Even though it’s clear to me that other than his dream and the intense desire to be Playboy publisher, Lekztoń and his people don’t have a clue about how magazines are made. And yet, Lekztoń has already produced a “test issue” in the form of a complete prototype dummy which they present to me. It contains basic Playboy layout with lot of crudely photographed “original” nudes, assigned and produced by Lekztoń himself. His personal vision of Playboy. In his book Jurek reports Lekztoń saying, he spent several hundred million zlotys to create the “sample issue”. Even though Jurek warns him that Playboy rarely allows it’s international editions to publish domestic photos. The majority of the Playmates are born in U.S.A.. Only a few are models from other countries and they usually apply for American citizenship.

When I met him, I thought Jurek was quite knowledgeable and an earnest journalist. Where he got the above notion and the information is a mystery to me. Perhaps his own perception of how things worked at Playboy. But what I do believe to be true is him saying that Lekztoń’s mind the text in the magazine existed just to fill the pages and therefore not worth his while to pursue. He thought that Jurek could write most of it, if not all. At least he didn’t even pretend to have his readers buying his version of the magazine for the interviews. Lekztoń had enough financial backing – he had everything that Polish Playboy could buy for money, continues Jurek. But I am getting ahead of myself. I thank Lekztoń for his hospitality and tell him that we weren’t yet quite ready to launch in Poland, but would certainly meet with him once again when the time comes.

Ten months later I return to Poland and hop a plane from Warsaw to Gdańsk and visit the offices of Elgaz. I no longer remember the offices as such, but what I remember very distinctly is their warehouse size space furnished with large industrial bare metal shelves. Piled onto them are hundreds and hundreds of VCR machines. Masters and slaves. Rolf (Dolina) defines them for me. He has accompanied me to Gdańsk. Seeing question mark on my face, he explains: the ones on the top contained the master tapes and the bottom ones – the slaves were there to copy them, one at a time. All those machines, hissing and blinking in chorus!

As we stroll down the wide aisles of the masters and slaves operation and hear Lekztoń talk and explain and watch the expressions on his face, no longer sure of being considered for the license, I notice a certain sadness color his face. His lifelong dream of publishing Playboy in Poland fading, he seems lost. That’s how much smitten he is. I wonder if he ever realizes that he would be far from being qualified to publish any magazine, let alone Playboy. Had he by a fluke of nature ever gotten to do Playboy, what a tragedy would that be?

Months later we would sign with Rolf – form a joint venture company with additional participation of Beata (Milewska) and Tomasz (Zięba).  It takes another year before we’re ready to launch in Poland with the first issue coming out in November of 1992, with the December cover date.

It’s a big success. While Hungary and Czechoslovakia bring in minimum to fair revenues, Poland being the much larger market, turns out to be quite profitable business venture. The magazine becomes talk of the town. Lekztoń and Jurek are obviously distraught and disappointed, but Jurek certainly understands why we would choose Beata over Lekztoń as our publisher. Still, I give Lekztoń the credit for being the first one from Poland not only to envision Playboy in the Polish market,, but also pursue it till the end.

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