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Playboy Magazine Launches Czechoslovak Edition

April 24, 1991

Undated (AP) _ PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia (AP) - Once a symbol of decadent America, Playboy magazine launched its Czechoslovak edition Wednesday in what it says is an effort to change the country.

″We have changed America, we will change you, too,″ say billboards posted around Prague that herald the advent of the controversial magazine.

Former film-maker Vlado Tichy, 42, the publisher of the new Czechoslovak edition, said publishing Playboy is not just an effort to rectify what he called the ″distorted vision″ resulting from four decades of Communist rule.

He said the magazine is one of the fruits of the country’s new democracy.

″The fact that I can publish Playboy magazine here is for me the ultimate proof of our freedom,″ Tichy told a news conference. He called it ″a dream come true.″

An ability to change people’s thinking and creating a high-class image may be essential for Playboy’s future in this Central European country.

Despite the fact that at 99 crowns ($3.20) a copy his is by far the most expensive magazine in the country, Tichy was optimistic about the future of Playboy and his own VIPress publishing company.

The magazine has an initial circulation of 65,000 copies.

About two-thirds of the material will be produced in Czechoslovakia. The magazine will be printed in Austria to ensure quality, but that raises the price, Tichy said.

Sarka Lukesova, 21-year-old student and first Czech centerfold, was more cautious about her future.

″I don’t see a career in this yet,″ she said after returning from a two- week trip to Chicago where she posed for a fee of 100,000 crowns ($3,200).

″I’d rather stick to ethnography and get my degree in the meantime,″ she explained.

Founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953, the magazine sells under license in countries as diverse as Turkey and Japan, in a circulation of 5.1 million.

An edition of Playboy has been produced in neighboring Hungary since December. Publishers there have not released sales figures.

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