America’s Magazine celebrates the nation’s Bicentennial by dropping an iconic cover on the world
It would be difficult to overstate how big a deal the United States Bicentennial celebration was—or how important it was for the morale of a recently beleaguered America.
In 1976, the U.S. was emerging from a sustained period of turbulence that included the Civil Rights struggle, the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War—the latter of which had just ended the previous year. Economically, the nation had recently been under a recession marked by “stagflation,” a financially bruising combination of high unemployment and high inflation. And disco music was coming into full bloom, deadening the airwaves with its inane, oppressively repetitive beat.
What else is a still-reeling country to do when faced with such circumstances, but to throw a gigantic party to boost a flagging sense of patriotism? And what better excuse to throw that party than America’s 200th birthday?
HUSTLER, too, had its own birthday to celebrate—and it did so in its own grand style, mixing in plenty of pink with the traditional red, white and blue.
The July ’76 HUSTLER—which served not only as the magazine’s Second Anniversary issue but also as its Bicentennial edition—offered much for the reader to cheer about: a Life-Size Centerfold (“Evelyn: Pink Is Beautiful”); the introduction of a new mascot, the hardhat-wearing “Smiling Beaver”; a detailed how-to article on breaking cherries.