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Dead of the Day: January 18, 1969

Playboy After Dark, CBS Studios
West Hollywood, California
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On this day back in 1969, the Dead went on Hugh Hefner’s Playboy After Dark television program. The show opens with Jerry casually regaling the Playboy crowd as Hefner walks up and interrupts, right as Jerry was saying something about being “armed to the teeth with buck knives.” Hefner and Jerry go on talking for awhile, Hefner as stiff as Jerry is relaxed. In response to one of Hefner’s innane questions, Jerry goes off about how the two drummers “chase each other around," explaining, "It’s like the serpent that eats its own tail.” And, if you were to stand in between the two drum kits while they were playing, Jerry finishes, “they make big figure eights on their sides in your head.” Hefner, decisively freaked out, gets Jerry to play a few tunes. As Jerry walks over to the small stage, you can see Bobby very much enjoying himself. Anyway, the boys play a sweet and haunting Mountains Of The Moon followed up by a steamy, though short, Stephen. Then, during the credits, portions of a fine Lovelight play while the crowd of Hef’s party-goers start dancing. But don’t take our word for it; you can watch the entire show to the left.

If things seem a little strange on set, it might be because Bear dosed the huge coffee urn that was just off camera. Almost everyone on set was drinking coffee, and the place - according to both Bill Kreutzmann in his book Deal (and on Conan, below) and Rock Scully in his older, infamous Living with the Dead - turned a little interesting. It was a legendary night for the band, even if the music is not the real story.

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