December 1963: Sonny Liston

The heavyweight boxing champion appears on the cover of Esquire magazine in a Santa hat. Cover design by George Lois; photo by Carl Fischer.

Esquire editor Harold Hayes would write in 1981: "Sonny Liston was a bad black who beat up good blacks, like Floyd Patterson; there was no telling what he might do to a white man. In 1963, when this was the sort of possibility that preyed on white men's minds everywhere, George Lois's Christmasy cover was something more than an inducement for readers to buy Dad extra shaving soap. Lois's angry icon insisted on several things: the split in our culture was showing; the notion of racial equality was a bad joke; the felicitations of this season -- goodwill to all men, etc. -- carried irony more than sentiment."
* Comments from George Lois: @
* "The King of Visceral Design" (New York Times, April 2008): @
* Carl Fischer Photography: @
* Short Liston biography (from American National Biography Online): @
* "O Unlucky Man: Fortune never smiled on Sonny Liston, even when he was champ" (William Nack, Sports Illustrated, 1991): @
* "Esquire covers honor boxing's prime" (Todd Boyd, ESPN, 2008): @
* Esquire covers through the years: @
* "The Esquire decade" (Vanity Fair, 2007): @
* "It Wasn't Pretty, Folks, but Didn't We Have Fun? Surviving the '60s with Esquire's Harold Hayes" (Carol Polsgrove, 1995): @ 

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