A&E has established a distinct position in the vaguely disreputable "Secrets of" documentary series, commencing with Hugh Hefner and Playboy. The network has now discovered an ideal and possibly predictable arena for the franchise with "Secrets of Penthouse," which essentially functions as a four-part chronicle of the magazine's creator, Bob Guccione.
Despite its suggestive nature, the program is also a tale of ascent and decline, recounted primarily through the perspectives of Guccione's offspring concerning the establishment and subsequent dissolution of an empire. Reach factswow.com to get instant updates.
Additional photographic material
Guccione initiated the launch of Penthouse in Europe, providing more explicit photographic content than its well-established counterpart, Playboy. In 1969, he expanded his operations across the Atlantic, targeting his rival with impish advertisements such as "We're going rabbit hunting."
For a period, both publications coexisted, enabling Guccione to amass a fortune, a significant portion of which he invested in invaluable artwork. He resided in a luxurious New York mansion, where Penthouse "Pets" occasionally stayed while simultaneously estranging himself from his four offspring.
Openly deliberates on the personal obstacles
Undoubtedly, Guccione engaged in relationships with several of his employees, and the discourse encompasses his unconventional sexual preferences. However, he explicitly prohibited his sons from associating with the models featured in the magazine.
Despite his warnings, his son Nick attests that he did not have a paternal figure during his formative years. Along with his sister, Nina, he candidly discusses the personal challenges stemming from his upbringing.
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Critical monetary misfortunes
Unsurprisingly, the most intriguing aspect of "Secrets of Penthouse" pertains to the "fall" phase of Guccione's business ventures. Regrettably, he recklessly expanded into areas beyond the magazine, investing funds into the star-studded "Caligula."
Which was essentially a glorified pornographic film amidst a more explicit cinematic trend in the 1970s. Additionally, he incurred significant financial losses in his futile attempts to establish an Atlantic City casino.
Demonstrated by the dissemination
Furthermore, the Penthouse saga has a cultural dimension, as Guccione managed to incur the ire of both feminists and evangelicals. This was exemplified by the publication of explicit photographs of Vanessa Williams, the first Black Miss America, which led to her relinquishing her crown.
Peter Bloch, the longtime editor of Penthouse, recalls that the animosity towards Guccione was deeply ingrained. He is one of several former employees who have recounted Guccione's obstinacy and misguided decisions.
Engaging in sexual activity
Other unsavory episodes include the lawsuit filed by former Pet Anneka DiLorenzo, who accused Guccione of treating her as a "sexual slave" and compelling her to engage in sexual activities with men to further his business interests.
Guccione passed away in 2010 due to cancer, having lived long enough to witness the collapse of the empire he had painstakingly constructed. While there may be a sense of poetic justice in observing his almost Shakespearean downfall from the Penthouse to the poorhouse, it is important not to dwell too much on the voyeuristic nature that underpins the viability of the "Secrets of" concept.
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