They called the
folks at the St. Louis Association of Musicians for a name.
when we spoke anchor Carol Daniel didn’t come right out and say so, apparently
I was the only one who the union could find who was still alive.
Daniel quickly consoled, “You were only 22-years old. Most who played big gigs
like that were at least 10-years older than you.”
I wasn’t certain that
was accurate, but I bought into it; otherwise, I would have had to admit to myself
that I am a member of the “surviving elderly.”
Back then during the days
I was one of the comptrollers of a St. Louis bank. In the evenings, I often played
the piano in local hotel dining rooms and restaurants.
That’s how I got
to play a few times in the Living Room at the city’s new Playboy Club. And believe
me, it was an admired pedigree.
“keys” allowing entrance to each of the 40 Playboy Clubs were sold primarily to
readers of Playboy Magazine. In the beginning, all of the food and drinks in the
club were $1.50, whether it was a filet mignon dinner in the Penthouse, or the
buffet in the first floor Living Room.
The clubs ran tabs and a member’s
consolidated statement was sent to him once each month.
like me played in the Living Room; famous ones like Ramsey Lewis and comedian
Jack Carter did shows in the Penthouse.
to what the new TV show infers, no foolishness was allowed at the club. The waitresses,
called bunnies, were not allowed to fraternize with customers, whether at the
club or after hours.
In fact, they were prohibited from sharing any information,
not even their last name, with customers.
Guests were not allowed to touch
or make inappropriate remarks to the bunnies.
All of this and more was
in a voluminous manual that instructed the bunnies.
And classes were taught
them by an older woman known as the bunny mother, on how to serve the guests.
Bunnies had to learn and use the bunny stance, bunny perch, and the bunny
dip was a graceful but contorted way of placing a guest’s drink on his table without
revealing more cleavage.
Others keeping a watchful eye on behavior of
bunnies and guests were the door bunny and the floor bunny.
knew that any violations were likely to cause their dismissal. And many of them
were making more money than most of the club members. A lot more.
the years, Hugh Hefner and I have corresponded from time to time. I still call
him Mr. Hefner just as I did when we met nearly 50 years ago. He continues to
insist I call him Hef even though he addresses me as Mr. Cherry.
those years I’ve given him a lot of atta boys, and unsolicited criticisms.
an example, I thought he did the right thing when he made the recent decision
to again take the Playboy Enterprises corporation into his private ownership.
The other day I sent him a note telling him that the TV show portraying
the Playboy Clubs as anything other than what they were is a real mistake.
The Playboy Clubs were the acme of sophistication. They were not fancy dens of
licentious behavior or meeting places for mistresses and hoodlums.
Mr. Hefner should insist that the writer portray the truth.
Hef and Bill
do agree on one thing: We'll be the ones to let you know when it's time for you
to consider us as elderly. Today’s not that day.
2 , 2011 column
Copyright 2011 – William S. Cherry. All rights reserved
Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories