But their origins are humble (and a lot less sexual): Legend has it the idea of the Playboy Bunnies is rooted in the college days of Mr. Hugh Hefner himself. As the story goes, Hef was inspired to create the costumes after frequenting Bunny’s Tavern (so named for its owner, Bunny) in Urbana, Illinois. To this day, a note from Hef still hangs in the college haunt, recognizing the bar and its owner’s contribution to what turned into a vast empire.
Since then, the Bunnies have come a long way. They were the first service uniform registered with the United State Patent and Trademark Office. They have made countless Hollywood cameos, including appearances in James Bond films and AMC’s Mad Men, and are still used today as the face of Playboy Clubs and Playmates for public appearances.
Today, we look back at some of the original Bunnies who could be found hopping around Playboy Clubs throughout the ’60s and ’70s, serving as hostesses, entertainers and, on several occasions, flight attendants. Check out the gallery above for a look inside the world of the Playboy Bunnies.