Haresh Shah

The Real Man Eclipsed By His Image

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The questions I am asked often are:

Have you met Hefner?

Have  you been to Playboy mansion?

What is he like as a person?

The answers to the first two is YES. As for the third, I don’t know. But I do have a certain feelings about him. And I have personal opinions.

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Soon after I was hired by John Mastro, I met with Lee Hall, the man who would be my real boss. At the end of our introductory meeting, he hands me a leather covered ring binder, which weighed a ton.  The rounded spine measured almost three inches (6.6 cm.) overflowing with typewritten pages inside.

‘For  you to read on the plane.’ It was Playboy Style Book.  The volume defined raison d’être of every single page of the magazine in the minute details from the typeface of the head, subhead, the body, the positioning of page numbers, the direction the Rabbit Head must always face (left), the positioning of the little Rabbit Head slug  to mark the end of features. The concepts and execution of the Playmate, all minutely explained. And as importantly, the concepts of each section from Playboy After Hours, to Dear Playboy to the Playboy Interview, the cropping of the photos, capturing and freezing of the most dramatic expressions on their faces,  the quotes that  appear right underneath them and the exact format defining the philosophy, the word counts and the positioning of the major and the minor features. Fiction and non-fiction.  Lead pictorial and back of the book pictorial.  It talked at length about  “the pacing” – the rhythm of how the text features, illustrations, photos should follow, the presentation of it all while continuously striving for  harmony in diversity. The surprise element and the elements that would challenge and provoke readers.

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