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Each Playboy Club had a Bunny Mother to both advise the ladies and enforce the rules laid out in the Bunny Manual.
The Bunny Manual dictated all Bunny behavior; the stance they must take when smoking (one small puff at a time, the cigarette then resting in the ashtray, not the hand), how they could sit (on the back of a chair or resting a hip on a banister; this was known as the Bunny Perch), how they could stand (the Bunny Stance: one foot behind the other, hips squared), and how they could address members (“Smile and introduce yourself with the standard Bunny Introduction: ‘Good evening, I am your Bunny _ (name). May I see the Playboy key, please?’ … Never express your request for a key-holder’s order in a crude and trite phrase such as ‘What’ll you have?’”)
A few famous Bunnies include; model Lauren Hutton, actress Barbara Bossom, musician and lead singer of Blondie, Debbie Harry, Gloria Steinem, and actress Susan Sullivan.
In 1981, the London Playboy Club and Casino at 45 Park Lane, was the most profitable casino in the world.
Hugh Hefner initially rejected the idea of Bunnies and the Bunny outfit. He envisioned customers served by women wearing corsets.
For most of the 60s and 70s the Playboy Clubs were the largest employers of entertainment in the US.
The Playboy Bunny outfit was the first service uniform registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (U.S. Trademark registration number 0762884)
Bunnies could be fired for breaking the club’s strict non-fraternization rules.
‘Great opportunity for the 30 most beautiful girls in Chicagoland’ read the ad for the first Bunnies.
Owning a Playboy membership was a genuine status symbol in the 60s.
Early entertainers in the first Playboy Club included before-they –were-famous Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand.
In 1968, business was hopping at the Playboy Club w/Diahann Carroll as the headliner.
A Playboy Club membership was marketed as an everyday means to bring the Playboy magazine to life. At the height of the clubs popularity an information packet was given to each new member (and prospective member) enticingly proclaiming: “Step into the Playroom”—one of the multi-leveled club’s different areas—“and the wonderful world of Playboy is yours! Against a background of brilliant, illuminated covers from Playboy, the joie de vivre depicted within the world-famous magazine’s pages comes to life.”
The opening night crowd for the London Playboy Club, in 1966, was as famous and attractive, as one could image: Julie Christie, Ursula Andress, Roman Polanski, Michelangelo Antonioni, Sidney Poitier, Laurence Harvey, Peter Sellers, David Frost, Peter Cook, Kenneth Tynan, Rudolf Nureyev, Woody Allen, Lee Radziwill, and many, many others.
There are 18 international editions of Playboy around the world, with the magazines printed in Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain and Taiwan.
Playboy magazine remains banned in Mainland China, but the company’s largest product license deal is with China’s Chaifa Investment Ltd., which opened its first store in the communist country in 1993 and operates more than 300 Playboy outlets in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The first “Playmate of the Year” was Ellen Stratton.
Playboy’s first issue went on sale in December 1953, selling 54,175 copies at 50 cents each. The maiden magazine contained 44 pages.
The magazine’s original name was Stag Party, and instead of a rabbit, its mascot was a buck. Hugh Hefner changed the name to Playboy at a friend’s suggestion after the name Stag Party was challenged in a trademark infringement case.
The first edition featured a nude photo of Marilyn Monroe that Hefner bought from a local calendar printer, as well as a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Playboy is still the largest “men’s magazine,” selling over 2.6 million a month in the U.S.
You can still pre-order your copy of Playboy Swings available in September by clicking here
Grammy-winning guitar legend and Festival favorite Buddy Guy returned to the Playboy Stage in 2011, for yet another rousing performance. A member of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame known for his raucous Chicago style blues, Guy rocked the house with his electrifying guitar prowess, solidifying his status as a legend in his own time. But the highlight of the set came when Guy introduced his protégé, 12 year-old guitar phenomenon, Quinn Sullivan. Trading licks with Guy, young Sullivan wowed the crowd with his astounding playing winning a standing ovation.
Celebrating their 50th anniversary, The Preservation Hall Jazz Band once again brought the spirit of the Crescent City to the Playboy stage in 2012. Their rousing performance of New Orleans Dixieland and traditional jazz and blues had fans waving their white hankies and weaving through the aisles in conga lines throughout the Bowl, saluting the band’s legacy in true New Orleans style. The group also continued the honors to Mr. Cosby by inviting him to join them onstage during their performance. He happily obliged, to the crowd’s delight.
For more great stories about the Playboy Jazz Festival, pre-order my newest book Playboy Swings at: