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Treasure Troves from the Past

A visit with Steven Watts, Professor, History

By LuAnne Roth
Published: - Topics: Playboy Hugh Hefner Henry Ford Walt Disney biography

On Hugh Hefner: Bogeyman for the Reagan Era

Topics: biography research

Watts’ most recent research resulted in a biography of Hugh Hefner—Mr Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream (2008). “Hefner has been a very significant historical figure in American popular culture.” At the front edge of the sexual revolution in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, Hefner signified liberation—sexual and otherwise. “In that sense,” explains Watts, “in the 1980s and ‘90s, Hefner became a kind of foil for the Reagan administration; the Meese Commission on pornography went after him very strongly. He became the bogeyman in the age of Reagan.”