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Below is director (check out her web series "Baby Boomer Bunnies" here) and former bunny Jan Marlyn Reesman's response to the show, as told to me.
The Bunnies are in an uproar! The show is so false. I couldn't sleep last night thinking about the show. I turned it off like 20 minutes in, and the bunny websites started lighting up like crazy.
People are chattering on here on Facebook -- "It's insulting," " I went to bed because I didn’t feel like getting my Irish up" "We would have been fired for acting out like that!" We're all going nuts.
We keep in touch a lot -- there's a big reunion coming up in march in New Orleans. I'm a New York bunny, and we are a little elitist, but they have reunions and I go back and see them. Today I’m meeting a couple bunnies from LA and we’re gonna go, "Oh my gosh, have you seen that show?" We were all looking forward to it!
We had this whole bunny image. No one ever touched us. They had people having sex in bunny room! And men running the club -- We had a bunny mother. We would have been so fired we'd acted like that. They even had detective agencies to come in to try to date us so we’d get fired if we tried to date anyone from the club. I only remember somebody getting caught once and getting fired. Bunnies had their own lives, boyfriends, husbands.
On the show, they were dancing with the customers and sitting on them -- oh my god, we look like hookers! Like lapdancers!
I worked underage so I only worked days -- you had to be 21 to work nights. I was a daytime bunny, so there were lots of businessmen, but they would come back at night with their wives and their girlfriends. It was mostly couples in the club.
Also, you never left the club with your bunny costume. Wardrobe mistresses would be all over you. We had lockers where we left our ears. I had read the script, and just starting with page 1 they talk about 4-inch heels. Nobody had 4-inch heels; we had 3- inch heels and we wore them a size bigger cause your feet swell. Silly things like that bother me.
I started as a bunny in Miami for one summer in 1964. I was from Jersey and had gone to visit family with my mom between my 11th and 12th grade years. I had never heard of a bunny; I was a kid. But my family was like, "Oh my god, you're gonna become a bunny! It’s a big deal." So I went there and lied and worked for the summer until I got caught.
They didn't hold it against me. When I was 18, they said I could open the New York club. At 18, you couldn’t drink but you could work there. It was incredible. Lauren Hutton and me worked together every day. Next to my locker was Gloria Steinem when she was doing that expose. I was like, "She didn't work at the same place I did!" She was a couple years older so she was a night bunny. Deborah Harry from Blondie was a bunny.
We made so much money! Nobody touched us, and our costumes compared to what people wear in the street today were nothing. We’d go anywhere and not pay for anything -- its like being Paris Hilton; you can walk in and they just want you there cause everybody else will be there.
I was able to live in a good neighborhood. I got married and could keep my son in Montessori school, live in a good neighborhood with a doorman, act 3 days a week, be in psychotherapy 3 days a week ... It allowed me to do all that because we made so much money.
I was a bunny for 10 years. Some of the women who were bunnies are so successful today. Gloria Hendry, one of the Bond girls, she was a black bunny. We had those right from the start. We had one of everything.
Playboy was an incredible training ground. I still think of it when I go into a company like The Gap or Apple -- they're well-run because they train their people. The stylized way we spoke to people, what we wore, and what we did -- it took me through life. It was incredible training for a young kid to work at a company that trained you that way.
I'm going to tell the bunnies to tweet @hughhefner. He tweeted, "A group of original Bunnies from the 1960s watched the pilot of NBC's "The Playboy Club" & were impressed at how accurate the show is." So not true. Ask this bunny; we all hated it.
Yes, there was a sexual revolution but not in the Bunny Room!
I just tweeted "NBC destroyed the bunny image." A lot of the bunnies get afraid of Hugh Hefner! You’re women in your 60s you think he’s gonna come fire you? That’s how bad we had the fear of God put into us when we worked there... That today these women are like, "We should get permission from Hefner."
He doesn’t care about us he cares about these little bimbos! And we were not bimbos. Of course, there were a few bimbos, but you had to be pretty smart to work there, because we made a lot of money. We may have been cocktail waitresses, but we knew what we were doing.