One Year Ago, David Halberstam wrote in Playboy about the ideological rape of a small Southeast Asian nation by a military superpower. The article was called The Americanization of Vietnam. Halberstam, who won a Pulitzer Prize (and incurred the wrath of John F. Kennedy) for his forthright reporting of the early years of our involvement in that tortured little country, returns to our pages this month with an analysis of The Vietnamization of America, an eloquent evocation of the spiritual malaise that has gripped our own nation as a result of the tragedy in Indochina.
Playboy, January, 1971, volume 18, number 1. Published monthly by HMH Publishing Company Inc., Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, 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 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Marketing: Nelson Futch, Promotion Director; Lee Gottlieb, Director of public relations. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director; Jules Kase, Joseph Guenther, Associate advertising managers, 405 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10022; Sherman Keats, Chicago Manager, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611; Detroit, Robert A. Mc Kenzie, Manager, 2990 West Grand Boulevard; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Boulevard; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 110 Sutter Street; Southeastern representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Road, N. E., Atlanta, Georgia 30305.
America's only bobsled run snakes down the north face of Mt. Van Hoevenberg in the Adirondacks near Lake Placid, New York. Seen from the spectator walkway that's built parallel to the course, the mile-long, ice-packed gutter in which bobsledders race against the clock while attaining speeds upward of 90 miles per hour looks like a roofless tunnel dug out by a huge antediluvian mole. Seen through the eyes of a novice bobsledder just leaving the starting gate on his maiden plunge, however, the track ahead, with its 16 curves, is more apt to resemble a winter entrance to Dante's Inferno; but you're going too fast to see if the warning Abandon hope, all ye who slide down here is chiseled on the first curve's icy wall.
Time again to scan the treats for eye and mind that publishers have packaged for this giving season. If your friends' fancies run to sports cars or Shakespeare, to Paris or pulp magazines, to stars of celluloid or comic strip, you could do worse than check out your nearby bookstore.
There was a top-notch movie begging to be made from Howard Sackler's The Great White Hope, but the film actually turned out by director Martin Ritt from Sackler's own reverent adaptation is just another pre-sold hit stamped with Broadway's seal of approval. Sackler took no chances with the proven success of the original and Ritt was obviously content to reproduce the poster-art play, which was staged in a style that naïve observers are wont to call Brechtian. That the film version falls far short of expectations doesn't mean that anyone should miss it, however, for Great White Hope, by some miracle, comes from Broadway with two priceless assets intact: James Earl Jones as Jack Jefferson--the fictional counterpart of black heavyweight champ Jack Johnson, who threw U. S. sporting circles into fits of racism more than a half century ago--and movie newcomer Jane Alexander as Eleanor, the white middle-class girl who loves her black outcast enough to face scandal, exile, poverty and, finally, suicide on his account. Jones's hero is sketched with extraordinary power and keen intelligence; watch, for example, the way his eyes edit the messages he delivers to the world through a plantation nigger's smile. His scenes opposite his unassuming co-star--a plainish Jane with a molten inner core--give Great White Hope a one-two punch that draws real blood from beneath the grease paint.
A superabundance of handsome and earworthy packages for giving and getting makes this a delightfully long-playing Christmas. Beethoven's bicentennial celebration in 1970 gave the record companies cause to offer all manner of albums of the composer's works. Foremost, by a country mile, is Deutsche Grammophon's 75-LP, 12-album Beethoven Edition of just about everything the composer put on paper, performed by such luminaries as Von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic, Richter (Karl), Anda, Menuhin, Oistrakh (David), Fischer-Dieskau, etc. It is being offered at the bargain price of just a hemidemisemi-quaver under $300 and is accompanied by an absolutely smashing book on Beethoven that is a joy in itself. London has done its bit for Ludwig with The Piano Sonatas, played by Wilhelm Backhaus on ten LPs and given performances that are no less than majestic. Also on London are The Nine Symphonies, plus the Leonore Overture, set down in beautiful fashion on seven LPs by the Vienna Philharmonic, under the baton of Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt. Complete Sonatas for Piano and Violin (Philips) finds the too-little-celebrated violinist Arthur Grumiaux and pianist Clara Haskil--a marvelous pairing--filling four recordings with the constantly rewarding sounds of the ten works. Columbia's five-record bicentennial set of The Complete Piano Trios, done definitively by the renowned and probably unsurpassable Istomin-Stern-Rose Trio, has to be considered a must for any serious collector. A superb album to give or, lucky you, receive is one that focuses in on a contemporary musical giant. Columbia's Pablo Casals contains, within its beautiful slipcase, recordings made in the Twenties and Thirties by the legendary cellist and never before available on LP; there are also Casals Festival performances (at Prades and Marlborough) and a recording of Casals talking about his life and music.
The Rothschilds is a heart-warming musical about the pursuit of money, which may be exactly what Broadway is waiting for. If you're really interested in the legendary banking family--and it's a fascinating ghetto-to-glory success story--read Frederic Morton's book, which was the basis for this new Jerry Bock--Sheldon Harnick musical. In inflating the Rothschilds into musical-comedy material, Bock and Harnick, together with librettist Sherman Yellen, have had to simplify their business dealings and sentimentalize their home life. The rise to fame, fortune and title now takes two acts of chutzpah (plus intermission). The Rothschilds isn't a bad musical, just nothing to get excited about. Directed with taste by Michael Kidd, it's a pleasant show with a good story (more than one can say for some star vehicles) and it has a first-rate cast, particularly Hal Linden and Paul Hecht as Daddy Rothschild and son with the biggest billing, and Keene Curtis as a variety of antagonists. At its most realistic, The Rothschilds reminds one of 1776. At its most familial and ethnic, it reminds one of Bock and Harnick's biggest hit, Fiddler on the Roof. In both cases, it reminds one that those shows are better. At the Lunt-Fontanne, 205 West 46th Street.
I must be a born loser. I've been trying to date some of the better-looking girls around and getting nowhere. I drive a new Porsche and have the latest clothes to match it and the money to go places with it. Naturally, it bothers me when I see some joker wearing blue jeans and driving a real klunk with a sharp chick sitting next to him. Any suggestions you can offer that would help put that girl next to me in the driver's seat would be appreciated.--L. F., Phoenix, Arizona.
Twenty-eight years ago, Mae West completed her tenth and then-final film--eight of them for Paramount Pictures, which she had saved from mendicancy during the Depression years, when she was the greatest phenomenon in show business, as Mae would be the first to tell you. Along with Garbo and Shirley Temple, she was the hottest box-office draw in the land and probably the best-known, most photographed person on earth. "I was better known than Einstein, Shaw or Picasso," she modestly admits. She was also the world's highest-paid and most quoted entertainer, historical monument and prepotent image of ribald sex--which she had shown the world was inherently hilarious.
Through the ages, Christmas has traditionally been associated with party games. Many times, guests who drop by aren't content to while away the evening hours in such civilized pursuits as drinking your good liquor and munching canapés; they want to sit down and play something. Charades, maybe. Or buzz. Or some complicated word game that somebody's younger brother once learned while pledging a fraternity at Wisconsin. And as the host, you automatically become the master of the revels, doomed to preside over the festivities until everyone has buzzed and charaded and prefixed and suffixed himself into a state of mental rigor mortis. So this Christmas, fight fire with fire. Should the subject of games come up, respond in kind by suggesting that everyone join you in playing the following three--Categories, Who Am I? and Lifeboat. One thing we guarantee: No one's going to go home bored.
The blank page on the right is a work of ecological art. Your very own. The process of its creation began just now--as you opened this page to the "air" around you. And, depending on where you live, in a few weeks or months, as the sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitric oxide do their number, you may own a unique opus, an airscape: a reflection of your world in a surrealistic combination of chemical grunge and charcoal fallout from pollution's big ugly palette.
Countess Vera Gottlieb von Lehndorff--she was born to Prussian nobility--is publicly known by the single name Veruschka, but is, perhaps, best remembered as the writhing subject of David Hemmings' photographic attentions in the movie Blow-Up. A top model, she poses in or out of high-fashion ensembles (for the camera of Franco Rubartelli) with equal zeal. "For me, nudity is something natural, almost spontaneous," she says. "I become aggressive and proud when I'm nude." Showing she indeed has reason to be proud, Veruschka--adorned in little more than some imaginatively applied body paint--and Rubartelli have produced a striking Playboy pictorial.
When toasting the New Year with a formal bash circa '71, you'll find there's been a welcome loosening of the sartorial ties that once bound the male to a rigid penguin look. Our host, above at left, is elegantly at ease wearing a silk-satin single-breasted one-button suit, $250, and a signature-print silk body shirt, $65, both by Bruno Piattelli for Barney's. Moving to the right: The next style setter has made a logical fashion progression by donning a geometrically patterned velvet dinner jacket with shawl lapels and solid-colored flared-leg formal trousers, both by Lord West, $185, cotton pleated-front shirt, by Excello, $13, and the traditional butterfly bow tie, by Berkley Cravats, $6.50. Approving sloe eyes are focused on the third celebrant, wearing a velvet two-button single-breasted suit with notched lapels and deep center vent, $275, cotton embroidered shirt, $55, and butterfly bow, $8.50, all by Meledandri. The anything-but-conservative end man at far right comes on big in a belted cotton-velvet suit that features brass-buttoned flap patch pockets and flared-leg trousers with Western-cut pockets, $120, an acetate satin barrel-cuffed body shirt with long-pointed collar, $20, both by Make Outs of After Six, and a silk scarf, by Handcraft, $7.50.
Holiday dinners, like dinner jackets, have recently undergone dramatic changes in style. The stereotyped turkey and suckling pig, worked to death for so many year-end parties, are giving way to one of the great baronial favorites, roast crown and saddle of lamb. Holiday plum pudding, overladen with spices and groaning with its own weight, yields pride of place to pears blazing in crème de menthe spooned over a luscious mound of ice cream. But whatever the details of your year-end feast may be, the principal formula for an auspicious house party is clear: Elegance and ease should get equal billing.
I remember this incident. It was in 1962 and the Ngo Dinh Diem regime was at the height (if that word can be used) of its powers. The Viet Cong were stealing the country away at night out in the provinces; but in Saigon, which was all that mattered in that feudal society, Diem and his family controlled all. He won elections by a comforting 99 percent. His photo was everywhere; his name was in the national anthem. He controlled almost every seat in the assembly. He owned the Vietnamese press. The constitution was his. The American ambassador was his messenger boy; a four-star American general believed his every word. If Diem could not control the Viet Cong, he could control the Americans. All, unfortunately, but their press. That was the shame of it; if you accepted millions of their dollars, you had to let in their reporters. It rankled with Diem but even more with high-ranking members of the American mission. The press, not the Viet Cong, was the only problem in Vietnam, General Paul Harkins told Defense Secretary McNamara. If they could only control the American press, housebreak them. Censor them. Something like that.
Here I am, all alone. My husband has gone off to his office, without even saying goodbye, as he usually does. My son came and kissed and embraced me tenderly before going out with his fiancée to buy things for her trousseau. My daughter came in for a moment, paraded herself in front of me in a new dress and then went out with a girlfriend--or so she said. I am all alone and, strange to tell, as soon as I am alone I stop being the affectionate mother and wife, tireless, solicitous, bustling, anxious, never taking a moment's rest from family duties. I become instead a cold, cynical creature, clear-headed and wicked. It's a curious metamorphosis. It astonishes me and even frightens me a little. A short while ago at the table, I was worrying myself about the family's health. For instance I said to my daughter, who will not eat because she's dieting, "Eat; you're anemic; you must eat." To my son, who tends to drink too much, "Don't drink those cocktails and all that muck. It's bad for you; don't you know it's bad for you?" To my husband, who never walks (concluded on page 228)Spring(continued from page 119) but always goes by car, "For once, walk to the office; get a little exercise." Just a little while ago, I said all this with an anxious, affectionate expression on my face. Now I am lying on my bed, all alone and....
It was two A.M. on a cold February morning and, as snow whipped cruelly through Manhattan's streets 20 floors below, Joe Namath sat at the bar of his penthouse apartment, sipping Scotch and unhappily rehashing the New York Jets' 13--6 play-off loss to Kansas City. The defeat had ended the Jets' one-year reign as pro football's champions and Namath felt responsible for the loss. "I was just plain lousy," he said for the second time. "Damn, I should have gotten us in for that touchdown at the end, but I blew it. It's going to be a long time before I forget that game."
Early nordic peoples often named their offspring after mythical heroes or the vivid world around them: deities, flowers, birds or seasons of the year. A contemporary variation on that ancient custom gave Norwegian-born Liv Lindeland, who now lives in the U. S., her name. "'Liv' means 'life' in Norwegian," says the 25-year-old aspiring actress. "I think it suits me well, and it helps explain why I want a life that's full of excitement." True to the tradition of her Viking ancestors, those legendary voyagers, she says her name "also reflects my urge to do the unusual and to travel to places I've never seen. In fact, it was my restlessness that made me decide to come to America in 1965. I came just for a visit; but when I arrived, I liked the countryand the people so much I decided to stay." The first city in the U. S. she called home was Boston, where she lived for four years and began a career in fashion modeling. An awakening interest in television and film work, nurtured by some encouragement from friends, took Liv to Los Angeles--and to Hollywood's film studios. After a year on the Coast, she's already creating quite a stir--both on the sets and off, where she moves in filmdom's upper-strata star-producer-director social whirl. So far, besides continuing her modeling, Liv has made several TV commercials, appeared on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and soon will be making that dreamed-of leap to the big screen: a role in the film version of Jacqueline Susann's The Love Machine, to be released next year. Though she's landed a movie part and seems to be scaling the proverbial ladder in impressive fashion, Liv believes she needs more and wider dramatic experience. To that end, she recently enrolled in the Robert Arthur Workshop, a drama school in which she's improving not only her acting ability but also her English. "But I wouldn't want to lose my accent entirely," she says. "I want to modify it for films and television, but my voice is part of my personality; it identifies my national heritage." In addition to studying diction and delivery, Liv is also boning up on cinematography and editing. "I want to understand what's happening on the other side of the camera," she says, "and the only way to do that is to find out from the people who know. So I ask lots of questions--and I try to read everything I can about the subject. In fact, that's how I became interested in the films of D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles. I found that by studying the classics, I could learn more about today's films. To tell you the truth, though, I really don't feel that the movies being made today can compare--in character portrayals or film techniques--with such greats as The Hunchback of Notre Dame or Citizen Kane, which I believe is the greatest film ever made." While diligent Liv plans to pursue her movie career as far as it will take her, she sees herself--in time--reversing the customary showbiz exodus by moving on to the theater. "Since I enrolled in the workshop, I've had a desire to act on Broadway. More now than ever before, I believe that's where the fun is, because you're playing to a live audience. In the theater, much more than in films, you're aware of the audience's expectations and of the quality of your own performance, because the people are right there in front of you. And from their applause--or lack of it--you can really tell if you're a good actress or just another struggling amateur." Says Liv of her long-range future: "Someday I'd like to go back and do film or theater work in Norway; though I've been away so long, it's still really home to me." Even if she goes ahead with her plans to perform in Scandinavia, we hope lively Liv will eventually overcome her ancestral urge to roam--and settle down Stateside for good.
The ham actor had a habit of embellishing everything he said with overblown phrases. One afternoon he returned to his Bel Air mansion unexpectedly and was greeted by the maid. "Are you looking for your wife, sir?" she asked.
Only a few months after the first, withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, President Nixon's advisors predicted that the end of the war--which cost between 25 and 30 billion dollars a year at its peak--would result in none of the windfalls that had been expected for new domestic programs beyond those few already announced. "I'm afraid that the peace dividend tends to become evanescent, like the morning clouds around San Clemente," said urban-affairs advisor Daniel Patrick Moynihan. It was as if the Administration feared that acknowledging a dividend would compel it, to come up with more creative uses for the money than it had so far proposed. Moynihan's statement and others like it gave the dismaying impression that nearly all of the Vietnam savings were earmarked for the Pentagon. That impression seems now to have been at least partly mistaken: To Nixon's credit, he has outlined two domestic programs of some scope--revenue sharing with the states and the Family Assistance Program--and, with Congress, has sharply trimmed the defense budget. Yet, despite peace offers and further troop withdrawals, the war continues and the Administration persists in its advocacy of such multibillion-dollar death gadgets as MIRVs, a redesigned manned nuclear bomber and an expanded ABM system, while we choke in our own effluents, our cities rot and the country's 30,000,000 poor get poorer.
For all the tragedy and frustration the Vietnam war has brought, it may also give this nation a great dividend, if we are willing to take advantage of it. In the mirror the war has held up to America, we've seen a draft system that takes more of the poor than the well off; a Government so involved in trying to carry on the foreign and domestic policies of the past that it has been blind to the new priorities of the present; an affluent society with hunger in its midst; a democratic, egalitarian system increasingly torn by generational, racial and class conflict. Thus the most valuable immediate legacy of the war in Southeast Asia may not be money but a new American understanding of the challenges and dangers facing our society here at home. To quote a Pogo observation: "We have met the enemy, and he is us"--an already classic aphorism that applies most acutely to the megacrisis of our damaged environment.
There is nothing fundamentally wrong with America's cities that money can't cure--money in the amount that has been going down the drain in Vietnam. Thirty billion dollars a year would be good for openers. The problems of the cities--deteriorating housing, high unemployment, inadequate health care, air and water pollution, miserable mass transportation, poor education, etc.--have been cussed and discussed, analyzed and panelized so thoroughly that any mayor would be able to list them in his sleep and give you a dollar figure for solving or alleviating each specific problem in his own city. Cleveland, where I have served as chief executive since 1967, certainly has an ample share of these problems. Using it as an example should help explain the social, economic and environmental ills that plague most large American cities.
It is 1976. The war in Vietnam has ended and billions of dollars are no longer required for an unconscionable tragedy in Southeast Asia. The gross national product, which reached one trillion dollars in 1971, is accelerating toward the 1.7-trillion-dollar rate projected for 1980. So Government revenues are increasing rapidly, even though taxes don't go up, and the Seventies will end with an extra 90 billion dollars a year in Federal income.
Checking into a Philadelphia hotel not long ago, I signed the register "Mr. and Mrs. Dick Martin." Since I haven't been married for years, I was taking slight liberties with the facts, but the clerk didn't know it. He inquired: "Is Mrs. Martin with you?"
About Major Bixby: Eighteen months scanning the skies as an Army Air Corps plane spotter in the Panama Canal Zone constitutes only part of Major Howdy Bixby's credentials as an aviation expert extraordinaire. Major Bixby is the brilliant nephew of a civilian superintendent of the Air Corps parts-and-salvage depot at Port Weevil, Texas, where he spent several unforgettable summers in his youth, sometime in the late Teens or early Twenties. A former champion airplane modeler, Major Bixby enlisted in the Air Corps when the storm clouds gathered over Europe and soon found himself in charge of many laundries. It was at Pearl Harbor on that fateful December day that his Air Corps career ended; in the excitement, Major Bixby caught his finger in a mangle and was invalided out on a medical discharge shortly thereafter. It was then that Major Bixby turned to writing. This is his first contribution to a major magazine, although he has been published frequently in enthusiast journals such as Radial Engine Review, The Focke-Wulf Fancier's Quarterly and P-38. He once talked on the radio. Major Bixby lives in a mobile home near the municipal airport at Albany, New York. He has two dogs. He lists his wife as a missing person.
As I was sitting in the beauty shop, having a manicure, a pedicure, a facial, a lip wax and a complete thigh wrap, I happened to mention to my hairdresser, Mr. Phyllis, that I was probably the most liberated female around. Mr. Phyllis couldn't have agreed more, which really made me feel great, because if there's anybody who knows about women's lib and the raw deal that we women are getting, it's my Mr. Phyllis. As a matter of fact, he was the one who introduced me to the movement in the first place.
The Playmates of 1970, like so many of their youthful contemporaries, seem bent on achieving highly individual life styles. Leading off the year's parade is Jill Taylor, a sunny-spirited type who refuses to live life on the downbeat despite grim headlines and prophecies of doom from left and right. "Sometimes it's hard to keep from getting cynical or disenchanted," says Jill, "but somehow my intuition tells me everything is going to turn out for the best." This carefree Californian opts for basking in the sun over all other pastimes, but she often diverts herself by sketching new outfits--nonmidi and frankly feminine. "I don't dig unisex," she says. "Why should I go around looking like a guy?" Why, indeed? Equally and pleasingly feminine are her centerfold companions of 1970 on the following pages. Since October afforded a double treat--in the delightful form of the Collinson twins--the past twelvemonth yielded a bountiful baker's dozen.
It wasn't until 30 years ago, in the 1960s, that there began to be any widespread realization that ecstasy is a legitimate human need--as essential for mental and physical health as proper nutrition, vitamins, rest and recreation. Though the idea had been foreshadowed by Freud and stressed by Wilhelm Reich, there had never been anything particularly ecstatic about psychoanalysts, or their patients. They seemed, on the whole, emotionally catharticized and drearily mature. Ecstasy, in the form of mystical experience, had also been the objective of a growing minority that, since the beginning of the century, had been fascinated with yoga, Tibetan Buddhism, Zen, Vedanta and other forms of Oriental meditation; and these people were always rather serious and demure.
Jamaica--the island, not the section of New York City--will bid welcome this winter to more than 400,000 visitors, almost all of them American, British or Canadian. This lushly tropical, sun-drenched retreat, which lies 90 miles south of Cuba, still exudes the unspoiled charm that moved its original settlers, the Arawak Indians, to name it Xaymaca, land of streams and forests. "The beauty of the island is incredible--and exceeded only by the beauty of its women," says LeRoy Neiman. "Jamaican women are a fascinating mixture of nationalities that range from African and Irish to East Indian, Chinese and Arawak. And it doesn't much matter whether the girls are dressed in Diors or inexpensive cotton frocks; their sensuality is sensational. Jamaica's women never talk about sexual freedom; they practice it. But not ostentatiously. Invitations to men who turn them on are subtly conveyed in a glance or a movement that is purely Jamaican. And their bodies are as well favored by nature as their facial features. On watching a parade of Jamaican girls on their way to market, I was reminded of T. S. Eliot's description of a voluptuous woman--'promise of pneumatic bliss.' Bliss, of course, is really what Jamaica is all about. Kingston, the biggest city, is the only area where there is ever anything remotely resembling a tourist crunch. When I recently visited the island, I stayed at the Jamaica Playboy Club-Hotel, just outside the small town of Ocho Rios, focal point of probably the most picturesque part of the 145-mile-long island. Less than a score of hotels are spaced along 20 miles of coast line there, running from Oracabessa west to St. Ann's Bay. My days--most of which I spent sun-bathing and swimming--were as tranquil and serene as I wanted them to be. And at night, I found more than enough entertainments to spice up my stay. Jamaica's a marvelous spot to both relax and revivify--a fact attested to by the many elegant retreats built in this former British colony by such island eminences as Noel Coward, who, as every Coward fancier knows, joins mad dogs and Englishmen in Jamaica's midday sun."
Time soils the heroes of our youth. When we were 16, Thomas Wolfe's passion shivered us. Today, he often sounds like an intemperate blowhard. The late John Dos Passos marched for Sacco and Vanzetti; in sour old age, he wrote for National Review. Was F. D. R. really the valiant knight we saw waving to a crowd one rainy October day on Eastern Parkway? And did not Al Smith, whom we rooted for against Hoover (aged seven, I tearfully defended Al against my cousin's slander that he was "a stinkin' drunken bum"), become a reactionary crank?
Shel Silverstein, Playboy's roving Renaissance man, is--in addition to being one of the most risible cartoonists around--a composer-lyricist, poet, actor, writer, singer, movie director and producer. He has already won a Grammy, the top music-biz award, for penning the wry A Boy Named Sue, which Johnny Cash turned into a million-selling single. Within the next few months, Shel plans to follow up this success with an album (very) tentatively entitled Fuck Em and Other Songs. Other recent accomplishments include music for the movies Ned Kelly, starring Mick Jagger, and Who Is Harry Kellerman, and Why Is He Saying All Those Terrible Things About Me?, directed by Herb Gardner and starring Dustin Hoffman, in which Shel has a part--singing one of his songs at Manhattan's Fillmore East, where he is joined for a chorus by Hoffman. Next on the agenda are two movies of his own: The Giving Tree, an animated production, and The Park, which he wrote and will direct. Also in the works: two poetry books for kids, one to be called Sara Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out and Other Poems, and a comic-strip anthology. Say It Once. From his houseboat moored in Sausalito, Silverstein reflects on his myriad activities: "What bothers me about being into so many things is that I can't find the time to do as much as I'd like to for Playboy." While we're waiting for a new batch of cartoons, here are nostalgic milestones from Shel's thorny--and horny--low road to adventure.
In reviewing Playboy's pages for 1970, we were impressed by the number of distinguished writers whose contributions helped us meet the test of editorial relevance inherent in the opening year of a new decade. But our task of selecting the eight recipients of our annual writing awards from among all the authors who appeared in the magazine over the past 12 months was an even greater challenge. The editors finally did manage to choose the winners, and--as tokens of our respect and appreciation--each will receive a $1000 prize and an engraved silver medallion encased in a clear Lucite prism (shown at left). Along with the recipients of our awards, we also cite those writers who came closest to the winners. We hope, however, that our readers and our other outstanding contributors will bear in mind that the voting process regrettably but necessarily prevents the inclusion of much that is estimable.
Almost any girl watcher can tell you what he likes. But he can't always tell you why. Sometimes a preference for large breasts, lissome legs or ample behinds is a matter of aesthetic choice. More likely, however, it's a result of conditioning. According to some recent studies, these preferences are not merely in the eye of the beholder but correlate closely with the girl watcher's psychological make-up. To psychologists conducting research into personality, this is an important finding. It sheds new light on the mating habits of human beings--a subject about which surprisingly little is known. It may someday add a new dimension to personality testing and provide psychologists with another tool for assessing the emotional characteristics of individuals and evaluating their relationships with others. As testing techniques are refined, the layman can profit directly on a do-it-yourself level: What turns a man on physically will tell him something about himself psychologically. And vice versa. This same information will tell a woman the kind of man she is most likely to attract.
He's been playing the guitar professionally since he painted on a mustache to look older and sat in with his father's band five years ago. Today, at 17, Shuggie Otis is considered one of the best blues-rock guitarists in the country. Johnny Otis--a renowned jazz musician in his own right--raised his Los Angeles--born son on rhythm and blues; by adolescence, Shuggie was proficient with several instruments, making his first paid appearance--on bass--at 12 at the Jazzville Club in San Diego. A year later, he began doing recording sessions on guitar, bass, drums, organ, piano and harmonica. Shuggie gained national recognition at the end of 1968 when his work on Johnny's album Cold Shot stirred some reviewers to remark on the maturity of his performance. Al Kooper--creator of Blood, Sweat & Tears--was so impressed with Shuggie's talent that he flew him to New York to cut an album with him. The record, Kooper Session, prompted critic Leonard Feather of the Los Angeles Times to comment: "Shuggie tells it like it was decades before he was born and runs off with the honors." Signing a contract with Epic Records, the young virtuoso forthwith waxed Here Comes Shuggie Otis, with an assist from his father--who handled all the producing and arranging, played all the keyboard and percussion instruments, and shared the composition credits. But Dad isn't going to have a heavy hand in his son's future recordings: He feels that Shuggie is more than capable of handling himself after studying composition, scoring and arranging under a private tutor and developing a new kind of pop he calls "symphonic and blues rock." Shuggie is quiet and withdrawn about his achievements and his future, but Johnny proudly declares, "I'm letting him have his head. It has to be the way he wants to go. His is the music of the future."
Although Easy Rider made superstars of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, perhaps the film's most memorable performance was turned in by Jack Nicholson, who won the New York Film Critics' prize--and an Academy Award nomination--as 1969's best supporting actor. Playing George Hanson, a Southern souse of an attorney who switches from potlikker to pot, Nicholson bridged America's generation gap--a role not inappropriate to his own life: At 33, he's a blend of the old and the new Hollywood. Born in Neptune, New Jersey, Nicholson went to Los Angeles at 17 in search of an acting career. His first job was in MGM's cartoon department, but he soon began appearing in a succession of low-budget "programmers" such as Psych-Out, The Shooting, The Cry Baby Killer and The Little Shop of Horrors, a movie completed in exactly two days. "It was about a guy who crosses a Venus'-flytrap with some gigantic plant," says Nicholson. "He winds up feeding it people." Nicholson's film fortunes rose rapidly after he scripted The Trip and then wrote and coproduced Head, starring The Monkees. "I loved it--the best rock-'n'-roll movie ever made," he says. When Rip Torn decided against the role of George Hanson, Jack suddenly found himself in Easy Rider. "Not because Dennis Hopper especially wanted me but because I just happened to be there when Torn walked out." Since then, Nicholson has worked at fever pitch: acting in On a Clear Day and Five Easy Pieces, directing his screenplay of Drive, He Said (about an alienated college basketball player) and, last fall, starring in the Mike Nichols--directed satire Carnal Knowledge. "I've overscheduled myself," he says, "because I remember the days when I had to work in those horror movies just to eat." But the lean days are probably gone forever: Now that he's a sought-after star, producers are offering Nicholson bundles of jack.
Until he joined the front lines of Government investigative ranks, most explanations for campus dissidence seemed to be suggested by those farthest from the chaotic quadrangles. But 23-year-old Joseph Rhodes, Jr., the only student and youngest appointee on the Presidential Commission on Campus Unrest, vowed to uncover the truth about student revolt--"even if it hurts the Administration." Born in Pittsburgh, the son of a steelworker, Rhodes, who is now a junior fellow at Harvard, has drawn censure from both educational and Government circles for his controversial statements. Most notably, he incurred the wrath--and a demand for his resignation--from the Vice-President by suggesting after his June 1970 appointment that deaths on campuses could be linked to White House criticism of students. The former Caltech scholar and two-term student-body president caused further furor with another tough statement in October after the release of the commission's report. Although he made no direct indictments, Rhodes charged that "the campus issue has been exploited by political figures who would rather keep the public's attention on the students than on the problems that actually plague our nation." Such candor has been a thorn as well as an embarrassment to the Administration that, in 1968, awarded Rhodes $68,000 from the Health, Education and Welfare Department for a 70-student research project on pollution; he was subsequently named to direct a $95,000 social-problems study project funded by the Ford Foundation. With the release of the commission's report--and of his scathing comments on it--it's uncertain whether the contentious Rhodes will be encouraged to continue in any Governmental capacity. One thing, however, seems sure about his future: He won't compromise his convictions for self-advancement--in politics or education.
Hi, Hon! you should see the riots downstairs-hard-hats hitting students...police clubbing black panthers...wall street investors punching Stockbrokers--Ruthie, I'm so worried about what's happening nowadays