet 1971
Josee Troyat – June
Vida Farthing - July Penthouse Pet 1971
Vida Farthing – July

Judy Jones -August Penthouse Pet 1971
Judy Jones -August
Maureen Renzen - September OMaureen Renzen - September Penthouse Pet 1971
Maureen Renzen – September

Helen Caunt - October Penthouse Pet 1971
Helen Caunt – October
Lynette Asquith - November Penthouse Pet 1971
Lynette Asquith – November

Lynn Partington - December Penthouse Pet 1971
Lynn Partington – December

1972 – Pet of the Year Tina McDowell

Patricia Barrett - January Penthouse Pet 1972
Patricia Barrett – January

Carole Augustine - February Penthouse Pet 1972
Carole Augustine – February
Billie Deane - March Penthouse Pet 1972
Billie Deane – March

Marianne Gordon - April Penthouse Pet 1972
Marianne Gordon – April
Sharon Bailey - May Penthouse Pet 1972
Sharon Bailey – May

Nevenka Dundek - July Penthouse Pet 1972
Nevenka Dundek – July
Lesley Harrison - July Penthouse Playmate 1972
Lesley Harrison – July

Marian Maylam - August Penthouse Pet 1972
Marian Maylam – August
Isobel Garcia Orobiyi - September Penthouse Pet 1972
Isobel Garcia Orobiyi – September

Janet Dunphy - October Penthouse Pet 1972
Janet Dunphy – October
Angela Adams - November Penthouse Pet 1972
Angela Adams – November

Lynn Carey- December Penthouse Pet 1972
Lynn Carey- December

1973 – Pet of the Year Patricia Barrett

Maggi Burton- January Penthouse Pet 1973
Maggi Burton- January

Karen Sather - February Penthouse Pet 1973
Karen Sather – February
Penthouse-Avril Lund march pet 1973
Avril Lund – March

Leslie Leah Burrow -April Penthouse Pet 1973
Leslie Leah Burrow -April
Sandi Greco - May Penthouse Pet 1973
Sandi Greco – May

Paula Francis - June Penthouse Pet 1973
Paula Francis – June
Cindy McDee - July penthouse pet 1973
Cindy McDee – July

Lane Jackson Coyle - August penthouse pet 1973
Lane Jackson Coyle – August
Anneka De Lorenzo - September Penthouse Pet 1973
Anneka De Lorenzo – September

Francis Canon - October Penthouse Pet 1973
Francis Canon – October
Debbie Griffin - November Penthouse Pet 1973
Debbie Griffin – November

Sandy Robertson - December Penthouse Pet 1973
Sandy Robertson – December

1974 – Pet of the Year Avirl Lund

Claudia Arena - January Penthouse Pet 1974
Claudia Arena – January

Beatrice Vogler - February Penthouse Pet 1974
Beatrice Vogler – February
Marie Ekorre - March Penthouse Pet 1974
Marie Ekorre – March

Nancy Sebastian - April Penthouse Pet 1974
Nancy Sebastian – April
Brande Howard - May Penthouse Pet 1974
Brande Howard – May

Alicia Justin - June Penthouse Pet 1974
Alicia Justin – June
Barbie Lewis - July Penthouse Pet 1974
Barbie Lewis – July

Stacey Cameron - August Penthouse Pet 1974
Stacey Cameron – August
Janice Kane -September Penthouse Pets 1974
Janice Kane -September

Laura Bennett Doone - October Penthouse Pet 1974
Laura Bennett Doone – October
Sharon Longworth - November Penthouse Pet 1974
Sharon Longworth – November

Cathy Green - December Penthouse Pet 1974
Cathy Green – December

1975 – Pet of the Year Anneka De Lorenzo

Juliet Morris - January Penthouse Pet 1975
Juliet Morris – January

Lona Simpson -February Penthouse Pet 1975
Lona Simpson -February
Susan Ryder - March Penthouse Pet 1975
Susan Ryder – March

Signe Berger - April Penthouse Pet 1975
Signe Berger – April
Ava Gallay -May Penthouse Pet 1975
Ava Gallay -May

Wendy Blodgett - June Penthouse Pet 1975
Wendy Blodgett – June
Jane Hargrave - July Penthouse Pet 1975
Jane Hargrave – July

Marguerite Cordier - August Penthouse Pet 1975
Marguerite Cordier – August
Michelle Stevens - September Penthouse Pet 1975
Michelle Stevens – September

Anne Peters - October Penthouse Pet 1975
Anne Peters – October
Bonnie Dee Wilson - November Penthouse Pet 1975
Bonnie Dee Wilson – November

Susan Waide - December Penthouse Pet 1975
Susan Waide – December

1976 – Pet of the Year Laura Bennett Doone

Laure Favie - January Penthouse Pet 1976
Laure Favie – January

Martine Le Mauviel - February Penthouse Pet 1976
Martine Le Mauviel – February
Joann Witty - March Penthouse Pet 1976
Joann Witty – March

Sandy Bernadou - April Penthouse Pet 1976
Sandy Bernadou – April
Sonny Smith - May Penthouse Pet 1976
Sonny Smith – May

Anna Grimwood - June Penthouse Pet 1976
Anna Grimwood – June
Helen Lang - July Penthouse Pet 1976
Helen Lang – July

Victoria Lynn Johnson -August Penthouse Pet 1976
Victoria Lynn Johnson -August
Dawn Shaw - September Penthouse Pet 1976
Dawn Shaw – September

Susanne Saxon - October Penthouse Pet 1976
Susanne Saxon – October (Deceased)
 Carolyn Patsis - November Penthouse Pet 1976

Carolyn Patsis – November

Adrian King - December Penthouse Pet 1976

Adrian King – December

1977 – Pet of the Year Victoria Lynn Johnson

Marilyn Connor - January Penthouse Pet 1977
Marilyn Connor – January

Betsy Harris - February Penthouse Pet 1977
Betsy Harris – February
Jolanta Von Zmuda - March Penthouse Pet 1977
Jolanta Von Zmuda – March

Shonna Lynne - April Penthouse Pet 1977
Shonna Lynne – April
Valerie Rae Clark - May Penthouse Pet 1977
Valerie Rae Clark – May

Dominique Maure - June Penthouse Pet 1977
Dominique Maure – June
Christine Davray - July Penthouse Pet 1977
Christine Davray – July

Barbara Corser - August Penthouse Pet 1977
Barbara Corser – August
Lucia St. Angelo - September Penthouse Pet 1977
Lucia St. Angelo – September

Cynthia Gaynor - October Penthouse Pets 1977
Cynthia Gaynor – October
Debora Zullo - November Penthouse Pet 1977
Debora Zullo – November

Cheryl Rixon - December Penthouse Pet 1977
Cheryl Rixon – December

1978 – Pet of the Year Dominique Maure

Carrie Nelson - January Penthouse Pet 1978
Carrie Nelson – January

Laura Storm - February Penthouse Pet 1977
Laura Storm – February
Carmen Pope - March Penthouse Pet 1978 and January 1983
Carmen Pope – January

Mariwin Roberts - April Penthouse Pet 1978
Mariwin Roberts – April
Angela Hyer - May Penthouse Pet 1978
Angela Hyer – May

Corinne Alphen - June Penthouse Pet 1978
Corinne Alphen – June
Barbara Ann - July Penthouse Pet 1978
Barbara Ann – July

Jennifer Zane - August Penthouse Pet 1978
Jennifer Zane – August
Kate Simmons - September Penthouse Pet 1978
Kate Simmons – September

Veronique de Valdene - October Penthouse Pet 1978
Veronique de Valdene – October
Malia Redford - November Penthouse Pet 1978
Malia Redford – November

Amber Ramsey - December Penthouse Pet 1978
Amber Ramsey – December

1979 – Pet of the Year Cheryl Rixon

Dusty Jackson - January Penthouse Pet 1979
Dusty Jackson – January

Pamela Rhodes - February Penthouse Pet 1979
Pamela Rhodes – February
Shasta Lindstrom - March Penthouse Pet 1979
Shasta Lindstrom – March

Isabella Ardigo - April Penthouse Pet 1979
Isabella Ardigo – April
Brieanna Bujold - May Penthouse Pet 1979
Brieanna Bujold – May

Lynda Clark - June Penthouse Pet 1979
Lynda Clark – June
Jaycee West - July Penthouse Pet 1979
Jaycee West – July

Diane Weber - August Penthouse Pet 1979
Diane Weber – August
Joanne Latham - September Penthouse Pet 1979
Joanne Latham – September

Tammy Hill - October Penthouse Pet 1979
Tammy Hill – October
Danielle Ginibre - November Penthouse Pet 1979
Danielle Ginibre – November

Judi Gibbs - December Penthouse Pet 1979
Judi Gibbs – December (Deceased)

 CLICK HERE FOR 1980 – 2016

Blog Copyright KathyKC for 2016

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