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Playgirl Magazine Files for Bankruptcy Protection

June 12, 1986

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ Playgirl magazine, whose readership has dropped in recent years, filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

Playgirl Editor Tomi Lewis said the magazine, with headquarters in Santa Monica, would continue to be published.

″We’re working on the October issue right now,″ she said Wednesday.

She declined to discuss the company’s plans or to discuss the bankruptcy filing, made in New York.

Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code allows businesses to continue operating while backers attempt to come up with a reorganization plan.

Playgirl began in 1973 and was selling 1.5 million copies a month within a year. But 10 years later, circulation had dropped by 60 percent, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which monitors readership.

Vanda Krefft, a former senior editor at the magazine, attributed its decline to changes in opinions about its offering of revealing photos, including nude male centerfolds, and light self-help features.

″Its reason for being was somehow outdated,″ she said.

An advertising executive suggested that the magazine’s formula of male nudity failed to draw an audience of 1980s career women.

″It’s like a television show that is one-joke situation comedy,″ said Jim Spero, a senior vice president at the Doyle Dane Bernbach advertising agency in Los Angeles. ″After you tell it, what’s left?″

Among the biggest creditors was New York-based Warner Publishing, which was owed $1.3 million and Arcata Graphics-Buff of DePew, N.Y., which was owed $1.2 million.

The magazine filed for bankruptcy court protection last month, shortly after one of its owners, Ira Ritter, sold his share after a courtroom battle with his former partner, Stephen L. Geller.

Ritter also sold his interest in Ritter Geller Communications, which operated Playgirl, a book publishing business, a cable television managment firm and a magazine called Slimmer.

Ritter Geller Communications also has filed for protection.

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