The Press: The Naked Truth

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Four-year-old Playboy magazine, which has built 788,350 circulation on the proposition that, next to themselves, boys like girls best, discovered last week that even this sturdy philosophy can lead to trouble. After running a color photo of a nude teenager, Playboy Publisher Hugh Hefner was hustled into Chicago's domestic relations court on a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Said police: brunette Elizabeth Ann Roberts, Hefner's pert Miss Playmate for January, was not a fetching college freshman of 18, as reported in Playboy, but a fetching high-school senior of 16, and thus, in the eyes of Illinois law, too young to appear unclothed in the public prints. Also charged: Mrs. Cathy Darnell, Elizabeth's 39-year-old mother, an unemployed showgirl.

From Illinois last week came another case affecting freedom of dress and/or press. Overruling the Cook County Criminal court, which held that a picture of a girl tricked up in sunglasses, a hat and the Stars and Stripes might breach the peace, the state Supreme Court allowed that Modern Man magazine had not desecrated the flag and could not therefore be held guilty of intent to provoke a disturbance.