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1966_04_23--096_SP Playboy Western World

Frolicking Bunnies sometimes spill out of the living room into the pool. It has a waterfall and Polynesian decor. for conferences with members of his staff. During the interview, he had his hair trimmed by his private barber and his nails attended to by his private manicurist. At 11 P.M. he went downstairs to the bedroom, changed into pajamas and pored over picture layouts until about 1:30 in the morning, when three employees arrived to play Risk, a highly complicated war game that is Hefner's latest enthusiasm. At 5:30 A.m. the game broke up and Hefner went back to work. He scrutinized and approved several picture layouts and half a dozen editorial pages for the upcoming issue. Then he worked on THE PLAYBOY FORUM (a lettersto the-editor feature) until midafternoon, finishing it just in time to keep an appointment with Cynthia Maddox, Playboy's assistant cartoon editor and a onetime Hefner girl friend, who had brought over a batch of cartoons. At 4 P.M. Hefner went into a 45-minute conference with the head of a movie-theater chain to discuss possible HMH Company moves in that field. A telephone call from his 11-year-old son took up half an hour— Hefner has a boy and a girl by his first and so far only marriage, which ended in divorce seven years ago. At 6:30 that evening he OK'd a proof of the forthcoming Playmate of the Month—always a major decision. Then he went back to editing copy, and stayed with it through the night. At six o'clock the following morning, 37 hours from the time he got up, Hefner collapsed into bed. Understandably, Hefner does not look the picture of health. His cheeks are hollow, his intense brown eyes are sunk deep in their sockets, his longish brown hair is tinged with gray. His manner, however, is highly energetic. Candid, friendly and utterly engaging, he is also supremely selfconfident. He speaks quickly, in articulate bursts, and with the flat, slurred accents of the Midwest. As he talks, his immaculate fingers clasp and unclasp, toy with a silver pipe tool, twist a pencil. His hands never stop working. "I hate sleep," Hefner says, leaning forward with both hands on the octagonal conference table. "Life is too short, the days are too short for all I want to do. That's my only discontent. I'm awfully glad this all happened to me so early. It's been twelve years now, and if I don't push myself too hard I've still got quite a few more left. But even if I were to drop dead tomorrow, I'd feel as though I've lived a full, complete life. Playboy fulfills all my needs and drives. And sometimes I suspect that it does the same for a lot of other people—much more so than they care to admit." What are the needs and drives that Playboy magazine manages so successfully to fulfill in its readers, the "young, urban, sophisticated males" that Hefner has always considered his primary audience? To answer this, one must go back and trace the remarkable career of Hefner himself, for rarely has a magazine been so completely the product of one young man's lively imagination. As a boy growing up in Chicago, Hugh Hefner chafed under the rigid fundamentalist ethics of his highly religious parents. The elder Hefners were Go i-fearing Methodists of German and Swedish descent, who had only recently moved from the flat farmlands of Nebraska to the city, where the el 1-T Hefner worked as an accountant for a large aluminum company. There was no drinking, no smoking, and no Sunday moviegoing in the Hefler household, and Hefner has often said that he and his younger brother, Keith, grew up behind "a wall of restrictions." Although he seems to bear no resentment toward his parents—Mr. Hefner, in fact, now serves as treasurer in his son's company, and brother Keith is director of training for Playboy Club employees—Hefner also has said that one of the motivating forces behind Playboy was his own desire to thumb his nose at the moral strictures he knew as a child. He appears nevertheless to have had a fairly normal, middle-class boyhood. After graduating from high school in 1944, he served two unevent- ful years in the U.S. Army (clerical jobs in the States), and then entered the University of Illinois on the GI Bill. He majored in psychology, got average marks, contributed cartoons and stories to the campus humor magazine, sang with a threepiece band, and went steady with his high-school sweetheart, Millie Williams. And yet, according to his college roommate Robert Preuss—now Playboy's business manager—there was an aura of success about Hefner even then. "He was a very sharp guy," Preuss recalls. "There was no doubt about his going places." One indication that Hefner thought so too is that he had been keeping a scrapbook since highschool days, a sort of semi-fictionalized comic-strip account of the main events in his life. He has continued to keep it ever since, substituting newspaper clippings and photographs for his own drawings as he grew more successful. Thus far, there are 84 volumes. For the first few years after he graduated from college in 1949, Hefner seemed to be going nowhere. He married Millie Williams, had two children, and worked at a succession of mediocre jobs. He did one semester of graduate work in psychology at Northwestern University, thinking he might go into teaching, then gave it up. But during this phase of typical postgraduate floundering, an old idea was churning in the back of his mind. He wanted to publish his own magazine. "I guess I've always been fascinated with magazines," Hefner said recently. "I had a one-cent neighborhood paper when I was eight. I started a school newspaper in high school—it's still going— and all through school and college I was interested in writing and cartooning. I read all the magazines there were, and I used to admire Esquire tremendously— the Petty girls, the sophisticated world it talked about." In 1951 he managed to land a job with Esquire, as a $60-a-week copywriter in the magazine's circulation-promotion department. It was not quite what he had imagined for himself. After a year the magazine decided to move its offices from Chicago to New York and offered to raise Hefner's salary to $80 if he would come along. Hefner demanded $85. Esquire refused, so he quit. The usual version of Hefner's career has him going into virtual seclusion after leaving Esquire, and then emerging, a year later, with the makings of his own magazine. What actually happened was that he went to work for a Chicago publisher named George Von Rosen, who put out a string of girlie magazines with titles like Art Photography and Modern Man. During the year he worked as Von Rosen's circulation manager, Hefner got to know many of the country's newsstand wholesalers by name, and acquired a firsthand knowledge of newsstand circulation methods that he would find invaluable later on. He also learned that photographs of naked women sold magazines. For some time Hefner had been trying to interest investors in his idea for a new publication called Chicago, which would deal with the livelier aspects of life in that city. (Hefner is a great Chicago booster, and to this day he retains a Midwesterner's mistrust of and contempt for New York.) Now, suddenly, he began to think about a magazine of "entertainment for men." Its tone would be sophisticated and racy. It would print 99


1966_04_23--096_SP Playboy Western World
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