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File: Playboy Magazine

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29.03.11
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PlayboyPlayboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction.  It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. 

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The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with a presence in nearly every medium.  Playboy is one of the world's best known brands.  In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.

The magazine has a long history of publishing short stories by notable novelists such as Arthur C.  Clarke, Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, P.  G.  Wodehouse, and Margaret Atwood.  Playboy features monthly interviews of notable public figures, such as artists, architects, economists, composers, conductors, film directors, journalists, novelists, playwrights, religious figures, politicians, athletes and race car drivers.  The magazine generally reflects a liberal editorial stance.

Besides its centerfold, a major part of Playboy for much of its existence has been the Playboy Interview, an extensive (usually several thousand-word) discussion between a notable individual and an interviewer (historian Alex Haley, for example, served as a Playboy interviewer on a few occasions; one of his interviews was with Martin Luther King Jr.; he also interviewed Malcolm X, then coauthored his autobiography).  One of the magazine's most notable interviews was a discussion with then-presidential candidate Jimmy Carter in the November 1976 issue in which he stated "I've committed adultery in my heart many times." David Sheff's interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono appeared in the January 1981 issue, which was on newsstands at the time of Lennon's murder; the interview was later published in book format.

Another interview type section, entitled "20Q" (a play on the game of Twenty Questions), was added in October 1978.  Cheryl Tiegs was the first interviewee for the section.

The best-selling Playboy edition was the November 1972 edition, which sold 7,161,561 copies.  One-quarter of all American college men were buying the magazine every month.  On the cover was model Pam Rawlings, photographed by Rowland Scherman.

Perhaps coincidentally, a cropped image of the issue's centerfold (which featured Lena Soderberg) became a de facto standard image for testing image processing algorithms.  It is known simply as the "Lenna" (also "Lena") image in that field.

Playboy is still the largest selling "men's magazine", selling about 2.6 million a month in the U.S.  In 1970, Playboy became the first gentleman's magazine to be printed in braille.

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