Bunnies gone wild: Former Dallas Playboy Club members hop to a reunion

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Photo of Playboy Bunnies

Bunnies chat at the bar of the Dallas Playboy Club, July 27, 1977.
Photograph by Ed Lallo for The Dallas Morning News

You may recall the story FD Luxe did last year about Dallas’ fabled Playboy Club. The surprisingly wholesome pleasure den (no nudity or touching allowed) lasted five years from the late ’70s to the early ’80s in a high-rise off Central Expressway.  The building — now owned by SMU — also hosted the Dallas Cowboys team offices and players Tony Dorsett and Ed “Too Tall” Jones were regulars. Former offensive tackle Ralph Neely was also a big fan. 

Well, we received an email update from Bunny Twinky (a.k.a.  Karen Kurch, who used Twinky because there was already a Bunny Karen — Karen Criswell Drennan, whose father is former TV news anchor John Criswell) that the club’s former bunnies, bouncers and friends are getting together to relive old times this weekend at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. (Interested? You can find the Dallas bunnies on, where else, Facebook.) One person that we hope makes it is Paul Heckmann. Who, you ask? Heckmann is the former male model and Playboy Club alum who reprised his role from 31 years ago as Patrick Duffy‘s stand-in on Dallas. No, you can’t make this stuff up.

In the spirit of the occasion, we bring back these four pieces of Dallas Playboy Club trivia:

  • “When Hugh Hefner visited the club, he had his entourage stand around and flash him with strobes so that when they shot video, it looked like he was being mobbed by photographers.” — former maître d’ “Big” Dan Nolte of Plano
  • On the famous rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and the Playboy bunnies: “It became a little war. They were jealous of us. You could do a job that paid $15 a game or $300 a night. You pick.” — Bunny Karen
  • Sure, the signature Bunny Dip was a ladylike and cleavage-protecting way to serve cocktails, but Bunny Twinky (who shared a house off Greenville Avenue with bunnies Crystal and Cinnamon) says there was also a ritual for presenting cigarettes on a tray: “Open the pack, light one up and slip it halfway back into the pack, filter side in.”
  • The most generous tip the maître d’ ever received was a gold watch. He later sold it to buy a wedding ring for his future wife.
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  1. Back in the day, I was a photographer. I had used some of the Bunnies as models. Some needed head shots and poses for the club. One Sunday I was at the club and there were more bunnies there than patrons. One of the girls said, knowing I always had my camera, told me to get it. They posed for me in cheerleader poses and just simply joking around. No one could leave the club but me. The girls were hungry for Campisi’s pizza. So I went for two of them. It was a fun Sunday lunch. I have kept in touch with a few of the former bunnies from Dallas. I believe there were April, Akemi, Kathy, Tondre, and a couple more.