It's not with particularly warm nostalgia that we glance back on those most paranoid of times when every bore and his brother-in-law were forever discussing The Bomb. For those of us who grew up in the atomic age, The Bomb meant crouching ostrich like in school basements with our heads nearly up our asses a waiting either the apocalypse or the sound of a whistle. Over the years since then, we've become hardened, and what with all the other traumas of the Sixties and Seventies, there hasn't been much talk about The Bomb lately. After all, the only sensible way to deal with the unthinkable is not to think about it, right? Unfortunately, that won't make it go away; and in case anybody's wondering if there's still a Big Nuke, be informed here and now that yes, there is, and it's bigger and better, or, if you will, worse than the old one. To prove it, E. L. Doctorow, author of the widely acclaimed novel The Book of Daniel, toured SAC headquarters in Nebraska and a missile silo in North Dakota and the result is The Bomb Lives!--a tour de force in more ways than one. Accompanying the article is an illustration by artist Jözef Sumichrast in which you're asked to discover the 20 hidden bombs; if you can't find them, you'd better have your eyes examined.
Playboy, March, 1974, Volume 21, 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 $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; Lee Gottlieb, Director of Public Relations. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director; Herbert D. Maneloveg, Associate 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.
San Francisco police received a call that a woman was screaming in an apartment house in the Haight-Ashbury district. After investigation, officers returned to the precinct house and entered this report in the logbook: "No merit to woman screaming for help. Parties advised to moan more quietly during sexual relations."
By now you've probably heard about all those wonderfully blunt and candid things Harry S. Truman says in Merle Miller's Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman (Putnam's). And, of course, it sounds pretty good when you consider what we've got today. But Miller isn't content (and, certainly, neither was Truman) to make the undeniable point that the failed haberdasher from Missouri was a man with the common touch; an honest man who never profited from what could once be called, without irony, public service; a man who could make a tough decision without delay or regret. What Miller sets out to do in this collection of interviews that he conducted with Truman in 1961 and 1962 is to make the flinty politician into a Great Man. And he spares no didacticism in the effort. Being lectured by both Truman and Miller is, to anyone who knows a little history, first painful, then infuriating. Consider the errors in this book: Truman tells a wonderfully colorful tale about his meeting with MacArthur at Wake Island. His account has both planes circling the airfield, each waiting for the other to land. Truman wins the standoff. Then MacArthur keeps Truman waiting on the ground, after which the President chews him out in no uncertain terms. It's a good story, but it just ain't so. Robert Sherrod, who was there, reports that MacArthur had, in fact, been on the ground for 12 hours when Truman's plane arrived. And that, apparently, is about as close as Truman's account ever comes to the truth. Then there is the matter of Eisenhower. Truman doesn't like him, and that's fair enough. He tells Miller that Ike wrote to General Marshall after World War Two saying he was going to resign from the Army and divorce his wife to marry a woman who had been his official driver and secretary. Marshall read the riot act to Eisenhower and threatened to make his life pure hell if he did any such thing. Right before he left office, Truman burned this correspondence between the two generals in order to protect reputations. Well. Why, then, does he tell Miller about it? Was it off the record? Then why did Miller, with his great regard for Truman, tell all? Somewhere in this transaction, Truman's noble gesture picks up a little tarnish. There's more. But it is sufficient to say that, yes, compared with what we have now, Truman seems, pretty good. But the emphasis in this longwinded, lightweight book is misplaced. Because Nixon makes Truman look good, that is not to say that Truman was great--only that Nixon is very, very bad.
Previews: Since box-office statistics prove that carbon copies of last year's hits are no guarantee of success, film buffs may be spared an assembly line-up of more and more flicks about angry blacks, violent mafiosi and people obsessed with sex. The highly diversified coming attractions for spring, summer and beyond reflect either a return to traditional subject matter or maybe--even probably--a desperate quest for the magic formula that will have moviegoers queuing up in fair weather and foul during 1974. Filmed plays and literary classics appear to be running strong, led off by the American Film Theater productions of John Osborne's Luther starring Stacy Keach, Butley with Alan Bates and Chekhov's Three Sisters co-starring Bates, Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright. Make way, too, for director Richard (A Hard Day's Night) Lester's sumptuous remake of the Dumas classic The Three Musketeers with Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, Simon Ward, Richard Chamberlain, Charlton Heston, Michael York and scads of celebrated underlings. For late-summer release, there'll be Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft in the film version of Neil Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue, and Lemmon is then slated to team with Walter Matthau in a brand-new edition of The Front Page, directed by Billy Wilder. Summer will also bring Cybill Shepherd as Daisy Miller, taking her cues from Peter Bogdanovich in the Henry James classic about a doomed American beauty at loose ends abroad. Director John (Midnight Cowboy) Schlesinger promises to brighten up the fall season with Karen Black, Geraldine Page and Donald Sutherland in The Day of the Locust, based on Nathanael West's celebrated novel about the lunatic fringe of Hollywood.
To get the quibbles out of the way first: Why does every singer lately try a Randy Newman song? Linda Ronstadt does it, too, on Don't Cry Now (Asylum) with the classic Sail Away, but her voice is just too pure and straight for the intricate pathways of Newman satire. And it is hard to understand why she picked Neil Young's I Believe in You and gave it a too-pretty, overblown arrangement with strings. These cavils aside, the album has great music on it, owing much to John David Souther's production and songwriting talents. Linda has one of the finest voices among today's pop singers, and this disc is a good showcase for it--from the pleasant, laid-back wistfulness of Colorado to the country-rock insistence of John David's The Fast One. The title tune features a fine backing vocal by Ronstadt and Wendy Waldman and some Buddy Emmons steel. The Eagles, Linda's former backup band, are represented by Desperado, here somewhat sweeter than in the original. But we're quibbling again with a lady whose superb talents may now finally get the wider recognition they deserve.
Previews: Broadway continues to recycle, but not for ecological reasons. Yesterday's play is tomorrow's musical, and Hollywood familiarity only whets producers' commercial appetites. The nostalgia wave will wash the two remaining Andrews sisters, Patti and Maxene, onto Broadway in March in a musical tribute to the Forties titled Over Here. The show deals with a stage-door-type canteen and Yanks embarking for war. Music will be provided by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, the duo that gave you Mary Poppins. Sometime later in the month, there may be a live stage version of the Civil War movie Shenandoah, with Jack Palance making his singing debut in the Jimmy Stewart role. In 1963, Alan Arkin became a Broadway star as an impulsive young actor in Enter Laughing. Eleven years later, producer Morton Gottlieb will try to discover a new young Alan Arkin for the musical adaptation of the Joseph Stein comedy, now called The Funny Side of the Street. Henry Fonda plans to return to Broadway as Clarence Darrow, in a one-man show drawn from Irving Stone's book Clarence Darrow for the Defense. And Tennessee Williams has promised a new play, The Red Devil Battery Sign, which takes place in Dallas after Kennedy's assassination.
My girl and I are planning to be married this spring. I've thrown away all my love letters and mementos of past girlfriends; they've ceased to have meaning for me. Ironically, I discovered that my fiancée still has and wishes to keep all her letters and pictures of old to keep all her letters and pictures of old boyfriends. She says that they hold no significance for her except as souvenirs of her past. I realize that women are more sentimental than men, but why should she want to keep these things after we are married? The letters definitely bother me. Do I have a legitimate gripe?--T. R., South Bend, Indiana.
Sexual Behavior in the 1970s Part VI: Deviant Sexuality
One of the things the Playboy survey sought to learn was whether or not sexual liberation has made deviant sexual behavior more widespread and more frequent than it was when Dr. Alfred Kinsey took his historic census of American sexual behavior a generation ago. Although deviant is often loosely taken to mean abnormal or perverted, its scientific meaning is merely "nonconforming or differing from the norms of the society in question." Much mildly deviant behavior, dealt with earlier in this series--e.g., masturbation, premarital coitus and oral-genital practices--is, in fact, psychologically and biologically normal.
The hottest attraction to play New York's Carnegie Hall during 1972 was a frail 82-year-old man who used to be master of ceremonies on a television quiz show, and who before that was a movie star, and before that a vaudeville comedian and before that a baby. Although his Carnegie Hall concert consisted merely of reminiscences, a few songs and an occasional film clip, the capacity audience--the majority of them teenagers, many wearing painted mustaches and eyebrows, false noses and wire-rimmed glasses--was ecstatic. Three thousand people (among them his brother Zeppo) were turned away from this one-night stand by Julius Henry Marx. Subsequent sales of the recorded version of the concert, "An Evening with Groucho," only confirm that the veteran comedian is one of America's most durable attractions.
Don Vito Piazzagrande was holding a transistor radio in his hand and he had the earplug extension fixed in his ear, where it nested like a white bug in a cabbage leaf. He was laughing soundlessly at something he alone could hear and the gold crowns on his large, ugly teeth winked in the morning Caribbean sun.
On a recent evening in February, If Winter Comes, the Pulitzer Prize drama by Sidney Wise, was revived at the Morosco Theater, New York. That morning the playwright rose early, as always, and took his wife, Marcia, her breakfast in bed. While he was taking his shower, his son Howard arrived with a batch of congratulatory telegrams sent over by Nate Folger, Sidney Wise's producer, and (continued on page 90)Lost and Found(continued from page 83) when Sidney Wise came in from the bathroom, his wife was reading them aloud, in a pinched, postnasal voice, to the ceiling.
While sitting at his favorite bar one afternoon, the gentleman was particularly struck by the odd behavior of a man three stools down. As fast as the bartender could serve him, he was tossing down martinis in one gulp. Shocked at such ill treatment of a fine drink, the gentleman moved over to him and asked, "Is that any way to drink good martinis?"
Botticelli, were he alive today, would have immortalized Simonetta Stefanelli on canvas, as he did with Venus on the half shell. A sweet, innocent pout, a wisp of hair blowing in the breeze, a thigh thrust slightly forward, perhaps a hand over a breast. And this is pretty much how director Francis Ford Coppola portrayed her as Appolonia, the lovely Sicilian bride of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, the young, innocent farm girl who is destined to be blown to smithereens in a car full of explosives. The contrast is perfect--defenseless innocence falling victim of the Mob. But in real life, Simonetta does not see herself that way. "I do not picture myself as a victim at all, nor as a fragile woman," she says. "Rather, I go through life with a certain sureness and, as far as films are concerned, I think I possess a flair for the dramatic." Simonetta, who has been in movies for a number of years, has developed a respect for her craft. "Acting is very hard work," says Signorina Stefanelli. "But if a scene turns out well, I'm euphoric."
They call me 'star," says Pamela Zinszer. "Why?" we ask her. "Have you ever starred in anything?" "Oh, I acted a lot in high school." "In what roles?" "Mostly in trying to stay out of trouble." We try another tack. "Where would you like to act?" "In movies. I already know quite a few people in the industry." "Have you had any offers?" "All the time." "We mean for movies." "Well, whenever I walk down Beverly Drive in L. A., where I work--I got out of high school this past June and got a job at this boutique." "Is that on Beverly Drive?" "No." Pause. "It was really a weird place." "Where you worked?" "Yeah. The guy who owned it came into a lot of money, see, but he didn't know the first thing about opening a business. When I started, everybody called the place Body and Soul. But the owner didn't like that. So he changed the name to The Boutique. I mean, how can anybody remember you if you keep on changing your name? People have a hard time remembering me just because of the clothes I wear." "Why?" "Because every day I look different. I can get up one morning and say, 'Today I'll be a vamp,' and I'll put on platform shoes, a long glittery dress and a pink boa. Then I can wake up the next day and all I'll want to wear are jeans and a T-shirt." "Weren't we talking about movie offers?" "Oh, yeah. Well, anyway, like I was saying, this guy, my boss, couldn't cope with running his shop, and business got so dead that he'd walk in every morning and start telling me stories about his friend the ghost. Finally Thee Boutique shut down and I was hired to work as a receptionist at an art gallery. That's on Beverly Drive." "Oh. And you've met film producers there?" "No, I do nothing there but drink champagne all day. Besides, my boss is madly in love with me, so I can go out for a walk any time." "And that's where you meet them?" "Right. Usually guys come up to me and say, 'Hi, I'm a movie producer. Howdja like to be in my movie? Here's a script. Catch.' But they don't understand." "Don't understand what?" "That I could never get into a picture like that. You can see why." We're not at all sure we can, but we can sure as hell see why they'd ask.
It was two hours after quitting time when the telephone rang in the executive's office and his nude secretary got up from the couch to answer it. She listened for a moment, then glanced at her employer, who was also in the buff on the couch, panting heavily. Then the girl turned back to the phone.
One day in the summer of 1961, we all turned on television to watch our new President, John F. Kennedy. When his face came onto the screen, we saw from the way he had wet his hair and combed it back that he could not be more serious. He had had some meetings in Vienna with the Russian premier, Khrushchev. He told us the Soviets were threatening to make a separate peace with East Germany, the purpose of which was to dislodge us from Berlin. He told us the United States would never abandon the people of West Berlin. He told us he was increasing the draft and calling up reservists. He told each of us to start thinking how best to protect our family in the event of a nuclear attack. It was a chilling speech and its consequences were widespread. All over the back yards of America, Cold War entrepreneurs, like the soldiers of Cadmus, popped up as if the ground had been sown with serpents' teeth. They were offering to build atom-bomb shelters. There were stories in the papers about highly paid executives quitting their jobs and moving with their families to New Zealand, where the global wind patterns were least likely to bestow fallout. A churchman declared that it was ethical to keep the neighbors out of your bomb shelter, even if you had to use a gun. This was the era of the Berlin Wall--the last period of acute bomb consciousness in America.
She led him into a room with a high, paneled ceiling, talking all the while, questioning him closely. How long would he be in London? Why was he alone, hadn't he mentioned he would bring a friend? Alexander tried to answer her questions politely but heard his voice go vague and flat. He resented being here, with his aunt. He was 45 minutes late because the streets in this part of the city were so strangely marked, changing names every block; the humiliation of being lost several times was still with him. "Weren't you going to bring a friend with you...?" Eunice asked.
It's finally safe to say it: The freaky school of fashion is out. No more wretched excess in the name of liberation. And if you bought a gray-flannel suit this year--leaving the funny numbers on the rack--you're not alone. But we're not going back to the Stone Age, either. With the right accessories, you can add some flash to that grayness--understatement is best, of course, but it's OK to take a few chances and make your outfit express your psyche, too.
Next to Sex, the one thing that the urban male never seems to have enough of is storage space. Which is why we're focusing on the Boby, the cartlike gizmo shown here. Available from Inter/Graph Ltd. in Manhattan, this plastic catchall, designed by the late Joe Colombo, comes in two- and three-tiered models ($148 and $175) and features a seemingly endless maze of nooks, crannies and even swing-out trays, plus optional accessories that allow the owner to virtually custom-build the unit of his choice. With all this going for it, the Boby just might be the greatest invention since woman.
As a jew among Moslems, he maintained his faith; as an upright tradesman among thieves, he stuck to his honesty; but as a man in the midst of a great Oriental city of the flesh, he was much tempted. Pitch Osman, in the year 1523, was a young spice merchant in the great bazaar of Stamboul.
After the big-city violence of Point Blank and the backwoods animal viciousness of Deliverance, director John Boorman is taking a new look at man's aggressive instincts. In his sixth film, Zardoz, a futuristic fantasy starring Sean Connery and shot in Ireland, he sets the primitive against the hypercivilized and watches the result.
Except in Nevada, they've almost vanished; but for more than half a century, the "one-armed-bandit" slot machine was one of the country's most popular amusement fixtures: It pitted man against machine, offering the alluring (if remote) possibility of beating Lady Luck, and even a loser had the satisfaction of getting by with something illegal.
Everywhere he goes these days, people recognize him as the Heartbreak Kid, that dangerously fickle newlywed with the ingenuous smile. And while it's true that audiences roared as he left his sun-fried bride with pecan pie on her face and drove north to Cybill Shepherd, they also thought he was an asshole for doing it. Consequently, Charles Grodin has had some trouble when meeting strangers. "After seeing the movie, a lot of people would approach me with the idea of punching me in the mouth," he says. Although Grodin, 34, became an instant star as a result of his role, his success was hardly effortless. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, he moved to New York in the early Sixties after spending time in the Naval Reserve, studied with Lee Strasberg, then waited six years for a Broadway audition while bouncing from bit part to bit part in local TV dramas. For the past four or five years, however, he's been working at the top--behind the scenes--doing almost everything except acting. Such as writing and directing that controversial 1969 Simon and Garfunkel TV show--the first entertainment special to have stars speaking against the war; directing Lovers and Other Strangers for the stage; writing and directing the Emmy-winning Marlo Thomas special. Etc. He's just finished ll Harrowhouse ("It's a credible Cary Grant--Audrey Hepburn--type caper movie"), with Candice Bergen, James Mason, John Gielgud and Trevor Howard; and next fall his own play, one of the All Time Greats, will open on Broadway. All of which seems sensational, and Grodin admits he's had moments when he wondered how long it could last. "When I was doing Kid, we were four weeks into the shooting and suddenly one day Dustin Hoffman showed up on the set. As it turned out, he was just in Miami and wanted to watch the shooting, but when I saw him, I thought to myself, 'What the hell is he doing here?'" After receiving more than 100 script offers following the film's success, Grodin undoubtedly feels a little more secure about his future these days.
A pretty fair number of American men would just as soon go fishing as save the world for democracy or read Proust. It may be just as well, since no one has ever burgled a safe or overthrown the Government while trying to seduce a brown trout with a number-14 black gnat. But fishermen are notorious liars, sometimes eclipsing even politicians, and that's probably why a number of them have turned out to be good writers. Thomas McGuane's skills as a liar are not a matter of public record, but it's known that he is not only a first-rate fisherman but also one of the most promising young novelists around. His first novel, The Sporting Club, was published in 1968 when he was only 28 years old; he had been writing for ten years--and getting rejected. At the end of a one-year writers' program at Stanford, he had a wife, a small child, no money, some debts--and his manuscript. He sent it to his friend Jim Harrison, a poet and McGuane's entry into publishing. "Then I just went down to Mexico and told my wife where she could cable me. One day I showed up at the cable office and the guy gave me a big grin and said, 'Congratulations, señor. Your book has been accepted.'" Critics raved and a small cult developed. He was compared to everyone from Thomas Pynchon to Evelyn Waugh, which probably means that he's an original. Since then, he has written two more books, The Bushwhacked Piano and Ninety-Two in the Shade, both of which enhanced his reputation--and contributed articles to Sports Illustrated. Fishermen around the country said solemn and respectful things about his S.I. story on permit fishing. "That was fun to do. But I think of myself as a fictioner--not a journalist or whatever," says McGuane, who is very serious about his craft. He's now working on the screenplay for Ninety-Two. No doubt he'll be technical advisor for the film and will be called on when the script requires a medium-sized bonefish taken on a streamer fly. "That," he says, "isn't bad work. If you can get it."
You're in a bar getting quietly twisted when you notice a weird TV in a corner. And all it gets is this dot bouncing around, going "Pok, Pok, Pok." Well, that thing is going to make inventor Nolan Bushnell, 30, $1,000,000 this year. It's Pong, front runner of the fastest growing market in Saturday-night bar entertainment: computer/video games. Starting out as a poor Western boy with nothing but a sawed-off slide rule, Bushnell turned hard science into clean fun and made a bundle in the bargain. While he was getting his engineering degree from the University of Utah, working in an amusement park started him thinking about just how old and dull your basic three-throws-for-a-quarter game really is. He began puttering around in his garage and came up with the first video-tech game, Computer Space. But when it was marketed, his share of the profits wasn't exactly what he considered his due (as will happen when you pit honest pioneers against tooth-and-nail businessmen). He headed for the frontier (Los Gatos, California) and, only slightly daunted, created Pong. On the solid foundation of dollars this produced, Bushnell built himself a company, Atari--but not just an ordinary mill, he admits with a touch of pride. "A closely knit group," he says, "interested in higher technology for games rather than bombs." He's got 320 hands now, most of them freaks around 23 years old. Some of his technicians couldn't operate a Coke machine when they started; now he's got them doing sophisticated trouble shooting and repairs. As in any factory, there are assembly lines, but Atari has no time clocks, and the boys've cultivated a little organic spread out back. Now Atari's geared up to produce a whole mess of video-tech games for saloons, and home versions are being developed. Doubles Pong, Space Race and something wild called Gotcha are some of the newest brain storms. Bushnell, somewhat wiser, is guarding the secrets with his life until they're patented. Does he ever plan to ride off into the sunset? Yes--all the way to Japan with a few computer parts.