TCA Day Two: visit to the Playboy Mansion

I accidentally dropped my glasses into the swirling waters of the Playboy Mansion’s infamous grotto Wednesday night and now every time I glance at my computer screen it looks like it has implants.
Fortunately, fearless social network superstar Cindy Ronzoni kicked off her heels and waded into the grotto to fetch my specs, picking the frames up with her toes. It was the hottest thing I saw all night at The Mansion, which is still a very cool joint but has a bit of a frozen-in-the-’70s feel (which, you know, same here).
Our host, Hugh Hefner, did not throw on a fresh pair jammies and mingle with critics who invaded the grounds. He was briefly spotted at one point playing cards inside. (The interior of the main building was off limits to reporters).
Press were guests of the Playboy Channel, although there was little attempt to sell us on anything, other than a few signs for something called “TV For 2.” Bunnies worked the party, offering guided tours of the estate, which was built in 1926.
We were allowed to nose around the lavish gardens of the estate. Saw Hef’s tennis court, his crazy big, CCCP1 satellite dishes (installed in the ’70s so he could see a fight), the monkey and bird cages and–best of all–the Game House. This place reminded me a lot of the projection room producer Robert Evans had on his Hollywood estate. It was loaded with working Playboy pinball machines, although most felt like Jimmy Caan wore out the flippers back in 1977.

Hef never misses “Hey Yorgi”

There was a player piano (that worked), a pool table and a few signed photos including a large portrait of Hef signed by Dean Martin. Off to the sides were creepy love pads including a shag shack with a bouncy floor and the red and blue rooms which were wall to floor mirrors. It was all very Austin Powers. Boxes of tissues were everywhere adding a practical touch.
The video features TV Guide Canada editor Amber Dowling–who whacked her noggin later on the rocky ceiling of the grotto–giving a reporter’s eye view of the red room. Watch at your own risk.

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