Mario Puzo started something with The Godfather. But it's important to remember that he didn't exactly discover the Mob. It has been around for some time now and just may be prospering long after the boom in Mafia books has faded and died, because hoods have always performed a service, filled a need--which Puzo pointed out in his book--and as long as there are buyers, sellers will be there to provide them with the goods.
Playboy, August, 1973, Volume 20, Number 8. Published monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 N. 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 $15 per year. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of address: Send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Marketing: Robert A. Gutwillig, Marketing Director; Emery Smyth, Marketing Services 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, 747 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10017; Chicago, Sherman Keats, 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, 417 Montgomery St.; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Road, N. E., Atlanta, Georgia 30305.
Foul is fare: As has been said before, a cab ride can be one of life's little pleasures. A few fares ago, a friend of ours was privileged to overhear the following conversation over the two-way radio while on his way to a destination he can't remember.
The relatively few cognoscenti who support night clubs in Los Angeles find it hard to comprehend how or why The Comedy Store has survived for over a year. Its address is shared by a Sunset Strip white elephant that failed in previous incarnations as a lure for homosexuals and female impersonators. Its cramped, dank quarters are furnished with what appear to be Goodwill markdowns. Fortunately, no food is served; just bar booze, local beer and a couple of cheap California wines. Only a handful of tables and booths are occupied before midnight. S.R.O. audiences are rare.
With his elegantly ironic writing style and quirky perceptions, Murray Kempton has long been one of the few distinctive American journalists. For many years, as a columnist, he brought class to the New York Post. Currently, he writes for Playboy and The New York Review of Books, among other publications; is a regular commentator on CBS Radio's Spectrum; and works as a fellow at Chicago's Adlai Stevenson Institute, where he is researching a book on the Fifties that, he assures us, "will give proper space to such forces of that time as James Dean and Charlie Parker." An earlier Kempton book, Part of Our Times: Some Ruins and Monuments of the 1930s, remains an invaluable interpretation of the social and political history of that decade.
Houston may have been the first word spoken on the moon, but it's never been the last word in dining out. The best cooking in Space City is still done at home, forcing those who don't feel like doing it themselves to vie for tables at the handful of restaurants that serve really exceptional cuisine. Among the best of them is Tony's (1801 South Post Oak Road). The mere mention of this place can send Texans reaching for guns to debate whether the Veal Bolognaise, with its tomatoes and mushrooms, is superior to the Veal Laserre, with its lemon, white wine and artichoke hearts. If you're in doubt, ask the owner--Tony Vallone--who, at 28, is a tradition in a town where they demolish buildings almost as soon as the paint's dry. Tony stands guard over his domain, ladling out gourmandial suggestions with his lobster bisque. "I have more dishes off the menu than on it," he explains, "so if you don't see what you like, just ask." You might be told that the Tomatoes Emincé (sliced tomatoes covered with an ample helping of cold crab meat) was excellent that evening--and the fresh asparagus. Then there is Tony's delicious Rack of Lamb with Braised Endive and Pommes Soufflé for two, or perhaps his Whole Roast Duckling Bigarade (with orange sauce), also for two. Should your date not share your taste for any of these, simply tell your waiter and he'll see you get a portion for one. The menu is only a general guideline, not a marching order. (While deciding on your entrees, you might also order your Grand Marnier Soufflés, as they take 40 minutes and Tony is not one to rush things.) "Everything I serve I'm proud of," he says modestly. "My veal is flown in from Minnesota and my butcher picks the best. Otherwise, I do my own buying every morning. The only thing frozen in my kitchen is the ice cream." You may wish to begin your evening at Tony's with drinks in the intimate cocktail lounge just off the entrance before moving to your table in the elegant dining room with its claret-colored walls and carpets. Or, should you wish to host a small private party, you can even reserve Tony's wine cellar and dine among 40,000 bottles of very good years. Make that 39,996 bottles. An oilman from River Oaks just bought four Jeroboams of Lafite 1961 from Tony for $2200. Honest. Tony's is open from 11:30 A.M. to 3 P.M. and from 6 P.M. to midnight every day but Sunday. Reservations are usually in order (713-622-6778), since the word is out that a meal at Tony's ranks somewhere between mi Oilers touchdown and a NASA splashdown. American Express, BankAmericard and Master Charge are accepted.
Fact and fiction were woven together with formidable storytelling skill in Frederick Forsyth's best seller The Day of the Jackal, which described the attempt of a professional killer to assassinate Charles de Gaulle in 1963. The movie that director Fred Zinnemann has drawn from the book is professional, cool, intelligent, fastidious in its attention to detail and mounted with impeccable taste. Yet Zinnemann--whose impressive credits include The Nun's Story and A Man for All Seasons--is a precision worker, not a performer of high-tension tricks that leave a viewer too bedazzled to start asking logical questions. Onscreen, Jackal emerges as a close contest between two competing supertechnologies--the technology of crime as practiced by the title character (Jackal is a code name for the hit man hired by French-army dissidents who can't forgive De Gaulle's liberation of Algeria) and the technology of detection as practiced by a task force of international experts under the dogged Inspector Thomas (Tony Britton). Who will win the game? His cover blown, his fake passport discovered, the Jackal escapes by a hair on several occasions, adopts cunning disguises and murders at least four people who block his way to a public date with Le Grand Charles on a gala Liberation Day in Paris. Watching Edward Fox, as the Jackal, is like watching a coiled snake. Whether he is quietly strangling a lady he lures into bed or doing away with a homosexual he picks up in a Turkish bath, there is no human side to his malevolence. In a world made to look absolutely real, far from those realms of total fantasy where James Bond proves that anything can happen, one has time to wonder: How does he manage his sleight of hand with passports? How does he get paint for his car? How does he know that a particular room in a particular rooming house will be empty and unguarded at the very moment he needs it for fixing his telescopic sight upon De Gaulle? This is The Day of the Jackal, all right--but with not nearly enough of that old seat-grabbing suspense.
The first week of May, two assemblies of the fourth estate convened celebratorily in Washington. One was the American Society of Newspaper Editors (average age: 55); the other, more lively and contentious, was the second annual A. J. Liebling counterconvention of far younger reporters from both the straight and the alternative (nee underground) press. The latter event, with its accompanying contingents of press groupies and journalism students, was held under the auspices of [More], a journalism review.
It will be recalled that certain rabbis put down TV's Bridget Loves Bernie for being "definitely offensive to the Jewish people," as Lenny Bruce phrased it in a similar context. What would these cats have to say about Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys? Well, Lenny would have liked 'em, and Sold American (Vanguard) is a gas: country music from a sometimes Jewish point of view. Particularly great are two comic numbers, Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed and The Ballad of Charles Whitman. The former pits the country chauvinist against them uppity women who visit the shrink, pass out pamphlets and burn bras. Whitman celebrates the notorious Texas tower sniper and has apparently aroused some furor in the state:
"This is my last commercial fling," announced director Peter Hall when he began rehearsals for the $900,000 spaceage musical Via Galactica. He immediately regretted his choice of words. "What is flung," he realized, "comes down with a crash." Two months later, Hall's words proved prophetic. Galactica opened at the plush new Uris Theater--the largest on Broadway--received disastrous notices, was shunned by the paying public and closed five days later.
For a year, I've been dating a 20-year-old divorcee. We've been open about our past experiences and about what turns us on sexually. Our sex lives have been about the same, though she has had fewer partners but longer affairs than I. I've never doubted my ability in bed, but our frankness has given me cause to worry. Recently, my girlfriend admitted that she could attain a greater orgasm through masturbation, using a stream of water from the bathtub faucet, than she has had with any man she has known. I contend that I should be able to bring her to the same heights. Am I right? Can a man bring a woman to as strong an orgasm as she can receive by artificial means? So far, she has not complained and swears that our lovemaking has been fulfilling. I know that I should be happy with her contentment, but I have no desire to lose her due to a lack of ability on my part. What should I do?--L. M., Detroit, Michigan.
The lovely gold-medal-winning swimmer was amorously indisposed when her bedside phone rang one evening. Since she'd been waiting for a talk-show call, she answered it. "I'm the sports director of the Y. W. C. A.," the caller said, "and I was wondering if someone in your position could possibly teach our youngsters the proper swimming techniques."
Where will the next confrontation of superpowers take place? ... The Golan heights? ... Berlin? ... Guantánamo? Considering the rush of Global events, it will probably be at the manhattan Chess Club. Anticipating that fact, the world practices and plays chess, and thus do we open on an exhibition, pitting the renowned bobby fishey against 40 players including our own favorite little Chess piece, who has been placed in the match by the ever-hopeful Ralphie Towzer --