Playboy Club, Los Angeles 1980s
The Los Angeles Playboy Club opened on New Year’s Eve in 1964 at 8560 Sunset Boulevard. This was the glory age of the Playboy entertainment empire when men, with their bunny-headed membership keys, queued around the block to be waited on by gorgeous young women with long legs, cantilevered bosoms and skimpy costumes that included satin ears, bow ties and cottontails. (Women went to the Playboy Club too but the clientele was mostly male.)
Food was served – the steak and baked potato with all the trimmings was apparently the best choice on the menu – but you might not be surprised to hear that eating was not really the point of going to the club.
Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner had a penthouse apartment on the top floor of the building but actress and singer Lainie Kazan (who posed nude for the October 1970 issue, won a Tony Award in 1993 for Best Featured Actress in a musical for My Favorite Year and starred in My Big Fat Greek Wedding) oversaw the Los Angeles branch - the only woman to run a Playboy Club. The club re-located in 1972 to a spot near the Schubert Theatre in Century City and many comedians including Lily Tomlin, Rich and David Brenner performed there, as well as musicians such as Sonny Rollins and Al Jarreau.
The Los Angeles Club closed its doors in 1986, prompting this classic headline from the Los Angeles Times: “Playboy Clubs, Bunnies go From Risque to Passe.” ‘Now, in a nation glutted with X-rated cable movies and explicit sex magazines, the bunny symbol has become parodied, outmoded and, by comparison, even respectable in some quarters,’ the accompanying article read. ‘The bunny ears are as recognizable as Mickey Mouse’s, and just about as middle-of-the-road. The price of a club key, with its aura of racy sophistication, had risen only from $25 to an unexclusive $0 over the years.’
There are certain positions Bunnies had to learn in order to be that perfect Bunny. The 'Bunny Dip' was where the Bunny elegantly leant back with grace and poise whilst bending her knees. This enabled the Bunny to keep her costume in place and avoided throwing busty substances in the punters’ faces. This Bunny seems to have mastered the ceremonial way to deliver drinks.
Courtesy Private Collection.
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