At the time, she worked as Executive Secretary to Münchener Olympiade, had graduated from high school majoring in home economics and aspired to be a social worker. In answer  to Why do you want to be a Playmate? she wrote; so that I can show my kids how beautiful their Mama looked when young. What can be more down to earth and wholesome?  Beyond that, Chicago’s approval was a mere formality.

Freddy and other executives saw an enormous promotional potential in her. She would become the darling of the press, appear on television talk shows and the advertising department could tag her along to meetings with their clients. She would be the special attraction at trade shows and the conventions. The potential was limitless. There was palpable excitement in the air. Freddy, Heinz, Rainer and other top executives began to see why Chicago was so keen and insistent on them to producing their own Playmates.

Everything was ready and set to go. Peter Brüchmann – one  of the top glamour photographers of the country was hired to shoot the pictorial.  But the problem was producing of the centerfold.  By Hefner’s personal decree, it had to be shot on the large 20×25 (8”10”) format studio camera, thus ensuring the highest possible reproduction quality over the spread stretching out on to three full pages. After much discussion, it was decided that instead of allowing Peter to shoot it and him learning  by trial and error,  taking a long view, why not send him, Barbara and our photo editor Susi Pletz to Chicago and have Pompeo Posar – one of the Playboy’s star photographers do the first centerfold, with Peter assisting and learning, but mainly Susi picking up nuts and bolts of Playmate production and bringing back home that knowledge. This delayed the project by several months, because that’s how long it took to get everyone’s schedules in sync.

In the meanwhile, Susi had come up with three more Playmate candidates, one of them she had plain spotted in the supermarket and approached, the others came as submissions from professional photographers.  Among them: Jacques Alexandre’s  portfolio of   gorgeous nudes of the sultry redhead Dagmar Puttkammer from Wuppertal.  No problem with the photos as submitted. Jacques shot some more “story” photos  capturing her life in and around her hometown, featuring the places and the people in her life. That is: except the centerfold. The luck would have it, Pompeo Posar happened to be in Italy at the time on a project from the U.S. edition. We were able to have him come over to Munich for a long weekend to help us out. Susi organized the location, the props and acquired a large format camera, set up weekend processing of films and we together assisted Pompeo into shooting what would become the first ever Playmate of Playboy’s German, and therefore the foreign editions.

While reluctant at first, now Freddy couldn’t have a German Playmate soon enough. And thus by default, Dagmar became the first German Playmate making her debut in March 1975. Barbara followed in July 1975.

© Haresh Shah 2012

Illustration:Jordan Rutherford

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 Next Friday: December 28, 2012

HERR DOKTOR SHAH

Nope, I don’t have a doctorate of any kind. Even if I did, I would be petrified to have such a pompous title precede my name.  But our editorial assistant Tim Nater decided, that’s just what I needed.

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