“Forgotten Hollywood”- Passing Parade Claims a Playboy…

Posted on September 27, 2017 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`Playboy founder Hugh M. Hefner was an unabashed hedonist, who revved up the sexual revolution in the 1950s, and built a multi-media empire of clubs, mansions, and television; and symbolized by women wearing bunny costumes. Hef was also an ardent supporter of classic films, American Standards, and popular culture.  Hugh M. Hefner and Playboy remained brand names worldwide.   HUGH M. HEFNER –>

“`Hefner was born in Chicago on April 9th, 1926 to devout Methodist parents. As a toddler, he began publishing a neighborhood newspaper, which he sold for a penny a copy. He spent time writing and drawing cartoons; and in middle school he began reading Esquire, a magazine of innuendo Hefner wanted Playboy to emulate. He and co-founder Eldon Sellers launched their magazine from Hefner’s kitchen in Chicago. The first issue was undated, because Hef doubted there would be a second.

“`Hefner would help slip sex out of the confines of brown wrappers, and into our mainstream conversation.  In 1953, states could legally ban contraceptives; and when the word pregnant was not allowed on I Love Lucy, Hefner published the first issue of Playboy, featuring nude photographs of Marilyn Monroe, and an editorial promise of humor, spice, and sophistication. Playboy became forbidden fruit for teens, and a bible for men with time and money, primed for the magazine’s prescribed nights of dim lights, hard drinks, soft jazz, and hidden desires. Within a year, circulation neared 200,000. After five years, it topped one million.

“`Hugh was a strong advocate of the First Amendment, Civil Rights, and reproductive issues. Censorship was inevitable. Playboy was outlawed in China, India, Saudi Arabia, and Ireland. For years, 7-Eleven stores did not sell the magazine. Retail outlets that sold Playboy made sure to stock it on a higher shelf.

“`Plus, the magazine contained more than centerfolds. Playboy serialized Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451and later, published fiction by John Updike, Doris Lessing, and Vladimir Nabokov.  It also featured candid interviews; from Fidel Castro, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando, to presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, who confided in his article, he committed adultery in his heart. John Lennon spoke to Playboy in 1980, before he was murdered.

“`By the 1970s, the magazine had over seven million readers, and inspired raunchy imitations, such as Penthouse and Hustler. The internet reduced circulation to under three million by the 21st Century.

“`Hefner ran Playboy from elaborate mansions,  and became a flamboyant symbol of the lifestyle he espoused. For decades, he was the pipe-smoking, silk-pajama-wearing center of a constant party, with celebrities and Playboy models. Drew Barrymore, Farrah Fawcett and Linda Evans are among those who posed for the cover of the magazine.

“`Hefner was host of a television show, Playboy After Dark; and in 1960, opened a string of clubs around the world, where waitresses wore revealing costumes with bunny ears and fluffy white bunny tails. Playboy’s venues influenced culture, giving breaks to such entertainers as George Carlin, Rich Little, Mark Russell, Dick Gregory, and Redd Foxx.  Some bunnies became celebrities, including singer Deborah Harry and model Lauren Hutton, both of whom had fond memories of their time at  Playboy. One bunny was a journalist. Feminist Gloria Steinem got hired in the early 1960s, and turned her brief employment into an article for Show magazine that described the clubs as pleasure havens for men. She surmised that bunnies tended to be poorly educated, overworked, and underpaid. The last of the clubs closed in 1988.

“`An advocate for the arts,  Hef lent his name, and donated time and money to a pet project established by Michael Feinstein:  The Great American Songbook Foundation. Hugh appeared with Feinstein on PBS in a documentary promoting their collaborative effort. At the mansion, Hefner frequently screened classic movies including his favorite, Casablanca. USC currently houses the Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive, comprising of over 70,000 motion picture negatives, prints, magnetic sound elements, and moving image materials in digital formats.

“`On a personal note, I visited the Playboy Mansion in 1987 to do a live radio broadcast that helped raise money for the John Tracy Clinic.  Joining me that day was actor, and fellow high school classmate, Vince Van Patten. I met Hefner, and he was in his familiar robe and slippers. He was also a complete gentleman.

“`Though he married numerous times, Hef advocated the Playboy lifestyle for his adult life. Hugh M. Hefner died peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his current flock. He was 91.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 at 11:55 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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