Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A rare African-American Playboy clone: Duke Magazine and Dan Burley

After the phenomenal success of Hugh Hefner's Playboy, started in 1953, dozens of clones appeared. Most were low class ripoffs with little or no redeeming merit. Some, like Rogue and Cavalier were a cut above the rest and, as Playboy, featured some good literature and other germaine articles. One that is little known (thanks to David Leishman for making me aware of it) is Duke, published in June 1957. Duke was published for an arican-american audience and featured reprinted literature from Langston Hughes and Chester Himes as well as Ray Bradbury "The Last White Man" and others.

Amazingly, there is very little about this magazine on the web and it probably lasted only one issue.

The editor was Dan Burley who was involved in many African-American publishing enterprises, including Jet, whose idea he sold to the Johnson Publishing empire. Burley's daughter is an international radio host and maintains a wonderful website about her father which incidentally does not mention this magazine! Burley was involved in many aspects of popular culture, most notably music, and coined the term "bee-bop".
The magazine cost me 16 bucks on eBay and is worth considerably more due to its rarity and cultural importance. So, you can see that twentieth century rarities can be found.

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