The Real Playboy Club
Courtny Gerrish, Stephanie Graham
LAKE GENEVA - The new show 'The Playboy Club' premiered on TODAY'S TMJ4 Monday. Did you know there used to be a playboy club right here in our area? The Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva used to be The Playboy Club.
We found some of the past bunnies and asked them what they think about the new show. For these ladies, 'Playboy' means family. Vicki "Sunny" Elvermann recalls what it was like to be a Playboy Club employee. "There was a big comraderie, a bond between all of the bunnies."
Another former bunny, Gail "Robbie" Haber says, "It was the best time of my single life."
They're all former bunnies from the old Playboy Club at Lake Geneva back in the '70's. At that time, 'Playboy' was the pinnacle of sophistication.
Dan Markus is also a former employee. He says, "It was stylish, had the best entertainment, had tremendous golf courses, had its own airports--it was as cool as cool could be."
Markus started at the club as a bus boy, and worked his way to a manager--even getting the chance to meet some of the big acts! He now lives in Green Bay and works at 103.1 WOBG as the Program Director.
Dan looks back fondly at the many famous people he met. "Ann-Margaret was so sweet--she's one of the few people to this day that can get away with calling me Danny," he says.
For the bunnies it was fun, but first and foremost, it was a job that paid well at the time.
Kathy "Bridget" Sheahan is another former bunny. She says, "I liked it, it was very good money, and I was able to get out of college without any debt at all!"
The bunnies served dinner and drinks to club members, but of course, there were many misconceptions.
Bunny Mary Lou Hilgers says "I know a lot of times people would say 'Oh, you're a Playboy bunny, so that means you were a centerfold, and that wasn't so.'"
Diane "Nikki" Dorsey adds, "I think it was just the point of people not knowing what it was. Especially in this communty."
Dan also agrees the racy rumors were untrue. "There was nothing going on behind the scenes like some people wanted to think--it was a well-run, family resort."
So what do these old employees think of the new show?
"I would hope they keep it real," Sheahan says.
As we tour the grounds today-- a lot has changed, but for these former employees--it will always bring back memories of a different time--a time that we now get to experience every Monday night in our living room.
"Stepping in there was like--I can't describe it--you knew you were special going in to work there," Dan exclaims.
Hundreds of former employees live all across the U.S. now, but they still come back to the club for occassional reunions.