Hugh Hefner wanted his "Chicago Playboy Club" set to resemble a converted Firehouse with a fireman's pole upstage, (later, the fire-pole was axed, replaced with a spiral staircase). The live band performance area was in front of the spiral staircase corner, where a soloist performed, was located to the middle of the right side of the room (behind the cozy fireplace interview area). The fireplace seating interview area located in the front of the room. To the right of the fireplace was a bar well area adjacent to the entrance into a wood panel book lined library room, with a balcony above, with more wood paneled book shelves. This intimate library setting was intended for serious interview conversations. The opposite side of the main living family room was the square arched entrance into the play and dance room. On the left side of the large living-family room was a staircase leading to a back wall balcony, intended to display well groomed party guests languishing, posing, climbing or descending this feature. A prop 6' diameter tan leather saddle-stitched ottoman was featured in the middle of the room, customized with dials, a small television monitor, switches which could raise or lower the room's lighting. Of course, nothing worked on the console, just to help Hef motivate and circulate his club room. The design of the ottoman was a "hint" of Hefner's Chicago bedroom's circular turntable bed! The Playboy Club's Design Representatives, from Chicago, were available as advisor's, having negotiated a furniture set dressing contract with Knoll International. They were supplying wall decorations, as well. The CBS-Fairfax Studio Construction, Paint, Drapery Departments fabricated the scenery, setting the set up on their stage. Upon set up, the Playboy Executive Design team had no wall decorations. The Producers argued with Hefner about the Knoll Barcelona Chairs placed flanking, in front of the fireplace. The Chicago Designers flew back to the sacred Playboy temple, never to be seen nor heard from hence! The Production Designer selected new Knoll furniture replacing specific objectionable items which satisfied and settled the Producers versus Hefner battle zones. Including art work decorating Hefner's Playboy Penthouse. Midway through the series taping schedule, Hefner and the Producers decided the Playboy set should have a theme for each session. Their intent was to have a "Roaring 20's", "30's", "40's", with the party guests (extras) dressed for each themed session. The first theme show was "Hawaiian Night". The entire three room set was lavishly decorated with hanging balls of live orchids, cymbidium, fern, cyclamen, exotic flowers, foliage and plants, Polynesian carved wood and palm trunk totems, and Polynesian buffets and drinks. The decorating cost, food and drink expenses, wardrobe-costume rentals/purchases totaled $30,000. Which ended the theme party plans of Hefner and the Producers! The first season was video taped at the CBS-Farfax Studio, requiring the set to be loaded into the sound stage and re-lighted in the key interview staging areas. The production and set was moved to the KTLA-Paramount Sunset Blvd Television Studio in the second year. The set became a permanent stage set up, requiring less handling, no storage problems, with minor re-lighting in key interview production areas. A major reduction in studio charges balanced the charges for a permanent stage for the series schedule of weekly taping. See more »
A harsh opinion, but it's not mine. Rather, it's the opinion of Tony Hendra (Ian Faith in "Spinal Tap"), who is credited as a writer on all of the 26 Season-One episodes of Hugh Hefner's PAD that were broadcast in 1969.
Hendra published that opinion in the "LIVES" column of The New York Times Magazine (issue of Sunday 4th July 2004). The column, titled "The Personal is Political," is mostly about Hendra's friendship with the late actress Diana Sands, whom he met at one of PAD's post-show parties. Sands -- then 34/35 yrs. old -- already had some very impressive Broadway credentials to her name, and asked Hendra if he would rework one of her stage shows into a movie script. As Hendra writes, "I leapt at the opportunity to write something weightier than intros for a talent-free egomaniac." (I wonder, to whom could he possibly be referring? LOL)
As for the show, I'm curious why it didn't last longer (some say it was unable to get picked up for syndication in "conservative" parts of the country). But be that as it may, Playboy was still in its "cool" phase in 1970 when the show ceased production. The monthly magazine was still scoring A-List interviews, and the Playboy "lifestyle" was still being promoted in movies like Diamonds Are Forever (1971). A far, far cry from today.
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