The sexual revolution has been raging--if that's the word--for some time, but until now no one has attempted to measure its effects empirically. Since the first Kinsey results were published in 1948, little has been done in the United States to determine accurately what changes have taken place in our sex lives. The Playboy Foundation retained a research organization to poll a representative cross section of the adult population to provide some of this information. Morton Hunt, a veteran human-behavior writer, who is the author of The Natural History of Love and The Mugging, was assigned to interpret this data for a series in Playboy. He and his wife, Bernice Kohn, interviewed in depth 200 of the 2026 respondents to supplement the basic survey information obtained from a comprehensive questionnaire. Sexual Behavior in the 1970s presents an overview of the insights gained from this survey. During the next five months. The Playboy Forum will include special sections presenting additional material from the work, including findings concerning premarital and marital sex, extra-and postmarital sex, masturbation and variant sexual practices, including homosexuality. The entire Hunt report will be compiled into one volume to be published by Playboy Press.
Playboy, October, 1973, Volume 20, Number 10. 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 $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 North Michigan Avenue, 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; 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 Street; Southeastern representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Road, N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30305.
Tell it like it is, sister: According to The Dallas Morning News, a lady management consultant for the General Electric company told an audience of career-oriented females at Texas Christian University that a woman who wishes to enter business or industrial management "has a natural opening she can capitalize on."
Sex counseling has finally found its logical setting--a swinging singles night spot on New York's East Side. Since Group Therapy (550 Third Avenue), an intimate bar-restaurant, substituted stand-up psychotherapists for comedians and jazz combos, business has boomed. And why not? It's the only place in town where you can get a technical opinion about multiple orgasms or ejaculatory competence while having a drink and looking over the possibilities for an evening's companionship. "No one listens to more problems than a bartender or a night-club owner," says ex-Playboy bartender and Group Therapy owner Jerry Lepson. So he decided to professionalize the answers. Currently, four trained therapists--three clinical psychologists (one female) and a woman psychiatrist who specializes in sex counseling--take turns at the microphone to moderate the rap sessions (once a night Wednesday and Thursday, twice nightly Friday and Saturday). Patrons are provided with pencils and pads on which to write their questions. The night we were there, psychologist George Cohen (who has a private practice and also teaches) split the 50-minute hour with psychiatrist Merle Kroop (who is on the staff of a sex-counseling clinic). Their technique combined humor (Question: "How come my girlfriend doesn't have orgasms?" Answer: "How do you know--are you with her all the time?"), serious discussion on such topics as primal scream therapy and an attempt to open up the question-and-answer format to general discussion ("Here's a question on whether penis size is important ... anyone want to say anything about that?"). Since the crowd is generally hip, many of them having logged numerous psychotherapeutic hours on the receiving end, somebody usually does have something to say. Despite having to compete with hubbub, hecklers and heavy action at the bar, the therapists put on a bravura performance. They don't answer highly personal questions but are available after the show for private conversation. (Incidentally, none of the therapists has received any flak from professional organizations or from their private patients, and the doctors feel that what they're doing may encourage some people who need or want therapy to investigate it more seriously.) The ambience at Group Therapy is a mixture of old neighborhood tavern, early Freud and lots of corn. The walls are covered with phobia charts, Rorschach ink blots and quotes ("There are times when a cigar is just a cigar" --Freud). Waitresses and bartenders wear buttons proclaiming themselves Lay Analysts. The menu calls appetizers "First Session," and entrees that combine two dishes, i.e., chicken and ribs, are labeled "Schizophrenics." A-la-carte dinners, with entrees ranging from $3.95 to $5.95, offer substantial amounts of passable food; drinks are large; and there's a $5 minimum on Friday and Saturday nights, which covers food and drink. The whole thing may signal a new trend in night-club entertainment. Many of the questions, Dr. Cohen feels, serve to convey messages between people who want to use the therapist as a transmitter of mating calls. As one young lady said, as she departed with her new-found friend, "Do you know of a bar where there's a good gynecologist playing?" Telephone: 212-689-9670.
A few months back, a reader of this column sent us a limerick. That was a mistake. We never publish limericks in Playboy After Hours. They are the exclusive property of J. F. O'Connor, our Party Jokes Editor. Hyperenthusiastic readers might recall O'Connor's contribution to these pages in August 1972. when we asked him to provide us with the 12 most popular joke punch lines in modern America. He spent three months reading 250,000 jokes and then gave us the punch lines without including the jokes. (The winner was "Move over, girls, I have to gargle!")
Maybe you think you know all about sex. And all about cars. And sex and cars. And sex and cars and violence. Ha! In Crash (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), J. G. Ballard, hitherto known mainly for his sci-fi (you've read him in Playboy), lays into the whole syndrome like nothing you've even dreamed. Set in London, this scenario for a nightmare begins when Ballard (he tells it first person) skids into a head-on collision at 60 miles per hour. The other driver hurtles through his own windshield and dies spread-eagled on Ballard's hood. The victim's wife is saved by her seat belt, and for what seems like hours, she and Ballard sit there "locked together face to face ... the body of her dead husband lying between us." He finds it all strangely erotic, and after recovering from their minor injuries, he and the woman have a series of sexual encounters in various cars (they can't make it in bed) that somehow "recapitulated her husband's death, reseeding the image of his body in her...." Meanwhile, Ballard meets Vaughan, a crash-scarred ex-scientist, now a kind of "accident bum" for whom crash injuries "were the keys to a new sexuality born from a perverse technology." The story develops with ineluctable illogic, surrealist "reality," a mounting succession of hypnotic horrors circumstantially portrayed. Numerous aspects of this autoeroticism are explored in explicit detail, ending when Vaughan, now completely mad, is hurled to his death as he tries to crash into Elizabeth Taylor's limo. This was to be his way of raping her. He had long fantasized "the marriage of her body with the stylized contours of the car's interior," her wounds fusing together "her own sexuality and the hard technology of the automobile"--while he would die "at the moment of her orgasm." Maybe it all sounds pretty wild--but what nightmare isn't? Ballard can write, and though he frequently overwrites, it's hard not to get caught up in this verbal acid trip with its minatory vision of the sex-technology mystique. You may decide to trade in your car for a unicycle.
Aside from experiencing the piquant aroma of molten rubber mingling with the scent of burning leaves, there's another reason for visiting Akron, Ohio, this fall. It's to eat and drink at The Wine Merchant (1680 Merriman Road), an oenological haven where wine with your meal is a must--not only because the cellar is so impressive but also because the bearded, rotund owner, John Piscazzi, staunchly refuses to stock hard liquor. The fact that this pleasant little restaurant, which seats only 75, has prospered despite such a self-imposed handicap is testimony to both its extensive wine list (which features over 400 selections) and the quality of its cuisine. Piscazzi's menu has an international flavor. With his momma, Lucia, he whips up such delicacies as Carciòfi di Aragosta (stuffed baked artichoke hearts cooked with chunks of lobster in a creamed Soave wine sauce) and Sole Florentine (fillet of sole covering a spinach soufflé, topped with a cream wine sauce.) The sole, like all the other fish, is flown in fresh daily. Aside from about a dozen other entrees listed, there are two to six seafood specials, which change according to what fresh fish is available. Or, if you're lucky, you may arrive on a day when The Wine Merchant is featuring Steak Nomtanka, cooked with German, Oriental, French and oyster mushrooms--the latter freshly picked in nearby fields only in the spring and fall. It's a delightful dish, especially when sampled with a little-known Bordeaux--Croizet Bages 1957 at $15. All dinners at The Wine Merchant are served with soup, rice or vegetable and salad. The first course is either a handsome portion of onion soup, prepared in a way that would warm the heart of a Breton chef, or a wedding soup--tiny veal meatballs in broth. For those with mini-appetites, several imaginative sandwiches are also offered, including thick broiled bacon with melted cheese on Arab bread, breaded veal steak smothered in a sauce of wine and mushrooms on a toasted bun and broiled Italian homemade sausages on Arab bread. With the exception of the Middle Eastern variety, which Piscazzi says comes from the same source that provides for the Lebanese embassy in Washington, D.C., all the bread is baked on the premises. It would seem that the more fare the Piscazzis can prepare themselves, the better they--and their customers--seem to like it. The Wine Merchant is open from 5:30 P.M. to 1 A.M. Monday through Saturday. Master Charge and BankAmericard are accepted and reservations are strongly recommended (216-864-6222).
Ingmar Bergman's favorite cinematographer, Sven Nykvist, lets his considerable gifts carry him to the threshold of nirvana in Siddhartha, based on the modern classic by Hermann Hesse, whose books have been attracting hordes of young readers for more than a decade. Nykvist's dreamy images may give them just what they want--the beauty and tranquillity of ancient India, a sense of order, melting sunsets and incredibly pretty people in search of a spiritual idea. Two of India's top stars, Shashi Kapoor in the title role and Simi Garewal as the courtesan who teaches him the richness of sensual pleasure, are the chief ornaments of this deceptively simple tale about a young Brahman who tells his father, "I want to be free ... I want to be wild." Siddhartha then walks away from his religious teachers to find wisdom and the meaning of life through firsthand experience as a wandering sadhu, or holy man; as a wealthy rice merchant; finally, as a ferryman on a riverboat, where he attains peace in his old age. The ever-changing river, of course, is a metaphor for life itself; and Siddhartha's discovery that life is very simple, after all, holds irresistible appeal. Nykvist photographed Siddhartha on the estates of the maharaja of Bharatpur and near the holy city of Rishikesh (where the Beatles did their meditating not so many years ago). His camerawork is as restful as a stroll beside the sea hand in hand with a loved one, and such pastoral imagery matches the general level of perception achieved by adapter-producer-director Conrad Rooks, a 37-year-old independent film maker whose first and only previous feature was Chappaqna--a seldom shown but strikingly personal hallucination drawn from his experience with drugs. In Siddhartha, Rooks seems mainly a deadly earnest illustrator paying a fan's homage to Hesse.
Triumvirate (Columbia) brings together the talents of two third-rate rock stars, Mike Bloomfield and John Paul Hammond, and one great one, Dr. John. There's a long, dull story (part of which is printed on the sleeve) about how personal tensions and musical chaos almost prevented the album from coming off. Well, the tape probably should have been left in the can. The opener, Cha-Dooky-Doo, is pretty good, even Hammond's singing is passable, but Chris Ethridge's bass makes it. From this point on, the descent is rapid. Mike is generally off mike and John Paul's attempts to sing "da blooze" (as the pop press distinguishes the imitative variety) are, to put it charitably, uninspired. As the Doctor has told us brilliantly elsewhere, "I was in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time."
We asked the Chicago Sun-Time's Pulitzer Prize-winning television critic, Ron Powers (whose last Playboy contribution was June's interview with Walter Cronkite), to ponder the upcoming TV season. Here's his gloomy report:
This fall, Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival replaces the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center--and the dapper, dynamic producer promises revolution. As he has shown in his past battles, he is a willing infighter who wades into action, mouth first. The man chews on controversy like his ever-present cigar. When CBS booted Papp's production of David Rabe's Sticks and Bones from the network in March, Papp's cry of foul was heard coast to coast--and he allowed his projected four-year contract to lapse after only 11 months and one televised production, an updated version of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
Three years ago, I met an attractive and intelligent girl who had a notable sexual reputation around town. When I came into the picture, it was all sex at first, but gradually we became very attached and we now see each other daily. We are both 26, and she is becoming preoccupied with her age and future, especially as regards marriage. My family is prominent in this rather small town and I seem to have inherited some hang-ups as a result. Despite my need for her physically, emotionally and intellectually, and my deep and profound feelings about her, I still have a funny feeling when we are out in public, because I cannot seem to forget her past. And neither can my friends nor my family, who do not wholly accept her. I wish neither to leave her nor to marry her, but she won't wait through my indecision forever. Do you see a way to resolve my dilemma?--F. R., Conway, Arkansas.
It is one of the most amazing things about the ingeniousness of the times that strong arguments are made, which almost convince me, that it is very foolish of me to think "no law" means no law. But what it says is "Congress shall make no law. ..." Then I move on to the words, "abridging the freedom of speech or of the press." It says Congress shall make no law doing that. What it means--according to a current philosophy that I do not share--is that Congress shall be able to make just such a law unless we judges object too strongly. ... It says "no law" and that is what I believe it means. ... My view is, without deviation, without exception, without any ifs, buts or whereases, that freedom of speech means that you shall not do something to people either for the views they have or the views they express or the words they speak or write.
For the past 13 years, the ever-profitable and ever-growing National Football League has been ruled adroitly by Pete Rozelle, an outwardly unobtrusive 47-year-old who has quietly managed to become the most powerful sports czar of the century. With a well-deserved reputation for being slicker than greasy kid stuff, he has not only upgraded the image of pro football but presided over the elevation of the sport to a financial plateau that would once have been considered unimaginable. Last season, the 26 N. F. L. teams played before an all-time high of more than 15,000,000 fans--and cut up a television pie of approximately $45,000,000. Since Rozelle's appointment as league commissioner, pro football has replaced baseball as our national pastime, and such is the sport's popularity that in many N. F. L. cities, the only way to acquire a season ticket is to have one willed to you.
America is in the Midst of a sexual-liberation movement. In the quarter century since Dr. Alfred Kinsey made his celebrated census of American sexual behavior, there have been dramatic increases in the frequency with which most Americans engage in various sexual activities and in the number of persons who include formerly rare or forbidden techniques in their sexual repertoires. This distinct trend toward liberation--long intuitively recognized but never confirmed by actual measurement--has now been investigated in an extensive national survey funded by the Playboy Foundation. The survey, conducted by a private research organization, studied the sexual attitudes and behavior of 2026 persons in 24 cities and suburban areas; it re-examined most of the sexual practices studied by Kinsey and his associates, and thus provides measurements of change. In a few instances, it explored areas of behavior not reported on in the Kinsey research.
Dr. Rokoff had not expected anyone that afternoon--his few remaining patients came at fixed intervals--and the prolonged ringing at the door of his one-room office and home seeped into his dream as part of the clamor that had come over Shanghai in the month or so since the end of the war. He saw himself, in this dream, at a soiree at the czarist officers' club, perusing one of the local English-language newspapers with the help of his pocket dictionary. The newspaper referred to the war tidily as World War Two. He contemplated the others, standing silently with bowed heads. "Gentlemen, put this down in your field dispatches: September 27, 1945. We are outflanked. Our World War, the World War, is now only World War One." From the wall a painting of Nicholas II in an admiral's uniform gazed vacuously into the middle distance, as though the Autocrat of All the Russias were secretly passing wind. Dr. Rokoff downed a vodka, killed the taste with some herring--vile stuff both, the buffet was better in World War One--and drifted out into the night.
You don't Easily Forget a name like Sacheen Littlefeather--especially if it's associated with a face as arresting and singular as hers. The first time most people encountered Sacheen was at the Academy Awards ceremonies last March, when she made an unscheduled appearance to announce Marlon Brando's rejection of the Best Actor award. "I was acting less on behalf of Brando," Sacheen explains, "than as a representative of the American Indian Affirmative Image Committee."Political activism is a big part of the life of the 26-year-old Apache, but only part of it. "Most reporters," she says, "glossed over the fact that I'm an actress. So far, I've had only a couple of cameo roles--in The Laughing Police. man with Walter Matthau and Freebie and the Bean with James Caan--and one minor part in an Italian film, America. But I've learned to be patient and develop a sense of humor about my work. I mean, why else would I play a prostitute in America if I didn't want to get back at all those Italian actors who play Indians?" So far, she thinks the dues paying is worth it. "Acting makes me happy," she says, "I only hope I can make others just as happy watching me." No problem there, Sacheen.
The Time is Moving day plus one; the place, your new digs, where the furniture hasn't even begun to scrape up acquaintances with the floors and walls; the people, a number of your easygoingest friends from your old fiefdom. You can be sure that when you phone your invitations, your invitees will get the impression--what with the nervewrenching ordeal of uprooting, transporting and replanting--that you're the captain of the Titanic asking them to join you on the bridge. And that's the secret of your party's success. The very fact that a (continued on page 182) Pad Warmer (continued from page 100) dinner party among rolled-up rugs and vacant bookshelves seems so wildly out of gear fosters a what-the-hell spirit that makes the big platter of browned Bratwurst, the foaming beer and the shrimp, apple and pistachio salad twice as tempting as they would be if offered in a well-ordered dining room with every bread-and-butter dish and every little saltcellar meticulously in place.
I came whipping into the pits at 97 miles an hour with all my brakes gone. This little move is absolutely, flat guaranteed to give everybody a little thrill right down the line--and I could see all the other crews hopping right up on top of the pit wall as I came past, with the car doing wide, sweeping fishtails. And when I figured I had it slowed down just enough, I double-clutched the balls out of it and popped that rascal right into reverse. And I came sliding right up against Lugs Harvey's belly button.
This is a beegle, the first mutant species that we discovered on our historic voyage shortly after World War Eleven.* It is a cross between a bee and an eagle. Scores of these saucer-eyed birds swarmed about our ship as we neared the Panama Straits.
Cruising along the Isthmus of Australia enabled us to study several new species that have sprung up there*--notably, the buckaroo. As our waggish first mate put it, "Wallaby damned! This here's buckaroo country!"
This is an unretouched photo of the vicious blackhead, a cross between a black widow and a copperhead. Blackheads live on greasy plains near virgin forests and usually come out the night before a prom. Blackheads mate once, after which the female kills the male by squeezing its head off.
This little bugger is an armadildo, a cross between an armadillo and a personal vibrator. It is a nocturnal, burrowing animal that ranges throughout North America--although colonies tend to concentrate in girls' school, in convents and in the Houston suburbs near Mission Control.
This is a tortilla,* a cross between a tortoise and a gorilla. It is found deep within the jungles of Mexico but occasionally can be found atop a thatched skyscraper, brandishing a native girl and fending off villagers in their crude airplanes.
With its tiny bobwhite's head on its graceful manta ray's body, this animal is a bob-'n'-ray. We kept one specimen on board ship for a while, but after coughing up a lot of dry humor, it gave a last, plaintive mating call--"Wa-lee-balooo!"--and died. We were sorry to see it go--it had been a good skate. However, we found it had left us two bob-'n'-ray eggs in the crow's-nest; and when they hatched, we nursed the infants on a diet of Piel's beer. We named one of them Bob and the other Ray, but no one could ever remember which was which.
The vamoose is a breed of flying, bloodsucking elk that inhabits the Transylvanian north woods. It is classified as an endangering species, as it comes out at night to prey on unsuspecting giraffes or to lurk around the deposit windows of all-night blood banks. It always returns before sunrise to sleep in an abandoned World War Five bomb shelter. It can be blinded by the sight of a silver TV antenna but can only be killed by driving a ham-burger through its heart (due to the high price of a good steak nowadays).
Playboy's History of Organized Crime, Part III: Slicing up the Big Apple
There are no commemorative plaques on the benches in New York's Central Park, but maybe there ought to be. The nation's elder statesman Bernard Baruch sat on one of them for years, holding court, philosophizing, advising, handing down judgments that would influence the direction of the nation and the world. And just inside the southern boundary of the park on 59th Street, there is another bench where, during the decade after World War One, an underworld elder statesman, Arnold Rothstein, held court, listened to propositions, philosophized and handed down advice.
"Just a Trim, please. A little off the top, and leave the sides full." "OK," says the barber as he turns on his clippers--and proceeds to give you white sidewalls. It's happened to almost all men at one time or another--not so often, perhaps, since the transformation of barbershops into "men's hair-styling" salons, but the prospect of hair spray and Hot Combs can still make a man a mite uneasy when he climbs into that revolving chair. It's not that way, fortunately, at Mr. Ron's in Newport Beach, California, where Valerie Lane is ready and able to reassure all her nervous customers. "When I first started my job, I couldn't believe how uptight most guys were when they walked in. Usually, they were carrying some wadded-up picture showing a great-looking guy with this tremendous head of hair, and they'd say, 'I want my hair to look like this.' Well, that's fine, except they might have four hairs on their head, and they expect me to make them look like the guy in the picture. But I can identify with their apprehension. I was always scared to death to get my hair done for fear of what some beauty operator would do to it." Keeping in mind that the customer is always right, Valerie handles these situations delicately. "I try to explain to guys that all faces aren't structured the same way and suggest ways to style their hair so it'll look good for them. I mean, if someone with a really round face comes in, chances are he'll ask for a hair style that's flat on the sides and full on top, thinking that'll make his face look longer. Actually, that would just make his face look fatter. I have to tell him that the sides should be full, so his face will be better proportioned." Valerie has been styling men's hair since she was graduated from high school in Long Beach. "I didn't want to go to college," she explains, "and I wanted to make some money right away. At first I thought about going to beauty school, but a guy I was dating at the time kind of jokingly suggested that I become a men's hair stylist instead. 'Hey,' I said, 'that's not a bad idea.' It sounded kind of fun, and there weren't many women doing it, so the unique aspect of the work appealed to me. I took a styling course and started. Mr. Ron's is the only place I've worked." But that's not where she plans to stay. "Eventually, I'd like to open my own shop," says Valerie. "In fact. I'd like to open a couple of them, and I sometimes fantasize that if they were successful enough, I'd have other people run and staff them. That way I'd have to work in the shop only a few days a week. That would be ideal." Perhaps for her, but it's certainly not the way a whole lot of customers would prefer it.
The couple was divorced but remained good friends. When the man happened to break his arm, he called up his ex-wife one night and asked if she could possibly come over to help him take a bath, and she readily agreed. After she had helped him into the tub and had begun washing his back, she noticed a change gradually take place in his anatomy.
This Fall and winter will be the seasons of the which--the question being, of course, which outfits to select from the almost limit less variety of looks that are now acceptable. Perhaps a cardigan with a bow tie? Or a three-piece suit with an open shirt? Or something in tweeds, flannels, muted plaids, belted or wrap styles? Do it. just as long as whatever you choose does justice to your psyche and physiognomy. And the best part of all is, there's no higher fashion authority than your mirror. Hello, you well-dreased devil, you.
Gila Bend. You pronounce it Heela Bend, and I get annoyed with people who give it a hard G, as in Garbo. It has some meaning to me. The first "serious" story I ever published (see Antioch Review, turn of the century) begins, "High above the desert at Gila Bend...." Ten years after I left the Air Force, my best friend, who stayed in and became a fighter pilot, took a plane into the desert in that area. I went out to get a look at what was left of him: a scarf, some medals and ribbons, a citation, all under glass in a large frame. They said it (continued on page 158) Burt Reynolds (continued from page 131) was an accident, but I never bought it. I knew him and I knew the way he drove. So it's important, at minimum, to get it pronounced right. Gila Bend. With an H up front.
A lot has been happening around the world of Playboy Clubs and Club-Hotels, we found as we begin our annual survey of Playboy's Bunnies, who now number 1000. In Los Angeles, the Club moved this summer from its old Sunset Strip location to brand-new quarters in Century City. Earlier, the Montreal Club had pulled up stakes and gone to new premises on Mountain Street, and plans for relocation of the Detroit Club are expected to be announced soon. After a two-month summer closing for extensive remodeling, the Miami Club is reopening at the same address, on Biscayne Boulevard, but with a completely new look and expanded live entertainment. And overseas in England, the Portsmouth Casino Club is in full swing and the Manchester Casino Club is due to open shortly (with discothèque and restaurant as added attractions). All of this is being enjoyed by a record total of keyholders: just over 1,000,000. Warning: If you're one of them, and you plan to game with Playboy at its English casinos in London, Portsmouth or (soon) Manchester, (text continued on page 142) you must register on the premises 48 hours in advance of play. That's the British law and it's ironclad.
Like Many of Us, Mr. West sometimes found it difficult to make decisions. But unlike many of us, he refused to seek irrational forms of assistance. No matter how acute his problem, he refused to let himself be guided by The I Ching, or by spreading the tarot cards, or by consulting a horoscope. He was a large, glum, secretive man who worked for the New York accounting firm of Adwell, Gipper and Gascoigne and believed that everyone should make up his own mind in a rational manner. The way Mr. West did this was by referring his problems to a Voice in his head. The Voice always told him what to do and the Voice was always right. Mr. West's Voice-in-head system worked well (continued on page 184) Voices (continued from page 143) for many years. But trouble came during the week when the engineers were testing the generators in the newly constructed Conglomerate Building across the street from his apartment. It must also be mentioned that sunspot activity was unusually high that week, cosmic-ray output reached a ten-year maximum and the Van Allen belts temporarily shifted four degrees to the south.
They loom large in our lives, these people who make music. Some are stars who can hardly leave the house without getting attacked and whose private lives are of interest to millions; others are folks who slip around unnoticed, until they pick up their instruments and start to play. All of them--assuming that they reach us and we listen--get inside our heads; and thanks to the media, they're brought to us from just about everywhere: the swamp and the concert hall, Hollywood and Harlem, Nashville and Memphis. Some would say it's unfair to have them compete. But our poll is no test of their skills, except their ability to make friends and influence people; it's a census of our readership, which is large enough to include people of all musical persuasions. So press on to your ballot and the instructions for using it; honor the music makers who've added something to your life. They'll appreciate it.
When the confederacy became troubled by a shortage of niter, which was essential to the production of gunpowder, an enterprising agent of the Niter and Mining Bureau in Selma, Alabama, decided to try an untapped source. On October 1, 1863, he inserted in the Selma Sentinel the following notice:
Ah, 1973. When life was simpler, when coffee was still 26 cents to go, when Watergate was still fresh and exciting rather than a part of our daily ablutions. ... Remember? Remember how Senator Sam would lean over to Senator Howard and whisper something, and they'd both giggle, and you'd feel kind of ... tingly all over? Were you the type of person who hoped the camera would zoom in on John Dean's face just as he was about to make an important point? Or were you the kind who hoped the camera would zoom in on Maureen Dean's legs just as she was about to cross them? No matter. We all became Watergate addicts of one kind or another back then, and most of us got hooked for good. So let's take a trip through memory lane together, to those good old days that began and ended with the crash of a gavel--before the Watergate series went into reruns.
Slouched in the chair of his large, glass-walled Chicago office, U. S. District Attorney James Thompson talks on the phone, telling a reporter that it's much too early for him to think about running for mayor. After the call, he turns to a visitor and says, "Guessing who's going to succeed Daley is the favorite pastime of political reporters here. If they get someone who looks like a halfway-decent candidate and he doesn't deny his interest, that just fans the flames to a white heat in this town." Certainly, Thompson is more than halfway decent. After his appointment in 1971, he launched a massive attack on political corruption in the mother-lode city of such connivings--prosecuting Cook County Clerk Edward Barrett, numerous aldermen and, in his most significant conviction to date, former governor Otto Kerner, whose reputation had been that of a clean--if stiffly starched--public official. Since then, "Big Jim" (he's 6'6" and weighs 230 pounds) has been almost daily news, which he doesn't mind at all. At a conference of U. S. attorneys, he and a colleague held a tongue-in-cheek impromptu seminar, telling fellow Federal prosecutors, "TV-news people love visuals. If you can show them a bag of heroin or a confiscated arsenal of rifles, you'll get 30 seconds on the air any time." He was joking, but there's no denying that he knows how to get coverage, and that ability, together with his sincere outrage at official malfeasance, has made him the most important, and feared, Republican in town. It's also prompted speculation about his future, although he recently declined an offer to head Nixon's new narcotics-enforcement administration. "I want to stay in Chicago," said Thompson. So he's busy looking for a town house on the city's Near North Side and has spotted at least one he particularly admires. "It's Cardinal Cody's mansion," he says; then he winks and adds, "It would be perfect for me: a big, stately place with a coach house in back, where the mayoral cabinet could meet."
If He Hadn't given up his charter-flight seat to a friend back in February 1959, the world might have known Waylon Jennings only as an accident statistic. The flight ended in a crash outside Mason City, Iowa, killing all aboard, including Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J. P. "Big Bopper" Richardson, the guy to whom Waylon--who was then vocalist and bass side-man with Holly's group, The Crickets--gave his seat. Instead, columnists are now speculating that Jennings could make it as "the performer of 1973," and fellow artist Kris Kristofferson has called him, simply, "the best country singer in the world." But it's been a slow climb for Jennings, who's been singing for his supper for nearly 25 of his 36 years. He was pretty broken up by the airplane tragedy: "I just kinda quit for quite a little while," he drawls. He went back to Lubbock, and later to Phoenix, to work as a disc jockey--an occupation he had taken up at the age of 12 for radio station KVOW in his native Little-field. Texas, a place he describes as "out in the suburbs of a cotton patch." The local station manager recruited Jennings after hearing him sing at a box supper. "I was so scared I like to died. I learned two songs--and then went and sang one of them clear through to the tune of the other." By the early Sixties, a more seasoned Jennings was ready to form his own group, the Waylors. Since 1965, Jennings--who now lives outside Nashville with his wife of four years, singer-composer Jessi Colter--has been recording for RCA, with some 20 albums to his credit. He thinks the last two, Lonesome, On'ry and Mean and Honky Tonk Heroes, which he's produced himself, will make the difference. "Everybody had ideas of how I should sound instead of how I did sound," he says. "Now I'm just going to go ahead and do my own thing. It's not the instrument or the arrangement that makes country music; it's the soul and the performance. Otherwise, Dean Martin could be the biggest country singer in the world."
"I always wanted to be the Great American Novelist," muses John Leonard. "After three novels, it was clear I wasn't going to make it." Instead, as editor of The New York Times Book Review, Leonard is probably the most powerful man in American book publishing--not a bad consolation prize. And a lucky break for literary buffs. Controversial, argumentative, often feisty, Leonard's new Review has shaken the mildew out of literary criticism. "I want it to be more than a shopping guide," he says. "We'll launch introspections, publish career essays, interview everybody in sight, even, occasionally, declare war." Unconventional is the best word for the Review and its 34-year-old editor, whose career is a zigzag of left to right and East to West. After flunking out of Harvard in 1958, he was discovered by William F. Buckley, Jr., who put him to work on the conservative National Review. "I was always vaguely liberal," Leonard recalls. "Buckley helped radicalize me." He moved on to Berkeley, where he was director of drama and books for San Francisco's radical FM station, KPFA. After a first novel, The Naked Martini, Leonard moved East again, this time to work with migrant apple pickers in New Hampshire. In 1967, The New York Times hired him first as book previewer, then as critic--and he found his métier. Witty, urbane, scathingly precise, his reviews have run the topical gamut from Nabokov to The Partridge Family. On Hubert Humphrey: "One doubts that Humphrey could inspire bacilli to connive at anthrax." On Jean Genet: "The only thing more irritating than a novel by Genet is a critical text on his fiction." On Merv Griffin: "Merv always comes on like Charlie Brown in a rep tie." Chiefly an editor now, Leonard still finds time to write--surprise!--the ubiquitous "Cyclops" column formerly in Life and Newsweek, now in the Sunday Times. "Editing a magazine," he says, "has none of the grosser ego satisfactions of a regular column; but there are subtle pleasures attached to it." We've noticed.