Hefner’s Typewriter

Published December 4, 2018

At an auction of the late Hugh Hefner’s possessions, the typewriter he used in college was the top-selling item, going for $162,500. The founder of Playboy Enterprises used an Underwood Standard portable – prehistoric next to today’s word processors or even those IBM “Selectric” typewriters that were the state-of-the-art when I came out of journalism school in the late 1970s.

Hefner began his career in corporate communications in the Chicago area before starting Playboy magazine in the 1950s. One of his early hires at Playboy was an editorial director who also came from the corporate world, having previously served as editor of Walgreen Company’s employee magazine, called The Pepper Pod at the time.

My first job out of college was with Walgreen Company managing the same magazine, only now it was called Walgreen World.  Unlike Hefner or my predecessor at Walgreens, however, I stayed in corporate communications the rest of my life. I ran magazines all right, but for companies and other organizations – a far cry from Playboy!

I’ve had a successful career, but I can’t help thinking about what might have been had I been born 20 years earlier. Maybe I’d have been a pioneering editorial director for Playboy. Follow your dreams, kids, because you never know.