‘Secrets of Penthouse’ Mercilessly Unravels the Nudie Mag’s Downfall – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

‘Secrets of Penthouse’ Mercilessly Unravels the Nudie Mag’s Downfall


Secrets of Penthouse’s title promises bombshells about Bob Guccione’s tawdry nudie-mag empire, yet those looking for sensationalism or titillation will be sorely disappointed to discover that A&E’s four-part docuseries (Sept. 4) is devoid of shocking revelations.

Former Penthouse Pets and porn stars Jenna Jameson, Janine Lindemulder, and Sunny Leone wax nostalgic about the heyday of the Playboy rival, but the real focus of this paper-thin non-fiction affair is Guccione’s children, two of whom participate and all of whom the mogul wound up alienating thanks to his prioritization of money and power over family. Given the decidedly unflattering portrait it paints, few will find themselves pouring one out for the late smut titan.

A Brooklyn native from a Sicilian clan who grew up just across the Hudson in New Jersey, Guccione had his paradigm-changing epiphany while living with his second wife, Muriel Hudson, in London. Inspired by Muriel’s success selling pinup postcards of bikini-clad women through the mail, Guccione founded Penthouse, a direct competitor to Hugh Hefner’s gold-standard adult magazine that distinguished itself via its “edge”—namely, its decision to show women in their entire full-frontal glory. Penthouse was the more explicit and overtly sexual of the two newsstand publications, and it was an immediate hit, catapulting Guccione to the heights of fame and fortune. At his peak, he was one of the richest men in the world, replete with the largest private residence in Manhattan: a 22,000-foot estate that featured an indoor swimming pool, solid gold-lined bathroom fixtures, regal staircases, and $100 million of art by, among others, Picasso, Chagall, and Matisse.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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