At 29, Michael Crichton is a phenomenon. He's been called a one-man writing factory, the Jules Verne of our time. He's also a physician (nonpracticing) and a fellow of the Salk Institute (on leave). Crichton himself has lost track of just how many books he's written, under his own name or one of three pseudonyms (as "Michael Douglas" he authored with his brother the novel Dealing, which was serialized last year in Playboy and is now onscreen as a Warner Bros. release). His latest, The Terminal Man, which begins in this issue, has netted well over half a million dollars even before its publication (by Alfred A. Knopf in May); it's a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and will be a movie (with Crichton directing) for Warners. Says Crichton: "I've always wanted to rewrite Frankenstein, and this is it--just as The Andromeda Strain was a conscious rewrite of The War of the Worlds. I am now consciously rewriting Dracula and directing films [besides Terminal Man, a forthcoming novel, Binary], but otherwise minding my own business. I intend to take my own life on March 10, 1973, at 11:04 A.M., if it is not raining." That last sentence, we trust, was spoken in a moment of fatigue brought on by a writing pace that has reached as high as 10,000 words a day. "I'm slowing down now; if I hit 6000, I'll stop myself." We hope to tap at least some of that diminished outpouring between now and March 10, 1973.
Playboy, March, 1972, Volume 19, Number 3. 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: Victor 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.
You Finally Made It!! This invitation signifies your arrival as an important person (or a skillful phony). You shall be one of the elite attending the Third Anniversary party of Screw--The World's Greatest Newspaper."
To judge from the current birth rate of books about movies, any picture is eventually worth at least 10,000 words. Three new entries merit consideration by viewers who aim to be cinematically literate. The Hollywood Musical (McGraw-Hill) offers a plentifully illustrated and fairly detailed filmography of 275 important movie musicals, from the classics of the late Twenties and early Thirties through epics as recent as Funny Girl. Preceding the comprehensive index of song titles, film titles and personalities compiled by Arthur Jackson (of Hi-Fi News & Record Review) are a hundred pages of comment by John Russell Taylor, film critic for The London Times, a man who has missed very little and pens his concise history with the clear intention of sounding opinionated. He succeeds.
"We want to take the erotic film out of the hands of the smut peddlers and give it some class." These were the brave beginning words of the First Annual New York Erotic Film Festival's codirector, Ken Gaul, a former Screw editor who teamed up with Roger Sichel, formerly of Grove Press, to present true-blue pornography in a cultural setting removed from the usual haunts of furtive little men carrying briefcases and raincoats. The first annual pornographic come-together encountered so many obstacles, however, that observers were left wondering whether there would be a second.
Call it Led Zeppelin IV (Atlantic), since it carries no printed information on its cover, only a picture of a bent old gent bearing a great faggot of sticks. Inside are four arcane-looking symbols that, word has it, are ancient runes that Jimmy Page may have used to represent each of the four members of the group. But the real mystery here is that the old Zepp has become so good. The group finally has made its own brand of high-volume tastelessness into great rock, and not all of it is at high volume, either. Besides the flamboyant Page solos and the typical, heavily layered sounds of tunes such as Rock and Roll, there are subtle instrumental effects (the dulcimer on The Battle of Evermore, for example). With Stairway to Heaven, the group ascends into the realm of seriousness--getting into madrigals, yet, and quasi poetry--and does it without stumbling.
Two Gentlemen of Veronawas one of Shakespeare's most forgettable plays. Now it has been metamorphosed into a memorable contemporary musical. The joyful transformation first took place last summer in Central Park under the sponsorship of Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival. Now, on Broadway, there have been a few cast changes, some songs have been sliced and the tickets are no longer free--but the show is still a delight. Adaptors John Guare and Mel Shapiro have borrowed the Bard's basic plot--two friends are close enemies in matters of love--and transported it to a Verona and Milan that look suspiciously like New York. The new book is frankly anachronistic: Lovers exchange night letters, lapse into Spanish and sing and dance with soul. Galt MacDermot's score eclects freely, swinging from rock to blues to calypso to nonsense, and Guare's ingenious lyrics spoof everyone from Shakespeare to Guare as songwriter. There isn't a phony fiber in this urban ethnic romp, and the show embraces the entire theater: The band is up in the balcony and the actors are in and out of the aisles and swinging from Ming Cho Lee's jungle-gym set. As the self-admiring cavalier, Proteus, Raul Julia is magnetic, full of comic inventiveness and impertinence. Carefully undermining his comrade Valentine, cunningly pursuing his own best interest, he makes romantic villainy hilarious and charming. But the whole cast joins wholeheartedly in this rousing celebration of youth, young love and irrepressible vitality. At the St. James, 246 West 44th Street.
My girl and I, both in our late 20s, want to settle down to a life together--but without getting married, which we feel represents an unwarranted intrusion of the state into our private lives. However, we're apprehensive about the probable negative reactions of our establishment-oriented friends and relatives. To avoid any unpleasantness, we've considered sending out false wedding announcements following a trip to Hawaii. What do you think?--A. B., Albuquerque, New Mexico.
For the past 35 years, the American establishment has come under relentless attack from a bespectacled, conservatively dressed community organizer who looks like an accountant and talks like a stevedore. According to The New York Times, Saul Alinsky "is hated and feared in high places from coast to coast" for being "a major force in the revolution of powerless people--indeed, he is emerging as a movement unto himself." And a Time magazine essay concluded that "it is not too much to argue that American democracy is being altered by Alinsky's ideas."
A Bright Sunday Afternoon in August 1971, just one week after Bill Graham closed the doors of the Fillmore West forever and ever, and I'm sitting in the living room of Jerry Garcia's new house on the headlands above a coastal village an hour north of San Francisco (a very nice house, by the way, not luxurious or anything but altogether nice enough to reflect the Grateful Dead's rising fortunes during the past couple of years); and if I were to glance over my shoulder, I could see beyond the picture window all the way down the tilting rim of the continent to the shimmering Pacific. Only right this minute, I'm not into scenery at all; right this minute, I'm deeply engaged in being paranoid about my tape recorder, just sort of stroking the treacherous little bastard, before I entrust to its tape-eating maw the wit and wisdom of Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist and chief philosophical theoretician of what some claim is the greatest rock-'n'-roll band in the world--Captain Trips, they call him.
Afternoon. The season is late autumn, the setting St.-Tropez. And the freaked-out French resort--resuming its identity as a peaceful fishing village after the summer crush of reckless, topless Beautiful People from four continents--seems precisely the right place for Dominique Sanda, la belle Dominique, to be talking about herself. Still a few months shy of her 21st birthday, Dominique is a serenely classic blonde with the electric New Sensibility throbbing in every pore. She is also on her way to becoming a legend as the result of just three pictures, which have inspired rapturous critics to compare her to Garbo, Dietrich and a Botticelli Renaissance angel.
Two types of new light whiskey will debut early this summer by the grace of the Federal powers that be. One will be the light whiskey that has gotten most of the publicity--whiskey distilled between 160 and 189 proof aged in used barrels. The second will be called blended light whiskey--light whiskey to which has been added up to 19 percent of the old-fashioned straight whiskey. In other (concluded on page 204)Light Whiskeys(continued from page 91) words, the present will be dipping into the traditional liquor arsenal for a small but significant amount of hefty flavor reinforcement. Drinkers who want a bourbon on the rocks, a mint julep or a sazerac will do best to steer themselves to the same straight stuff they now have in their liquor cabinet. A vodka martini will still be made with vodka, and a planter's punch with rum. But the new whiskeys will be distinctly versatile. For those interested in roaming through new drink paths with cocktail shaker and blender, we offer the following trio of recipes.
For 806 days between July 1967 and October 1969, Anthony Grey, a correspondent for Britain's Reuters wire service, was kept in solitary confinement, without charges, in Peking. His quarters were claustrophobically small. His diet was meager. At first, he was permitted a total of three books, on chess, yoga and communism (later, he stole a fourth, Doctor Zhivago). Desperately lonely, constantly humiliated and harassed, he was in fear of mental collapse. "To occupy my mind constructively," he says, "I took to creating crossword puzzles and writing short stories. I frequently hid the papers, and for some reason I was never searched and was able to get all my writings out safely when I was released." One of the short stories he wrote during this time begins on this page. It has nothing to do with China, nor communism, nor his confinement. It is neither bitter nor despairing. On the contrary, it is a charming fantasy in which the human body functions as a departmentalized bureaucracy. It was suggested to Grey by a line in the yoga book: "Each of the millions of cells in man's body is as a living being on its own." Grey tells us: "So, tongue in cheek, the story of Himself was gradually built up. I was uneasy about'em-barking on it, since, because of its setting in the parathyroid glands, I wondered whether it might make me obsessed with the glands in my own throat. But I decided to chance it and, to my delight, found I so enjoyed writing the story that I didn't stop to worry." The very existence of the tale--to say nothing of its engaging whimsy and inventiveness--is a tribute to Grey's strength and inner resources in the face of treatment deliberately designed to shatter his spirit. He says: "Often two words would recur to me in that room in Peking: 'Nothing matters!' But life always matters--very much."
Applicant is a management-oriented person with extensive administrative and engineering experience. His ability to initiate, organize, plan and administer management policies and engineering programs has been fully developed. Applicant is thoroughly familiar with the most up-to-date engineering techniques, as well as the most effective means of communicating to ensure that programs are completed with success. He is highly regarded by his associates and would be a valuable asset to an employer seeking a man with his qualifications."
Fun city: To many natives, it's the epitome of everything and they wouldn't leave for anything. Not Ellen Michaels. Born and reared in Bayside, Queens, this New Yorker escapes the metropolis every chance she gets. "I have no real complaints about New York," Ellen says. "In fact, I like a lot of things about the city. It has great theaters, restaurants, museums and all that. But the one thing it doesn't have is great weather. It's muggy in the summer, freezing in the winter and rainy in the spring and fall. And for a sun worshiper like me, that kind of weather means no fun at all." So, to beat the elements, this sophomore at Queensborough Community College splits for the sun and surf of Miami during school vacations and as many weekends as possible in between. "Ever since I was a little kid, I've been spending vacations there with my parents and younger brother. And we still go to Miami together for holidays like Christmas and Easter. But when they can't make it, I usually take off alone or with girlfriends. I can't say I really do a whole lot when I'm in Florida, except fool around in the water and lie in the sun," she says, "but that's something you sure can't do year round in New York." Even if the weather cooperated, however, when she was home in Queens, where she lives with her parents, Ellen's busy college schedule wouldn't allow much time for sunning. Majoring in elementary education, she will graduate from Queensborough, a two-year school, in June. After that, she plans to continue her studies at Queens College to earn her teaching certificate. "I'll probably consider teaching in the public elementary schools here, but the picture does look pretty bleak, at least right now," says Ellen. "There is a shortage of teaching positions in the city, and I feel that the teachers are generally underpaid. So after earning my degree at Queens, I may have to look around elsewhere for a teaching job," she says, a noticeable glint in her eye, "until the situation with the New York schools improves." And we'd say--merely hazarding a guess, of course--that her first choice just might be Miami.
The newlyweds decided to spend their honeymoon at a ski lodge but failed to appear on the slopes for the first two days. They did manage to get out reasonably early on the third morning, acting as if they'd been skiing regularly. Over coffee on the terrace a little later, someone asked the bride how she liked skiing.
Girls--34 of them, aged 17 to 25. Not just any old 34 girls but the absolute cream of New York State, girls who had beaten back the very best their cities had to offer and emerged as the fairest flowers of Troy and Rochester, Setauket and Schenectady. Imagine the prettiest girl in Poughkeepsie alone--right there is a lot of pretty. And don't forget those Downstaters, Miss Manhattan and Miss Bronx, adding a little urban spice to an already delicious rustic brew. All of these East Coast peaches gathered in one hideaway, far from the baleful scrutiny of Betty Friedan and Kate Millett, putting their clean young Empire State limbs forward in the hope of influencing the judges and going on to be named prettiest girl in the whole state.
Driving Through the brown desert north of Reno, you begin to see signs for Leareno. It is neither a brand of local beer nor a new Italian singer at Harrah's; it is a dream. Right now there is little more to Leareno than brightly painted signs scattered among the scrubby gray-green brush. But plans are being drafted for a small city out here, built around a serpentine lake--Lake Lear--where men can play golf only a sliced tee shot away from their front door and bicycle to work through lush green belts. What will they work at? Building low-emission engines for steam-and turbine-driven automobiles.
"I do appreciate your stopping by to see me," the most famous chef in the world said to the most beautiful girl his appreciative eyes had ever seen. He sat in his wheelchair in a shaded corner of his garden in the south of France while his sister strolled nearby, snipping off faded roses.
Scene: A snowbound ski lodge in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. A group of single, clean-cut young Americans are gathered around a fire singing sentimental songs. One chubby young man with glasses has his leg in a cast. Several others are sniffing cocaine discreetly. The scene glows with a feeling of well-being.
"We can't bear America," my hostess was saying with the uneasy casualness of a Smith graduate dismissing her coming-out party. "My mother says in every other letter, 'You've been gone eight years. You're going to be one of those Americans who never come home.'" Her gesture with the glass of champagne punch was in shorthand. "But if you can't stand living in America, why feel you have to do it? Why apologize?"
The theme seems to focus on the bestial in man's nature, but the message is perhaps prescient--how civilizations historically move from savage to sophisticated and then fall into decadence, regressing to the cruder culture. The first American feature film by director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant, Savages concerns such a tribe of aborigines living in Stone Age conditions who discover an abandoned mansion in the forest. Soon after they've been civilized by the house, they begin to revert, their primitive personalities re-emerge and, inevitably, they return to the woods. Though the cast includes a group of established actors and actresses--Ultra Violet, Kathleen Widdoes, Paulita Sedgwick, Asha Puthli, Salome Jens, Margaret Brewster, Anne Francine, Neil Fitzgerald, Lewis J. Stadlen, Christopher Pennock, Russ Thacker and the fresh film face of model Susie Blakely--director Ivory contends that there is no one star. "All the characters have their moments; some may have a few more lines or scenes than others, but if there is a star as such, it's the house," he says. "It exerts a tremendous influence over all the characters, just as it did over me. The inspiration for the film actually came from the house. Last year I was up on the Hudson near Scarborough, looking at old houses for another film, and I was extremely impressed by this particular one. Time passed and I began speculating on how I could make use of it in a film. Finally I realized it could serve as the central civilizing element in Savages." Before this film, which Ivory considers an "allegory on the rise and fall of any civilization," the Merchant-Ivory team had worked primarily in India, turning out such critically acclaimed movies as The Householder, about a young man's coming of age in contemporary Indian society; Shakespeare Wallah, which tolled the death knell of English colonialism in India; The Guru and Bombay Talkie, both comments on the clichés with which the West views the East and vice versa. "Although I've developed a strong fondness for India and her people," says Ivory, "I was glad to return to America to shoot Savages, and I hope to do more work here soon." If his future American film efforts anywhere nearly match Savages (scheduled for release by DIA Films in early June), we predict moviegoers and critics alike will be even more pleased that Ivory and company have come home.
Ribald Classic: The Rise and Fall of a Member of the Faculty
In paris long ago, there lived a charming countess whose husband was so busy mounting attacks against the enemies of France, leading his troops into the breach, thrusting his sword against the foe that he almost never did any mounting, breaching or thrusting at home. Thus, the lady look to recruiting lovers and carrying on pleasant skirmishes between the sheets. She had a liking for chance and she took a peculiar delight in finding these gentlemen at random.
It all started, in rather straightforward fashion, as a promotion gimmick based on a promotion gimmick. The K2 Corporation of Vashon Island, Washington, manufactures fiberglass skis, which it prides itself on advertising in offbeat style: G. Washington advises from a dollar bill, "Don't take any wooden skis." Another company brain storm is a T-shirt emblazoned with the K2 logo, available by mail for four dollars. When Sun Valley sponsored an Airline Interline Week last season, somebody dreamed up the idea of a contest wherein girls would dance, sing or generally gyrate for the title of "best-looking matched set in a K2 T-shirt." Trouble was, to the promoters' dismay and the spectators' delight, the first contestant chose to reveal her qualifications for best matched set sans a K2 T-shirt. From then on, through later contests at Aspen and Mammoth Mountain, things got even less inhibited--as is obvious on the next two pages. K2 is cooling it this winter--tooling up to make a new line of camping gear. We'll predict, however, there'll be no contest to uncover the best matched pair in a K2 sleeping bag.
Critics of women's Lib customarily bemoan the hostility they encounter among movement women. Not enough of these critics know about Betty Dodson--erotic artist, feminist and sexual libertarian. There are those who see a contradiction in feminism and good sexual relationships with men; but to Dodson that's survival. Her outspoken embrace of heterosexuality has angered some of her sisters, causing Dodson to reply, "I'm not exactly going steady with feminism." She calls her life style--which now includes a 13-member "sexual family"--her exploration of "expanded intimacy." But it took time--in years and emotional changes--to put it all together: her feminism, her sexual attitudes and her vocation as artist. Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1929, Dodson worked there as a newspaper artist until moving to New York in 1950. Scholarships took her through the Art Students League and the National Academy; afterward, she spent a year painting in Paris. Back in New York she married, and painting during those five years was subordinated to housekeeping. Not pleased with that life nor with monogamy, she gave up both, returned to her craft and had her first one-woman show in 1968 at New York's Wickersham Gallery. The paintings--which glorify sexuality, including masturbation--made some critics uptight, but not the public, which loved them. Though advertising was mainly by word of mouth, 8000 people attended the exhibition during its two-week run, and Dodson sold half of the pictures. She is now considering offers for shows in Amsterdam, London and Los Angeles. Recent projects include serving as a judge at the second Wet Dream Film Festival in Amsterdam, an international gathering of the porn underground, and working as a telephone volunteer for the Community Sex Information Service, a New York hot line for people seeking help with sex problems. "Relating to the world as a sex-positive person, as a sexually expressive woman and as a painter--that's where it's at for me. Dig it?" We do.
Since The Fifties, the Bay Area has generated enough styles of radical wave making to qualify as capital of the counterculture. If that culture had an archbishop, it would undoubtedly be the Reverend A. Cecil Williams of San Francisco's Glide Memorial Church. Since becoming Glide's Minister of Involvement and Celebration in 1966, he has set that Tenderloin chapel on its ear, redesigning its entire format to include multimedia, jazz and jive-talking sermons on such subjects as "Quotations from Chairman Jesus" and "Ooo-eeee!--I Feel So Good!" The 42-year-old Williams is no stranger to controversy. By the time the Texan (from San Angelo) was 23, he was determined to study for the ministry at the all-white Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas--and soon became one of the first blacks to be admitted there full time. After graduation, he and his wife, Evelyn, moved to San Francisco, where Williams fellowed at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, while Evelyn studied piano at San Francisco State. "While there I discovered the need for finding a new language," he says, "because what people want now is not salvation but liberation." Apparently his current congregation agrees. When Williams went to Glide in 1964, the Sunday services seldom drew more than 240; today nearly 4000 attend. "We've got every kind of group coming," he asserts. "Blacks, whites, browns, reds, yellows, pimps, prostitutes, gays, even Jesus freaks." Hip, flip and sassy, Williams exhorts his people to acts that incur the wrath of everyone from fellow clerics to Governor Reagan. "I believe in serious confrontation." he declares; and to practice his preachments, he has picketed with striking students at San Francisco State, holed up with Black Panthers when they feared an imminent raid and is now serving as spiritual advisor to conspiracy codefendants Angela Davis and Ruchell Magee. "I am as nonviolent as anyone will let me be," the reverend sighs, "but I'll risk acting on my instincts. If that's heresy, so be it." Amen.
The Lyrics of her first hit single, That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be, tell the story of a girl who questions the way love always seems to shape itself into a weary progression of marriage, kids and split-levels. Then, at the end of the song, the girl sighs resignedly to her lover: "We'll marry." But the line hangs, dangling, and you don't really know if she'll submit to the conventional arrangement or finally assert herself. There is no similar uncertainty about the singer of the song, 26-year-old Carly Simon. She is emphatically her own person, so much so that her career as a solo performer--she had sung for a brief time with a sister as one of The Simon Sisters--was nearly shelved. "I had some experiences that made me think this business was all hype and full of people looking only to exploit you." So the New York City native stopped singing and, although she didn't need to worry about where to find a square meal (her father founded Simon & Schuster publishers), she tried a variety of jobs, from the letters department at Newsweek to writing commercial lead-ins for a TV producer. Then, in the late Sixties, she met writer-critic Jacob Brackman, who soon began urging her to try singing again. The result, a year ago, was the album from which That's the Way came, followed shortly by her club debut at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Critics were both enthused and perplexed as they tried to define Carly's singing style, which roams from lilting to soulful and eludes simple labels. "I sing love songs," she explains. "Sometimes they're about physical love, sometimes they're more cerebral." (She writes most of them herself, with Brackman providing the lyrics.) Now she has a second album, Anticipation, and is planning a club schedule. "I enjoy performing live now, but at first I was frightened. When I sang with my sister, there was at least one other person to help me out. Now I'm on my own." But for Carly, that's the way it has to be.
Jack Nicholson, The intense, versatile actor-director, candidly discusses his past drug experiences, his dues-paying days in Grade-B films and the good breaks since easy rider in an exclusive Playboy Interview