Playboy After Dark

It’s hard to say who’s had more impact on sex in the past 50 years: Alfred Kinsey or Hugh Hefner. Kinsey had science on his side but Hef sure made sex fun. This set covers two periods of his TV program Playboy After Dark (the three discs contain a duo of black-and-white episodes from the initial 1959-60 run and four shows in color from when the series was resurrected eight years later) in which Hef and his perky Playmate friends mingle with luminaries like Sid Caesar and Lenny Bruce while listening to musical interludes provided by Sammy Davis Jr., Sonny and Cher, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Cocker, and others. Hef’s stilted interview style as host notwithstanding — he can’t contain an adolescent guffaw after learning that a young woman once worked with a jazz sextet — Dark is not only entertaining but also works as a cultural time capsule, beautifully capturing a bygone era when the intercourse between television personalities was actually about intercourse, and guests were expected to drink booze and smoke cigarettes on the air.

EXTRAS Fifty-one songs from the series. The highlights: Cy Coleman debuting what would become Frank Sinatra’s signature song ”The Best is Yet To Come” and Tina and Ike Turner covering the Beatles ”Come Together.” Plus, a newly recorded Hefner Q&A where he discusses in impressive detail his humble beginnings, the Playboy Philosophy, and why being unprofessional helped the TV series.

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