EVANSTON, Ill. (STMW) — The Charles Gates Dawes House, home to the Evanston History Center, no doubt played host to some festive times when Charles Gates Dawes, the 30th vice president of the United States, lived with his family in the residence during the early and mid-20th century.

Still, there’s no way the ice cream socials and croquet matches, as good fun as they might have been, can match up with the party that’s soon to be the subject of a television pilot movie.

Twentieth Century Fox crews were seen Wednesday moving props into the Dawes House, at 225 Greenwood St. on the eastern edge of downtown Evanston, preparing to use the interiors for the filming of the pilot on legendary Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner and Chicago’s Playboy Mansion.

The NBC pilot is to be set in the year 1963, at the Playboy Club in Chicago, according to one report, and will follow a young woman’s attempt to become the first African-American Playboy centerfold — squarely in line with Evanston’s sense of social conscience.

The filming is to take place over two days next week, confirmed Eden Juron Pearlman, director of the center, which has exhibits and maintains artifacts from Evanston’s early history.

Film crews are using only a portion of the 25-room mansion, said Pearlman.

She said the center was originally contacted about six to eight weeks ago about the possibility of filming at the Dawes House.

“Two weeks ago they came back and said we were the place,” she said.

The original Playboy Mansion, a 70-room French brick and limestone building, was located at 1340 N. State Pkwy. in Chicago. The mansion boasted a brass plate on the door with the Latin inscription, Si Non Oscillas, Noli Tintinnare (“If you don’t swing, don’t ring”).

The exterior is still intact, but the building itself has gone through changes of use since Hefner moved his operation to the West Coast.

Pearlman said crews were using a portion of the Dawes Home, a 25-room mansion, for the filming of their interior shots.

“It’s actually been very fun,” said Pearlman, saying the crews had been “conscientious and responsible” in their use of the mansion, a designated National Historic Landmark.

The exterior of the Dawes House was used in shots for the 2002 movie “Road to Perdition” starring Tom Hanks and the late Paul Newman.

Will the Dawes House appear in credits for the Playboy pilot?

Pearlman didn’t sound as if the center would be seeking such attention.

As for remuneration, she declined to divulge a figure, except to say, “enough to be worthwhile” for the History Center.

–Pioneer Press, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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