Hefner came across as suave and debonair if not exactly scintillating. Playboy Penthouse featured some excellent musical performances but the conversational elements were more miss than hit. In my opinion, not even Lenny Bruce could infuse the show with enough energy to keep it from fizzling out. Hefner tried to replicate life at the Playboy Mansion life by having the show’s participants engage in then-nascent mansion rituals, like watching old movies—but watching people watch something doesn’t exactly make for compelling television. Cable wasn’t invented yet and decent public standards still prevailed so he couldn’t exactly show hardcore porn or hot and heavy grotto action.
Fast forward five decades and Hef (who, by the way, attended Steinmetz High School, the same Chicago public high school that I later attended) ended up on television again in the reality series “The Girls Next Door,” featuring Hefner and his three girlfriends, Holly, Kendra and Bridget. People watched with fascination and many men, no doubt, watched with admiration. By this time, the “if it feels good do it” mindset exemplified by Playboy had fully taken root, and the 60s revolution, with its abandonment of traditional morality, had catapulted hedonism’s self-indulgence, with its disregard for God's standards, into the mainstream. Consequently, public standards plummeted and the Playboy media empire overall seemed to be playing catch up, offering raunchy porn videos and who knows what else (really, I wouldn’t know—would I?)