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The Press: Hugh and Marlene and Bob and Helga

2 minute read

“There is no Helga but Helga,” pants the copy accompanying a nude layout in the December Penthouse, “and Helga is her name.” While there is demonstrably a girl hi the Penthouse pictures, there is no Helga, and Helga is not her name. She is Model Marlene Appelt, and when she learned in Munich last week that she was on display in Penthouse, she was fit to be clothed. She remembers posing for German Photographer Michael Holtz last spring. But, she claims, “I was paid a piddling fee, and I was never informed that I was to be sold to Penthouse. If Michael had told me, I would never have given permission, since I consider Penthouse a pornographic magazine.”

Which is odd, because Marlene has already received extensive U.S. uncoverage in Hugh Hefner’s Playboy and Out, archrivals of Publisher Bob Guccione’s Penthouse. She was featured as one of Playboy’s “Girls of Munich” in August 1972, an exposure that won her a spot on Oui’s November 1972 cover and a centerfold spread inside (“Marlene: The Blonde Angel”). Which is again odd, because Guccione refuses to photograph models for Penthouse who have appeared nude elsewhere. He also insists that his models give their real names for publication. Does he feel he was snookered into running pictures of a Playboy and Out veteran, and a falsely named one at that? Says the gallant Guccione: “She belongs to the world.”

And what of Penthouse readers?

Should they feel snookered by the overheated description of a totally fictitious “Helga Schiller”—ostensibly born in Bremen, raised by an accountant and his actress wife, a “homeless woman at home in supertechnology’s global village” who, at 21, is toying with the idea of a sadomasochistic relationship? Marlene, 26, is actually a sometime Munich actress and the girl friend of one of Germany’s most successful record producers, Monty Lüfther. On the other hand, have any Penthouse fans actually read the “Helga” copy?

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