Man, so the saying goes, was invented because God was disappointed with the monkey. This is probably not true, but even if it is, the improvement is dubious. But here we are, for better or for worse, and the fact remains that we evolved from something that was not as handsome, articulate or suave as we are. What, in fact, was this something, this first blushing creature to emerge from the swamp? Nobody knows for sure, but in recent years paleontologists have been making some remarkable breakthroughs. To report on these and to generally explore the ooze whence we all came, Richard Rhodes traveled 9000 miles to Africa. Back in 1957, when Rhodes was but a college sophomore in search of adventure, he wrote to the late great Louis Leakey for a job and passage to Kenya. Leakey responded in the negative, so Rhodes stayed in college, harboring a quiet but gnawing obsession. Fifteen years later, we sent him to Kenya, where he viewed, among other phenomena, the skull of what is now considered to be the first human being. "When I saw the skull in its white case in that dilapidated museum in Nairobi," Rhodes reports, "the first thing I thought of was the moon rocks and how so much time had passed, how so much had happened in those 3,000,000 years." In Goodbye to Darkest Africa, brought to visual life by artist Charles Lilly, Rhodes captures the mysteries that still lurk in man's first neighborhood.
Playboy, November, 1973, Volume 20. Number 11. 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.
Big-time European-style bicycle racing has crossed the Atlantic, and a teenager's match was recently held in Manhattan's Central Park. During the race, five competitors were mugged and four had their bicycles stolen.
Silhouetted by floodlights against a craggy mountainside near San Luis Obispo on the coast of central California, the gaudy pink-and-white expanse of the Madonna Inn (Highway 101 and Madonna Road) looks like a bad dream of Busby Berkeley's. A 300-acre complex of rococo gingerbread spires, towers, minarets and balconies resembling a landlocked Mississippi showboat tossed hopelessly off course on a bed of rocks and boulders, it stands unchallenged as a masterpiece of kitsch.
For want of anything better to do, the good citizens of Victoria, Texas, recently held their Third First Annual International Armadillo Confab and Exposition--three days of improbable contests, dedicated beer drinking and unstructured hell raising. It was truly a Texas bash: more than 40,000 people, old and young, cowboys and long-hairs, local families and out-of-town college students, harmoniously guzzling 300 kegs of "1973 beer at 1953 prices"--25 cents a 12-ounce cup--and carousing to the music of bands playing everything from rock to rankest hillbilly.
It looks like him, or rather a miraculously rejuvenated vision of his world-weary frame. The same high hard cheekbones, the hooded brown eyes, the same thickly sensuous lower lip that has had them squirming for close to a decade now, the same languorously punky Cockney drawl when he talks.
Washington journalist Robert Sherrill's The Saturday Night Special (Charterhouse) is a continuously interesting series of probes into what might be called the psychohistory of this country. The subtitle gives a partial idea of its scope: "And Other Guns with Which Americans Won the West. Protected Bootleg Franchises, Slew Wildlife, Robbed Countless Banks, Shot Husbands Purposely and by Mistake and Killed Presidents--Together with the Debate Over Continuing Same." There is also a history of the business of guns; a morphology of the National Rifle Association and even an explication of the Second Amendment in which Sherrill quotes constitutionalist Irving Brant: "The purpose of the Second Amendment was to forbid Congress to prohibit the maintenance of a state milion. By its nature, amendment cannot be transformed into a personal right to bear arms." As for the book's title, Saturday-night special was a term coined by Detroit lawmen in the late Fifties because the citizens there were buying a lot of artillery "to satisfy the passions of Saturday night." Sherrill includes all kinds of statistics. Among the more intriguing: Five million new handguns are produced in the U.S. every year for civilian consumption. As for the notion that civilians need guns to protect their homes, Sherrill notes that "householders succeed in shooting home robbers less than two percent of the time and home burglars less than .2 percent of the time." Sherrill spares no one, not even the police, who, according to his thesis, should be the first to lay down their arms, because they are morally inferior to the rest of the community. This book is likely to start many a Saturday-night argument.
Ten years ago this month, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The question of who killed him is still open for many who find the Warren Commission's conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin even more difficult to swallow than New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's wild charges of a conspiracy that, in retrospect, becomes less unthinkable with every new Watergate headline. Executive Action, scheduled for release this month, promises to fan all the doubts--and might even rouse the public to demand that the investigation be officially reopened. In the film, Burt Lancaster, the late Robert Ryan and Will Geer all portray wealthy right-wingers who successfully mastermind a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy. Executive Action will probably be compared to Z, yet it differs from the Costa Gavras shocker in at least one significant aspect: Z's conspirators were known to be real. The men who made Executive Action readily admit that the conspiracy they've depicted may not be literally true, yet they relate to it as approximate fact. Says executive producer Edward Lewis, "What the nation has been told about John F. Kennedy's death is patently false. In Executive Action, we offer a far more reasonable and plausible explanation for what happened in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963."
Led Zeppelin has taken its share of shit from the rock press. It was putdown in 1969 for being yet another British group blasting out blues past the threshold ofpain; and just lately, in an album review that found it too quietly ethereal, Rolling Stone renamed it the Limp Blimp.
Hearing that San Francisco's Japan-town houses one of the secrets with which those little black-silk-suited businessmen from the East have conquered the world for Sony, Toyota and the yen, Playboy asked fretful, tense, inscrutable correspondent Herbert Gold to investigate. He sent back this limber, hydrated, brain-aerated communiqué from the Kabuki Hot Spring, 1750 Geary Boulevard:
Visiting a singles bar is a nerve-shattering experience for me. I am rendered speechless by the sheer number of women. I guess it's the old problem of not being able to see a tree for the forest. Some guys can walk up to and out with really attractive girls after exchanging a few words. Do you know their secret?--S. K., Hartford, Connecticut.
Sexual Behavior in the 1970s Part II: Premarital Sex
I didn't know what great was.... I've been going with a girl for a year now, and with her, everything we do is special. I'm not just in there to have myself a time--I'm making love to her, and she to me. --Male, 24 (carpenter)
In a scene near the end of the film "Deliverance," Jon Voight stands on the bank of a gently flowing river, watching as men throw grappling hooks into the water and drag the bottom for a body. He is approached by a man dressed in a khaki uniform and wearing a gun: the sheriff. He is a much bigger man than Voight, has the build of an aging ex--football player who has let himself go but can still call on a reservoir of strength when he needs it. His face is broad and flat and looks like it has suffered some whiskey damage. It's also mean. "Now, what about this?" he asks in tones of true backwoods menace.
Healthy and in the midst of life, Norman Ivanovitch entered my office gray with fear. My secretary came along beside him, rushing and bubbling about "Cannot be disturbed" and "Find out if he's available." Disturbed I already was and available I could be considered, so I let him sit down. Norman gave me no opportunity to ask him the matter; as my secretary went out and closed the door behind her, he pulled his shirttails out of his pants and held them high up against his chest, displaying one side of his abdomen. Chin tucked to the hollow of his shoulder, he peered at the exposed area. "There!" he said, and he pointed with index finger to a whitish patch on his pale skin shaped like a large leech. "What is that? What is it?"
Mason Hoffenberg, subterranean-holyman-ex-junkie, is perhaps the most famous unknown author in America. His adult life began in New York in the early Fifties. Home from Olivet College, where he got a sheepskin but no wool, and the Army, Mason gravitated to Greenwich Village to study, become a writer, get laid. He shared an apartment with a fledgling black author named James Baldwin, fell in with Kerouac, Mailer and some others, became apprenticed to Stanley Gould, Holyman of the Village. Then it was Paris during the underground-existential explosion. There our hero wrote poetry, married, hung out with Jean-Paul Sartre, Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, helped a newcomer named William Burroughs, met Terry Southern and wrote Candy. Scenes moved quickly after that: Berlin with Bob Dylan, London for the noble "free heroin" experiment, Algeria, Israel, finally Woodstock and Albert Grossman's house. Dylan is gone now, back to MacDougal Street, but Mason remains in Woodstock, where he lives with Richard Manuel of The Band, several dogs and a houseful of shit. In August 1972, after two years on the Kingston, New York, methadone maintenance program, he kicked. He is now an alcoholic.
Pity the poor American. He's seen too much of John Ehrlichman lately and far too little of Ursula Andress. A few years ago, Ursula was one of the screen's reigning sirens. Her co-stars added up to a Who's Who of the movie business--everybody from Marcello Mastroianni to Elvis Presley. But Ursula was always a reluctant star. Born in Switzerland, she went to Paris at 16, then to Rome, where a producer, meeting the multilingual beauty at a party, was charmed enough to offer a screen test; the result was a series of forgettable Italian films and a trip to Hollywood--where her career was sidetracked during a four-year marriage to John Derek (whose pictures of her ran in Playboy in 1965 and 1966 and who photographed her again when she visited Los Angeles a few months ago). Then came Ursula's salad days in films, followed by an interlude in which most of her (unsought) publicity centered on her adventures with Ryan O'Neal and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Ursula has been living in Europe of late and making few movies. But her provocative role in the Italian feature Last Chance has raised a few eyebrows on the Continent--and she made the gossip columns when co-star Fabio Testi reportedly took her aloft in his plane, pointed it at the ground and gave her the ultimatum "Marry me or we die." At presstime, neither death nor marriage had ensued and Ursula was cooling it in a Paris hotel. It sounds as if she can use the rest.
There's no madness in the method of the mixologist's laboratory pictured below. Instead of stashing all the good stuff in the liquor cabinet, it's been transferred to one of the handsome containers shown--thus letting the alcoholic beverages brighten the room with their translucent glow. And even plebeian hooch seems to taste better when poured from a cut-crystal bottle, such as the 9"-high, 22-oz. model, by Orrefors, $70, at far left. Or you might choose (proceeding right) the 20-oz. crystal one, also by Orrefors, $62; the 27-oz. Old Galway cut-crystal style, by Galway, $75; the 16-oz. cut-crystal Polaris, by Rosenthal, $53; or the Per Lütken--designed 41-oz. crystal captain's decanter, by Holmegaard, $70. Sorry, the bottled blithe spirit's not for sale.
The Lions lay around the Land Rover in the dawnlight, their bellies full of buffalo, a pride of 12 and two cubs playing in the bent tree that overhung the watercourse running fresh at the beginning of the long rains. The lions were the color of the Serengeti grass and the height of the grass at its fullest growth. Satiated by their morning feeding, they rested peacefully, but scars marked their sides and one of them, padding to another beat, favored a foreleg. The buffalo, massive and black and dangerous, they would have killed in any way they could, but smaller prey they killed by strangling, clamped their jaws onto windpipes and held them closed until all thrashing ceased. I stood in the back of the Land Rover looking down from above the sun roof, protected from the lions by their indifference to glass and aluminum alloy, staring into their yellow eyes. Sometimes, curious, they stared back. I had seen that stare before.
We open on a wind-swept street in downtown Tirana. Marlon Brando appears, an obvious American in a land that will always be strange to him. He is hatless and tieless and his shaggy locks dance blithely in the breeze, contrasting sharply with the anguish that scars his handsome hawklike face. His eyes are wet with tears and he screams at a passing citizen: "What a fucking country!" "True," says the citizen, "but what else can one do in Albania?" Suddenly, Maria Schneider comes onto the scene and walks quickly past Brando. She is in her early 20s (about half his age) and she wears a soft felt hat and a tightly belted raincoat, which cannot suppress a full, burgeoning body that seems to have a mind of its own. Their eyes meet but briefly, and yet in that evanescent glance they both know that somehow their lives will soon be interwoven in a tapestry of lust, carnality, debauchery, lechery, concupiscence and prurience, and yet at the same time, under contemporary community standards, it will all have redeeming social value.
We were walking down Chicago's Oak Street not too long ago, minding our own business, when we were accosted by a young lady with freckles who looked like she had just wandered off the set of The Sound of Music: She was standing on the corner looking innocent and selling balloons. We don't have much use for balloons, but we bought one anyway. A couple of days later, we were strolling through another neighborhood and ran into the same young lady, only this time she was selling ice cream from a tricycle. We weren't hungry, but we settled for a Popsicle. A week later, we caught her driving a pedicab in yet another part of town; we were charmed into taking a six-block excursion that set us back two bucks. Who is this ubiquitous teenager, we asked ourself and why is she charming us out of our nickels and dimes? "I get these weird jobs," says 19-year-old Monica Tidwell. "because I have a great passion for people. You meet all kinds driving a pedicab or selling balloons--people who like to stop and chat. You'd be surprised at all the people I've met." No, we wouldn't. In addition to ice cream, balloons and pedicabs, Monica has, in her short professional career, been a waitress, candy-and-popcorn vendor at a movie theater and salesgirl at a large Chicago record store. Now she is Miss November. God only knows where we'll bump into her next week. "Variety has always been the spice of my life," she confesses, and one look at her background shows that she's not just whistling Dixie--although we're certain she knows the tune. Monica was born and reared in the Deep South. But she's lived in New York and Chicago for the past three years, so you have to strain to catch her few lingering Southern traits. "The South," she says, letting a slight drawl cascade over an occasional syllable, "is just too rich for me. I don't mean wealthy rich; more like chocolate-cake rich--especially Georgia, where I grew up." Eventually, Monica plans to go to college and major in English and drama. She has her eye on the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and if Stony Brook is smart, it'll return the glance. But for now, Monica's idea of perfection would be to settle down for a while in a cozy little farmhouse in Maine and just read and write. She's never been to Maine, but she hears that there's a lot of peace and quiet there and that it would be a nice place to write her novel someday. Someday, because at this stage in her life, Monica considers herself too young and inexperienced to express many well-tempered insights about life. She is working on this. "For one thing," she says, "a good writer really has to get to know people inside out. I hate small talk. When I meet somebody, I really like to get inside his head and understand what makes him tick." When she's not selling ice cream or balloons or driving pedicabs, Monica reads. Voraciously. "I guess I'm hooked on the heavy stuff," she says--meaning Dostoievsky, D. H. Lawrence and Thomas Wolfe, to name a few. "I feel very close to Wolfe," she says. "I think we share many of the same emotions and ideas. One of my great ambitions in life is to write a novel as good as Look Homeward, Angel. My second great ambition is to make a movie with Ken Russell and Oliver Reed. I don't think I'm your average nineteen-year-old." Neither do we.
Down at the laundromat, a henpecked husband was bemusedly watching the assortment of clothes through the window of the front-loading machine. He saw a pair of his shorts whirl by with one of his wife's blouses, and then other pairs gyrated with her panties and twirled around with her bras. As yet another pair of shorts spun through a nightgown, he was overheard to mutter wistfully to himself, "I've had more action here in the last two minutes than I've had at home in the last two years."
Just another funny and pretty little runaway in San Francisco emitting her off-white answers to any questions you ask her: "My father's a gynecologist in Orange, that's Zip Code County, down south, and so busy with his patients. Also, I have eight what you might call siblings, and probably you do, so--
You Don't have to be heavily into rock to wear leather. Nor do you have to stick to the back of a runaway steer or take a Harley over the century. Of course, once you're hidebound, there's no telling what people are going to assume you're into--because the images leather conjures up are endless and so are the varieties of outfits available. Some skin freaks dig the substance because it feels soft and natural. But from the way they tell it, it's also good for the ego. Nothing wrong with that.
The Rumblings had been heard for some time: a distant thunder, ominously persistent, punctuated by occasional flashes of lightning as a movie was closed here by overzealous sheriffs or a theater was burned there by bluenose vandals. Vocal minorities called for the arrest, prosecution and conviction of "the pornographers"; and, in response, a crescendo of court cases--many of them instigated by the FBI--rose from coast to coast. The Supreme Court had been sitting for more than a year on a number of obscenity cases, the Justices either reluctant or unable to reach a decision. Then, on June 21, the lid blew off. In a series of five stunning blows, the Nixon Court reversed almost 20 years of standards and practices established by the Warren Court in dealing with sexual materials, and in every branch of the film industry, the panic was on.
Many, many years ago, there was a certain young fellow, a potter by trade, who went from village to village selling his wares. At the end of one especially hot and dusty day, he came to a pleasant village with a little river flowing through it and he decided to idle awhile. After he'd watered his horse, he went up the village street until he came to the church, and there, at some distance in the churchyard, he saw something quite curious.
Since it was established in 1901, the annual Nobel Prize for "the most remarkable literary work of idealistic inspiration" has crowned some 65 writers and the world--at least momentarily--has considered them great. Now, to celebrate the prize and its winners, the Nobel Prize Library is being published in a 20-volume set of selections at a cost of $79.60. It will be a sumptuous piece of furniture for your home; it will "open new horizons for your family" and its biographical and critical introductions will explain to any cynical family members why so many commonplace scribblers are here placed cheek by jowl with some of the good and a few of the truly great.
Ten years after the Kennedy excitement, despite men's regret for their own younger days, it should be possible to reckon that excitement's cost. Death hallows, and should; it is the one sanctity we all must share. He died young, with things presumably undone--but what? Civil rights? Surely he would have tried; but he was up against an implacable South, which only Lyndon could cajole.
Everybody knows that politicians lie, especially during campaigns, but Hunter S. Thompson, reporting for Rolling Stone (where his writing sometimes appears under the name Raoul Duke), is the only guy with the balls to fight fire with fire. "About 75 percent of Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail [his book on the 1972 election] is true," he admits with a shrug. As for the rest, he knows a good lie often leads people to the truth a lot more quickly than the genuine item. Aside from introducing real fiction into journalism, Thompson has for the first time shown the real horror and idiocy of a political campaign. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, he began 13 years ago as a sportswriter but wasn't thrust into national prominence until he became entrenched in the violent drug culture and wrote Hell's Angels after riding, doping and fighting with them all over California. His method, known as Gonzo Journalism (his term), involves participating in the story, filling his notebooks with whatever comes up and printing all of it with few if any changes. It produces a very cranked-up style and he stays well cranked in order to maintain the pace: Guacamole, Dos Equis and MDA are the staples of his diet. Carrying this high-octane load, Thompson's launched a brutally successful drive to surround and terrorize the reading public singlehandedly with brilliant, vicious reporting, even if he has to create the events himself. Like running for sheriff in Aspen in 1970. The ticket was Freak Power and "we would've won if it hadn't been for that fuckin' poster"--a widely circulated picture of a bright-red fist with two thumbs clutching a peyote button. He is now preparing to run for the U.S. Senate. Whatever the outcome, his campaign will have style, for Thompson at 35 has become infamous as the last grandee of the expense account, renting the wildest, fastest cars and the fanciest suites wherever he goes. "After all," he says, "you can't go looking for the American dream in a goddamned Volkswagen."
If you've been awake at any time during the past few months, you've probably seen or heard the Pointer Sisters, those four stunning black girls from Oakland who go onstage attired in trippy finery--fake flowers, wide-brim hats, Forties dresses--and sing the hell out of just about anything, adding their own wondrous touches--conversations without words, ensemble vocalizing that mimics instrumental sounds--and nonstop action ("The bigger the stage, the more we move"). Their appeal isn't accidental, because Ruth, Anita, Bonnie and June (ages 27 to 19) set out to be different. Their parents are both preachers and the girls grew up singing--in church (where the congregation didn't dig it if they swung too much), on the way to the store (so they'd remember what to buy) or watching the tube (they'd imitate everybody). And all through high school they wore crazy outfits--things they found in thrift shops or at the Salvation Army. Later on, there were some hurdles to clear before they could get out of background singing--which they did for a lot of people--and start doing their own thing: They had to keep the faith when a major record company decided they weren't "commercial"; producer David Rubinson had to help them out when they got stranded in Texas one time; another performer had to get sick for the Pointers to play L.A.'s Troubador, a gig that really revved up their career. Needless to say, the girls appreciate what's been happening since. But behind their gaiety are some serious concerns. "We haven't really made any money yet," says Anita. "Our mother is still in the ghetto and she doesn't even have a TV set to watch us on." But when we caught them, the sisters had been rehearsing skits for a Flip Wilson show (that was a gas); their first LP, on Blue Thumb, was bopping its way up the charts; and they were working on material for the next one. So it's a pretty safe bet that Momma will soon have a TV. As Anita says, "All this prayin' I'm doing just can't be in vain."
"Guerrilla warfare is the best method I've found for dealing with them." That's not a statement from some Pentagon expert lecturing Congress on the smart way to wage war in swamps. It's from a member of Congress who's discussing his technique for battling the maddening inefficiencies rooted in the way things work--or don't work--at the Pentagon. Since winning election in 1970, 35-year-old Les Aspin, a Wisconsin Democrat, has quickly become Congress' most vocal Defense Department critic. And he should know; he used to work there. After completing his Ph.D. in economics at MIT, Aspin took a job with the Office of Systems Analysis in Robert McNamara's Pentagon, leaving the job with the unarguable impression that "it's a mammoth place that makes an incredible number of mistakes." So he decided to do something about the waste he'd witnessed and ran for Congress. Once elected, he was appointed to the Armed Services Committee and commenced those "guerrilla wars," his term for "publicly exposing wrongdoing and hoping to embarrass those responsible." Recently, he revealed that Nixon's new chief of staff, General Haig, had delayed his retirement from active duty in order to draw an increased military pension. "Haig was irate. I had three calls from him, but I never returned them. I'm not about to call those guys at the White House. You don't know what they're bugging and how they're going to splice the tape." Aspin also has begun using a second strategy. "I've been trying to get action by rounding up votes on the floor of the House." And it's worked: "They just voted for my amendment to place a ceiling on over-all Defense spending. It's the first time that's happened since World War Two." He hopes eventually to become the Armed Services Committee chairman, a good possibility, since those senior to him are considerably older than he. "Then," he muses, "I'll have real power. And that could be a lot of fun." For him, maybe, but for the Defense Department, it promises to be no fun at all.
-- Glad you could make it down here, child. We have a few washington celebrities here. We just passed senator pucker ... The one you always see on Tv, kissing Tots.Leapin' Lizards! He's still at it!!Them's fine Tots, Honey!