And other than the obvious, I go on to tell him how I envision it happening. We can build a story around her Mexican heritage and have her reverse migrate through her photos and the presence in flesh and blood in Mexico. We could stage a promotional event for the invited VIPs and the media. Present her as our first Mexican Playmate. That Playboy’s  test shoot was good enough for us to use and would cost us nothing. All we needed was to shoot the cover and the centerfold, which I could produce in Chicago, have her photographed by our star photographer Pompeo Posar.

Soon as I hang up, I call Los Angeles. I introduce myself and tell Elda what I was thinking. She sounds so sweet and absolutely delighted. During the conversation, I find out that she doesn’t speak much Spanish. That creates bit of a problem. But I am too far gone with the idea and in the meanwhile, so is Eduardo. We agree, we would build her story around her being the USA born full blooded Mexican. After several phone calls between Mexico City and Los Angeles, I invite her to Chicago, and schedule the cover and the centerfold shoots.

Everything goes according to the plan. With big fanfare the first Mexican Playmate travels from Los Angeles to Mexico City. She is received warmly and enthusiastically. She is presented to the invited guests at Hotel Camino Real, standing in the front of the bigger than life size image of her in the backdrop is the April 1981 cover of CABALLERO con lo mejor de Playboy – as the magazine was then called. As it turns out, our fears were unfounded. If not fluent, Elda did have some command of the language – that mixed with English, she does just fine.

She feels pampered and loved in the Mother Land. They host a dinner  in her honor, it was a good feeling. And Elda joins the ranks of a very few Playmates, she gets to write her own text to accompany her layout. Even though she didn’t make it in to the pages of the mother edition in el Norte, she got a real taste of the world of Playboy. Thanks to her appearance in the Mexican edition: I met Hef, silk pajamas and all. He was gracious, kind and hospitable. The home and grounds were lovely. I had many a fun time at the mansion! Happy ending!

But this is a Mexican story, so it doesn’t end there. Soon, perhaps also because of all the press coverage generated brouhaha, the authorities decree that name of a magazine cannot be a  common noun. Never mind that Caballero has been around and officially registered for a dozen some years even before joining forces with Playboy – the name long been officially banned in the country.

Panicked, Eduardo calls. But in a country like Mexico, you don’t just walk away from the table just because the rules of the game have arbitrarily changed mid stream by the powers that be. You try to beat them at their own game. Eduardo needs an immediate approval from Chicago to change the name of the magazine from Caballero to Signore, which also means gentleman, but in Italian – not to confuse with Spanish Señor. So Signore it becomes overnight and so it remains up until June 1984, when the authorities finally relent and allow the magazine to be called Playboy.  We re-re-launch, this time with the Mexican born and grown starlet/singer Elizabeth Aguilar as the Playmate.

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