Midwifing Authors through the sometimes anguishing labor of writing is what we do for a living. It can be frustrating, satisfying and occasionally even deeply rewarding work. But seldom do we have a chance to play a role—if only as a catalyst—in turning a writer's life around, helping him make a fresh start. It may be too early to say, but we think that's just what happened when we assigned Bob Jennings to write Home? Which Way Is That? But let him tell it:
Playboy, March, 1973, Volume 20, 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: Robert A. Gutwillig, Marketing Director; Nelson Futch, Marketing Manager; Michael Rich, 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.
Score one for mother nature: Los Angeles County plans to uproot $50,000 worth of plastic trees and plants that have been set out along roadsides in San Pablo. As a county spokesman put it: "Artificial plants are not durable enough." They will be replaced with the real thing.
Previews: Robbers and cops are the rage this season as publishers attempt to cash in on the interest stirred up by such good sellers as Peter Maas's The Valachi Papers and Gay Talese's Honor Thy Father. One Vincent Teresa, billed as "the first high-ranking Mafia man to break the code of silence," is the author, more or less, of My Life in the Mafia, which Doubleday will publish next month. His accomplice is writer Thomas C. Renner. Teresa, a New England mafioso, decided to tell all while in jail in 1969 because his pals outside stole $4,000,000 from his family—or so he says. In case you're wondering, the fledgling author is now in hiding, protected by the Feds against assassins who—he says—have been offered a $500,000 contract on his life.
Previews: Reprises and spin-offs of last season's hits will dominate the movie scene for spring and summer. If at first you succeed, try and try again is a cherished belief that explains why Paramount has reached the blueprint stage with a project tentatively titled The Godfather, Part II (script by Mario Puzo, direction by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Al Pacino—and dickering with Brando), while the boys over at 20th Century-Fox mull another potential bonanza called French Connection II, with Gene Hackman and Jean-Paul Belmondo. And Warner Bros, will try for a parlay with the imminent release of Scarecrow, which has Hackman and Pacino teamed as a couple of road-running bums.
"Man, is he clean," said a musician friend of ours when he checked out the cover of I'm Still in Love with You (Hi), with its picture of Al Green in an immaculate white outfit, sitting in a white cane chair in a white-walled and whitecarpeted room. The music inside is every bit as clean. Tasteful strings, added to the rich, deliberate strokes of the Willie Mitchell band, give a Ray Charlesian touch to I'm Glad You're Mine, Simply Beautiful and One of These Good Old Days; Love and Happiness is velvet funk, with blues and Gospel touches; Oh, Pretty Woman is the old Roy Orbison hit (updated, of course); Look What You Done for Me and the title tune will be familiar to anyone who's listened to a pop radio station during the past year. An overlong version of Kristofferson's For the Good Times is the only thing that really doesn't work. And, if you've paid much attention to the lyrics, you might get a little dragged, because A.G. doesn't write about anything except romantic love (although he does write about it pretty well). That won't be any obstacle, though, because the man's singing, to quote his own song title, is simple beautiful. And if Mitchell and cohorts ever played an ill-advised note, you can be sure it didn't come out on a record.
Previews: Undeterred by the musical wreckage that visited Broadway during the first half of the 1972-1973 season, producers are again sailing confidently into musical combat. One of the more promising launchings ought to be A Little Night Music, which derives from Ingmar Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night. This sunshiny comic movie, a rarity for Bergman, has been adapted to the stage by Hugh Wheeler, with songs added by Stephen Sondheim. Harold Prince will produce and direct a cast headed by Hermione Gingold and Glynis Johns. Christopher Plummer will flex his vocal cords in a musical version of Cyrano de Bergerac, shortened for Broadway to Cyrano. Anthony Burgess is responsible for the adaptation and lyrics and Michael Langham for the direction. Lainie Kazan and Ken Howard will be the two for the Seesaw in the musical expansion of William Gibson's two-character play. E. Y. Harburg's What a Day for a Miracle—about the 13th Century Children's Crusade—is also on the spring schedule.
My college roommate, a physics major, has a theory that natural resonance frequencies occur during sexual intercourse—that the rhythmic vibrations produced when the height of sex is sustained could coincide with a girl's natural resonance frequency and give her violently painful muscle spasms. I'm curious, but I wouldn't want to inflict pain on my girl. How can I test the theory?—R. B., Los Angeles, California.
"He is going to make a lot of money, he is going to be the champion for a long time and he is a mean guy to tangle with." Those were some of the conclusions reached by boxer-astrologer Henry Hank when he studied Joe Frazier's horoscope in the June 1970 issue of The Ring. It seems to be the age of Capricorn among heavyweight boxers, for the goat is not only the world champion's sign but also that of exchamp Muhammad Ali, a.k.a. Cassius Clay, who lost a 15-round title fight to Frazier nine months after Hank's prediction—but remains the most formidable contender for Joe's title. Hank noted that the horoscopes of Frazier and Ali contain "many startling similarities." Since he won the championship, however, Frazier has been a relatively invisible celebrity, while Ali has been flamboyantly conspicuous, as always, fighting frequently and taking every occasion to complain about Frazier's inactivity, to protest that he's really the uncrowned champ and to demand purses equal to the sizable ones commanded by his archrival.
In the early autumn of her 102nd year, the Principessa Lisabetta von Hohenzalt-Casalinghi was no longer able to tell light from dark, thunder from a footfall nor the texture of wool from satin. Yet she still got about with amazing agility. She danced to imaginary schottisches, polkas and waltzes with imaginary partners. She gave commands to household domestics in a voice whose volume would shame a drill sergeant. Having once been drawn through Oriental streets in rickshas, she had naturally learned to yell "Chop-chop!" and she now exercised that command to make haste at the end of each order she shouted, and these orders were given all but continually while she was awake and sometimes she would even shout "Chop-chop!" in her sleep.
Before A Clockwork Orange dealt us all a tolchock in the rot, life wasn't so bad. Sure, there were riots in the Sixties and a President who conducted his affairs of state from the throne, but once we learned to live with the eccentricities of our society and the politicians who were running it, we could sit back and enjoy. Then, suddenly, we were slooshing Beethoven while being clopped about the gulliver, viddying the old ultraviolence nonstop, and that, O my brothers, was anything but horrorshow.
Pale, Freckled Eggs. Swaying over the ruts to the gate of the third pasture, Sunday morning, the owner of the farm suddenly sees: a clutch of pale, freckled eggs set out before a half circle of children. Some are squatting; the one directly behind the eggs is cross-legged, like a vendor in a market. There is pride of ownership in that grin lifted shyly to the farmer's gaze. The eggs are arranged like marbles, the other children crowd round, but you can tell they are not allowed to touch unless the cross-legged one gives permission. The bare soles, the backsides of the children have flattened a nest in the long dead grass for both eggs and children. The emblem on the car's bonnet, itself made in the shape of a prismatic flash, scores his vision with a vertical-horizontal sword of dazzle. This is the place at which a child always appears, even if none has been in sight, racing across the field to open the gate for the car. But today the farmer puts on the brake, leaves the engine running and gets out. One very young boy, wearing a jersey made long ago for much longer arms but too short to cover a naked belly, runs to the gate and stands there. The others all smile proudly round the eggs. The cross-legged one (wearing a woman's dress, but it may be a boy) puts out his hands over the eggs and gently shuffles them a little closer together, letting a couple of the outer ones roll back into his palms. The eggs are a creamy buff, their glaze pored and lightly spotted, their shape more pointed than a hen's, and the palms of the small black hands are translucent-looking apricot pink. There is no sound but awed, snuffling breathing through snotty noses.
Acclaimed for his screen interpretation of Winston Churchill's formative years, British actor Simon Ward stays in character by donning a contemporary version of a Churchillian hallmark—the three-piece suit. Shown here: a Ruben Torres–designed two-button model in wool piped with satin and featuring roped shoulders and flared leg bottoms, $250, worn with a polyester-cotton dress shirt, $20, and a silk, tie, $15, all from Allen Winston; plus a pair of oxford lace-ups, by Nunn Bush for Brass Boot, $46. Good show!
The Art of Richard Lindner is an art of the fantastic. Out of a wide experience of life—particularly urban life. With its mad, headlong, unappeased appetite for the extremes of existence—and an uncanny, painstaking power of observation, Lindner has created an art of bizarre and outrageous images. He confronts the workaday distortions and exaggerations of modern life with the graver and more hilarious hyperbole of his own imagination. He is a realist of sorts, but his art is untouched by the traditional realist obligation to report on the commonplace surfaces of life. He is, rather, a realist of the "secret life"—of all those unacknowledged fantasies and involuntary daydreams provoked by the social and erotic exacerbations of life in the maelstrom of the modern city. As a result, Lindner's art compels the spectator to be a voyeur of his own forbidden, libidinous dreams.
No, Cooking with Cocktails is not just a sneaky way to get bombed. Nor is it going to replace haute cuisine. While the idea may seem audacious, and certainly untraditional, there's a practical reason behind it. Spirits are storehouses of concentrated flavor—the distilled essences of corn, rye, cane, grapes and other fruit. The complexity of bourbon, for example, astonishes food analysts, who list vanilla, cumin, cereal and "buttery nutty scents" among its generous flavor endowments. Gin, brandy, rum and (continued on page 170)Cocktail Cookery(continued from page 103) hundreds of liqueurs are similarly blessed and are often used by imaginative chefs to perk up their offerings.
Most Writers get into their line of work because they are driven by a vision, a splendid passion to do magnificent and immortal things. I, however, became a writer the way other young men go into the family business. My father, Edmund Collier, is a writer of children's books. My brother, Christopher Collier, is a historian, writer of obscure articles and author of the recent Roger Sherman's Connecticut, a book so scholarly that it costs $18.50. My brother-in-law James Buechler writes short fiction and has won a couple of O. Henry prizes. My uncle Slater Brown is a novelist, hero of E. E. Cummings' The Enormous Room, and husband of a grandniece of Henry James. My aunt, Susan Jenkins Brown, is author of a book called Robber Rocks about her friendship with the poet Hart Crane. My cousin Gwilym Slater Brown has been a staff writer for Sports Illustrated for many years. Another cousin, Sargent Collier, was a writer-photographer, and another uncle, George Zipf, was a lexicographer.
Bonnie has this weird boyfriend named Ralph whose idea of a good time is to hang around shopping centers, where he likes to greet customers—"Good evening, ma'am, that's a lovely dress you're wearing"—then shake hands, answer questions and do a commercial for some product or other. And when he talks, you listen: Ralph is an eight-and-a-half-foot robot. He and Bonnie Large, a slender but well-organized five feet, five and a half, both work for Hill-Daves Productions in Sherman Oaks, California. The company—sometimes with the assistance of name entertainers and vaudeville acts—puts on shows to entertain businessmen and help them market their wares. Bonnie's dates with Ralph—who speaks and moves with the help of a concealed accomplice who operates the remote-control buttons and the microphone—are but a small part of what she does for Hill-Daves. She handles their secretarial chores and makes occasional out-of-town trips to help set up shows. And she performs, too—as a dancer, a model and a "straight girl" for magician Chuck Jones. In their act, Bonnie floats through space—not with the greatest of ease, perhaps, but convincingly—and in another routine, she gets sawed in half. After getting herself back together, Bonnie hops into her Beetle for the 45-minute drive back to her apartment in Alhambra. "It's nothing fancy," she says, but it's distinguished by the numerous antiques Bonnie has collected at local thrift shops and "swap-ins"; among them are a four-poster bed and a pre-1900 Singer sewing machine. A confirmed animal lover who once worked as a veterinarian's assistant, Bonnie also keeps a variety of pets: two great Danes, three cats and a gopher snake who stays safely locked in his tank. Because her job is as demanding as it is exhilarating, Bonnie has had to shelve plans to take night courses in shorthand and industrial drawing this year. She'd like to do more modeling, though. In 1969 she was a finalist in the competition for the court of the Rose Queen but was disqualified when the officials learned that she was too young. "I'd been told that they made exceptions," she says, "but they didn't make one in my case." Now Bonnie hopes that her Playmate appearance will inspire some modeling offers. We'd bet on that—but, of course, we're a little biased.
A tourist was propositioned in London one night. When he replied that his funds were low, the streetwalker suggested an 'arf-a-quid stand-up in a nearby darkened doorway. The man agreed with some misgivings, and then froze after a brief period of inconvenient activity. "Wot's the matter, dearie?" asked the tart.
Going home: The very words have a special American resonance, a complex reverberation involving the emotions as nothing else ever does. They immerse the mind in shadow and substance, myth and reality and, over all, the tricky maunderings of memory, the unstoppable insult of time. Cutthroat time.
Aficionados like to refer to backgammon as "the king of games, the game of kings," conferring some loose nobility on what might otherwise be considered a rather common game of chance. Though tradition confirms the game's kingly associations (Nero played backgammon, as did the Romanoffs; and Caligula is said to have been an inveterate cheat), backgammon is more apt to be played these days by what used to be called the idle rich—and by what passes today for a kind of instant elite—the international film and money sets. It has always been a big-money game, and since it can be played almost any where, it has become the perfect portable parlor game of the well to do.
Among the games people play, backgammon is a unique combination of the very old and the very contemporary. While the game itself dates back thousands of years (backgammon boards were found in King Tut's tomb), the modern gambling version was developed only a generation ago. The manner in which backgammon is currently played evolved only in the past ten years, and the evolution is continuing. Prior to the introduction in the Twenties of a doubling feature, the game was hardly more than an obscure relative of Parcheesi, played in British clubs and by natives of the Baltic and Mediterranean regions, where it has been popular for millennia. The doubling feature (described below) made it a gambling game par excellence. As time passed, the game naturally attracted gamblers par excellence. These gentlemen (and ladies), most of whom are still alive, playing and prosperous, re-examined the game and initiated an entirely new style of play, based on game and probability theories, which, while their basics have been known since Pascal, were seriously investigated only after World War Two. The connection has never been established, but the parallels between the evolution of contemporary backgammon and the development of the high-speed computer are too striking to ignore.
The Question on the customs form was, at first glance, rather puzzling. "Do you have any semen to declare?" Perhaps it was because I had just spent 24 hours or so strapped into the seat of the aircraft and my mind was numb from the experience. My immediate reaction was to assume that someone had hit upon a novel if unorthodox solution to the Australian problem of underpopulation. I imagined for a moment that we would be led into cubicles when we landed and there, under the scrutiny of state geneticists, we would be mated with specimen bottles. Then I read the form again and realized they meant animal semen, so I wrote no and tightened the seat belt. A sunlit tapestry of red roofs and greenery, bordered on the east with yellow beaches and the deep-blue expanse of the Pacific, tilted beneath our wings; we were over the suburbs of Sydney—the first city we had seen since crossing the continent at a point about 2000 miles to the northwest.
Moviemaker Russ Meyer, whose Blacksnake is just out, is shooting his 24th film: Foxy, a sequel to the skin-flick classic Vixen. Foxy will star Meyer's wife, Edy Williams—whom he met at 20th Century-Fox while directing her in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. "What I do best is parody," says Meyer, "and Foxy will be an irreverent put-on, in the style of All in the Family." Edy, as Foxy, will play "a sexy record-company executive who gets mixed up with a number of men in outrageous situations. They'll be involved with oceanography, boxing, World War One aircraft, wrestling, cross-country motorcycling and voyeurism." Meyer has such a good thing going, he figures, that he has incorporated a sneak preview of Foxy (starring Edy skinny-skiing) right into Blacksnake—something of a milestone in Hollywood promoannals. "This will be my first frontal-nudity film," says Meyer. "There will be plenty of sex, but it will be done in an R fashion—which yesteryear was X." Edy chimes in, "We're making Foxy R-rated because the only people really interested in sex are under 18. Why lock them out? We're going to give people their money's worth." The photos here hint at what's in store.
The dealers are eating apples at Riverboat Joe's in Monroe, New York. Riverboat Joe Dierna left the city four years ago to set up an Upstate real-estate brokerage office. He hands out shiny Delicious and they start munching: Elliott Weiner, who is Walter Schneider's country lawyer; Ed Kourt, who is Walter Schneider's financial officer; and Walter Schneider himself, who is a very big dealer. He is, shall we say, preoccupied. He has offered half a million dollars—all cash—to Hob Schoonmaker, and Schoonmaker has turned him down. Schneider's mind is working clicketyclack. If he revs it up any more, the gears will strip.
At the first alarm, she willed Cornelio to mount into a narrow chimney, where, being denied scope to sit or lean for his ease, he stood upright upon a bar of iron rammed with stone and mortar into the masonry; where, having his drawn sword in his hand, he resembled the image of some naked Jupiter holding a thunderbolt in his fingers. And Plaudina, ready of wit in extremity, descended into the courtyard with the keys of the house in her hand to seek out the captain of the watch that was making such a roar within her gates. Finding him, she began to reprehend his dealing with many waspish words, demanding why he came at so indecent an hour and in unseemly order to break open the doors of her husband's palace and to abuse his reputation in his absence.
The Best Thing about A Name for Evil, a recently released film starring Robert Culp and Samantha Eggar, is its scenery—breath-taking mountain country and amply exposed anatomies. The screenplay is so convoluted that it's unlikely to advance the careers of either Culp or Miss Eggar, who plays his screen wife, but it has already done something for a movie newcomer, co-star Sheila Sullivan: She's since become Mrs. Culp. In the film, Miss Sullivan plays Luanna, a rural nymphet who meets architect John Blake (Culp) at a village square dance cum orgy—which may or may not have been a dream. For reasons not made entirely clear, Blake doesn't score with his wife in the sack; the screen synopsis implies he's impotent, while the movie itself hints that the problem is his ball-breaking spouse. Black and a Luanna, however, make it famously, both in a woodsy dell and underwater at the foot of a cascade—amazingly, without benefit of snorkels. Miss Sullivan's performance, her first in a movie, is considerably more prepossessing than her showbiz debut some years ago—as an usherette at Carnegie Hall. Later, however, she landed some plum Broadway roles—in Golden Boy and Play It Again, Sam, among others—before heading for Hollywood. Her second film, already out, is Hickey and Boggs, with Culp and his old I Spy sidekick, Bill Cosby; that, at least, had a better plot. This one is a ghost story about a man who, to quote the production notes, "flees the commercial coral reef by taking his wife to settle in an isolated, broken-down Southern mansion left to him by a great-great-grandfather." For his Southern mansion of the 1800s, producer Reed Sherman picked what looks like an abandoned Pacific Northwest tourist lodge, circa 1915, in the mountains of British Columbia. It was built before World War One as an escape sanctuary for Kaiser Wilhelm, who never got to use it. It's supposed to be haunted not by the Kaiser but by Blake's ancestor, whose evil presence induces Blake to kill his wife. Or does he? Frankly, we're not sure. But, like we said, you'll enjoy the scenery.
If one person can be described as the best backgammon player in the world, that man is Tim Holland. He has won more major tournaments than anyone else, and his contributions to the theory of backgammon, especially in its probability aspects, have transformed the game. Holland lives in New York but spends most of his time traveling around the world playing backgammon. We recently caught him at a tournament and talked him into providing these five pointers for pros. They won't mean much to you unless you're a bona fide backgammon freak, but if you are, they might help you cut into Holland's income.