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 A look inside PLAYBOY magazine




James Bond and PLAYBOY Part 1

Founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner (1926-2017), PLAYBOY is an American lifestyle and entertainment magazine famous for its centre-folds and pictorials of nude and semi-nude women (although from March 2016 the printed version of the magazine no longer featured full-frontal nudity). Alongside interviews with well-known public figures, PLAYBOY also has a long history of publishing short stories and novels by some of the world's most notable writers. Ian Fleming's 1959 short story THE HILDEBRAND RARITY was first published in the March 1960 issue of PLAYBOY accompanied by a superb illustration by artist Allan Phillips. The story was then published in the UK on April 11, 1960 by Jonathan Cape as part of the FOR YOUR EYES ONLY anthology. The US edition was published by Viking Press in August of the same year.

The March 1960 issue is also notable for having a pictorial featuring Jill St. John who, just over a decade later, would star in as Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever - becoming the first American actress to play a Bond girl. She also appeared in the December 1971 issue of PLAYBOY featuring her co-star Sean Connery in a pictorial alongside Lana Wood (playing Plenty O'Toole), who was willing to shed a little more clothing than Miss St. John. In the film Diamonds Are Forever (1971) in order to confuse his contact Tiffany Case, Bond replaces his wallet with that of diamond smuggler Peter Franks (Joe Robinson) who he has just killed. When Tiffany Case opens the wallet she finds Bond's PLAYBOY Club membership card resulting in the classic exchange: “You've just killed James Bond!”, to which Bond replies “Is that who it was? Just goes to show nobody is indestructible”.

PLAYBOY - THE HILDEBRAND RARITY illustrated by Allan Phillips

PLAYBOY became the first magazine to serialise a James Bond novel when ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE appeared in the April 1963 issue. The hardback first edition of the novel was published in the UK by Jonathan Cape in the same month. The story was illustrated by Robert Weaver (1924-1994) who was the brother of noted actor Fritz Weaver (1926-2016). The first of three instalments featured a double-page illustration of James Bond reflected in the rear-view mirror of his Bentley as he follows Tracy's Lancia through the narrow streets of Royale-Les-Eaux.

PLAYBOY - ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE illustrated by Robert Weaver

PLAYBOY asked Ian Fleming to provide a description of Bond to aid the artist - the author sent the following: “Height: 6 ft., 1 in. Build: Slim hips, broad shoulders. Eyes: Steely blue-gray. Hair: Black, with comma over right forehead. Weight: 12 stone, 8 lbs. Age: Middle 30s. Features: Determined chin, rather cruel mouth. Scar down right cheek from cheek-bone. Apparel: Wears two-button, single-breasted suit in dark-blue tropical worsted. Black belt. White sea-island cotton shirt, short sleeves. Black casual shoes, square toed. Thin black knitted silk tie. No pin. Dark-blue socks, cotton lisle. No handkerchief in breast pocket. Wears Rolex Oyster Perpetual wrist watch”.

Robert Weaver

Despite Fleming's detailed description, Weaver's version of James Bond still looks suspiciously like Sean Connery - whose first film as 007 would be released in the United States the following month. Weaver's second full-page illustration in the April 1963 issue (pictured above) was given a citation for merit by the New York Society of Illustrators in 1964. The original artwork was sold for $2,629 in December 2003 as part of Christie's ‘PLAYBOY at 50’ auction in New York.

PLAYBOY - ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE illustrated by Robert Weaver

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE was published in America in August 1963 by the New American Library (their first hardback publication) and remained on the The New York Times best seller list for over six months.

THE PROPERTY OF A LADY was a short story commissioned by Sotheby's auction house for use in their November 1963 journal The Ivory Hammer. Ian Fleming was reportedly very unhappy with the story and refused payment. Undaunted, PLAYBOY published the story in their tenth anniversary issue in January 1964 with an illustration by Richard Frooman (1930-2014). The artist also later painted the introductory illustration to THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, which was serialised by PLAYBOY in four parts from April 1965. However, Frooman’s work went unused and was replaced with an illustration by Howard Mueller.

Richard Frooman

THE PROPERTY OF A LADY was then unavailable in printed form until it appeared in the UK PAN paperback version of OCTOPUSSY AND THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS in 1967. It is now included in all editions of this anthology, along with 007 IN NEW YORK - a 1959 short story by Ian Fleming commissioned by The Sunday Times, and originally published in the US edition of his 1963 travelogue THRILLING CITIES.

PLAYBOY - THE PROPERTY OF A LADY illustrated by Richard Frooman

PLAYBOY reported that Ian Fleming had delivered the completed manuscript to his latest novel YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE and this would be serialised starting in April 1964. The author was paid $35,000 for the rights to serialise his 11th James Bond novel. The hardback edition had already been published in the UK by Jonathan Cape in March 1964; with the US New American Library edition appearing in August.

PLAYBOY - YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE illustrated by Daniel Schwartz

The opening instalment of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE was accompanied by a superbly detailed illustration depicting James Bond and Tiger Tanaka playing ‘Scissors, paper, stone’ at the Geisha House of Trembling Leaf. Spread across three pages, the magazine format cropped the illustration so that only two thirds were visible, with the final panel on the third page. The illustration was later shown in full in the July 1967 issue as part of the pictorial accompanying the release of the film version. Illustrator Daniel Schwartz (born 1929) was a pioneer in the wider use of quality art by magazines and his works have been exhibited in many major museums.

Daniel Schwartz

PLAYBOY - YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE illustrated by Daniel Schwartz

The May 1964 issue featured another double-page spread, this time showing Bond and Kissy Suzuki swimming towards Doctor Shatterhand's fortress at the end of the story. The third and final instalment was published in June 1964 and featured an evocative illustration of Bond in full samurai attire during his fight with Shatterhand (Blofeld) at the climax of YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. The March 1964 issue of PLAYBOY reported that Ian Fleming was currently in Jamaica writing the latest James Bond adventure. The author would not live to see its publication - Ian Fleming died on August 12, 1964.

The PLAYBOY interview - Ian Fleming  December 1964

Several months before his death, Fleming consented to PLAYBOY's request for an extended and exclusive interview. The unnamed interviewer picked Fleming up at his Mitre Court office, and then accompanied the author to El Vino's Wine Bar on Fleet Street. Fleming later said of the interview that it was the best that had ever been done with him. The interview was published in the December 1964 issue of PLAYBOY.