Almost 60 years ago, Hugh Hefner started Playboy magazine in Chicago on a small amount of mostly borrowed money and a hell of a big dream. The success of the magazine far surpassed his expectations and Playboy became synonymous with Chicago. Just recently, Playboy shutdown their Chicago operations to streamline everything to the West Coast, where Hefner lives.
While Playboy is fresh in the minds of Chicagoans, the Chicago History Museum offers up Unexpected Chicago with a true Hefner treasure, his actual 'little black book' from the early days of Playboy! There are the standard names, addresses and phone numbers of what has to have been some of the most beautiful women in the world. It also has Hef's notes on some of the women, some in code! On one page, in Hef's recognizable handwriting it says "Hef's House WH. 3-0412 Chicago 214." In 2004, Hef wrote a book with Bill Zehme called Hef's Little Black Book.
Also at the museum is the Crossroads of America exhibition which has some other Playboy memorabilia. Recently, Hefner penned a touching farewell to the city in the Chicago Tribune. "Chicago stood as the most significant representation of true, post-war America. The high-rises and subways brimmed with urban men who returned to the city after their experiences abroad and found themselves receptive to ideas that challenged their socially conservative surroundings," Hefner wrote. "I counted myself among them."
Yesterday, Hugh Hefner made Jaclyn Swedberg the 2012 Playboy Playmate of the Year at a celebration at his Holmby Hills Playboy Mansion. His lookalike son, Cooper Hefner, 20, gave a short tribute to his dad before Hef took to the stage. The 86-year-old Hef was just as charming as always. Cooper is becoming more and more involved in running the company and embraces Playboy's history and vision. He often tweets his ideas and plans and it seems he's the perfect choice to take Playboy higher than ever over the next 60 years.
See The Chicago History Museum website HERE.
Chicago History Museum blog post on Hef's Little Black Book HERE.
Â© Margie Wilson-Mars 2012