Hugh Hefner has said, "My roots come from Chicago and my dreams come from Hollywood." Since the early 70s, the Playboy founder has had the best of both worlds, but things change and time goes by. Playboy packed their bags and moved West to LA. In true Hefner style, he said goodbye to the Windy City in a moving article in the Chicago Tribune.
In December of 2010, Hef was asked if he would end up closing the Chicago offices. He said, "I think we're probably going to be doing that out of economic concerns, yes. We will be probably consolidating on the West Coast." In March 2011, Hefner took Playboy private again, outbidding Penthouse, thankfully. The actual announcement that the Chicago Playboy offices would be closing came in December 2011.
Chicago socialite, Playboy's Miss December 1979, Candace (Collins) Jordan tells Gather News, "I wish him well but will be very sorry to see Playboy disappear from Chicago completely. I have many friends in the organization who are moving either to L.A. or simply moving on and I feel like it is definitely the end of an era here for Playboy."
Hef takes immense pride in being from Chicago. In 2010, Hef was in Chicago to screen Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel at the Gene Siskel Film Center. More important to Hefner was his two youngest sons, "What's going to make this special is that it's the first time I'm bringing my boys, Marston and Cooper, with me, and we're going to go out to the old neighborhood and visit the home that I grew up in."
Hefner truly enjoys sharing his past with others. His friends know they are always welcome in his famous mansion. The claims that Hugh Hefner is a pornographer or that he exploits women couldn't be farther from the truth. Hef is sort of like a leading man straight out of the Pre-Code movies he loves so much. He loves romance, falling in love, women (surprise!), animals, nostalgia and he has a keen sense of humor. Candace says, "As long as I've known him, he has been the penultimate gentleman. He truly does wear his heart on his sleeve and has been generous, sometimes to a fault, with past girlfriends and even Bunnies who were down on their luck." To those who know him, no one doubts that Hef's goodbye to Chicago is truly from his heart.
Candace adds, "I think a new move and a fresh start will be helpful to revitalizing the brand and for re-energizing its employees who probably could use a change of scenery. My only admonition is that if the magazine is truly based on the "girl next door," I think they're gonna look a little different on the West Coast than they do in the good 'ole Midwest! Long may you reign Hef!"
Read Hef's Chicago Tribune article HERE.
Photo courtesy of Candace Jordan
Â© Margie Wilson-Mars 2012