In "The Winter's Tale," Shakespeare wrote of daffodils that "take the winds of March with beauty." Cover girl Penny James one-ups the Bard, we think, by taking March's winds not only with beauty but with our highflying Rabbit to cheer on the end of winter. A different sort of demise is proposed by The Death of Politics, in which Karl Hess takes original and startling swipes at conventional political persuasions as well as the entity of government itself--and makes a convincing case for a new libertarian philosophy. A speechwriter for Barry Goldwater during the 1964 campaign, Hess is currently an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D. C. "I'm now working on a book," he told us, "that openly advocates the most widespread possible resistance to government. I do not expect that anything the new Administration is likely to do will obviate the need for such a book." One of the most pressing problems facing the new Administration is the issue of violence. In Americans and the Gun, U. S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings offers both a reasoned plea and a rational program for the control--not the elimination--of firearms. A deeply committed legislator and an avid sportsman-hunter, Tydings has been singled out by The New York Times as "the Senate's foremost student of the crime problem." The pathology of violence he decries is caustically caricatured in Overkill, a macabre pictorial essay by longtime playboy artist-cartoonist Gahan Wilson. Another veteran contributor to these pages is author-scientist Arthur C. Clarke, whose past prognostications about space have proved astonishingly accurate. In Next--The Planets, published here on the heels of man's first successful moon orbit, he discusses prospects and implications of exploring man's new frontier: the solar system. Inner-space explorer Marshall McLuhan, the protean metaphysician of mass communications, conveys his controversial message about the electronic age through the medium of our Playboy Interview, in a wide-ranging, nonlinear dialog with interviewer Eric Norden. Three writers in the fictional form--James Aldridge, James Leigh and Robert McNear--are making their Playboy debuts this month. For The Unfinished Soldiers, Australian novelist Aldridge drew heavily upon his experiences as a war correspondent to weave this taut tale of two former enemies who are hired by a movie company to re-enact World War Two aerial combat over France. Another confrontation--this one sardonic--takes place in a San Francisco housing project between an aging calypso singer and a young black-power advocate in James Leigh's Yes It's Me and I'm Late Again. Leigh wrote to us from Spain (where he now lives) that Yes It's Me is the first of a series he hopes will become a book. About Death's Door, Robert McNear told us: "I take my vacations on a remote island in the Great Lakes. I've always wanted to write a ghost story avoiding the usual clichés--like noises from the attic--so I used this island as a setting for Death's Door." Rounding out our fiction is Ron Goulart's A Man's Home Is His Castle, a wild yarn about an ultimate computer masquerading as a mansion called Lofthouse. Goulart says, "Most of my stories are autobiographical, in the same way that nightmares and hallucinations are autobiographical. This one was inspired by a large California house where my family and I were living beyond our means in the summer of 1968." He reports he's working on two more science-fiction novels (his most recent sci-fi work, The Sword Swallower, was published last December by Doubleday) and on a definitive history of pulp magazines. The Twenties and Thirties, which were the golden age for those yellowish journals, were also the heyday of Jan Kindler's unforgettable subject in Elysian Fields, an affectionate, anecdotal account of the most tenderhearted, misanthropic iconoclast of them all--W. C. Fields--from his earliest days in Philadelphia to his last in California. In addition to hating dogs and children, Uncle Willie despised the Golden State's perpetual sunshine, which the author of Cultlsville U.S.A., C. Robert Jennings, feels has nurtured the growth and proliferation of myriad religious sects. For this far-out assignment, Jennings tracked down the leaders of these mystic modes of worship and reports that they're now pursuing him. "I can't shake these people," he tells us. "This month one 'church' promised to help me 'seek and find the High, the Invisible, hear the voices of the Silence, and understand the immutable, unchangeable laws of the Cosmos.' I'd like that, but it costs $5 to register and $4 for the next course. And that's not the only group after me. I think perhaps I made a mistake by giving my real name." Some others who might have preferred anonymity are chronicled in Richard Neuweiler's Somebody Goofed, a humorous collection of quotes, by well-known people and publications, that have turned out to be 100 percent wrong. We're happy to report we're not among them--in one instance, anyway: the fortunes of a Playmate for whom we predicted a promising career. After Connie Kreski made her gatefold appearance in January 1968, she used some of her loot to finance a trip to England. At the London Playboy Club, she met Anthony Newley, who promptly offered her a role in his zany, erotic epic, Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?--which we preview herein. More treats: Flicker Flicka, an eye-filling portfolio of one of our most popular Girls of Scandinavia, upcoming screen star Marie Liljedahl; Rome with a View, a guide to the Eternal City's contemporary pleasures; Shoe-Ins, ten springy ways to put your best foot forward, by Fashion Director Robert L. Green; and Auction Action, a primer of hip bidsmanship. So come in out of the March winds and dig into March Playboy.
Playboy, March, 1969, Vol. 16, No. 3. Published monthly by HMH Publishing Co. Inc., Playboy Building, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the U. S., its possessions and Canada, $24 for three years, $18 for two years, $10 for one year. Elsewhere add $2 per year for foreign postage. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of address: Send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director; Jules Kase, Joseph Guenther, Associate Advertising Managers, 405 Park Ave., New York, New York 10022, MU 8-3030; Sherman Keats, Chicago Manager, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611, MI 2-1000; Detroit, Robert A. MC Kenzie, Manager, 2990 West Grand Boulevard, TR 5-7250; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 6721 Beverly Boulevard, OL 2-8790; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 110 Sutter Street, 434-2675; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Rd., N.E., Atlanta, GA. 30305, 233-6729.
A frustrated fiction writer toiling at a noncreative job in a large corporation with stringent expense-account regulations recently vented his fictive spleen in the following memo to department heads, and we'd like to pass the horripilating document on to you as income-tax time draws nigh:
The first generation of Jewish entertainers in America went on the stage; the second went into literature. In Portnoy's Complaint (Random House), Philip Roth has belted out a book with the exuberance and gusto of Eddie Cantor singing Whoopee. His Jewish-mother characterization, however, is not quite the gentle sentimentalization that, say, Al Jolson used to conjure up on bended knee. Roth indicts the Jewish mother as an all-American castrater, slashing a trail of impotent husbands and sons. In the form of a patient's confessional, Alexander Portnoy, a 33-year-old true-blue Jewish son and victim, tells his analyst not only how it really was (a newspapers-on-the-floor New Jersey boyhood, during which his only sense of independent self came through masturbation) but also how it still is: "Dr. Spielvogel, this is my life, my only life, and I'm living it in the middle of a Jewish joke! I am the son in the Jewish joke--only it ain't no joke! Please, who crippled us like this? Who made us so morbid and hysterical and weak? Why are they screaming still, 'Watch out! Don't do it! Alex--no!' and why, alone on my bed in New York, why am I still hopelessly beating my meat?" Portnoy desperately wants to be able to let go, to say goodbye to Jewish Calvinism, to be unabashedly bad: "Because to be bad, Mother, that's the real struggle: to be bad-and enjoy it! That's what makes men of us boys, Mother.... Let's put the ID back in yid!" Portnoy does manage to limp sexually through all manner of picturesque shiksa types: The Pumpkin ("hard as a gourd on moral principles"), The Pilgrim ("a supergoy: 114 pounds of Republican refinement, and the pertest pair of nipples in all of New England") and The Monkey (a sexual gymnast who makes it "seem as though my life were taking place in the middle of a wet dream"). But when he goes to the state of Israel and tries to make it first with a voluptuous female army lieutenant and next with a "Jewish Pumpkin," Portnoy is no longer able to achieve a state of erection at all. In his return to the Jewish turf of his first successes, Philip Roth has succeeded in all but capping--or affixing a yarmulke upon--the Jewish-American fictional genre. In short, he has produced a small masterpiece, a comic gem: playfully alive, yet painfully relevant.
The Sea Gull as cinema is a mixed bag--brilliant in parts but rather stagy and lethargic on the whole. Produced and directed by Sidney Lumet, the film was made in Sweden from an eloquent translation by Moura Budberg, with English, French and American actors impersonating Chekhov's turn-of-the-century Russians. The overlapping misery of Chekhov's characters is orchestrated, as always, to accommodate virtuoso players, and several prove more than equal to the challenge. David Warner's suicidal poet, Konstantin, and the sad, avuncular Sorin of Harry Andrews are perfect in their Old Vic manner. Vanessa Redgrave, as the unhappy Nina, a landowner's daughter and would-be actress whose ruination is symbolized by the slain sea bird, gives the kind of performance that sends critics rummaging through their store of adjectives to find synonyms for "incandescent"; Vanessa's eyes are pools of pain, where nigh-impossible dreams flare up and flicker out as swiftly as comets. James Mason matches her with his sensitive portrait of the author Trigorin, often wrongly played as a villainous seducer, whereas, in fact, he is only a typical writing chap--weary, self-absorbed and susceptible to flattery. The one false--but crucially false--note in this thoroughbred company is the Madam Arkadina of Simone Signoret. A superlative actress on most occasions, Signoret plays Konstantin's vain actress mother in stumbling English; and her French-fried detachment seems all wrong for the style of the production, which is Moscow à l'anglaise. Lumet avoids any other serious innovations in his approach to a classic that has a somewhat corny, sentimentalized plot, compared with the later plays of Chekhov. Everything a camera can do to establish mood is done beautifully--dappled yellow sunlight and evening mist summon up fond remembrance of "this sweet country boredom" that is quintessentially Chekhovian--and the play's soliloquies, its lengthy passages of self-revelation, its tangled web of love-hate relationships are often dramatically rich, however slow they may seem cinematically. But Lumet falls clown badly toward the end when he uses the suicide of Konstantin as just another excuse to fade out on the hideously rouged face of Signoret, who looks, for the big moment, like a female impersonator.
Otis Redding's tenth LP, In Person at the Whiskey A Go-Go (Atco; also available on stereo tape), is a well-recorded facsimile of a searing soul session, but we wonder if the side would have been released if Otis were yet living. There is only one new song (I'm Depending on You), the audience sounds scanty and Otis' backup group has trouble with the torrid pace he sets on Satisfaction. Otis himself is up to par, working like a man possessed as he socks home several of his lesser-known ballads (Pain in My Heart, Just One More Day, Any Ole Way) and injects new soul into James Brown's ever-dynamic Papa's Got a Brand New Bag.
Before he became a superstar (see page 23), Dustin Hoffman was an off-Broadway character actor of enormous energy, freshness and potential. From his imaginative brain tumbled crackpot Cockneys, hunchbacked Nazi queers and fidgety old editors. The Graduate added another dimension to his sizable talent: He could play not just grotesques and tragicomic heroes but even someone a little like himself. As Jimmy Shine, his first starring role on Broadway, Hoffman is sort of an ungraduate, a dislocated, disenchanted, alienated, hilarious dropout. He is an abstract artist in search of himself, and what he finds is a total flop. Whatever he tries he flunks, especially with paint and with women. "I just bombed with a nympho," he moans desperately. Whether doing a clangy cakewalk with bent beer cans strapped to his insteps, imitating Groucho Marx, W. C. Fields or Jimmy Durante, or miming a severe attack of diarrhea (it attacks every time he talks to the girl he loves), he is marvelously engaging, great fun to have around a drafty theater. And this theater is drafty. Murray Schisgal's play is so thin it couldn't fill a cloakroom. It's in imminent danger of blowing away; Dustin keeps trying to anchor it down, but there it goes, blowing away again. And inside the title character, things are drafty, too. Behind the pranks and pratfalls, who is Jimmy Shine? If Schisgal knows, he's not telling. Jimmy is original, all right, but the originality is a gift from Hoffman. At the Brooks Atkinson, 256 West 47th Street.
I have difficulty deciding whether the girls I date desire to pet or go all the way. I don't want to seem like a rapist to my date, but then again, I don't want her to lose interest because I lack aggressiveness. Can you give me some hints on how to know what my date's wishes are?--G. M., Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In 1961, the name of Marshall McLuhan was unknown to everyone but his English students at the University of Toronto--and a coterie of academic admirers who followed his abstruse articles in small-circulation quarterlies. But then came two remarkable books--"The Gutenberg Galaxy" (1962) and "Understanding Media" (1964)--and the graying professor from Canada's western hinterlands soon found himself characterized by the San Francisco Chronicle as "the hottest academic property around." He has since won a world-wide following for his brilliant--and frequently baffling--theories about the impact of the media on man; and his name has entered the French language as mucluhanisme, a synonym for the world of pop culture.
The most peculiar thing about this charade of air war that Kerr was fighting for the Daytona Film Company over the ripening vineyards of France was his mothering fear and concern for the five other pilots and planes who followed him in a close but very insecure and quite unreliable formation. He hardly knew the four Englishmen and one American lined up behind him in the flight of Hurricanes, yet he was far more nervous on their account than he ever remembered being for his fellow pilots in the original Battle of Britain, almost 30 years before. The danger then was a cannon shell; the danger now was an accident. Every day, the six Hurricane pilots had to get through all the mock entanglements of a prearranged encounter with six Messerschmitts and survive nervously and with considerable relief the dangers of collision, of wing tip clipping wing tip, of too much inverse stress tearing off an old wing. It was all theatrical and unbloody, but it had been a strain.
A stage actress at 10 and a member of the Swedish Royal Opera ballet at 12, precocious Marie Liljedahl--one of The Girls of Scandinavia unveiled in Playboy last June--appears, at 18, to be on her way to international sex stardom. In Inga, a Swedish-made film that has been attracting record audiences in the U. S. since November, Marie portrays a preoccupied adolescent whose aunt--in need of capital to finance her own bedroom capers--offers her to an elderly suitor. Inga loses her virginity but, in so doing, gains access to the brave new world of the senses. Like her film character, Marie is discovering herself and the new world around her. She recently left her parents' villa outside Stockholm to find an apartment in the city--but while she's attracted to the metropolis, she also finds it overwhelming and frequently sails to an offshore island, where she enjoys not only needed repose but also the chance to study future roles without distraction. Marie views her frankly erotic performance in Inga--which involves repeated exposure, a masturbation scene and some Olympian lovemaking--with characteristic Swedish matter-of-factness: "There's nothing offensive or difficult about disrobing for the camera, if that's what the script calls for. I don't get emotionally involved with the actor in a love scene nor embarrassed by the presence of the crew. We're all just doing our jobs." Marie's film career began three years ago, while she was vacationing in Greece with her family. A photographer for Germany's Neue Illustrierte approached her on the seashore with an invitation to enter a local beauty contest. Marie won easily and soon found herself studying Greek in order to act in her first film, The Hot Month of August. She then returned to Sweden, where she became a regular on television as an actress and a model. She turned down a number of roles because "the only thing the producers were interested in was getting me undressed." Inga, she felt, was a sensitive study of a young girl's coming of age. Some critics have disagreed, but the film has given Marie's career new momentum. She will soon appear in Do You Always Want to Remain a Single Girl? and--with Jacques Tati--The Sexy Dozen. After she fulfills her present commitments in Europe, Marie hopes to migrate to the States: "European men usually feel they have to try to get you into bed immediately. Americans aren't nearly as pushy--and that's a welcome relief."
From Sallisaw, Oklahoma, to Bakersfield, California, they come, their grapes of hope mutating in violence to grapes of wrath. Jim Casy, itinerant preacher who never takes up a collection, goes first into the wilderness in search of God, then sacrifices himself for Tom Joad, then leads a strike in which he is brutally murdered by the fuzz. Before he dies, Jim says to his killers: "You don't know what you're a-doin'."
The Curtain Is Up, but the prima donna has not stepped forward. The overture is finished, but the aria has not begun. Perhaps it's the bright lights or the beautiful clothes that heighten the expectant mood. Perhaps it's the way these extras strut and gesture. Seeming intent only on their companions, they watch the audience from the corners of their flashing eyes.
It has been said that history never repeats itself but that historical situations recur. To anyone, like myself, who has been involved in astronautical activities for over 30 years, there is a feeling of familiarity in some of the present arguments about the exploration of space. Like all revolutionary new ideas, the subject has had to pass through three stages, which may be summed up by these reactions; (1) "It's crazy--don't waste my time"; (2) "It's possible, but it's not worth doing"; (3) "I always said it was a good idea."
This is not a time of radical, revolutionary politics. Not yet. Unrest, riot, dissent and chaos notwithstanding, today's politics is reactionary. Both right and left are reactionary and authoritarian. That is to say: Both are political. They seek only to revise current methods of acquiring and wielding political power. Radical and revolutionary movements seek not to revise but to revoke. The target of revocation should be obvious. The target is politics itself.
He would be coming home all hours of the night, kicking over somebody's garbage can and interrupting some dog or cat's breakfast, bending down in the dark to pat the dog or cat on the head and most likely sticking his hand in the garbage instead. He would be thinking about that for a while. People in the project got to know his ways; if you were awake, you could hear him thinking. Then he would wipe his hand on the seat of those beat-up old gray sharkskin drapes with the red pin stripe and start up the West Block stairs, singing, most likely, and doing some kind of little dance, or at least making more noise with his feet than any broken-down 60-year-old bum ought to be able to get out of two Goodwill shoes and three flights of concrete.
"It's just the way I am," explains Kathy MacDonald--our nonconformist Miss March--when companions point out the contradictions in her quicksilver personality. Her favorite meal matches brook trout with a hearty beaujolais; she's a seashore aficionado who's loved her two years in inland Montreal; and, while most of her sister Montreal Bunnies jet out for weekends in Bermuda or New York, Kathy prefers to fly home for a quiet visit with her family in suburban Baltimore. Typically for Kathy, she came by her cottontail on impulse: "After I left the University of Maryland, where I had been studying nursing, I decided to become a stewardess. But the day before my interview in Baltimore, Mom saw an ad saying the Baltimore Playboy Club needed Bunnies. 'Why don't you go and see what it's like?' she asked me--jokingly, I thought. Of course, I never got to the airline interview at all. The Club personnel liked me--and I loved the Club--right away." Kathy put in a year and a half as a Baltimore Bunny before hopping up to Montreal. "I thought I'd just spend a winter up here, learning how to ski," Miss March says, "but Montreal's charm is magnetic. I found an ancient, tiny apartment with stained-glass windows and huge, real beams in the ceiling." Enthusiastic as she is about her new-found home away from home, Kathy still talks about new horizons--she has her eye on Los Angeles and its Bunny hutch, in particular--but, then, Kathy wouldn't be Kathy without a fresh place to explore.
"Got the theater in my blood," he once explained with profound gravity. "My great-uncle Fortescue used to be a Swiss bell ringer at Elks' smokers." Whatever his inherited leanings, W. C. Fields--born William Claude Dukenfield in 1879--growled, blustered and hustled his way to a high place among the funniest men who ever lived. Turned into an existential hero by the Beat Generation a decade after his death in 1946, and subsequently dubbed an archetypal black humorist by the hip generation of the Sixties, Fields has become the idol of a cult that grows by leaps every time an audience is treated to a viewing of his films.
Raccoons, or something like raccoons, skittering on the skylight woke him and he reached out for Melissa, but she wasn't there. Perry Enkert reached again, rubbed his eyes and swung out of the low, wide bed. He went barefoot over the rug and reached for the light switch. The lights went on before he got there. "Knock it off," he said and grabbed the wardrobe closet open. Melissa's guitar and amplifier weren't there. Perry yanked on a pair of chino pants and an old turtleneck and ran from the third-floor bedroom.
The Romans had a word for it: auctionem; and since the time of Caesar, auctions have been the favorite flea market of discerning urbanites who enjoy a hotly competitive sale where prospective buyers can vie for merchandise by naming their own price. Attending an auction is like searching for buried gold; while checking out the goods in advance or reading the catalog of artifacts for sale, one instinctively feels that treasure is bound to turn up. In 1933, a potential bidder poking through the items up for auction at the venerable Christie, Manson and Woods, Ltd. (called Christie's) in London spotted a bronze horse in a collection of miscellaneous statues. He bought the lot for $45. Art connoisseurs today agree that the bargain-basement-priced horse is by Leonardo da Vinci. The profit from this venture? Astronomical. But the chance that a typical auction item, such as a desk, will have a secret compartment that might be crammed with $1000 bills is only part of the fun. An auction has the flavor of show business; and to get into the act, all one has to do is raise his hand.
I read from the oil-company travel guide: "Blackrock is the northernmost community on the peninsula. Here you get the feeling of a true fishing center among the anchored fishing boats and nets reeled out to dry. Off Blackrock lies the Porte des Morts, a strait six miles wide separating mainland Wisconsin and Nicolet Island. In 1679, about 300 Potawatomi Indians drowned in a sudden storm while crossing the water to engage the Winnebagos. The tragedy was witnessed by explorers La Salle and De Tonti, who named the strait Porte des Morts, or Death's Door. Today it is said the strait contains more shipwrecks per square mile than any other area in the Great Lakes."
As it turns out, the suggestively surnamed Hieronymus Merkin (a pubic wig) can't quite forget the more-obviously monikered Miss Humppe, so he doesn't exactly find true happiness, either. But as the film careens toward an answer to its marathon-title question, one finds that Anthony Newley--co-author, producer, director and star--has created what will be the movies' first Priapean musical comedy. Newley plays a likable 40-year-old rake who moonlights as a Hollywood singing idol and boasts a weakness for angelic nymphets--particularly Mercy, played by Connie Kreski, our January 1968 Playmate, whom Newley literally bumped into on an elevator at the London Playboy Club and later signed for the title role. As Hieronymus, he relives and reflects upon his exuberantly amorous past via film, tape and fantasy, and the result is a zany erotobiography that looks like a Marx Brothers movie shot in a nudist camp. "Like most normal men," Newley says, explaining the genesis of the film, "I have a certain fascination with erotica. I think truthful people are interested--artistically--in how people make love. The erotic films being made by young directors nowadays, however, are blatantly sexual without being either sensuous or romantic. I wanted to make a really erotic romantic movie, because I was brought up in a period when there was still romance." For Hieronymus, romance means an endless stream of delectable female fans whose devotion can be best expressed horizontally. He divides his more enduring passions between Polyester Poontang, his long-suffering second wife--played by Newley's real-life (text concluded on page 137) spouse, Joan Collins--and Mercy, an archetypal innocent who symbolizes ideal love as well as the perfect roll in the hay. But despite his humming hormones, Hieronymus is too selfish to really fall in love. Feeling, at 40, that his life has been futile and misspent, he is haunted by The Presence of Death, a darkly senile creature--portrayed by George Jessel--who's given to telling shaggy vaudeville gags as pointless parables. The chief cause of Hieronymus' troubles, though, is Milton Berle, as Good Time Eddie Filth. Eddie materializes in a cloud of lavender smoke when Hieronymus is a randy teenager, and thereafter urges him to make a career of lechery. The wild retrospective of Merkin's youth--complete with dream sequences, a stag-film-within-the-film and a trio of critics who watch and comment on the movie-in-the-making--becomes a combination sermon/pep talk that gives him the insight and courage to change his wicked ways. "I am often asked," Newley told us, "to sum up the movie's theme in a few words, but there is no short phrase that will describe it properly. I prefer, like that great one-man band, Charles Chaplin, to say, 'Let the film speak for itself.' " And, as these pages prove, Hieronymus has plenty to say--and see.
The surprising thing about rijsttafel isn't the prodigal number of dishes mustered for a single party--in a restaurant, they'll range from 20 to 50--but the fact that, as we shall see, almost all of them seem to have been specifically designed for a bachelor's book of entertaining. Dutch colonialists in Indonesia gave the feast their Dutch name rijsttafel or rice table; a huge mound of rice was the fluffy white stage on which the charcoal-broiled satés, the pork balls, the duckling in coconut sauce, the shrimps with cucumbers and peppers and the sweet, tart relishes all performed their stylized dance. To outsiders, it was a Far Eastern smorgasbord carried to your table by a flowing column of 12 or 15 barefooted waiters, each in (continued on page 210)Hot Dutch Treat(continued from page 143) his spotless white-linen uniform and black Moslem cap, bearing two platters apiece on each expedition from the kitchen.