'The Other Side of Hef'

By Benson, Raymond | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

'The Other Side of Hef'


Benson, Raymond, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Raymond Benson Daily Herald Correspondent

Hugh Hefner and Playboy, the magazine he founded 57 years ago, are one of the great and most controversial American business success stories of the 20th century.

His empire spanned the globe. Yet, Hefner and his magazine attracted a lot of anger, especially during the early years a far more conservative time.

In the 1950s and 60s, government officials in Chicago and across the state labeled Hefner a "pornographer" and sought to close Playboy down.

Hefner, 84, hasnt forgotten. But hes still glad to return this month to the city he called home for many years.

"Its true that Chicago wasnt too kind to me back then," Hefner said. "That was when (Richard) Daley Sr. was in power. It was a very Catholic town. But with Daley Jr. in charge, those attitudes changed. Im happy to return. It will be a special occasion because for the first time Im bringing my two sons, Marston and Cooper, and well revisit the old neighborhood."

Not only that, Hefner will be in Chicago for the Oct. 29 premiere of the new, prize-winning feature documentary, "Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel." The film will play for a week at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago.

The documentary covers the many aspects of Hefners complex individualism. "Hef" is world-famous as a hedonistic pajama-clad playboy who has publicly pursued his own sexual odyssey and flamboyant lifestyle. Critics have accused him of degrading women; one even labelled him a "sexual fascist."

Yet, he is also a catalyst for change on social and political issues such as racial equality, sexual freedom, censorship and social justice.

"Hef loves jazz and he liked my film about Bix Beiderbecke," said Brigitte Berman, the writer, director and co-producer of the documentary. "I was invited to his 80th birthday party, which was one-sided all about the girls and the magazine and all that but as I got to know him, I discovered there was so much more to him. I decided to do the film about the other side of Hef, the one few people really know about."

Berman, who won the documentary feature Oscar for her 1987 film "Artie Shaw: Time is All Youve Got," was given unprecedented access to Hefners extensive personal archives, as well as a guarantee from Hefner that she would have editorial control and creative freedom, something Hefner had never before granted to documentarians.

The film is not the first biography of Hefner, but its undoubtedly the most complete and revealing to date.

"The primary research came from Hefs extensive scrapbooks that he has kept, dating all the way back," Berman said. "It was from these I found out how he was on Nixons and Reagans enemies list, or how he stuck his neck out for all kinds of social and legal reforms. For example, Hef sent his legal team to help a woman who received 15 years in prison for having an abortion in Florida. With his help, the woman was freed and the action helped changed the laws in that state."

The new film documents Hefners many challenges to conservative norms.

Hefner established the Playboy Jazz Festival in 1959 and broke the color barrier by allowing black performers to play on stage with white ones.

When the franchised Miami and New Orleans Playboy Clubs managements refused to allow African-Americans inside, Playboy Enterprises bought back the clubs at considerable expense so that the Southern states segregation laws wouldnt apply.

From the 1960s, Hefner led the fight to overturn sexual conduct laws that were still on the books in many states. He was a proponent of free speech, defending many artists such as Lenny Bruce, who had been censored and arrested for speaking his mind.

Readers who "only read the articles" will attest that Playboy published many of the greatest writers of the latter half of the 20th century, including Ray Bradbury, Alex Haley, Joyce Carol Oates, Saul Bellow, John Updike, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Anne Sexton and many others. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

'The Other Side of Hef'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.