"The '70s was certainly an uncommonly swinging time," says Hef. "But as wonderful as that was, and I always thought of that as the best time of all, for me personally, in terms of recognition and celebration, there is nothing to compare it with now … I've lived long enough to see the parade, which I never expected."

The lights of the Mansion blaze nightly, every evening regimented: Monday is "Manly Night," classic serial movies with Hef's pals from the old days; Tuesday is "Family Night," dinner with Kimberly and the kids; Wednesday is "Card Night," gin with his old friends from the Chicago era; Friday is "Casa Blanca Club," 35 to 40 guests for cocktails, dinner, a movie from the '30s or '40s, and a post-film dissertation led by Hef, the film historian with the genius IQ; Sunday is "First Run," 90 guests invited for cocktails, dinner, and a current feature movie. On and on it goes, every night a happening, with the fabled Playboy Mansion parties sandwiched in between.

And while Brande Roderick has moved on to Baywatch Hawaii and the twins have returned to college, Hef will never be alone again. "Girls I'm going with now?" he asks, pausing to count. "Ahhh, Tina, Tiffany, Katie, Cathy, Buffy … ."

Someday, in the faraway future, Hef will dance his last dance, take his last dip in the Grotto, host his last party, his image living on in endless video footage and impeccably kept scrapbooks, chronicling almost every second of his existence. But perhaps his best history is kept by this house, home to the fantasies he brought to life from the pages of his magazine for several generations. Hef's mother died two years ago at 101, so his genes are strong. But when it's over, he knows how he wants everything to go down.