The recent passing of Hugh Hefner, the Playboy magazine founder perpetually draped with blonde, big-busted women, puts the Guadalajara Reporter in a mind to acknowledge his passing vis-a-vis a story told to us by lakeside’s own Rosemary Grayson about how she became Miss October 1964 – and the magazine’s first British playmate.
In 1963, Grayson, a fresh-faced journalism student at Exeter University in England, flew to New York, eager to explore the colonies. After working as a cocktail waitress in Toronto for a time, she lit out for Chicago after hearing tell of a certain twinkly-eyed millionaire who resided there, who she thought would make a fine subject for an article. She describes the circumstances leading to her first meeting with the man thus:
“I had just arrived in Chicago on a Greyhound bus, made a beeline for the nearest public phone, dialed, and managed to reach a woman on Playboy Magazine’s switchboard. Although she refused me Hugh Hefner’s phone number, she oddly enough had no problem giving me his home address on North State Parkway.”
To those who may be asking, “But, didn’t Hugh Hefner live in Los Angeles?”, let us enlighten you with the following biographical snippet: Playboy Magazine was started in Chicago by Hefner, a graduate in psychology from University of Illinois. In 1953, he managed to scrape together $US8,000 in startup money from various investors, one of which was his own mother. He produced the first edition in his own kitchen, cribbing for its cover a photo from a 1949 Marilyn Monroe calendar shoot.
Ten years later and Hefner was living in a mansion staffed by a young black butler with a white wig and knocker on the front door which read in Latin, “If you don’t swing, don’t ring.” It was through this entrance that Grayson was ushered by said butler.