GENT Magazine Ceases Publication

Word has come down that one of the oldest names in American men’s magazines has recently decided to cease publication. GENT was founded in 1957, becoming a sort of low rent PLAYBOY wannabe that later soon focused on D cup models. But, the United States Postal Service was not amused, and sought to prosecute the magazine for obscenity back in the late 50’s. But, a jury acquitted the magazine. New York state later prosecuted the magazine for obscenity, but the magazine won acquittal again. In Arkansas, the magazine was finally convicted of obscenity, but the landmark 1967 Redrup vs. New York decision by the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned that conviction in 1967. Since that time, the home of big breasted models and softcore porn was free to publish at will until very recently when the recession in the publishing business finally ended the publication.

Any magazine that seemed to center largely on showing bare breasts seem dated a long time ago, yet GENT managed to survive for many decades. Showing bare nipples in 1958 magazines seemed purely scandalous at one time, but certainly pales against most modern porn showing bare genitals involved in sexual intercourse these days. But, the old days of GENT were that of a good magazine that was a well rounded men’s magazine with more than a few worthy features as well as beautiful and well endowed young women.

In the early days, GENT attracted some top notch writers such as Harlan Ellison and Stephen King, who contributed fiction pieces, and other notable writers before eventually becoming mostly a picture magazine of big breasted models. But, in it’s early days, GENT had a lot of potential to become another establishment magazine like PLAYBOY, but always had a little more edge. But, in recent years, the age of the magazine as well as crummy sales became part of it’s undoing. Attempts to modernize the magazine, as most men’s magazines went hardcore seemed to fall flat, and it was only a matter of time before this standard among old time men’s magazines would some day die of old age.

In the 70’s and 80’s, when owned by Dugent Publishing, the magazine still seemed to have a lot of life left in it, surviving until only recently with Magna Publishing, which made the magazine much like it’s other harder sex magazines, with more sexual content and the end to any pretense of a great place for fiction roots like it’s earlier days. Becoming only just another big breasted girl picture book seemed to mark the end to one of the only surviving 1950’s competitors to PLAYBOY.

GENT was often a good magazine up until about the 1990’s. It was one of the few surviving old time men’s magazines to last this long. It is very sad to see this old publication finally hit the end of the road. Many of the old covers of this once proud magazine are pure classic Americana right now.

In 1965, a middle class guy could buy a shiny new Plymouth Barracuda and drive down to the corner drug store and buy a copy of brand spanking new copy of GENT and feel like a pretty contented sophisticated guy. Now those great old days are gone forever.

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  • That third cover down…. (Shudder)

    The other 5 weren’t bad – you could tell the ’50s/’60s and 80s/90s or thereabouts – but that third one is nightmare fuel.

    And what’s really telling about how that magazine declined is that someone thought THAT was a good cover…

    • I agree, that cover was so bad that it needed to be illustrated to show the decline in recent years for what was once a pretty good magazine that at one time gave some talented writers like Stephen King and Harlan Ellison their first big shots at exposure as fiction writers. For many years, I thought that GENT was really a worthy magazine, it had much of the same appeal as ESQUIRE or PLAYBOY, but slowly the wheels started to come off. The third cover is a pretty good example of a once great, well rounded magazine, that really jumped the shark.

      RIP GENT. You were something great from the 1950’s, now gone forever. Another old icon from my life now dead and buried.

  • fustian24

    Paul, anybody that bought a shiny new Plymouth Barracuda and drove it down to the corner drug store to buy a copy of GENT and thought this made them sophisticated was wrong on so many fronts.

    Those covers are ghastly.

    While I haven’t had the pleasure of reading a Gent, this might be a case where you really did read it for the articles. That Harlan Ellison is a great writer.

    I saw him give a reading in college. At one point he finished a section in a short story with “and that night he dreamt of grasshoppers”. Then he stopped an explained what that was all about. He asked if we’d all had high school english teachers that went on and on about symbolism. Then he said that if you ever came across someone analyzing that passage, you could tell them what he meant by it, because he was going to completely spell it out for us. “It didn’t mean a god damned thing!” He put that passage in their just to mess with those people.

    Gotta love that.

    • The Magazine tried very hard in the early days to be a quality magazine before it pretty much gave up and just resigned itself to become a picture book of big breasts. The early years of the magazine were excellent, with so many good writers looking for an opportunity to get a story published.