Playboy Bunnies and Canadian football

Bob Dunn
Distant Replay

Flashback: A sideline reporter’s job is to interview out-of-breath football players on the sidelines as they prepare for the next series of plays. This is new to radio (or TV) broadcasts. Also new to this is the reporter, who is told by a broadcast higher-up he now has a half-time interview scheduled, on the sidelines.

With two Playboy Bunnies.

The game is between the Montreal Alouettes and a team that is quickly forgotten, at the Olympic Stadium. The bunnies are in town on a promotional tour, this one in conjunction with Playboy Magazine’s 25th anniversary, despatched by Hugh Hefner to do whatever Playboy Bunnies do on promotional tours.

Obviously, that includes air time during a football game.

At this moment, it’s not just the players who are breathless. The sideline reporter has prepared to face irate coaches, players who don’t want to talk and tacklers flying out of bounds and into “his” space. That’s part of the prep for anybody who dares to patrol sidelines during football games.

But Playboy Bunnies?

Mustering his courage and hoping his wife isn’t watching from the stands, the sideline reporter (that would be me) gathers his manly courage while an attendant is ushering the young women over to be interviewed. There is no time to prepare for an interview like this.

As I recall, the Bunnies weren’t wearing their “magazine outfits” but, well, they were Playboy Bunnies. Not only did I not know what to ask, I soon forgot what I did ask. Probably benign questions like what brought them to Montreal, was it their first Canadian Football League game, did they know what a Grey Cup was…who can remember?

I did remember their names: Candy Loving and Dorothy Stratten, a Canadian Bunny from Vancouver.

This was during the 1979 CFL season. Earlier that month the two of them had been Playboy Magazine’s cover and centrefold models, respectively. They were better interviews than I had anticipated, in the few minutes I had to anticipate anything, and the interview was shorter than I would have liked (not for the reasons you think). And yes, Candy (Candace) Loving was her real name, which I also asked.

Within a year, Stratten was murdered by her estranged husband. Within two years, Loving had retired from Playboy’s bright lights and, her marriage broken, found a new partner who was, in a touch or irony for me, a football player.

Post expires at 11:59pm on Tuesday September 21st, 2021