For all its unpredictable mayhem, this era doesn't really give you much chance to test yourself, to take calculated risks, to feel the exhilaration of teasing death. You have all kinds of opportunities to die, of course: You can be drafted and sent off to some esoteric war; you can be knocked off by a junkie desperate for a fix; you can make a reservation on that statistically negligible plane that happens to fall out of the sky. But in the course of your average day, you're not likely to perform any task that--if you failed at it--could kill you. Yet there is something bred deeply into the species, an instinct that seeks those dangerous situations, finds some ineluctable thrill in facing and beating them; hence all the weekend sky divers, spelunkers, hot rodders and mountain climbers. Risking life and limb for its own sake is part--a regrettable part, some would say--of our history, of the very definitions of what it is to be a man. In You Bet Your Life, Brock Yates considers some of the implications of laying it on the line for the sheer hell of it. Yates, who has been an editor of Car and Driver for seven years, likes to take a chance or two himself in his spare time--understandable after being around race drivers and writing about them as much as he has. In fact, he has competed in several Trans-American events, and--just to establish his credentials for this month's article--nearly cashed it all in on a qualifying lap. Seems his Camaro left the track at about 80 mph and sailed over a 30-foot ditch. There was no fire and Yates walked away. This and other experiences on the Trans-Am will become part of his book, Sunday Driver, to be published next fall by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Playboy, February, 1972, Volume 19, Number 2. Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States, 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: Voctor Lownes, Director of Creative Development; 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, William F. Moore, Manager, 818 Fisher Building; 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.
We have it on good authority that the following telegram has been sent to Chinese premier Chou En-lai in Peking: "In the interest of extending mutual understanding between the peoples of our two great nations and in furtherance of the significant strides already effected in this area through ping-pong diplomacy, we hereby invite the people's republic of China to further expand the spectrum of interactions between our peoples by pitting its fastest racing turtles, trainers and jockeys against those reared, nurtured, trained and raised at schlumpfelders, hermosa beach, California, U. S. A.: said contest to take place at a location and time of your choosing and to be compatible with the turtle hibernation habits of both our fair lands. You can be assured that all judging, saliva tests and timekeeping will conform to normally accepted international convention and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the mutual integrity and trust that exist between our peoples. Because of the lasting benefits to mankind which may accrue from sino-U. S. A. turtling, we pray that you will contact us through appropriate channels to explore the feasibility of implementing this approach toward improving global stability. Lest you have concern regarding the availability of turtle-racing facilities, rest assured that adequate facilities alreadyexist at schlumpfelders, where 16 championship-caliber turtle races are held every thursday night starting at 9:30 p.m. respectfully yours.
It's hard to remember, but time was when Elvis Presley was an evil dude, True Grease in the flesh: He looked like his idea of a good time was to kick ass at the Friday-night rumble; he waggled his crotch like he knew how to use it; and he sang dirty ole rock 'n' roll--an unbeatable combination. You had to look up to anyone who so thoroughly offended everybody from college age on up. So when we heard The King was back on the road again, we hopped a plane for . . . Cleveland, just the right dreary place, since that's where Alan Freed started it all. We knew Elvis had been killing the high rollers in Vegas lately, but even so, we weren't prepared for the painted middle-aged ladies standing in the Convention Center lobby, all decked out in dead mink and floor-length gowns. This was not exactly a Grand Funk crowd. Nearly everyone was over 25 and white and abloom with bouffants and blazers. Three foxy ladies called The Sweet Inspirations, backed by a soul combo and a big horn section, opened the show with Sly's Higher and went out with Steve Stills's Love the One You're With--putting more lovely guts into Stills's song than we'd heard before. They were followed by a Canadian comedian named Jackie Kahane, whose stock in trade was anti-homosexual, anti-hippie, anti-urban jokes. After intermission, down went the lights and up went the horns, with--what were they trying to tell us?--the theme music from 2001. The millennium didn't come, but Elvis finally did, sauntering out, clearly digging the waves of sexually, unhinged screams that he still inspires. No matter that they now came from housewives a long way from their last pajama party.
Christopher Isherwood's biographical "undertaking" (for want of a better word), Kathleen and Frank (Simon & Schuster), is a big work in every sense--concept, scope, effect. It is a singular achievement that invents the means necessary to its execution. What Isherwood has done is tell the story of his parents' lives through their own minds, hearts and hands. Kathleen Isherwood was a faithful diarist, as perhaps only a Victorian lady could have been. She committed to her diary her life, day by day, in all its fullness and intimacy. And Frank Isherwood, Christopher's father, was such a Victorian gentleman that all his letters--in courtship, in marriage and in his military career--could be preserved with good conscience. The mother's diary and the father's letters are the stuff of this work, with the author providing exquisite selectivity and interpolation; the very organization of the book becomes a glowing testament of love. What emerges is one of the most vivid portraits of Victorian England ever to find its way to print. Perhaps it needed just this strange mixture of data, art and ingenuousness to bring it off, but brought off it has been, most beautifully and poignantly. Kathleen and Frank is a rare thing in this time of snarling change: an irresistible book that subtly yet powerfully carries the reader into the pain and wonder of other lives in another time.
Cameramen, first elevated to a loftier plane when they became known as cinematographers and now billed as "directors of photography" who seldom man a camera themselves, have emphatically come into their own in the past decade or two. Last year, France's formidable Raoul Coutard, having practiced his filmic wizardry for Godard and Truffaut, turned director with Hoa-Binh, and won an Oscar nomination on his first try. And Nicolas Roeg picked up the megaphone to do Walkabout, a visually beautiful adventure tale that has reaped plaudits along with lusty box-office returns.
Since Jim Morrison's death, The Doors have been trying to regroup their musical forces. Judging from Other Voices (Elektra), they haven't been wholly successful. The disc contains good songs and instrumental work often spoiled by mindless lyrics and tasteless experiments in styles. As usual, Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek are more than competent on guitars and keyboards, while John Densmore's drumming leaves much to be desired. Ships w/ Sails is an example of how a dumb lyric can mar an otherwise interesting and well-played piece. Tightrope Ride and Hang On to Your Life are the best things here, the latter driving all the way to the speeded-up cacophony of the coda and, in the process, telling us something of how The Doors have reacted to Morrison's death. R. I. P., Jim.
It's one of the ironies of history that King Henry VIII, monarch of the bedchamber, sired a Virgin Queen. Not that Elizabeth didn't share her father's lusts. She toyed with male admirers from the time she was a young girl until close to her death at 69--when her favorite companion was a man young enough to be her grandson. But Elizabeth never wedded nor bedded, because fear and ambition overrode desire; she didn't want to share her throne with a king. That's the backdrop for Elizabeth R, a highbrow serial that won the largest audience in British TV history when it was shown on the BBC last year. Like The Six Wives of Henry VIII and such earlier BBC series as The First Churchills and Jude the Obscure, Elizabeth R has been imported by WGBH in Boston for the Public Broadcasting Service, a noncommercial network. It will run on six Sunday evenings starting February 13 over the 211-station network of PBS. The American presentation of these imports, grouped under the heading Masterpiece Theater, is funded by a $1,000,000 grant from the Mobil Oil Corporation. Glenda Jackson, Oscar winner for Women in Love and star of Sunday Bloody Sunday, plays Elizabeth with brilliant range. She is a bawdy tease during the brief reign of her sickly half brother Edward, a young woman hungering for the throne during the reign of her older half sister Mary, a coquettish monarch who leaves the Earl of Leicester waiting at the church, the great Queen Bess who wins the love of her people and, finally, an embittered old woman whose popularity has waned. Although the six segments of Elizabeth R, each by a different author, mesh flawlessly, and urbane Alistair Cooke appears onscreen (in this country only) with before-and-after briefings, nothing short of a genealogical chart and a cram session in 16th Century English history would enable the U. S. audience to identify the conspirators bustling in and out of palace chambers and tower cells or the warriors lunging onto battlefields. We'll probably feel more at home with the next series to be imported, starting March 26--an eight-part dramatization of James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans.
His life is a flood of urban anxieties. The walls of his high-rise apartment are wafer thin, adding neighbor noises to the already high decibel count. Open the door to the terrace--on which even cactus cannot survive--and in pour pollutants and gusts of hot air. Peter Falk is The Prisoner of Second Avenue, choked by his environment and trapped by the recession. He is the hero of Neil Simon's new comedy, one that is aimed straight at its audience's despair. To add to Falk's woes, he is fired. As he subsides into nervous breakdown, and as his wife, Lee Grant, rises to breadwinner, the jokes fly fast, Falk and Grant neatly serving aces at each other. As people, they never really come to life, but as personifications of New York man fighting for survival, the characters are heart-warming. Occasionally Simon stoops to contrivance, and Falk's last-act confrontation with his three widowed sisters and a rich brother, though amusing, seems largely a digression from the theme. Some of the funniest moments are Simon at his most bitter. In TV news breaks, comic disasters build to the mugging of a newscaster. Another newscaster, devilishly played (offstage) by director Mike Nichols, briefs the audience, dryly, on the day's strikes, robberies and nightmares. Even the hysteria is gracefully understated. At the Eugene O'Neill, 230 West 49th Street.
I am engaged to a great girl who feels that she has me wrapped around her little finger. As a matter of fact, she probably has--but I'm not the one who's objecting, she is. She has told me that she would feel much happier if I started wearing the pants in the family before we get married. I love her very much, seldom disagree with her--her views are nearly always the same as mine--and I see no reason to assert myself just to assert myself. How do you think I should handle this?--T. D., Reno, Nevada.
R. Buckminster Fuller calculates that if he could maintain his normal talking speed of 7000 words an hour, it would take him just 55 hours to tell you everything he knows. This would include discourses in mathematics, architecture, cartography, cosmogony, economics and the history of industry and science, plus parenthetical excursions into poetry, sailing, automotive design and such others of his pleasures as he might feel inspired to draw upon for metaphor or illustration. Since Fuller is a man of unrelenting intellectual generosity, it is a matter of some frustration to him that the 55-hour lecture must remain largely theoretical. For so eager have his audiences become that in recent years he has traveled as much as 200,000 miles merely to fulfill his speaking commitments, and his life, at 76, is a continuous flurry of catching planes and trying to cut things a little shorter.
From the moment in the spring of 1970 when Roman Polanski started work on the screenplay of Shakespeare's Macbeth with collaborator (and Playboy Contributing Editor) Kenneth Tynan, the thrust of the perfectionist director's efforts was toward making the Macbeths a living, breathing couple rather than pasteboard declaimers of too-familiar lines; toward bringing to life their earthily medieval surroundings, down to the very squalor that passed for luxury in the 11th Century. And the result--which marks the movie debut of Playboy Productions--is like no other treatment of Macbeth since its premiere stage performance before King James I at Hampton Court in 1606.
By most measurements of behavior within Western civilization, Maurice Wilson was a certifiable lunatic. Devotees of mountaineering lore and encyclopedic trivia buffs will recall him as the man who tried too climb Mount Everest alone--encumbered by no more than a tiny tent, a pocket mirror to be used to flash signals and a bag of rice. When he arrived at the foot of the peak in the spring of 1934, his climbing experience had been restricted to stairways and English hillocks, and his enterprise was based on faith not in ice axes, ropes and pitons but in the infinite powers of the mind and body. His life deeply altered by the carnage of the First World War, the 37-year-old Wilson had formulated a mystical, Eastern-based philosophy centered on intense, short-term asceticism. Wilson believed that by abstaining from all sustenance for three weeks, one's soul would be purified and the entire man reborn into divine life. His desire to reach the highest point on earth--the summit of Everest--arose from his conviction that such a gesture would demonstrate the powers of fasting and serve as a symbolic launch pad by which his teachings could be spread around the world.
"I'm an actress, but you could call me a health freak, a vegetarian and a nonchemical human being." Maybe so, but it does seem to us that the celestial Angel Tompkins radiates more chemistry than most members of the species, which may explain her rapid rise in the world of TV and films. Currently working on her second major movie, Kansas City Prime, with Lee Marvin and Gene Hackman, about modern Chicago gangland. Angel is cast as Marvin's sexy, sultry woman, "the only one in the film who ends up with everything." Angel, who was born in Albany, California, spent much of her youth drifting around the country with her construction-worker father. Eventually, she landed in Chicago, where she worked as a model and a TV-talk-show hostess. Finding the Windy City "a great place for starting out and then leaving your mistakes behind," Angel took her own advice and left for Los Angeles; there she quickly snared roles in such TV shows as The Name of the Game, Bonanza, Mannix, Ironside, Love, American Style and The FBI.
"Incredible, Mr. Rolls!" "Mind-Boggling, Mr. Royce!"
Ken W. Purdy
Has another business firm, a mere corporate entity, ever operated on the lofty level where Rolls-Royce lived for so long? Maybe, but alternatives don't leap to mind. Rolls-Royce was much more than the name of an automobile. It transcended mere commercial eminence; it seemed to be, with the throne, the Royal Navy, the Bank of England, a pillar of empire. Hadn't Lawrence of Arabia campaigned in Rolls-Royce armored cars, and didn't the RR Merlin engine power the Spitfires and Hurricanes that won the Battle of Britain? Wherever wheels rolled, and some places where they didn't, the words Rolls-Royce were lingua franca for ultraquality, mechanical perfection, triumph of handcraftsmanship over the machine age and the probity of British businessmen. When, without more than a preliminary rumble, the company went bankrupt not too long ago, it was as if the dome of St. Paul's had fallen in or Prince Charles had renounced his claim to the throne to join a hippie commune: It was not to be believed. And worse: The British government didn't think it worth while to save Rolls-Royce. And worse again: The company hadn't been put to the wall by agents of evil nor by uncontrollable circumstance. Its executives stood accused of incompetence, and words like stupidity and mismanagement were heard in the land. The debacle seemed to be complete.
A Year ago, quadraphonic sound was little more than a gleam in an audio engineer's eye. Granted there were a few units on the market--primarily four-channel amplifiers and a few reel-to-reel tape recorders--but there was virtually no material to play on them, so few stores even bothered to demonstrate the systems. True, a form of four-channel record had been developed in Japan, and in the U. S. some experimental FM broadcasts had been done in four-channel. But even manufacturers who had invested a good deal in research and development to produce prototypes of various four-channel units doubted their acceptability by a public that seemed convinced that if God had meant us to listen to four-channel sound, He would have given us four ears.
Prominent scientists believe that a hairy paleolithic man, breaking up rocks to get a boulder to brain an enemy, accidentally struck some flint and iron pyrites together. Sparks flew into dry leaves. Fire was discovered.
"How marvelous is woman, even though by nature she is completely perverse! Deeply absorbed in herself, of an extreme covetousness, ignorant of the why and wherefore of things, her wits ever ready to wander, guileful in her words ... she thinks that with her ruses and affectations she excels men in wisdom and does not know that truth will out forthwith. Neither straightforward nor yet clever: Such is woman."
There's a special appeal to small university towns. Mostly because of the influence of their student populations, they offer attractions sometimes thought to exist only in big cities: informal bars and restaurants, trendy shops and a wide cultural diversity. Yet they don't have to deal with many of the too-familiar urban ills. Such a place is Boulder, home of the University of Colorado and--since last summer--22-year-old P. J. Lansing (she does have a first and second name, but just the initials will do, thank you). P. J. was drawn to the town for all of the above reasons, plus the stunning mountain scenery that surrounds it. "I moved to Boulder after finishing three years at the University of Missouri and found it absolutely perfect." A fashion-retailing major, P. J. quickly put her undergraduate background to use, taking a job in a local fabric shop. "I was in no hurry to resume college, so the idea of working for a while was attractive. For me, it was enough just to be here." At the moment, she has dropped the idea of studying fashion retailing in favor of something more immediately beneficial. "Next summer, I plan to go backpacking through Scandinavia, so I'm taking courses in Swedish. It will help a lot if I can learn to use some phrases. I'm still working some and am enrolled in just a few classes, so technically I'm a special student." We can think of no better adjective to describe Miss Lansing.
It having been Established that the quickest way to civilize a savage is by providing him with a civilized environment and bestowing upon him the blessings of technology, the International Space Agency, when it came time to civilize the Siw of Sirius V, built a modern city for them in the big green plain where for centuries they had raised children, crops and chickens, and stocked it with all the technological goodies known to man. It also having been established that civilized environments require efficient supervision, constant care and mechanical savoir-faire, ISA recruited a civilian cadre of experts to staff and maintain the city and to educate and train the Siw. Then, to teach the Siw technological self-reliance and to find out whether they were worth all the trouble, ISA put the city on an incommunicado status and left it to shift for itself for five years. When the trial period ended, they sent an inspector to look things over and report back. The inspector's name was G. A. Firby, and technology was his tutor, his mistress and his god. He might question his tutor and have misgivings about his mistress, but he never doubted his god.
The Statistics are on the verge of becoming what demographers like to call meaningful. The Australian consulate is receiving over 10,000 inquiries a month from Americans interested in migrating to Australia. In 1970, there were 8000 a month. The actual rate of migration was about 3800 a year, but in 1971 close to 5500 Americans made the move. Over 22,000 moved to Canada and fewer, though no less significant numbers, moved to New Zealand, South Africa and Rhodesia. What is extraordinary is that many of those leaving are not radicals, exhausted or betrayed liberals nor young men determined not to face induction. They are hard-working, deeply conscientious and, most of all, fundamentally patriotic Americans. If these people think of themselves as nothing else, it is as members of President Nixon's Silent Majority. Charter members.
Once there was a time when weasels had no eyes in their heads and had to perceive the world through precious stones at the tips of their tails--a sapphire by day and a ruby by night. And there was a place where people accepted this as one of the interesting facts of nature. That is to say, the time was long, long ago and the place was the province of Gascony. In a like manner, truth-loving Gascons will all affirm that the story of Cecile de Sabran is of equal verity. It begins with the assumption that she was the most beautiful young lady in all of Europe and that she was suffering the deepest mourning any woman can feel.
One Half of her heritage has been massacred, evicted, hornswoggled and disenfranchised by the other, but LaDonna Harris is proud of both rootstocks of her family tree. Understandably, though, the 40-year-old activist, mother of three and wife of U. S. Senator Fred Harris spends more time sticking up for her Comanche half; the Irish-Americans seem to be doing pretty well on their own. Mrs. Harris is the founder and president of Americans for Indian Opportunity, a Washington, D. C.--based private organization that acts as a sort of catalyst for Indian self-help projects, offering technical assistance and fund-raising know-how to groups struggling for such objectives as local control of education (thousands of young Indian children are still shipped to faraway Federal boarding schools); establishment of legal-aid facilities; help for small businesses; and wise investment of hard-won tribal reclamation payments. LaDonna, whose parents separated shortly after her birth, was raised by her Indian grandmother and grandfather--the latter a prosperous farmer and medicine man whose property lay just across the creek from the Cotton County, Oklahoma, holdings worked by a white tenant-farming family named Harris. The Harrises had a son, Fred; he and LaDonna became high school sweethearts and were married in 1949. Working as a baby sitter and librarian, LaDonna helped put her husband through the University of Oklahoma and its law school, then saw him establish a practice and a promising political career, one that encountered its first major setback last November, when he had to abandon his Presidential campaign for lack of funds. Undaunted, LaDonna has intensified her efforts on behalf of neglected Indians. "Bitterness is no good in itself," she says. "We must project a new image of ourselves, working independently and with white people." As a woman, LaDonna believes, she's ideally suited for that task. "It's easier for women to cross racial and political lines," she says. "We tend to see the woman first, then her color, and then her party."
Though the Author of the international best seller The Day of the Jackal, about an almost perfect plot to assassinate Charles de Gaulle, has been likened to Len Deighton and John Le Carré, Frederick Forsyth doesn't consider the comparison apt. "Those fellows are serious writers and, frankly, I got in it for the money," the 33-year-old Englishman says, his tongue only partly wedged in his cheek. "In January 1970, I decided it was time to make some. And with just $20 on hand, a book is the only way to make it fast; all you need is a typewriter, two ribbons and 500 sheets of paper." That, perhaps, plus the experience as a foreign correspondent, Forsyth had going for him. After several years as a pilot with Britain's Royal Air Force, he joined Reuters news agency at 23 and was sent to Paris in 1962. At that time, the French OAS (Secret Army Organization) was mounting numerous attempts on De Gaulle's life because of his "betrayal" of French interests in Algeria. It was in this period that Forsyth conceived his story of a hired English killer known only by the code name Jackal. "The Jackal is a composite of three people I knew then," he says. "One was a professional assassin, another an espionage agent and the third a London socialite." But before Forsyth could get around to writing the half-fact, half-fiction book, journalistic assignments intervened; first he covered East Germany and Czechoslovakia, then Paris again and finally the Nigeria-Biafra war, which provided material for his incisive Britain-indicting book The Biafra Story. Although he's now made his mark with The Day of the Jackal (shortly to go before the cameras of director Fred Zinnemann), the London-based author is writing another thriller, the subject of which he won't reveal for fear of tipping off his sources. If it's just half as compelling as his first, Forsyth's sure to make an even bigger killing: raking in still more accolades--and profits.
In 1957, he received a Ph.D. from Cornell and, eight years later, was awarded tenure as an associate professor of chemistry at Syracuse University. Seemingly, George Wiley had found his place in the comfortably settled academic world. Not so. While at Syracuse, Wiley became a civil rights activist and, after a year and a half, he left teaching to work for James Farmer at CORE. Wiley's overview of the racial situation confirmed, not surprisingly, that the "economic issue is the most basic problem affecting black people." Feeling that he wanted to battle poverty--for all people, not just blacks--on what he calls the grass-roots level, Wiley and three other CORE alumni started, in 1966, a group that became the National Welfare Rights Organization. He describes it as "a nationwide organization of poor people carrying on activities to get changes in [welfare] legislation." Though the full-time staff remains small, N. W. R. O. now numbers more than 100,000 dues-paying members (most of whom are women). Its long-range goals include the establishment of a $6500 minimum wage for a family of four, but its immediate concern is to tell those eligible for welfare payments about their rights. "There has always been a tremendous backlog of people eligible for welfare, who literally live from day to day," says Wiley. Much of his activity occurs in the courts, but he also leads his group in more militant tactics, including one daylong take-over of Health, Education and Welfare's Washington offices. Despite the uninvited visit, one HEW official has described National Welfare Rights as "the principal group representing the poor." Whenever Wiley gathers his female legions for a picket line or a sit-in, the result is highly organized disruption. As one strong Wiley admirer, political reporter Robert Sherrill, says, Wiley is "one of the sharpest guys in Washington.... He works for all those welfare mothers and they're really the toughest mothers I've seen."