Cover girl Phyllis Babila, happily ensconced between the sheets with our ubiquitous Rabbit in attendance, occupies a bed of very different design on page 152--a futuristic Pleasure Bed filled with heated water. It's one of the space-age sleepsites pictured in the seven pages of photographs accompanying Bed-springs Eternal, William Iversen's witty and whimsical account of the machinae man--and woman--has used through the ages for sleeping and loving. We're pleased to report that Iversen's book The Pious Pornographers has just been reissued in paperback, seven years after its hardcover release and 13 years after the title essay appeared in Playboy.
Playboy, May, 1970, Vol. 17, No. 5. 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, 8721 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 couple of our editors, in Washington, D. C., to conduct a symposium on drugs as a public-affairs extension of our February Playboy Panel on the subject, relaxed afterward with Playboy contributor and political analyst Robert Sherrill (whose The War Machine appears on page 134). Out of this social occasion, a new game was born. We pass it on to you here, its name happening to be "Pass It On." Like they say, any number can play. The basic idea is to start rumors that have just enough basis in fact, or potential factuality, to make them believable--and then to pass them on. Each player must pick up the thread of the previous rumor and use it to launch his own, more elaborate rumor. One more rule: The rumors must not create mischief--except for those people and institutions that can stand a modicum of negative attention.
They were both Catholics, those extraordinary men who brought the only excitement to the 1968 Presidential campaign--but how different they were. Bobby Kennedy, for all his indecision about challenging L. B. J., once he decided, plunged straight ahead in the familiar Kennedy way, with phalanxes of fancy advisors and an electoral juggernaut fueled with vast sums of money. McCarthy, the quixotic poet, was bravely decisive in choosing to attempt to unseat an incumbent President, but he ran his race in a most capricious way. Kennedy and McCarthy are examined in two books--On His Own: Robert F. Kennedy 1964-1968 (Doubleday), by William Vanden Heuvel and Milton Gwirtzman, and Nobody Knows (Macmillan), by McCarthy speechwriter-novelist Jeremy Larner. Both are good. On His Own is a big, solid book packed with information available only to insiders such as the authors. Yet Larner's book, though only a fraction of the girth, is much more adventurous. Larner believes that if McCarthy had acted differently, he could have achieved more--even the Presidency--and that even in losing, he could have begun to build the kind of political organization necessary to make the changes essential to American society. What gives Larner's book its special fascination is his attempt to unravel McCarthy the enigma. The task is relevant. Of Kennedy, we can speculate only as to what he might have done; but of McCarthy, we can speculate as to what he might yet do.
Michelangelo Antonioni came to America, fell in love with the desolate landscapes of Death Valley and took one of its place names as the title for Zabriskie Point, his incredibly naïve salute to American youth. Heretofore known as a mature artist, Antonioni uses Zabriskie as a forum for graceless platitudes about U.S. youth and politics in a materialistic society. But in the end, he comes off as an over-30 tourist, foolishly affecting the long-hair-and-love-beads sensibility of the "now" generation. That cops are pigs and that affluence is evil are revolutionary tenets accepted at face value by Antonioni, who obviously saw many U.S. advertising billboards and found no more behind them than he finds behind the beautiful, opaque faces of his two new discoveries, Daria Halprin and Mark Frechette. Mark plays an expelled college activist who steals an airplane and flies off to the desert because he may be implicated in the slaying of a policeman during a campus protest. While aloft 1000 feet or so over a strip of Arizona highway, he spots and instantly digs (don't ask how) an alienated young soul sister (Daria) who is driving to Phoenix to meet her boss (Rod Taylor), the chief of Sunny Dunes Estates, a land-development outfit presumably out to desecrate more and more of God's country. (One is supposed to ignore the fact that the community of model homes planned by Sunny Dunes in an otherwise arid wasteland might be considered a triumph for mankind in many parts of the world.) Zabriskie Point states somewhat presumptuously that violence is the only course open to America's disillusioned young; but the thesis cannot be much advanced by protagonists whose dialog consists mostly of mindless revolutionary jargon. Purely as cinematography, the movie is eye-filling--with splendid desert vistas. It ought to be. Antonioni spent thousands of dollars actually dyeing the desert, and even the lizards, various shades of pink and green. The movie is also redeemed by a dream sequence about the destruction of a luxurious mountaintop home and all that it represents, and an extravagantly poetic, if largely irrelevant, love fantasy featuring members of The Open Theater, who pair off and triple up to cover the dusty gypsum hills with every possible combination of sexes. The tone and texture of an Antonioni film are unmistakably there; what's lacking is intelligence.
Tim Buckley's songs, with their long, riverlike lines, cover a great deal of ground; and on Blue Afternoon (Straight; also available on stereo tape), his voice, coming on strong in a multitude of unexpected hues, does justice to his compositions. The Train is a bit too adventurous, but the softly uptempo Happy Time, I Must Have Been Blind and The River (on which David Freedman's vibes play a vital part) are thoroughly convincing essays in that open-ended musical form that might best be termed American Electric.
Art Buchwald's columns have won him a reputation as a gentle deflationist and armchair acerb--the friendly wit next door (to the White House). Sheep on the Runway, his first play, is set in the minikingdom of Nonomura, a Himalayan last resort that supports a placid monarch (Richard Castellano) and an ignorant American ambassador (David Burns)--and little else. The embassy is so impoverished that the ambassador and his wife (Elizabeth Wilson) take turns raising and lowering the American flag. Enter Joseph Mayflower (Martin Gabel), a ferretlike pundit who is, of course, no relation to Joseph Alsop, to turn Nonomura into a storm center. Soon the country is filled with military advisors, civilian advisors, tanks, planes, bullets--and gags. The comedy is pointed but always amiable. The portrait of Vice-President Agnew on the wall is only slightly atilt. But though Sheep is fun, it isn't really a play. It's a string of topical jibes, without structure or pace. And at the conclusion, there is no conclusion; the comedy just stops. One expects something more, perhaps the author to come on stage and tell some droll anecdotes about the difficulties of writing a play for Broadway. At the Helen Hayes, 210 West 46th Street.
At a rock dance last winter, I met a girl and we grooved right off. Soon we were talking freely about sex and I asked her up to my apartment for further conversation. Almost immediately, we were kissing and she startled me by asking if I wanted to take her to bed. I did and we enjoyed sex together every remaining day of that month. But then she failed to show up for a date one day and when I phoned to ask why, she told me that her husband was back in town. Now, what kind of girl cheats on her husband when he's away on business? I feel like telling him about her. Should I?--G. T., Quincy, Massachusetts.
A handsome advertising executive attended a party given by a female co-worker and left with an extremely attractive guest. In the office the next morning, he thanked the hostess and explained that he really liked her friend. "Oh, she's not really a friend of mine," the girl responded, "only an acquaintance."
A new movement is sweeping the land. By shedding all outer garments and revealing themselves to others in their most natural state, people are learning to free their psyches and enjoy unprecedented freedom of expression. It's all happening today in unique workshops. And these workshops are called paramount studios, 20th century-fox, and the Broadway stage.... but we digress from our adventure--