KMOX NEWS: St. Louis’ Playboy Club Nothing Like TV Show
September 23, 2011 1:09 PM
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – It’s premiere week for the television networks. One show, “The Playboy Club” is fashioned after the first club to open in Chicago in 1960.
The St. Louis Playboy Club opened on Lindell Blvd. in 1962. Hugh Hefner even came for the opening.
“The playboy club was wonderful, and Mr. Hefner was everybody my age’s hero,” said jazz pianist Bill Cherry. “I went there to play primarily so I would really be admired by my pals, and people would think of me as umm… I wish I could be him.”
Cherry was among a group union musicians that worked at the club. But besides playing at the club Cherry was a Washington University college student and a banker.
While the new TV series portrays sex and drama, Cherry says the St. Louis Playboy club was anything but. “There couldn’t have been anything more pilgrim-like than the Playboy Club.”
He says the bunnies made good money and were kept in line by a Bunny Mother. In fact they were not even allowed to give out their last names.
“The second floor was called the Penthouse and they always had entertainment. It was really good entertainment too,” describes Cherry. Cherry said jazz musician Ramsey Lewis frequently played at the Playboy Club when he was there.
Besides the entertainment Cherry said you could get a good meal. The buffet was $1.50 and drinks were also a $1.50.
Cherry was 22 at the time and played on the first floor at the St. Louis Playboy club. It was known as the Living Room. He now lives in Dallas and works as a Realtor.
The building at 3914 Lindell is still in use as a restaurant.
Copyright KMOX Radio
I’m very appreciative KMOX called to ask about my experience as a part-time pianist in the Living Room of the St. Louis Playboy Club. That club was a perfect match for St. Louis’ residents’ insistence on sophisticated nightlife during that wonderful period. (If you remember KMOX’s Harry Fender, then you are of that generation.)