September 9, 2010; Source: ABC News |Society relies on volunteers to do a lot that makes life better for all kinds of people, but one group of do-gooders is clearly in a league of its own. Among the dozens and dozens of newsweeklies, tabloids, and other periodicals that volunteers for Taping for the Blind, a Houston-based nonprofit, record to be broadcast over special radios to thousands of people, mostly in Texas, is Playboy magazine.
In addition to the articles, jokes, letters and cartoons, the group’s designated Playboy reader, Suzi Hanks, describes the photos in the magazine, including the always-popular centerfold, in generous detail. For example, here’s her very revealing rendition of Miss August: “She has long curly brown hair . . . She is in the first photo sitting in the ocean. She has a very large grin on her face, pink lipstick. She has a small tattoo right over the small of her back over the dimple area that appears to be maybe some sort of tribal design. It is red . . . Her legs are kind of crossed. She is sitting in the water. Behind her shoulder, down past her arm, you can see her breast peeking out . . . There are no tan lines at all. She is not wearing any nail polish or jewelry or bathing suit or anything.”
Not surprisingly, Hanks has a regular following. After becoming legally blind, 67-year-old Bob Bartlett, who previously had been a regular Playboy reader, signed up for Taping for the Blind three years later. Today, he says the spoken version of Playboy “really is one of my favorite shows. Some people say it’s filth. It’s not. She [Hanks] helps me be current in pop culture.”
While Playboy might be the most eye-catching of Taping for the Blind’s offerings, at least 3,000 subscribers, mostly in Texas, tune into the service’s broadcasts, which air 24 hours a day. Taping for the Blind’s programming can be heard over specially tuned radio receivers that are distributed free of charge. The group, which describes its mission as “turning sight into sound,” also offers some of its previously aired programming online.—Bruce Trachtenberg