He got off to a good start by choosing Marilyn Monroe as his centerfold girl. Not that he actually met the woman or photographed her. He simply bought some existing pictures that she'd posed for back in 1949. 50,000 copies were sold, which was good news for a guy who, at the time, was a family man married with a one year-old daughter named Christie. Hefner and his wife divorced in 1959 and in the swingin' 60's he and the magazine helped spark the "sexual revolution."
One sign of Playboy's notoriety was a cash-in novelty song called "I'm In Love with a Playboy Bunny," by Paul Hampton. Baby boomers will probably recognize Paul Hampton's voice. He wrote and sang the infamous TV theme song, "My Mother The Car." His comical tune about being in love with a Playboy Bunny is certainly rooted in truth; a lot of guys were. Some comics (Dick Martin and Mort Sahl among them) actually married a Playboy centerfold model.
It's not easy to make a living from novelty songs; Hampton actually had better luck with straight tunes. He co-wrote Don Gibson's "Sea of Heartbreak" and Gene Pitney's "Donna Means Heartbreak." He also took on a variety of roles as a character actor, appearing in films ("Senior Prom" and "Lady Sings the Blues") and TV sitcoms and dramas ("The Doris Day Show," "McCloud").
Hampton impressed Ray "Everything is Beautiful" Stevens, who gave him a shot at a straight singing career. Ray signed Hampton to his Barnaby label for "Beautiful Beginnings" released in 1970. Hampton issued a second album in 1974, "Home for Children" on the Crested Butte label. Meanwhile, the butts are still cresting at Playboy, and they still toss a bunny logo somewhere on the cover of every issue. Kate Moss is wearing the bunny costume on the cover of their January-February 2014 issue, which marks the 60th anniverary of the magazine. You can find it on most any of the still existing newsstands. As for Hampton's tune…well, that's hard to find anywhere except…right here.
PLAYBOY BUNNY PAUL HAMPTON