Marilyn Monroe, lawsuits, defunct car companies and stag parties –– here’s the lesser-known story behind Playboy Magazine earning its name.

Written by Cole Schafer

Playboy Magazine wasn’t always Playboy Magazine.

When Hugh Hefner was originally breathing it into existence he gave it the name…

“Stag Party”

(I know… it has a terrible ring to it.)

Hefner was so deadset on the name that he even created a character of sorts that was a buck dressed in a robe holding what appeared to be a glass of scotch.

Unfortunately, another magazine called “Stag” caught wind that the upstart magazine was about to launch with a similar name and threatened to sue Hefner and his little band of misfits for everything they had.

Shit hit the fan.

Days before the magazine was supposed to go to print, Hefner and his team had to go back through the magazine with a fine-tooth comb, putting to rest all instances of the word “stag” and coming up with a new name entirely…

(Keep in mind that this was long before the age of “Word” so this editing had to be done manually, by hand.)

As the boys were shooting the shit, tossing out potential names, one of them remembered a now-defunct automobile company that his mother had worked at in a past life called…


The Playboy had a short lifespan of just three to four years and was manufactured in Buffalo, New York.

He joked…

“Why don’t we call it Playboy…”

The magazine went to launch –– with Marilyn Monroe sitting pretty on its cover and “Playboy” etched above her –– and of the 70,000 issues that were printed, 80% of them sold out.

In Playboy’s first year, they were profitable –– a feat unheard of in the world of magazines.

(By comparison, Sports Illustrated, which started around the same time, took five to six years to dig itself out of debt.)

In closing…

Stag Party doesn’t have the same ring to it as Playboy, does it?

Sometimes your biggest setbacks are ultimately what set you apart.

So, lean into them.

But, I digress.

By Cole Schafer.