Hugh Hefner On TV: Hip, Cutting Edge Music + Comedy.
Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner, who died Wednesday at 91, left an immeasurable impact on American society and culture in a multitude of areas. He was a visionary of the sexual revolution but also the social changes that roiled the 60's. Over the next few days, everyone will reflect and discuss those impacts which began in the 50's with Playboy's beginning and continuedódespite the steep decline of magazine popularity that forced a retrenchmentóuntil the end.
Hefner also brought cutting edge music and comedy of various eras into mainstream American living rooms twice in a decade on two syndicated late night TV shows.
Playboy's Penthouse ran from 1959-1960. Its successor, Playboy After Dark, was produced from 1968-1970. Both captured an intimate feel. While they appeared to be taped in Hefner's lavish digs, both were produced at TV studios in Chicago (Penthouse) and LA (After Dark).
Penthouse offered the best jazz and pop music, plus cutting edge comics like Lenny Bruce. After Dark reflected the seachanges in American pop and rock music. In both cases, his guest rosters were diverse, featuring African-American performers rarely seen on network TV. At ease with musicians, Hef asked intelligent questions, allowing them to answer at length. No Ed Sullivan banality here. What follows are samples from both shows. There's plenty more on YouTube.
Playboy After Dark
January 8, 1970: Fleetwood Mac: "Rattlesnake Shake" and "Coming Your Way."
Not the Tusk-era Mac, but the intermediate version. Founder Peter Green is doing lead guitar and vocals. The other guitarists are Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer with the Mick Fleetwood-John McVie rhythm section. Note Hef calls them "the Fleetwood Mac."