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I worked around the corner from the Playboy Club in Chicago

Updated on September 26, 2012
Rush Street in Chicago
Rush Street in Chicago
Rush St. at night
Rush St. at night
The Back Room Jazz Club on Rush Street
The Back Room Jazz Club on Rush Street
Restaurant on Bellevue just off Rush Street
Restaurant on Bellevue just off Rush Street
The Playboy Club on Oak in all it's trashy glory
The Playboy Club on Oak in all it's trashy glory
Miracle Mile in Chicago on Michigan Ave.
Miracle Mile in Chicago on Michigan Ave.

I lived most of my life in Chicago. I loved it because there was so much to do, especially for someone with widely varying interests like myself. Besides being a wife and mother, I was a teacher, a sometimes singer, and student at Northwestern, National Louis University, and the Chicago Musical college. I was involved in art, ballet, and the music and theater scene there.

At one point in my life there, I divorced and became a single mom looking for ways to bring in extra cash to raise my two girls and maintain a decent lifestyle. Since teachers did not rake in much, no matter how hard they worked, I moonlighted to make ends meet. I taught ESL in a junior college at night, taught summer school, and once took a job as a hostess at a supper club named Adolph's where celebrities like Sinatra and Bob Hope would hang out when they were in town.

I've always been rather naive despite the fact that I grew up and spent all of my life in big cities.I had no idea when I took the job at Adolph's down on Rush street in Chicago, that it was a hang out for the mafia. Even while I was working there at night, all glammed up in cocktail dresses and high heels, I still didn't realize it. The place had a certain sophistication and I never really knew what went on underneath that beautiful facade until I was long gone.

If you know nothing about Rush Street in Chicago, during the '60s, let me give you a quick rundown. Rush Street was (and maybe still is) in an area called the Gold Coast, where many of the restaurants, supper clubs, and jazz clubs were all jammed into a 20 block radius. It had a teaming nightlife, was frequented by out-of-town businessmen, entertainers, and locals looking for fun. That was not my reason for being there. I just wanted to make money for my family, which I did...the tips were amazing. I was oblivious to the nightlife and hurried home each night after work.

Around the corner on Oak street, where some of the small "coutour" shops, jewelry shops, hair salons, and businesses like travel and modeling agencies were, was the Playboy Club. And just a block away was Michigan Avenue, referred to as the Miracle Mile because of all the upscale shops, luxury hotels, and fabulous restaurants there. I Magnins, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nieman Marcus were just a few. The Drake Hotel, the Ritz-Carlton and the Four Seasons were also there. And just a block to the east was fabulous Lake Michigan with it's beautiful sandy beaches. Strange that the Playboy club, a haven for horny out-of-towners, was plunked right in the middle of all that finery.

A couple of years ago when the new fall season of television shows was coming up, NBC wanted to resurrect the Playboy persona in a weekly series starring Eddie Ciprian (Leann Rimes' husband). The provocative new series was to be set in a time and place that challenged social mores. It centered around the Playboy Club, built by visionary and icon Hugh Hefner, who created an empire and unwittingly changed American culture.

The series, titled The Playboy Club , was set in the first Playboy Club in Chicago on Rush street. It debuted in September as one of the centerpieces of NBC's new fall television season. However, only one episode was shown before it was taken off the air..

Gloria Steinem wants the TV series boycotted

Veteran women's rights campaigner Gloria Steinem wanted TV viewers to boycott the show calling the 1960s nightclub tacky and far from the glamorous place depicted in the show. Steinem, had gone undercover to work as a Bunny at the New York City Playboy Club in 1963 and wrote a ground-breaking expose about the onerous conditions for women who worked there.

Steinem said the Emmy Award-winning drama Mad Men , which is also set in the 1960s, is a net-plus because it shows the world of the early 1960s with some realism."But I expect that the Playboy Club TV show will be a net-minus. It's just not telling the truth about the era."

Network executives, producers and the show's cast all rejected opinions by critics who felt the series would glamorize the porn industry and be demeaning to modern women. Evidently, Steinem and others who put pressure on NBC were successful, cause the show never continued after the first episode.


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