School Daze #11: Playboy in the Yearbook

In 1961, the Texas Tech University yearbook, La Ventana, began the tradition of having a Playboy Magazine feature complete with female students as Playmates and even a full color centerfold!... (although, there was never any nudity). This practice continued for 20 years, with the last faux Playboy cover appearing in the 1982 edition of La Ventana.

Several thoughts come to mind…

1. How did parents feel about paying for their daughter to go to college, and find her on the cover of a mock Playboy cover in the yearbook?

2. Why did the practice end? Was there an outcry from the alumni that it was sexist?

3. What would the public say today of a Playboy insert in a college yearbook? Would there be condemnation or ambivalence?

4. I wonder if the Playboy yearbook segment died because Playboy itself had ceased to be respectable. In other words, Playboy’s image in 1961 was akin to Esquire and GQ. By 1982, however, it became associated more with Hustler and Penthouse. (A faux Hustler spread in the Texas Tech yearbook would've been interesting.)






















Note: This is a modified rehash of a previous post which used some horrible Flickr slideshow  It's a post from 2010 that badly needs another go.  I've added a good deal of additional scanned images from the various yearbook editions as well.  Sorry to recycle, but this one badly needed an upgrade.


  1. In the words of Edith and Archie Bunker "and you knew who you were then, goils were goils and men were men"

    1. How is it possible my eardrums ache just reading Edith's line? .

  2. A couple of things: First Texas tech had some darn fine looking Co-eds! And second, I think your reason #4 is the most likely. If it were the other reasons the femenist way of the 70's would have swamped it long before 1981.

  3. Playmate of the Year 1972 -- Marcia Brady???

  4. Damn! What a genius idea! Why didn't my High School do this???!!!!

  5. I'm going to add a reason #5: MONEY. That is the favorite excuse for the end of every good thing here in Missouri and probably other places as well.

  6. I notice the pics get more risque as the years move along... just like the real Playboy.

  7. I would say yes to no.2. A lot of alumni would say that. I might add that, regarding question 3, there is NO way it would be accepted today in any way, shape or form. If a college tried to pull that off today there'd be sensitivity training seminars in response, girls fighting each other in public forums, network t.v. debates, views from the pulpits, and finally legal action up to and maybe including the Supreme Court from offended or injured parties. A college today could get away with some fringe Tea Party Right Wing column before a discreet and clothed Playboy column.

  8. Today you can find women dressed (or undressed) like their moms are in these photos, minus the bunny ears, on the sidelines of any college football game in America. That's right the Texas Tech cheerleaders and "drill team" are generally showing more skin this these "playmates" and I don't hear anyone complaining.

  9. I'm just going to say that 1973 and '74 are the best with 1980 and '81 close behind.

  10. I find it interesting that they were allowed to use "Playboy" and the logo rabbit for so long. Not even a slight "tweak."
    I also find it interesting that it lasted to the 80s. I would have thought that this would have been a prime militant feminist target. Odd though that the decade of sun dresses, halter tops, and Bonnie Franklin braless also riled against women as sex objects in print.

    Another interesting find Gilligan. Also a fine collection of REAL "girls next door."

    1. "I find it interesting that they were allowed to use Playboy and the logo rabbit for so long."

      Lacey, that it is a bit of a mystery. Some companies are a bit more touchy about copyright infringement than others. In this case, Playboy most likely looked at this for what it was: Free advertising. Besides, these yearbooks were not sold for profit. That was probably the biggest reason they were able to use the rabbit head logo, which IS a registered trademark.

  11. Wow. This is pretty incredible, on so many levels, including, as people have said, everything from "sensitivity training" to logo copyright infringement. While I think it's a sad thing if a beautiful woman gets old without having been properly photographed, and I am utterly un-offended by skimpy-clad cheerleaders (my daughter was in a college dance troupe, and their skimpy costumes never bothered me)... but this is... wow... just downright red-necked by University standards, even in the day. And if somebody thinks the photos of the girls are "demeaning", the description of the guys in "what sort of man..." is so much worse. Maybe that's why the feminists never went after this -- they all laughed themselves into a coma reading that. Amazing. I had no idea. Thanks for another educational post.

  12. My oh my....Nancy Holt, Pat Bland, Sherry Williams....quite a few of these ladies certainly had centerfold potential. None of the names I read rings a bell, but it would be interesting to research some of them to see if any the girls actually did go on to pose for Playboy.

    What a nostalgic time that will never come again. While greeting card companies can have their goods loaded with male-bashing garbage (we've all seen the one with the gingerbread man..."He's the ideal man. He's quiet, sweet, and if he gives you any crap, you can bite his head off!") and authors like Daylle Schwartz can write books with titles like "All Men are Jerks (until proven otherwise)", any college or university that tried to photograph female students as 'bunnies' would probably find itself facing a lawsuit, protests from angry feminists or worse. Things sure have changed here on Walton's mountain...

  13. Now the U.S. is a whorehouse run by butch women funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. What is it about "Cheaper to Rent" that you guys don't understand.