Archives for posts with tag: Gary Cole

Haresh Shah

All I Want To Do Is To Take A Beak

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As I roll off the QE II in my Buick from the port of  New York city, my plan is to drive cross-country with the destination of Santa Barbara, California. Or more precisely, Mark and Ann’s (Stevens) farm house in Goleta, some twelve miles north of downtown Santa Barbara and a stone’s throw away from the carefree Isla Vista off UCSB campus. Awaiting me is the culture and the people so unlike the America I have known so far. Three years earlier, just before Playboy offered me the job, I had planned a long vacation to explore the California Coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Instead, on the very day I was to fly west, I end up making a sharp hairpin turn to fly east over the Atlantic. I owe it to California to make up for my sudden turn.  But I am not in a hurry. And I am open to any other possibilities that may exist or arise.

Chicago awaits for me with its arms wide open. Lee (Hall) throws a staff lunch for me and am treated like a homecoming war hero. He has even arranged for me to meet with the Photography Director Gary Cole. Lee thinks very highly of me and feels I would make a good photo editor for Gary. Gary is congenial, but not so sure. He has probably agreed to speak with me more out of courtesy than to consider me for a position he didn’t have in the first place. As devastated as Lee is at having to let me go, this is his way of demonstrating that it wasn’t his decision or within his power to keep me.

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Haresh Shah

Taking A Stab At Respectability

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When Celia – the young woman who so beautifully interprets and illustrates Playboy Stories week after week, returned the copy of my July 1988 issue of Playboy featuring Cindy Crawford on the cover, she had secured the pages with a little yellow and pink binder-clips. Apparently the pages of the issue had come apart at the perfect bound stiff spine, just like that of the cheap paperbacks from the Fifties. The issue was never before opened and was in mint condition. Quite unsettling for an avid fan and the collector of the magazine.

When the first issue of the perfect bound Playboy dated October 1985 landed on my desk, sometime around the first week of September, with the cover blurb proclaiming: COLLECTOR’S EDITION / THERE IS A BOLD NEW LOOK UNDER OUR COVER, I felt disoriented like never before. Devoid of the staples and lying there flat as the thick Dutch pancake, it felt akin to me returning to the little town of Schutterwald in Germany to visit my old landlady Frau Lipps – fully expecting, as in the past for her to have prepared my favorite Wiener Schnitzel with pommes frites and a small side of butter lettuce salad – instead to find a plate of a salmon filet with boiled potatoes and green beans. It threw me completely off balance.

Even though there were talks in the air for a while to switch to the perfect binding, deep down in my heart I still held out hopes that Hefner would never agree to such a move. But he did and now I was holding in my hands something I had thought would never come to pass.

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Haresh Shah

Tempting Eve To Tempt Adam

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It’s the early spring weekend in 1989. I get a hurried phone call either from our German editor-in-chief Andreas Odenwald or most likely at his direction, from Christian Seidel, his PR person. German edition has just published the cover and the nude pictorial of Michael Jackson’s baby sister La Toya Jackson, originated in the US, (March 1989). Her rock video Stop the Madness is just released and she is making waves in the media for having posed for Playboy. The TV channel SAT 1 has approached our German editors, telling them that they have a slot available that weekend on their super popular Saturday night talk show, Nase vorn (literary Nose up Front/ Way up Front) hosted by Frank Elstner, and they would like to offer it to Playboy if they could get La Toya Jackson to appear on the show.

We are in luck, because just recently Jack Gordon, La Toya’s husband and the manager had stopped by in my office to talk with me about just such a possibility overseas. So I get on the line and call Jack. A series of frantic phone calls ensue across Chicago, New York and Munich. They want first class passage, adjoining executive suites in a five star hotel. Limousine pick up. The usual celebrity stuff. All arranged with the lightening speed by our German team. They are picked up by Christian in his BMW 735 and brought to the hotel in Saarbrücken, from where the show is broadcasted. The live transmission is to go on air within hours when La Toya drops the bomb. She had to have a live boa constrictor to accompany her on the show!!! An eleventh hour curve ball. But nothing our Playboy team in Germany couldn’t handle. A call to the Frankfurt Zoo, and voila.

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