‘I will make us all so much money that neither Chicago nor Hamburg (Bauer Verlag’s headquarters) would have any reason to complain!’ He once tells me condescendingly, as if handing a bag of candies to a little kid to pacify him.

By the time twentieth anniversary rolls in in August 1992, we have established some semblance of working relationship. The anniversary issue and its celebration is pushed off a month to accommodate the return of the Europe’s vacationing advertising executives. In the meanwhile, the event has been hyped and built up to be the happening of the decade – the self proclaimed BIG BANG affair.

For the first time three of us U.S. Playboy executives are going to be attending the party. So is the top brass from Hamburg. We are assembled in Munich’s newly opened City Hilton on Rosenheimerstrasse. I have just flown in from Chicago. Playboy’s Publishing Group President Mike Perlis and the divisional marketing director Henry Marks too may have already landed from New York and should soon be on their way in. Also joining us is Ivan Chocholouš from Prague.

This landmark anniversary means more to me personally than to anyone else present. As far as I can tell, I am the only one who was there as a part of the German team almost from the very beginning. Several editors and art directors and advertising directors have come and gone and as the reality of the corporate life goes, none of the past creators of the magazine have been invited.

The event is held in two of the big glass houses of Munich’s Botanikum. Set up in the Theaterhaus are various arcade games with pinball machines and the popular fuss Bal, the games room made in the image of Playboy Mansion West, but roomier and more dramatic with the multi-colored track lights beaming down from the ceiling high up above.

The adjacent Grashaus with the slanted glass roof and the glass side walls are lined with the panels of white fabric and is set up like an elaborate and lavish tent in the desert. The atmosphere in it is a bit more relaxed and is set up for mingling and eventually would serve as the dining room. It is decorated with tall potted plants, huge white cushions placed on the ground in circles around cloth covered very low square tables. The ground is the naturally grown lush grass lawn. Wafting from the piped in music are soft tunes and the chirping of the birds. It’s to be the Garden of Paradise  à la the Sheikhs and the Pashas.

Creation of Bettina and Heinrich Bunzel, the Botanikum is conceived to seamlessly blend together the humans, the art and the nature in an urban setting of North Western Munich. We too have good memories of the Playboy event in our green houses. It was one of our first big party at the Botanikum. Herr Bunzel fondly remembers, reminding me of the long forgotten details about the venue. The photos he was kind enough to send me shows how much planning and work went into preparing the two green houses for the events. The result is absolutely spectacular.

Invited are who’s who of the industry, pre-dominantly the top executives of Germany’s advertising world. The party is to impress upon them that the new & improved Playboy under Wolfgang Maier’s helm was just the right vehicle to showcase their luxury cars, higher end liquors and no-one can afford brands of watches, computers, electronic gadgets and other toys for the grown up boys.

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