In the late ’60s, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner purchased a customised plane called “The Big Bunny.”
A stretch version of a DC-9, it had the capability to go anywhere in the world — and it did, taking Hefner and his celebrity clientele everywhere from Africa to Europe.
Estimated to cost about $A6.4 million, it was outfitted with custom lighting and painted black, which was revolutionary for the time. He called his stewardesses “Jet Bunnies.”
Though the famed plane was only used for six years, it certainly left behind a legacy of its own.
With the help of Playboy Enterprises, we’ve put together a collection of photos that will take you through the famed jet’s history, from its wild disco parties to its luxurious amenities.
He had spotlights installed on the wing tips so that the iconic rabbit could be seen flying through the air at night. He also asked permission from the federal government to paint it black. 'I designed the Big Bunny jet to stand out,' he wrote in the WSJ. 'Nobody had a black plane at the time. It was like The Ugly Duckling.'
Hefner's Jet Bunnies had worked in the Playboy clubs in Chicago and Los Angeles and trained at Continental Airlines' stewardess school. Uniforms that were designed by Walter Holmes -- with contributions from Hefner himself -- included rabbit ears and tails, black boots, and white aviator scarves.
Hefner's home-away-from-home was made for luxury. The 38-passenger plane had a living room and conference area, where in-flight meals included grand dishes like lobster and roast beef.
Its main compartment had a fully stocked bar and a discotheque where parties would often take place. For in-flight entertainment, the plane was also equipped with two film projectors and a video machine.
For roughly six years, the Big Bunny took Hefner everywhere from Greece to Tanzania. 'I loved the convenience of the jet ... It was literally a floating apartment with a bedroom, a living room, a dining room and a disco area in the back,' Hefner said in the WSJ.
It flew the skies until 1975, when it was sold to Venezuela Airlines. It was used as a commercial airliner for Aeromexico until 2004. 'It was a great toy and it was a great gift to give,' Hefner said in the WSJ. 'When anyone asks me if I ever miss the plane, I reply, 'Only when I fly.''
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