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Playboy Miscellany
  • December 19, 2013 : 15:12
  • comments

Alongside Nike’s swoosh, Coke’s dynamic curve and Apple’s bitten apple, Playboy’s bow-tied Rabbit Head is one of the most recognized logos in the world. (Even in 1959, the USPS delivered to the Playboy offices an envelope bearing no address other than the Rabbit Head silhouette.) The logo was designed in 1953 by Playboy’s legendary art director Art Paul; it took him less than an hour. Since then the Rabbit has adorned a diverse panoply of items—from perfume and alarm clocks to lingerie and bottle openers. The Rabbit has also appeared in some form on the cover of every issue of Playboy magazine, apart from the first. In the early years he was often featured as a character in his own right—watching a show, popping champagne, lounging poolside. But as the cover girls gained confidence and prominence, the Rabbit receded into the shadows. Soon, a splendidly curious game developed between the magazine’s designers, who secreted the Rabbit Head logo somewhere on the cover, and the readers, who were challenged to find it. Below are some of the more ingenious places the Rabbit has hidden on Playboy covers through the decades:


August 1969
The young and the freckles
July 1983
Wood you knot?

September 1973
Strap it on

August 1989
Hare-raising prices

July 1974
Bendy straw

April 2006
Buckle up

May 1979
Lips incorporated

March 2011
Thigh spy

The FBI was tasked with investigating Playboy and Hugh Hefner, according to records published in 2000. Bureau director J. Edgar Hoover first became concerned about the magazine in 1955 when it ran a science-fiction love story featuring space-exploring G-men. Then Hoover’s ire was roused in February 1963 when Hef declared in an editorial that “J. Edgar has always been something of a nut on the subject of sex” and questioned why the FBI was more interested in censorship than “the nation’s thriving crime syndicate.” Hoover demanded, “What do we know of H.M. Hefner?”—a question that led to more than 200 pages of FBI reports during the 1960s.

Hef took delivery of his jet in 1969 and sold it in 1975; below are some specs:

Type ... McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32
Registration ... N950PB
Nicknames ... Big Bunny, Hare Force One
Dimensions ... 119.3' (length), 93.4' (span)
Capacity ... six crew, 38 passengers

Hef’s quarters were accessed by a private staircase and featured a king-size elliptical water bed finished in silk and Tasmanian possum fur. The three fully trained stewardess-models were known as “Jet Bunnies.”

The publication you are currently reading was to have been called Stag Party, until lawyers representing a men’s adventure magazine called Stag threatened to sue. A range of other titles were considered (including Bachelor, Gentleman, Pan, Satyrs, Sir and Top Hat) before Playboy was born.


Ben Schott is the author, most recently, of Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition (Blue Rider Press); his website is benschott.com.

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read more: entertainment, magazine, issue january 2014

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