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1966_04_23--096_SP Playboy Western World

in 1961 and sold six months later after losing $1.5 million—has nothing but scorn for his ex-boss. It would be hard to find two men with less in common. Gibney is a former Time editor, author of several books, and a Yale man who set the tone for his relations with Hefner by choosing to call him "Hughie" instead of "Hef." "Hughie always reminded me of a corrupt Methodist trader who sold liquor to the Indians, and felt he ought to just taste each brand first," Gibney observed recently. "His real idol is Frank Sinatra. He was shocked— absolutely appalled—when he found I didn't know what `ring-a-ding-ding' meant. I still don't know. What impressed me about Hughie at first was that he seemed to have some of the qualities of Henry Robinson Luce. There was that same total dedication to the business, the ability to work all night if necessary. Aside from the business, though, he's a very boring man." Gibney, who says he quit the job when he found that Hefner's idea of show business was nude chorus girls in Las Vegas and the censored footage from European films, attributes the magazine's failure mainly to Hefner's inability to keep the costs in line. Hefner's explanation is simpler: "It was badly edited, that's all." The idea behind the magazine is still a good one, he maintains, and he is thinking seriously of trying it again. Hefner is thinking very seriously about a lot of things. He wants to get into movie producing, and he is hip deep in plans for a new five-milliondollar all-year resort hotel at Lake Geneva, Wisc., that would be the model for a chain of hotels and resorts throughout the world; it will have a private lake, skiing facilities, and a 200-room hotel staffed in large part by Bunnies, whose social grace under pressure ("Please, sir, you are not allowed to touch the Bunny") may be put to its severest test yet. He sets great store by his Playboy Foundation, whose principal object is to work for the repeal of antiquated sex statutes and promote the ideas of THE PHILOSOPHY. And who knows?—one of these days Hef may even tear himself loose from The Mansion. He talks now of using an airplane as his future base of operations. They are making jets big enough, he says, and as his empire spreads out over the civilized world, it might be fun, it might be a real gas, to come swooping down over any part of it, loosing Jovian thunderbolts and appearing, perhaps, to some lucky Bunny as a shower of gold. Ring-a-ding-ding ! Hefner still devotes most of his time and energy to the magazine, though, and as the circulation soars, he thinks more and more about his editorial responsibilities. He is very much aware of the changing attitudes among today's college students, and he does not hesitate to link their new mood of political and social protest with THE PLAYBOY PHILOSOPHY. "These things are all related," he said recently. "Exactly the same things that are causing the sexual revolution in this country are also causing the civil-rights revolution and the dissent on Vietnam and the student protests. . . . I'm sick about Vietnam. I'm generally sick about our whole foreign policy since World War II—just to be against Communism isn't a policy. What are we doing in Vietnam in the first place? Listen, I'm a very idealistic guy. I think this country is based on a very moral ideal, and that we're at our best when we're closest to that—which we're clearly not in Vietnam.* I also worry about the whole nuclear thing. There's only one solution to this—it's clear-cut, it's obvious, there is no other—we've got to turn over all nuclear arms to the U.N. And not only are we not moving toward that, but nobody's *Recently, to bolster the morale of GI's, Playboy dispatched Playmate of the Year Jo Collins to Vietnam for a five-day tour. Among other things, she fired a mortar, visited an officer who had bought a lifetime Playboy subscription, and caught a virus. even saying it. The free press isn't living up to its responsibilities. I think you may hear us saying some of these things from now on. Listen, Playboy is the most contemporary magazine being published today. That's the reason for its success." It is just possible, of course, that in taking his responsibilities so seriously, Hefner may risk losing touch with the new generation. Student dissent and political activism are not the only changes in the wind these days, and there are some aspects of the contemporary youth-dominated scene that Hefner does not dig at all. He detests rock 'n' roll, for example, remaining staunchly loyal to the Sinatra-styled rhythms of his high-school days. Nor does his sympathy for student anti-establishment protests extend to "beatniks" and others who opt out of the affluent society. For the time being, though, Hefner's basic rapport with his audience seems to be secure. The money keeps rolling in, the HMH Company continues to expand, the magazine grows steadily fatter and better-looking and more interesting to read. No doubt about it, Nabokov and Sartre and Baldwin do lend an aura; the quality is unmistakably there. And at the center of it all, pumping her vital energy into every corner of the far-flung empire, reflecting the needs and drives of God-knows-how-many pale urban dreamers out of a population that gets younger each year, astounding the adolescent and rejuvenating the senior citizen, beckoning provocatively yet sweetly, promising all, demanding nothing—right there in full, radiant, delectable color is the Playmate- Bunny-Girl-of-Our-Dreams. The child woman. The teen-age ideal. Like Keats's maiden on the Grecian urn, she remains forever just out of reach : Look but don't touch. And this, of course—as who should know better than Hugh Hefner ?—is the secret of her mysterious appeal. 0 In bed, Hef edits color shots. Epoxy resin sculpture, GIRL IN A SLING CHAIR, is by Frank Gallo, young artist whose work is in collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art.


1966_04_23--096_SP Playboy Western World
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