America's Book of Secrets (2012) s01e06 Episode Script

The Playboy Mansion

NARRATOR: It is America's most infamous address.
A place where fantasies come to life and anything goes.
But behind the security cameras and stone walls of the Playboy Mansion are secrets.
Secrets so scandalous KENDRA WILKINSON: It was a hidden doorway.
Go in, and then bam, no one saw me.
NARRATOR: so outrageous TONI DISALVO: If the guests don't come in lingerie, they're told, "You're not in the proper attire.
" You go home.
NARRATOR: so forbidden, they've been locked tightly away for decades SHANNON TWEED: What happens at the Playboy Mansion stays within these five acres.
NARRATOR: until now.
HUGH HEFNER: People bring their fantasies with them (women giggling) and we don't disappoint.
NARRATOR: There are those who believe in the existence of a book.
A book that contains the most highly guarded secrets of the United States of America.
A book whose very existence is known to only a select few.
But if such a book exists, what would it contain? Secret histories? Secret encounters? Secret lies? Does there really exist America's Book of Secrets? It is one of the most highly guarded private residences in the world.
A virtual fortress surrounded by iron gates and hundreds of high-tech security monitors.
But why? What is so important, so forbidden, that compels Playboy founder Hugh Hefner to keep more people out than are ever invited in? For decades, the Playboy Mansion has hosted countless parties for L.
's elite.
Here, Hollywood's who's who can be found rubbing elbows-- and occasionally much more-- with the most beautiful women in the world.
And it's all kept very, very hush-hush.
Located in an ultra wealthy suburb of western Los Angeles known as Holmby Hills, the five-acre pleasure palace was put on the map in the 1970s when whispers of decadent gatherings started leaking outside the Mansion's iron gates.
TWEED: I arrived in L.
in 1981 for the Midsummer Night's Dream Party.
I met Hugh Hefner.
I stayed a couple of days.
And yes, I came back and lived with him.
I met more celebrities here in one and a half years than I have the whole 30 years I've lived here.
And I'm not at liberty to say who they were, because that's the beauty of the Playboy Mansion.
You get to come, do whatever you want, no one knows.
REGIS PHILBIN: This is Regis Philbin in the parking area of the Playboy Mansion, where an unending stream of celebrities has been entering here.
TWEED: The parties were a little crazier, little wilder.
There were a lot of people mingling in the pool area.
(laughing) And, uh, a lot more people slept over.
I might put it that way.
Those were the days.
NARRATOR: The Playboy Mansion's incredible origins date back to 1919, when English businessman Arthur Letts purchased a rolling 400-acre parcel of the 4,400-acre Wolfskill Ranch 12 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.
HEFNER: It was in the middle- 20s, subdivided, and became Holmby Hills and Westwood Village.
So this family estate is the key piece of property of this entire section of Southern California.
NARRATOR In 1925, Letts' son, Arthur Letts Jr.
, purchased six acres of his father's land and hired renowned architect Arthur Kelly to create what would be his dream house.
After two years of construction, Kelly's Gothic-style, 20,000-square-foot copy of an English manor house was completed.
RON DIRSMITH: The Playboy Mansion is a 16th-century English Tudor manor house from Northamptonshire.
So it's a very historic building replicated exactly as it would have been then in the 16th century in Northampton, England.
NARRATOR: So how did this stately mansion on a hill become home to Hugh Hefner and his rabbit hutch full of Playboy Bunnies? (engine revving) In 1959, Hugh Marston Hefner was a 33-year-old multimillionaire, thanks to his bold idea to create the ultimate in sexy and sophisticated men's magazines, Playboy.
Now the man who was teaching young men how to swing could afford to become the living embodiment of his Playboy philosophy, one that preached the twin virtues of consumerism and unashamed sexual indulgence.
As the 1950s drew to a close, the Chicago native purchased a 70-room brick and limestone residence on the city's famed Gold Coast.
Dubbed the Playboy Mansion, Hefner outfitted this stately 19th-century address with the latest in gadgets and party features, including a round rotating bed, an indoor pool, an underwater bar and even a fireman's pole.
Looking to expand his growing global enterprise, in 1971, Hef, as he prefers to be called, asked his 21-year-old L.
-based girlfriend, Barbi Benton, to begin scouring the City of Angels for a property worthy of a sultan of sex.
BARBI BENTON: So I was on the lookout for houses that might be for sale, and I kept passing this one off of Charing Cross Road that had a lock on the gate.
And it was the kind of lock that you can't just open it with your clicker.
So I got the feeling that nobody was living there.
HEFNER: I was going back and forth between Chicago and Los Angeles, dating Barbi.
And I had an apartment at the top of the Playboy building on Sunset Boulevard.
And we were looking for a place to play tennis, and, uh, Barbi found this remarkable piece of property.
BENTON: And as it turned out, the owners were going through a divorce, and they were interested in putting it on the market.
So timing was perfect.
NARRATOR: But what was just as staggering as the beauty of the mansion and its grounds was the purchase price.
Up to that time, it would be the most ever charged for a private residence in the United States, a record $1.
1 million.
An astounding amount considering the average home price in Los Angeles at the time was $25,000.
JOYCE REY: It was the first property to be sold for over a million dollars, and so it generated a lot of excitement And, of course, the value has escalated so tremendously, uh, that today, estimates of value are anywhere from $75 million to $100 million on this property.
NARRATOR: According to local legends, when Mr.
Hefner moved into the mansion, it was still inhabited by the original owner's wife, Mrs.
Letts, though she was no longer among MARY O'CONNOR: Some people think that the reason she's still here is because she threw herself over the balcony and killed herself.
Some of the girls and people who stay here think the house is haunted, that Mrs.
Letts goes up and down the hallway and turns lights out or on.
(electrical buzzing) HEFNER: Those who love ghosts and secrets are convinced that the house is filled with many secrets and many ghosts.
If she is here, she has not revealed herself to me, and she's the only woman who hasn't.
NARRATOR: The supernatural residents of Holmby Hills may be the stuff of legend, but there's no doubt this neighborhood is home to the rich and famous.
Along with Beverly Hills and Bel Air, Holmby Hills forms part of what is known as the Platinum Triangle, a residential area known for being among the priciest and most exclusive places to live in the Who are your neighbors? Anybody I know? BENTON: Uh, Sonny and Cher live next door.
Never heard of them.
Who else you got? BENTON: Lucy.
Is that Lucy? BENTON: Lucille Ball, okay.
Lucille Ball, okay.
I wanted I wanted to clear that up, okay? REY: Bing Crosby lived around the corner.
Henry Mancini lived up the street.
So it's been a star-studded neighborhood.
The most recent sale in the area was Petra Ecclestone's purchase of the Candy Spelling manor for $85 million, which was just up the block.
NARRATOR: But no matter what the current financial value may be of the Playboy Mansion, ever since Hugh Hefner has called it home, it has become the most coveted and infamous private residence in America.
A virtual Disneyland for adults.
And one that, should the walls ever talk, would only reinforce its formidable reputation as the ultimate in pleasure palaces.
Coming up O'CONNOR: Some of the people that are on our DNA list are because they've been a little bit too aggressive with some of the girls, and the girls have reported it.
DISALVO: I can't really tell you who's on the list.
That would be a breach of security.
NARRATOR: The secrets behind the gates at 10236 Charing Cross Road are some of the most protected in all of Los Angeles.
In fact, security at the Playboy Mansion is so extensive that some believe it is the safest place in the world-- a place where you could leave your Rolex in the front seat of your unlocked Ferrari and it will still be there when you return.
So just how does Hugh Hefner keep out thousands of tourists and curiosity seekers who show up uninvited to the gates of the Playboy Mansion in hopes of crashing his very private party? DIRSMITH: Mr.
Hefner never liked things that were obvious.
First thing we had to do was how to get people into the property securely.
So at the front gate, when you come in, there's a huge rock.
He called it "the talking rock.
" We drilled it, put speakers in it and cameras right around it, so when you came up, you talked to the rock.
HOLLY MADISON: Hi, how are you? How you doing, Holly? MADISON: Is it okay if I come on up? Yes, you can come on up.
Thank you.
DISALVO: We have our perimeter alarms.
We have our sound alarms.
So any time anybody touches the fences, we get an alarm, whether it's a sound or a motion.
It's a lot of area to cover.
We have cameras that watch the inside of the property.
NARRATOR: Over the years, many have tried-- and failed-- to sneak onto the grounds in hopes of joining the fun at one of Hugh Hefner's very private parties.
In November 2010, one man trying to get a glimpse of the good life met an unfortunate end.
DISALVO: We had somebody that was so gung-ho about getting into the party that he tried to come over from the golf course and climbed a tree to see if he could scale the fence that way.
And apparently he slipped and fell.
He hurt himself bad enough that he passed away before anybody ever discovered that he was there.
OLEA: We've had people come up in cars and hide in trunks.
We find them.
They're escorted off the property.
We've had people actually try to run the gate.
We have all kinds of people just coming up with every excuse, every way they think possible to get into the Playboy Mansion.
NARRATOR: Of course, the only legitimate way to get on to the property is by invitation.
And perhaps most shocking to first-time visitors is that the Mansion is a very buttoned-up place.
Welcome to the Playboy Mansion.
HEFNER: This is a very special club, and if you're fortunate enough to be a member, you behave yourself and you treat other people with respect.
One of the things that's wonderful about the Playboy Mansion is the women are in control here.
Nobody gets out of line with ladies here, and that gives a freedom.
Anything goes! NARRATOR: Misbehaving at the Mansion can have severe consequences.
In fact, there is an official "Do Not Admit" or "DNA" list.
But exactly who or even how many are on the list is a secret, and it's a list that only Hugh Hefner can alter.
O'CONNOR: Some of the people that are on our DNA list are because they've been a little bit too aggressive with some of the girls.
And security's gotten ahold of them and escorted them off.
DISALVO: I can't really tell you who's on the list.
That would be a breach of security.
But it's an extensive list, and there are people that have a lot of notoriety that are on that list.
NARRATOR: There was even one occasion in 1983 when a man gained access to the Mansion guest list by claiming to be a member of Hefner's own family.
HEFNER: I got a phone call from a woman that I had dated back in the 1950s.
She called and said that she had a grown son and that I was the father.
I actually went and saw him at a school play, and came to believe very briefly that he really was a son.
In time, he and I took a blood test, and it became clear that he was not my son.
DISALVO: He was put on a DNA list at the time.
That was over 20 years ago.
We've never heard or saw him again.
HEFNER: He was the son of one of my friends, who looks something like me.
True story.
True secret of the Playboy Mansion.
NARRATOR: But within the otherwise anything-goes world of Playboy, there are strict rules, especially for the staff.
OLEA: Obviously, Playmates are coming in and out, in and out every day.
Our job is to make sure that they are comfortable.
You know, Mr.
Hefner expects them to really experience what the Playboy Mansion is all about.
But we are to remember that we are the staff.
And we have strict no-fraternization rules.
This is your workplace.
This is not your playground.
It's Mr.
Hefner's playground.
HEFNER: Oh, yes.
NARRATOR: But even Hugh Hefner lives according to a rigid and un-altering schedule.
Because he is a late riser, breakfast is served when he calls for it Yes, sir.
Right away, sir.
NARRATOR: usually at 11:00 a.
, followed by soup and crackers at 5:30 and dinner at 10:00.
And all of Hef's meals are served to him in bed HEFNER: Thank you.
NARRATOR: just the way he likes them.
HEFNER: Hi, there.
WILLIAM BLOXSOM-CARTER: We have pictures of each meal and how the food is laid out on each plate, so that when he has the bed tray presented to him, all the food is just perfectly laid So he could be watching a movie and put his hands down on the tray and know exactly what he's grabbing without having to look at his food.
Hefner's milk is served in an ice-cold glass, kept at all times in one of the Mansion's many freezers.
And when served potato chips or crackers, they must be carefully hand selected so that none are broken.
OLEA: Dress shoes and dress socks in here.
Handkerchiefs-- one, two.
Wingtips, hard-soled slippers.
Slippers, hard sole.
NARRATOR: When the man they call "The Boss" travels, the Playboy Mansion staff knows that every comfort and protection of the Mansion must travel with him-- right down to the very food he eats.
Apple pie, sliced cucumber.
Fried chicken.
Tuna salad.
Mashed potatoes.
And a dozen hard-boiled eggs.
OLEA: I guess you could say he's a creature of habit.
He doesn't like change.
I respect that he likes what he likes, and that's what our job is to make sure it happens.
HEFNER: When we go to a Chinese restaurant or Italian or whatever it may be, I still get the same lamb chops and baked potatoes.
Thank you.
NARRATOR: But could there be another, more secret reason for Hugh Hefner's tight grip on everything from the food he eats to the people who have access to him? Perhaps the answer can be found in the fact that when Mr.
Hefner travels anywhere, he is closely guarded by highly-trained and armed Mansion security-- a practice started back in the late 1960s, following a series of death threats and political assassinations.
HEFNER: I think it was after Lennon was assassinated out in the street that we decided to travel with security.
Back in that time frame, Playboy was controversial, and therefore I was controversial.
I was definitely on Nixon's enemy list.
The FBI had a file on me going back to the early 1950s.
And I learned later that Hoover actually had one of his agents read every page of the magazine.
Pretty nice gig.
NARRATOR: Coming up WILKINSON: It was a hidden doorway that led into, like, the library, and you would never know it was there.
COOPER HEFNER: Stay close.
It starts to get tighter and tighter.
NARRATOR: Shortly after purchasing Playboy Mansion West in 1971, Hugh Hefner transformed what was a stately English-style manor house into a haven for hedonism.
What once was an empty and flat space around the main building was transformed with waterfalls, rolling hills, gardens, a tennis court and a resort-style swimming pool.
DIRSMITH: When we excavated for the pool and tennis court, we recycled all the earth and built 12-foot mounds in the backyard which are earth mounds now that immediately give him privacy, and yet allow the view across the 1,300 acres of the Los Angeles Country Club.
Now that's a secret.
NARRATOR: But of all the Playboy Mansion's many fantasy features, perhaps none has captured the lurid imaginations of the general public as this one: the legendary grotto.
DISALVO: The grotto is the (laughs) the busiest place during our events.
It's there for everybody.
And there's no holds barred.
Everything goes.
HEFNER: The infamous grotto.
BENTON: Yes, we had some good memories here.
HEFNER: You can come in from three different ways.
You can simply walk through the door, you can come on the shallow end, under the waterfall, or you can swim under the rocks, up through the deep end.
It's magic.
People bring their fantasies with them, and we don't disappoint.
The secrets of the grotto remain in the grotto.
If the walls could talk.
BENTON: Well put.
Hefner didn't swim, so part of what we did was to create the pool at a level of three and half to four feet deep so that most people could walk around even though they couldn't swim.
That's a secret of the grotto, too.
NARRATOR: But is there another, perhaps more sexual secret, behind the water level in the Mansion grotto? HANK FAWCETT: If you look at the height of a woman, I'd say 42 to 48 inches falls directly below her breasts.
And that way breasts are always above the water.
Is that a secret? I don't know, maybe.
But it's logical.
NARRATOR: The Mansion property is also home to some 60 redwood trees, some measuring as tall as 100 feet.
And inside the perimeter of this massive private forest is another secret a zoo which houses everything from peacocks and flamingos to African cranes, four species of monkey, and of course, lots of real Playboy Bunnies.
BENTON: Oh, it's a baby! It is a baby.
HEFNER: Is there a baby? Oh, yes, there they are.
BENTON: Sure, it's hanging onto the mommy.
It's on its back.
HEFNER: We're the only private property in Los Angeles that has a zoo permit.
BENTON: You have a few more monkeys.
HEFNER: We do indeed.
The monkeys have been monkeying around.
NARRATOR: One testament to Hugh Hefner's love of animals is another of the Mansion's O'CONNOR: One of the secret walkways that people really never see is when you go to the game house, after you cross over the Hollywood star, there's a little pathway, you turn right.
Back there is a whole pet cemetery of dogs that Hef has had that have passed away over the period of time.
COOPER: There are animals that were buried here from when I was younger, and there are also animals that were buried here from the '70s and '80s.
O'CONNOR: Vivi and Buddy and Mama Dog, Papa Dog, Bogie, Harlow.
COOPER: Littlefoot.
Aw, man.
And Archie.
Yeah, they were like the house dogs, and since I was a kid, they were keeping us safe, so it's sad, but at least they're with us.
NARRATOR: But while Hefner transformed the grounds of his estate into a real-life Garden of Eden, the exterior of the Mansion has remained pretty much just as it looked when it was built in 1926.
The same, however, cannot really be said for the interior, for although much of it looks authentically antique, it has been outfitted with a myriad of secret doors, secret panels and secret passages.
COOPER: So there really are all these passages, and we're gonna actually see one that's really cool.
Right now follow me up here.
Come around this corner.
Stay close.
Although these look like closets, a bookshelf area, films, it's actually This is definitely my favorite view of the entire house.
It's beautiful.
This actually used to be a Jacuzzi, so you can imagine what it would be like at night to, like, be sitting up here.
It's awesome.
HEFNER: There is a secret panel that leads to the wine cellar.
COOPER: Having things like this to play hide-and-go-seek were, like, the best.
(buzzer sounds) Whew.
WILKINSON: It was a hidden doorway, which was kind of in the walls that led into, like, the library.
And you would never know it was there.
You have to know about it.
You walk down this kind of spiral staircase.
And you walk down and you see, like, bars, like you're in a jail or something.
HEFNER: The house was built in 1927, the middle of the Prohibition, where drinking was illegal.
So it was a place where they hid the liquor.
WILKINSON: In order to get in to that wine cellar, you have to get the key.
And who's the only one with a key? You would think the security guards would have one.
It's in Hef's box, right next to his phone.
COOPER: "For HMH only or at HMH approval.
Do not enter into the Jonas system.
" WILKINSON: Trust me, I tried to get that key.
COOPER: Man, I guarantee my dad is gonna get mad at me for being down here.
NARRATOR: In all, the Mansion has 29 rooms, several of which are used as Playboy offices.
There is also a separate game house and dozens of guest rooms.
But there is one room that is strictly off limits to most of the people who are lucky enough to pass through the Mansion gates unless, of course, you are personally invited by Mr.
Hefner himself: the master bedroom.
HEFNER: Welcome to my bedroom.
It's my favorite room of the house.
It's where I do my best work and play.
I was a big fan of Universal monsters, so you'll see a lot of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi here; Frankenstein, Dracula.
And the mantel is filled with things from childhood.
And on the other side young man grown up.
On the chandelier, a lot of panties left by very sweet young ladies.
NARRATOR: But not only does Hugh Hefner's bedroom house a veritable treasure trove of romantic and childhood fantasies, it also boasts an ornate carved wooden bed that took nine craftsmen five years to complete.
Hefner loved wood, and obviously the world of Playboy was important to him.
If you look at the carvings carefully you'll see part of his life.
In an English Tudor manor house, historically, they would have some kind of a great, big military scene of conquering, with swords and horses and battlegrounds.
He had women.
HEFNER: The carving is obviously related to nature and ladies.
Some of the girls were inspired by former girlfriends.
Lot of memories here.
NARRATOR: But perhaps the most fabled, and secret room, in the Playboy Mansion is the one some call "The Elvis Suite.
" According to some, the King spent one wild night there in the early 1970s, and it has been sealed ever since.
OLEA: I don't know if I'm really at liberty to talk about the Elvis room.
Best I can tell you is that we're kind of sworn to secrecy.
FAWCETT: I can't tell you about the secret Elvis room, but it does exist.
It's a secret.
Hefner's been quoted as commenting about the secret Elvis room.
If he wants to tell anybody where it is, that's entirely up to him.
OLEA: There are secrets here at the Mansion that I think sometimes maybe should be kept as secrets.
HEFNER: I've heard it before, but I have no idea what they're talking about.
Elvis was not in the building.
NARRATOR: Coming up DISALVO: Michael Jackson came up here to watch movies because he wanted the privacy.
And I had to escort him into the movie through the back way, and then escort him out before the lights came on.
NARRATOR: George Clooney.
Mick Jagger.
Elizabeth Taylor.
Leonardo DiCaprio.
For more than 40 years, Hugh Hefner has opened his home to some of the most prominent people in the world.
A-list celebrities and world-famous political figures who come there to enjoy the hospitality and the privacy that only the Playboy Mansion can provide.
OLEA: We do have a wide variety of guests that come here.
You'll have someone like Jack Nicholson, which you would expect to be here at the Mansion, but then you turn around and here we have Reverend Jesse Jackson.
So you never know who you're going to run into.
DISALVO: Back in the '80s, it was open property 24 hours a day.
The places here-- like the tennis court, the gym, the grotto-- we still get a lot of our old-time celebrity guests But now, generally, you got to call ahead and not just show up at the gate.
NARRATOR: During the 1980s, even Michael Jackson could be found at the Mansion on movie night or visiting the zoo.
DISALVO: He came up here to watch movies because he wanted the privacy.
And I had to escort him into the movie through the back way, and then escort him out same way before the lights came on.
NARRATOR: Those closest to Jackson know that the King of Pop even modeled his Neverland Ranch after Hef's Holmby Hills estate.
But very few know about the night in the late 1970s when Michael brought a very special friend for an evening of fun in the infamous Playboy grotto.
HEFNER: It was Tatum O'Neal, and they wound up in the grotto, but in bathing suits.
It was his first date.
He actually talks about it in I don't think anything naughty happened.
NARRATOR: Faint traces of another secret visitor can still be seen today on a Matisse drawing hanging near the Mansion's dining room.
If you look closely, you will see a tiny repair, where music legend John Lennon snuffed out his cigarette.
HEFNER: He had a little too much to drink, and he put a cigarette out on the art on the wall, and that upset one of my friends.
But it was during a troubled time when Lennon was out here on the West Coast, separated from Yoko, and not in a very happy state.
OLEA: I'd be kind of a little miffed if someone messed up my artwork, but it is John Lennon, and so now, kind of like that piece will forever be known as as for what he did.
FAWCETT: John Belushi was here.
He used to go up on the staircase and do his famous fall down the stairs.
To the delight of just about everybody that was here.
(low chatter) (whistle blows) (cheering) BILL COSBY: No, no, keep playing.
I just wanted to see if the whistle was working.
That's all.
O'CONNOR: Bill Cosby would come in if he had business in town.
In some cases, this was like a little boutique hotel where we catered to exactly what everybody wanted.
NARRATOR: The Playboy Mansion has also housed several long-term guests.
Actors Tony Curtis and James Caan, and writer Shel Silverstein have all called the Mansion their secret second home.
HEFNER: I do think there is a safe harbor aspect to the Playboy Mansion, but there was certainly a time, particularly in the latter '70s, when drug use was commonplace.
And some of my dear friends got lost in that, and during their recovery period, this became a halfway house.
DISALVO: Of course, the celebrities come here because it's a place they can come to that's private, and we try to keep their visits here, you know, under wraps.
NARRATOR: For Hugh Hefner's lucky guests, nearly any wish can be fulfilled at any hour of the day or night.
(phone ringing) Pantry.
May I help you? OLEA: The Mansion's run like a hotel.
That's the best way to really describe it.
We have a butler staff.
We have a housekeeping staff.
All right, you got it.
WILKINSON: If I was hungry any time of the day or night, I could call zero, and I could get whatever I wanted.
I could ask for freaking steak and ice cream and freaking, you know, chili cheese fries all on one plate, and they'll do it.
TWEED: It's amazing how fast you can get used to it.
(laughing): And then and then get spoiled.
If you want the crust cut off your grilled cheese sandwich at 4:00 in the morning, all you have to do is press that little button.
And, you know, it's the kind of BLOXSOM-CARTER: There's nothing too extravagant for Hef or the girls.
Whatever they ask for, we're going to make it.
HEFNER: Howdy, howdy, howdy.
TWEED: My mother said, you know, "It's surprisingly quite like a home.
" (laughing) I thought that was pretty funny and, you know, because, you know, people live here.
You know, I think that's a misconception.
People think, you know, it's a 24-hour orgy and that it's dirty, but it's a it's a beautiful home.
NARRATOR: Like everything else in Hugh Hefner's life, weeknights are equally regimented.
Monday night is Manly Night, a time reserved for dinner and laughs with Hef, his brother Keith and their closet friends.
Gentlemen, gentlemen, be of good cheer, for they are out there and we are in here.
(cheering, applause) NARRATOR: Tuesday is Game Night, usually with Hef's girlfriends and visiting Playmates.
HEFNER: Oh, what a sneaky play.
I know! HEFNER: A sneaky play on her part.
NARRATOR: Wednesday is Card Night, a tradition that goes HEFNER: 38? KEITH HEFNER: Plus gin-- 39.
HEFNER: This is a fun game.
NARRATOR: Thursdays are usually reserved for family.
MARSTON HEFNER: Are you ready to go up to the room? HEFNER: I'm ready.
NARRATOR: But it's the weekends that perhaps most typify the Mansion lifestyle.
Because every night begins with a buffet dinner and ends with a screening of one of Hef's favorite films.
HEFNER: Here we are for House Bunny, and you'll be among the very first to see it.
(applause) Here we go.
NARRATOR: Some say it's like being a part of the best secret film club in town.
BENTON: Hef is very rigid about movie times.
If the movie starts at 6:00, you'd better start getting to your seat by five to 6:00, or the movie will start without you and he will not be happy.
HEFNER: It's movie time.
Okay, boys, you're gone.
(giggling) O'CONNOR: People think that it's nonstop naked women running around, guys fornicating, everything bad is going on at the Playboy Mansion.
The truth is, is that it's it's very quiet, very sedate.
NARRATOR: Quiet? Sedate? Even strict? Is it possible that the legends of wild sexual parties at the Playboy Mansion are a myth? Not a chance.
Because, among the many secrets of the Playboy Mansion are those involving the residence's lavish theme parties.
Parties notorious for inviting guests to wear sleepwear, lingerie or nothing at all.
Coming up FAWCETT: Anything goes at the Mansion, especially when it comes to parties.
If you want to show your body off, you want to have a good time, there's nothing wrong with it.
NARRATOR: On February 3, 2011, 700 hundred people gathered at the Playboy Mansion for a fund-raising event.
Within 48 hours, dozens of the attendees began complaining of chills, fevers and headaches.
But when Los Angeles health officials diagnosed a few of the cases as being a mild form of Legionnaires' disease, there were many who were quick to point fingers at Hugh Hefner, and what they claimed were the polluted waters of the Mansion's infamous grotto.
Although the cause for the illnesses was not related in any way to the Mansion, the rumors stuck.
Undoubtedly because the wild rumors of what goes on at Playboy parties often have their basis in fact.
FAWCETT: Anything goes at the Mansion.
Especially when it comes to parties.
If you want to take the lingerie off, you want to show show your body off, you want to have a good time, perfectly fine.
There's nothing wrong with it.
NARRATOR: Believe it or not, creating the guest list for Playboy's sexy soirees takes a keen eye.
Guests aren't simply invited-- they're selected.
Cast with an eye for beauty and glamour, just like a Hollywood O'CONNOR: The guest list is pretty strict.
You end up with a thousand people at a party.
But it's very difficult to get invited if you're a man.
It has to be a man with some credentials.
And if you're a girl, you have to send a picture in.
I sit with Hef and he decides if the girl is okay or not okay, or if the gentleman has the credentials.
HEFNER: Number 2A.
O'CONNOR: And he'll sit and grade them, A, B, or C.
The "A"s and "B"s automatically go on the next guest list.
NARRATOR: The Playboy Mansion staff handles all party logistics internally OLEA: And we can always make an announcement to the guests, too.
NARRATOR: and even caters the event on-site.
The big theme parties are seasonal.
There's Halloween.
(woman screams) My stupid son-in-law! ALL: three, two, one! NARRATOR: New Year's Eve.
Even Hef's birthday.
(cheering) But the one that really goes out with a bang is the Fourth of July party.
That's because the Playboy Mansion is the only private residence in Los Angeles with a fireworks permit.
Though the Playboy Mansion has become known as an oasis of hedonism, the famous Midsummer Night's Dream Party began with a relatively innocent concept.
BENTON: Most people know about the Midsummer Night's Dream Party.
That started with the idea that Hef and I had of just having a pajama party but it wasn't like pajamas at all.
In fact, I wondered where the clothes were that the girls were supposed to be wearing.
BLOXSOM-CARTER: We have beautiful women in lingerie.
We have men in silk robes.
There's nothing like it anywhere else in the world.
FAWCETT: We have painted ladies for Midsummer Night's Dream.
I'll do 12 painted ladies for, for a party.
It's standard fare now.
DISALVO: If the guests don't come in lingerie, they are told, "You are not in the proper attire.
" You go home, and it doesn't matter who they are, even if it is a well-known celebrity.
DREW CAREY: See, the bad thing about a pajama party is you have to keep everything in your socks.
COOPER: When we were younger, Marston and I would sneak over to the parties.
We hopped over the fence and security wouldn't know we were in the bushes.
Some of the best moments were sneaking around and, like, throwing things at celebrities.
It was a blast, it was so fun.
NARRATOR: From Playmates and Bunnies, to painted ladies and celebrity guests, the Playboy Mansion plays host to the world's most beautiful people.
HEFNER: The reality is that the Playboy mystique has been transferred to my own lifestyle and life here at the Playboy Mansion.
This is the nerve center of my life.
And a wonderful life it is.
I wouldn't trade places with anybody else on the planet.
I know just how lucky I am.
NARRATOR: What is the real secret of the Playboy Mansion? Perhaps the biggest secret of all is that this is the one place on Earth where people's secrets can and will remain hidden guarded behind iron gates and lush green gardens.
It is a promise kept by one of the world's most private of public men.
And a dream that only a few of us will ever share.
Captioned sponsored by A&E TELEVISION NETWORKS