Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lansing makes "Playboy" history (don't worry, this article is "G" rated)

Twenty-five years ago yesterday, on July 31, 1988, the last Playboy Club in the United States closed its doors. That club was in Lansing, and was located in the Hilton Hotel on Saginaw Highway.

This a publicity pic from the NBC series "The Playboy Club" and does not represent actual Lansing "bunnies."
I used it because I did not anticipate seeing what would develop if I typed the words "Playboy Club Images" into my computer.

The club had opened in September 1981, at a time when the ethos of "cute waitresses in bunny costumes" was already on its way out. Originally, the club was a "members only" type of place, but its policy changed in 1987, when it opened its doors to the general public in an effort to attract more business. Obviously, that plan didn't work.

I was nine years old at the time the club closed, so I can't say I know too much about it. (Nine-year-old girls were obviously not the club's target demo.) My family lived about 30 miles from Lansing, which was the nearest "big city," so we often passed the club on our way to Meijer, the mall, or other exciting destinations. The club didn't really stick in my mind one way or another, but now that I know it was the last one to close in the United States, I feel a small measure of pride (mostly because of the fact that such a cheesy place heard its death knell in Michigan).

Playboy tried to resurrect its club concept in the U.S. by opening a new location in Las Vegas in 2006, but the club closed in 2012. Now, the only Playboy clubs in existence are overseas.

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