What About Bob

5 Data Points About the Penthouse Founder

There are many paths to becoming a legend. Some men scale Everest. Others unite a nation. And some launch naked-lady magazines—like the man we lost this week, Bob Guccione. Herewith, five reasons why The Gooch was one glorious bastard, starting with his esteemed periodical. Which, as an art appreciator, you know well...

A Little Rag Called Penthouse

A Little Rag Called <i>Penthouse </i>

The year: 1965. The city: London. The event: Bob unleashes Penthouse on an unsuspecting public. The magazine sells out immediately, and four years later, he brings it stateside with an ad reading, "We're going rabbit hunting," showing the Playboy bunny in the crosshairs.

The Takeaway: More proof of an obscure advertising edict: sex sells

Dear Penthouse...

Dear Penthouse...

Believe it or not, until 1973, Mile High Club members had literally nowhere to publish their captivating tales of romance and aviation. Then along came Penthouse Letters, and eventually PH Forum. Which reminds us: we never believed this could happen …

The Takeaway: Some people really do read it for the articles

A Townhouse Rivaling the Mansion

A Townhouse Rivaling the Mansion

Hef has his Mansion. Gooch had this place—the largest private residence in all of Manhattan. Gold bathtubs, elevators, Picassos, a Roman-inspired indoor pool and, of course, an Icelandic goatskin rug. Where, we'll assume, many a Pet was comforted.

The Takeaway: Icelandic goatskin: always a winner

An X-Rated Film With Helen Mirren

An X-Rated Film With Helen Mirren

The Gooch poured $17.8 million of his money into an upscale biopic about the legendarily debauched Roman emperor Caligula. And when he wasn’t satisfied with the dailies, he did what any good producer would do: spliced in anonymous porn. Somehow, Oscar turned a cold shoulder.

The Takeaway: Sex doesn't always sell

He Took Down Miss America

He Took Down Miss America

In 1984, Guccione published the magazine's most infamous spread: an unauthorized pictorial of then Miss America winner Vanessa Williams. She lost her crown, but the issue was his biggest ever (six million copies). Which wouldn't be the last time "Penthouse" and "biggest ever" were used together in a sentence…

The Takeaway: Crossing Vanessa Williams works. Also, sex sells...

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