In 1969, Hugh Hefner was the king of the world. His magazine empire was at its peak, and he was about to expand Playboy to 37 different countries. At the time, one quarter of all American college age men were buying his magazine – every single month.
So – what is a successful and flamboyant magazine publisher to do? Well, in the case of Mr. Hefner, he purchased himself a jet – a big jet.
On January 27, 1969, the McDonnell Douglas company finished production on a DC-9-32, and one month later, Hugh Hefner took delivery of N950PB, nicknamed “the Big Bunny”.
This was no normal jet – despite the wild 60’s, not many business owners had the creativity – or the money to invest in their own flying home away from home.Shower, private entry and a movie theater
Even by today’s private jet standards, N950PB was a very luxurious jetliner. A rear folding private entrance took Hefner directly to his private quarters with an elliptical bed. After a long flight, he could take a shower or get some work done in his conference room.
Passengers were also treated well!
Fellow passengers could relax in the bar or enjoy a movie on the big screen. Once everyone was in the mood, they could even dance in the “discotheque” complete with lights and an 8-Track deck.
Indeed – the DC-9-32 really was a bit of Playboy in the skies. The only thing missing was a swimming pool and bowling alley.
Hugh Hefner never made a secret about his love of beautiful women- and admitted that his many, many mile high club endeavors were just like they are on the ground – albeit with “better memories”.
N950PB’s flight crew members were obviously selected for their looks – but these were real professionals. The Jet Bunnies were all trained at Continental Airlines in LA where they’d learn inflight safety and food preparation.
From party plane to retirement
Originally, his plane was based at Purdue and was maintained by the aviation department of the University. Sadly, things started to go downhill for the magazine in the mid 70’s, so the party plane was sold to Venezuela Airlines and reborn as “YV-19C“. She then spent several years in storage.
In 1989, Aeromexico renamed her “Ciduad Juarez“, repainted her and used her for domestic Mexican routes. The era of The Big Bunny came to an end in 2004 when she was finally retired for good.
[Photos from: Playboy.com]