|Who invented the Playboy Bunny?|
Hugh Hefner invented the Playboy Bunny. Playboy magazine had run a pictorial article on Chicago's Gaslight Club. In response to that article, over 3,000 readers letters flooded into the Playboy office asking how they could join this exclusive key club.
Victor Lownes, a Playboy Executive suggested to Hefner that Playboy should open a night club of it's own. Hefner immediately saw the commercial and promotional benefits. But also the personal ones: it is good for the ego to sit in your own nightclub as King Playboy.
Plans for a Playboy Club were begun in 1959. But the beautiful Bunny was not yet born. Seeking to maximize on the image Playboy was most famous for, it's Playmates, initial talk centred on dressing the Playboy Club's hostesses in revealing negligees and calling them 'Playmates'. But during a night-out, Victor Lownes' then girlfriend, Ilse Taurins, suggested to Hefner the idea of dressing the hostesses in the image of the tuxedoed Playboy Rabbit character. This Rabbit, personifying the Playboy lifestyle and the magazine's ethos, had featured on Playboy covers and in advertising spreads. Hefner answered that he had already considered the idea of Playboy Bunnies, but had disregarded it as 'too masculine.' Ilse said her mother, a seamstress, could run up a prototype female rabbit costume for Hefner to inspect.
A few days later Ilse stood before Hefner, Lownes and a few other key executives wearing the prototype Bunny costume her mother had made. The effect was astounding. Hefner in a flash knew that he had his hostess uniform at last (he was particularly smitten by the tail). And so, after many refinements to the design of the costume, when the first Playboy Club opened it was staffed by the most famous icons of the Sexual Revolution and a legend was born - The Playboy Bunny.
But the Bunny may never have been born at all!
In one of those strange twists of fate in life that retrospectively seem inevitable (or perhaps it is divine intervention?) the Rabbit character was a result of a fortuitous late name change. Hefner originally intended to call his magazine "Stag Party" with a human stag character as a company mascot, designed by cartoonist Arv Miller. But before the first issue came out, "Stag" magazine claimed trademark infringement. Unwilling to lose time in litigation, Hefner renamed his magazine PLAYBOY and chose a new symbol. Arv Miller transformed his stag to a rabbit. Founding Art Director Arthur (Art) Paul then created the world-famous Rabbit Head logo.
Hefner has wryly stated in many interviews that had this last-minute name change not occurred there would have been no Bunny Empire since it is impossible to imagine that there would have existed a chain of successful nightclubs around the world with girls wearing antlers on their heads!
"Doe Girls" just does not have the same ring. Although antlers may have proved useful when dealing with the wandering hands of keyholders.
The Playboy Bunny costume is the only non-service uniform to have been granted a U.S. Patent. The Smithsonian and the Chicago Historical Society both have Bunny costumes on display.
For more on the origins and development of the Bunny see our History section.
|When did the first Playboy Club open?|
The first Playboy Club opened in Chicago on 116 E. Walton Street. The doors opened for the first time on the leap year night of February 29th 1960. Paradise on Earth had arrived. Read more about that famous night in Playboy's own 40th Anniversary Tribute.
|When did the last Playboy Club close?|
If you count the failed Rhodos Playboy Casino, then the year would be 1999. Playmate Ava Fabian, right, helped in the recruitment for the Rhodos Playboy Casino.
But the last real Playboy Club closed in Manila during 1991 (I say this because this was the final end of a continuous and glorious 31-year era, 1960-1991).
The last U.S. Playboy Club to close was the franchise in Lansing, Michigan. The last American Bunny dips took place on July 31st 1988.
See the article Bye Bye Bunnies for an explanation for the demise of the Playboy Clubs.
But now, there is a new Playboy Club/Casino at The Palms in Vegas. Visit their official site for more information:
|Which cities had Playboy Clubs?|
The following cities
were blessed with Playboy Clubs
Note: the above opening dates were based upon two sources:
But these dates cannot be considered conclusive. Kathryn Leigh Scott's otherwise excellent The Bunny Years contradicts itself on the opening dates for four clubs (Miami, New Orleans, Los Angeles and London). The Bunny Years also overlooks the first Baltimore Playboy Club (which was damaged in a fire) and quotes the second Baltimore Playboy Club opening date. But the Playboy Book itself mistakenly cites the Miami Plaza opening in 1980!
In addition, most Playboy Clubs had re-opening dates as they were refurbished or moved to entirely new locations. See the article Bye Bye Bunnies for an explanation. I do not have information for the individual closing dates for the above Clubs.
If you think any of the above opening dates are incorrect then please let me know.
|Which famous women have worked as Bunnies?|
The following ladies wore the famous tail and ears before they themselves became famous:
Stars who have dressed up as Playboy Bunnies: Cher, Farrah Fawcett, Sally Field, Burt Reynolds, Dolly Parton, Goldie Hawn, Kirstie Alley, Hilary Swank, Mariel Hemmingway, Carrie Fisher, Dudley Moore, Penny Marshall, Barbara Walters, Rosalind Russell, Tatum O'Neal, Roseanne Barr, Kylie Minogue, Shari Lewis, Kelly Brook, Hattie Jacques, Flip Wilson, Steve Allen, Bill Dana, Johnny Carson, Sandra Bernhardt, Annie Lennox, Renee Zellweger, Reece witherspoon, Ruby Wax, Joanna Kerns, Delta Burke, Shirley Jones, Samantha Fox, Bob Hope, Carol Wayne, Benny Hill, Danny La Rue, the Smothers Brothers, Charlie Weaver, Steve Rossi, Mimi Hines, Ana Claudia Michels, Marty Allen, Ruth Buzzi, Carol Channing, Pauley Perrette.
Famous men who married Playboy Bunnies: Bob Dylan, Jimmy Connors, Mort Sahl, Dick Martin, Larry King, Victor Lownes, Bruce Forsyth.
Famous children whose mothers were Playboy Bunnies: Jon Bon Jovi, Dean Cain, Corey Feldman, Janel Moloney, Melissa Auf der Maur.
|What is the difference between Bunnies and Playmates?|
One of the most common misconceptions held by those who know little of Playboy and it's history is the belief that Playmates are Bunnies and vice-versa. The term 'Bunny' or 'Playboy Bunny' is often used synonymously as a descriptive term for any woman who has appeared au naturel in PLAYBOY. But Bunnies are distinct from Playmates who in turn are different from Playboy models.
The Rabbit Head Design Logo, created by original PLAYBOY art director Art Paul is also referred to as the Playboy Bunny. So too the Rabbit in a tuxedo archetype-Playboy who featured on many PLAYBOY covers (mostly in the 1950s issues but also many subsequent January issue Playmate reviews down the decades). PLAYBOY successfully marketed this character as a stuffed collectible. For more on Playboy collectibles see the article The Rabbit In Your Attic.
|How do I become a Bunny?|
Currently there are four Playboy Clubs in the world: Playboy at the Palms in Vegas (opened 2006), Playboy Macau (2010), Playboy Cancun (2010) and Playboy London (2011).
Before the Palms venture, in 1999, Playboy briefly re-entered the casino industry with a new Playboy Casino, staffed by Bunnies, on the Greek island of Rhodos. Unfortunately the casino was not a success and Playboy pulled out of the venture.
Playboy, aware of the timeless elegance and the sexual magic of the Bunny image, currently use Playmates and models in Bunny costumes for promotional appearances. Playboy have been planning for many years to open Playboy Casinos (with Bunnies), the first has arrived in Las Vegas and hopefully will be followed by one again in London, England. The London plan was postponed after Playboy's proposed partner, Ladbrokes, was sold by it's owner, the Hilton Group to the Gala Bingo company.
Playboy are also in the midst of negotiations to open a casino, with Bunnies, in Shanghai, China and are still looking at possible sites and partners to re-enter the club/casino market in London.
Here is some information on general Bunny hiring policy and the requirements from when the Playboy Clubs were in their glorious existence. I hope you enjoy it.
usually between seven and ten stones
Extra: Of course the primary attribute looked for was physical beauty. But Playboy also wanted girls who were personable. Girls with a cheerful disposition were wanted and indeed such personalities were necessary to allow the Bunny to do a long eight hour shift. Provided an applicant was slim, beautiful and a 'people person' she would be hired. No previous experience was needed as Playboy had it's own meticulous Bunny Training Program. In addition Playboy was without prejudice in it's hiring policy. Girls from all nations, creeds, classes, and religions were hired to work as Bunnies. Any keyholder who objected to this had their membership revoked. Playboy has always been an equal opportunities employer.
To learn more about Playboy Bunnies please see The Bunny Years available as a book and a video. Both are available from all good book and video stores. You can also view an original Playboy Bunny Recruitment Brochure in our History section.
|How do I pose for Playboy / become a Playmate?|
For information about becoming a Playmate or a Playboy model, please see the official Playmates FAQ. For a general overview of Playboy Enterprises International Inc. (PEII) please peruse the official Playboy Help pages. To contact Playboy, go to the official Playboy Entrerprises site. There you will find a list of Playboy office addresses and telephone numbers.
|Where can I buy a Playboy Bunny costume?|
Original Playboy Bunny costumes are very rare. Legend has it that Playboy mostly shredded or (more likely) put into storage the thousands of Bunny costumes they owned when the Clubs closed.
But there are Playboy Bunny costumes in circulation. A few Bunnies were given their costumes as a reward (for their years of good service) after they retired from Bunnyhood. It is these costumes that occasionally appear on the Playboy and eBay auction sites.
Most Bunnies who did receive their costumes as a parting gift continue to keep a hold of these valuable mementos from that special time in their lives. But some do sell their costumes.
Look for real costumes occasionally sold (both by private sellers and sometimes by Playboy) on the Playboy Auction site: auctions.playboy.com.
And also on eBay, www.ebay.com. But be aware that on eBay many sellers mistakenly (in innocence) or deliberately (to deceive) call ersatz costumes 'authentic' or 'original.'
You can probably tell a real from a fake Bunny costume, but if you can't then take a close look at the Bunny pictures on this website:- Ex Playboy Bunnies.
A sure sign that a costume is authentic will be it's selling price. A complete Bunny costume (bodice, ears, tail, collar, bow-ties, cuffs, cufflinks, name tag rosette) will go for upwards of $1,000. An original bodice on it's own will fetch upwards of $600.
|Was she a Playboy Bunny?|
am often emailed requesting to know if a woman has worked as a Bunny. But
consider the difficulty I have in answering such questions. In the 31 year
history of the Playboy Clubs over 25,000 women worked as Bunnies. I do not
have a database of ex Bunnies nor do I suspect has Playboy. The company, in
the Seventies, used to maintain a department that kept track of Bunnies and
the careers they went onto after hanging up their tails and ears. Hugh Hefner
wanted to keep in contact with and informed about what women did when they
left Bunnydom behind. I believe this was done both as a gesture of goodwill
and also for any potential positive publicity for Playboy. Christie Hefner's
first role in her father's empire was working in this department. Ironically,
years later, when she took over the day-to-day running of the company, Christie
took the difficult decision to phase out the entire Playboy Club Empire, as
the clubs had become unprofitable. Her father was reluctant to close the clubs
but he knew they were no longer economically viable (even the Mid-West franchise
Playboy Clubs were not turning a profit).
Similarly, I am often asked for photos of particular ex Bunnies. Often these requests are for Playmates, models, and celebrities who have posed for the magazine but were never Bunnies. Clearly visitors to this site have failed to appreciate What is the difference between Bunnies and Playmates?. The Playboy Cyber Club has archives of these photos, please go there. But even when people request photos of bona fide ex Bunnies, I cannot help. Much as I would love to have a photo (or fifty) for every ex Bunny, I simply do not. What you see on this site is what I have. This site is dependant upon the contributions of ex Playboy Bunnies, club employees, former keyholders and Bunny enthusiasts. Playboy has an extensive archive of former employee photos, but I do not know if it has been indexed. Although if they are offering, I am willing... :)
Think about it. If you emailed Coca Cola, IBM or Ford to ask if a particular individual worked at the company forty years ago, and could you please have a copy of their employee photograph, what response do you think you would receive?
|Where are all the nudes?|
There are no nudes on the Ex Playboy Bunnies website because this is, surprisingly, a website for BUNNIES!! This is a place of Bunny suits not birthday suits. Please read the answer to What is the difference between Bunnies and Playmates? above. You can find all the beautiful nude women your eyes desire in the Playboy Cyber Club.
Disclaimer: The Ex Playboy Bunnies Website is not affiliated to Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. (PEII). This site is not an official Playboy website. The images and text within some of the articles in the History section (and some of the Bunny photos in the Bunny albums) of this website are copyright of PEII. Playboy, Playboy Bunny, Hugh Hefner, the Bunny Costume, and the Rabbit Head Design are registered trademarks of Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. (PEII) and are protected under trademark and copyright law.