MAGAZINES The buzz of cocktail chatter and the clink of ice cubes shrink the vast room with its monumental fireplace, paneled walls, beamed 22-ft. ceiling and two suits of medieval armor. Soft, round girls curl up with boy friends on couches beneath immense paintings by Franz Kline and Larry Rivers. The men are relaxed, confident, plainly well off. A scene straight out of Playboy magazine? Precisely. The men are mostly magazine employees, and the girls are some of the 24 bunnies who room upstairs. A couple of centerfold "Playmates," disarmingly pretty and ingenuous-looking in party dresses, sip Pepsi-Cola.
Then stillness and a turning of heads. Down a few steps from a doorway in the corner of the room walk a man and a woman—he, casual in slacks and cardigan sweater; she, sleek in blonde hair and black dress. Simultaneously, a full-sized movie screen begins a silent descent down a side wall. Playboy Editor-Publisher Hugh Marston Hefner, 40, sinks into a love seat that has been saved for him beside the 15-ft.-long stereo console. His girl friend, Playboy Cover Girl Mary Warren, 23, slips alongside him, puts her head on his shoulder. A butler brings a bowl of hot buttered popcorn and bottles of Pepsi; the lights dim; the movie begins. Last week it was Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up, the week before Claude Lelouch's A Man and a Woman.
After the movie, buffet supper is served in the bunny dining room. "Hef" (nicknames abound) and Mary chat for awhile, then stroll off to his private quarters. These include a duplex of offices, living room, bedroom (an adjoining room serves as a TV taping studio), all ankle-deep in white carpet. Once Hef has retired, his guests may amuse themselves as they see fit. The top floor of the house, used as a bunny dormitory by the Chicago Playboy club, is off limits. Very much available, however, is the heated, kidney-shaped first-floor swimming pool (bathing suits, if desired, are supplied by the house). If guests want seclusion, they may swim through a gentle waterfall to a hidden grotto furnished with soft cushions and background music. Privacy is not complete, however; the grotto can be observed through a trap door on the main hall above. The way to a nightcap is a brisk slide down a brass firehouse pole leading to a bar, where a glass wall gives an underwater view of the pool.
Spectator Sex. To some visitors, the trap door and the glass wall are the real symbols of Hugh Hefner's achievement. Bacchanalia with Pepsi. Orgies with popcorn. And 24 girls—count 'em, 24—living right overhead! Not to mention all those mechanical reassurances, like TV and hifi. It is all so familiar and domestic. Don Juan? Casanova? That was in another country and, besides, the guys are dead. Hugh Hefner is alive, American, modern, trustworthy, clean, respectful, and the country's leading impresario of spectator sex.