'Vicki and Ron Schoonover met while they worked at the Kansas City Playboy Club. “I had such a crush on him,”Kansas City' A local Playboy bunny's tale

Vicki and Ron Schoonover met while they worked at the Kansas City Playboy Club. “I had such a crush on him,” Vicki Schoonover said, with a half-giggled laugh that takes another decade off of her already youthful 63 years.

“I couldn’t figure out why,” her husband of 42 years responded, perhaps still baffled. “She was so beautiful.”

They met in 1968, upon Ron’s return from an assistant manager run at the Chicago club, the setting for a TV show on NBC that this week was canceled after only three episodes. “I’m surprised it was canceled so soon!” Vicki said. Playboy tycoon Hugh Hefner is “disappointed,” according to MSNBC. It should have been a cable show, he reportedly said.

Hefner really did have big Sunday brunches at “the mansion,” said Ron, now 66. The Chicago employees were invited, and Ron regrets not having attended more.

But purely by a yardstick of fact the show never was on track, say the Schoonovers, who moved to Botanica Lakes in south Fort Myers about six years ago to be near their son, Todd, and his family.

The mob didn’t swirl around the Chicago club, said Ron. Although it was a top-shelf plot point in the show, no Bunny was attacked in the back room by a “key holder” — not to mention becoming a murderess when her spike heel connects with the mob boss’s jugular.

But yes, Vicki said, there was a "Bunny Mother" who acted as manager and confidante to the women as young as 18 who greeted guests, offered cigarettes, sang, danced and served drinks.

Vicki worked in the gift shop. There was a seamstress, and the Bunny costumes in different colors were so tight they were impossible to zip for oneself. There were demerits for failing nightly appearance inspections and merits for extra duties such as volunteering to dance on the piano. Vicki enjoyed that one and so did her mother, a frequent guest who would tell people proudly, "That's my daughter!"

The clear glass “bunny cup” is now a grandson’s favorite. The gray mug with the bunny logo might hold a root beer float. The vintage Playboy cufflinks got an airing for the son’s prom. And the 5-by-7 black and white photo of Vicki Schoonover as a Bunny in the Kansas City Playboy Club just isn’t, well, current.

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