Even aging ex-Playboy bunnies need a place to rest, but why not make it fun?
Janice Elliott hasn't worn her sexy white cotton tail, the floppy ears and white wrist cuffs in many years, but she treasures the sisterhood she joined at the Hollywood Playboy Club.
But like thousands of ex-Playboy bunnies facing their golden years, Elliott needs a place to retire and relax with her friends.
She and an ex-bunny partner Chere Rae are planning "The Bunny Farm" - a Gardnerville-area retirement complex to be filled with memorabilia of the days when they were icons of the sexual revolution.
"We're trying to create a fun thing," Elliott said. "We realized we have this sisterhood here we don't want to give up."
The partners are planning to find at least 30 acres in Douglas County to build the dream home where ex-bunnies and club employees from all over the country can retire with their extended families, Elliott said.
The home, expected to be built in two to five years, is planned as an active senior health and healing retirement home and self-sustaining community.
Elliott, 56, moved to the area eight years ago from Manhattan Beach, Calif. She lives on Johnson Lane with her husband and 91-year-old mother, who inspired the retirement home idea.
The group of retirees, using their After the Hutch business, will continue and expand charity efforts, raising money for animal shelters and other causes.
And to promote their plans, they are planning to participate in this year's Nevada Day Parade. Ex-bunnies, actor Pat Morita, who got his start in the clubs; the Modernaires band and musician Billy Vader will ride in late-model cars. They are also trying to enlist other celebrities, like Billy Crystal and Jay Leno.
"We're trying to promote education on retirement homes and animals," Elliott said. "We don't feel important anymore so we're trying to again. We want to do some good."
In the late 1960s, Elliott joined the unique sisterhood when she dressed in her bunny suit and put on her floppy ears. She took a long bus ride to the Hollywood Playboy Club and caught a ride back at night until she could afford a car.
For four years, she served cocktails and was swept up in charity events and promotions, something she misses now, she said. The bunnies flew orphaned babies from Vietnam to the U.S. for adoption, entertained Vietnam veterans, and played on a bunny baseball team.
She eventually moved on. Elliott worked for an International hotel chain, and many of the thousands of ex-bunnies became successful professionals or got married.
Elliott's Web site is www.afterthehutch.com
About 12,000 ex-bunnies have been located out of 25,000, and hundreds recently met at the group's second reunion in Las Vegas. The group has raised money to buy a wheelchair for an ex-bunny, and proceeds from the sales of T-shirts, mugs and jewelry contribute to the effort. They are also planning a Cruise for Charity in February.
"When we all got together, no one wanted to stop," Elliott said.
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