Shed a salty nostalgic tear for Penthouse as a print institution. After fifty years, the publication is going digital-only.

Thatā€™s according to the Wall Street Journal. Penthouse once boasted a circulation of five million and a comfortable place in the pop-cultural pantheon. It had a reputation for being raunchier than Playboy, as a 2004 Rolling Stone look back recounted of founder Bob Guccione, who died in 2010:

Guccione vowed to catch the bunny in five years. A few months later, in the April 1970 issue, he hit on the formula for doing so. There, he ran a small photo of a naked blonde walking on a beach ā€” a shadow at the top of her thigh was just identifiable as pubic hair. ā€œBack then, the legal line between what was ā€˜obsceneā€™ and what was acceptable was pubic hair,ā€ Guccione says. ā€œWhen there was no prosecution, we went even further.ā€

He began to print brazen full-frontal photos of his seductively sullen Pets, pubic hair in full display. Hefner at first vowed never to stoop to such depths. ā€œNine months later,ā€ Guccione says, chuckling, ā€œthere was pubic hair in Playboy, because we were killing him on the newsstand.ā€

Itā€™s not much of a mystery what happened, of course. You canā€™t turn around on the Internet without bumping into a naked body, and if you just really loved the letters to Penthouse, thereā€™s huge swaths of Reddit for all your unbelievable-(un)true-stories needs. (Trolling is dead! Long live trolling!) Penthouseā€™s longtime rival Playboy is phasing out nudes, after a big send-off featuring (who else?) Pamela Anderson. Meanwhile Maxim is in for another round of retooling after backing away from former editor-in-chief Kate Lanphearā€™s attempt to strip the property of its Axe-scented ladmag funk.

But thereā€™s still Hustler!

Update 1/20/2016: Apparently the print edition of Penthouse isnā€™t going anywhere. Contrary to reports (which stemmed from a misunderstood press release about the relaunch of the magazineā€™s website), itā€™s still hanging in there. Read more here.


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