We like to think that every issue of this magazine is the result of careful planning, but once in a while, something just drops in our editorial lap. Take this month's two-part package on the recent warfare in the Middle East, which was the product not of a high-level staff conference but of a pair of phone calls made to our editors by writers who were eager, for their own individual reasons, to cover the story. The first was Herbert Gold, whose recent writings have tended to affirm, ever more strongly, his Jewish heritage; he said he was going to Israel in any case, and wondered if we'd be interested in picking up the tab. We were. The second call came from Marshall Frady, the versatile Southern journalist, who had been assigned to cover the war for another magazine, which he said had copped out at the last moment. He already had his visa and he wondered if we ... etc. The results appear in Resurrection, Frady's account of his two weeks in Cairo during the battle, and Blood Tax at Harvest Time, in which Gold distills his experiences on the Israeli side. Both provide unforgettable portraits of people under stress.
Playboy, April, 1974, Volume 21, Number 4. 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.
Can journalists become too involved in their work? The New York Times News Service sent out a wire story on sex-change operations, by-lined James E. Brody. An urgent correction followed, requesting newspapers to change the by-line to Jane E. Brody.
Spend some time with Bob Roubian, the unorthodox proprietor of The Crab Cooker--a modest seafood house located at 2200 Newport Boulevard in Newport Beach, California--and he'll tell you about a recent phone call from the Western White House. "We're on a very tight schedule and we'd like to have dinner at your restaurant," said the efficient voice. "There will be several members of the President's staff and one of his daughters. We'll be traveling in limousines. Would you please make reservations?" "I'm sorry, but we don't take reservations," said Roubian, observing an ironclad rule that's been in force for 22 years. "Perhaps you don't understand," the voice purred. "This is the Western White House calling--from San Clemente--and we'd like to eat at your restaurant. Would you please make reservations?" "I'd like to serve you, but if you're in that much of a hurry, how about an order to go?" Roubian politely suggested. "You could eat in the limousines." The White House party presumably went elsewhere that evening. One can only wonder who directed them to an obscure Orange County fish market/restaurant without first finding out that even Roubian's 83-year-old mother would have to wait for a table. Could this funky hangout--with its scuffed linoleum floors, stuffed great white sharks hanging from the ceiling and piscatorial bas-reliefs hand-carved from old chair bottoms--possibly have been a secret meeting place for the Ellsberg break-in conspirators, sort of an Apalachin West? Without committing the gaffe of phoning ahead for a reservation, we recently approached this unpretentious café and joined a long line queuing up not far from refrigerated display cases stocked with whole crabs, live clams and oysters, Alaskan king crabs, just-cooked lobster tails and white sea bass. Eventually, the redoubtable Roubian--a mustachioed, long-haired ex-Seabee who wears a gold pirate earring in his left ear lobe--led us beneath a portal reading eat lots a fish, past a huge caldron of steaming chowder, to a Spartan wooden table painted in red enamel. Three Casablanca fans revolved lazily on the ceiling above. The walls around us were laden with such eclectic clutter as antique school clocks, thermometers and an impressionistic canvas depicting a "snow"-encrusted Crab Cooker (it has never snowed in Newport Beach). A waitress arrived bearing oversized Dixie Cups brimming with The Crab Cooker's highly touted clam chowder (35 cents) and we were pleased to discover that it was a thick mixture worth twice the price for its generous, chewy clam morsels alone. The entrees were served on paper plates, accompanied by plastic picnic utensils. (Roubian doesn't believe in dishwashers.) They're extraordinary entrees--at minuscule prices. Fillet of northern white sea bass: $2.75. Eastern scallops charbroiled on a skewer laced with bacon: $3.50. Charcoal-broiled shrimps on a skewer: $3.40. Succulent Alaskan king crab: $5.95. Lobster: $6.10. Fillet of troll Chinook salmon: $3.45. Every entree is accompanied by romano potatoes or rice pilaf, Eastern cole slaw and bread sticks. No wonder the place serves 12,000 meals a week. While we were still standing in the long line at the door, we had noticed an economy compact parked at the curb; the bumper sticker read: Impeach Nixon. Maybe the Western White House crowd should have sent some finger-lickin' flunky out to the Colonel's. The Crab Cooker is open Monday through Thursday from 11 A.M. to 9 P.M., on Friday and Saturday from 11 A.M. to 10 P.M. and on Sunday from 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. No credit cards. No reservations. No hard liquor--only a very limited wine list that includes Mateus and several California whites.
A crucial rite de passage for any ambitious young American on his way to maturity, prosperity and a solid place in the business community is, of course, Getting into College. Last semester, pornography--that scapegrace poor relation of arts and letters--finally made it.
The supper club is an all-but-vanished New York institution, slowly going the way of double-decker buses and five-cent ferry rides. Against the trend, one welcome and well-appointed new perch for night owls is Reno Sweeney (126 West 13th Street), a Greenwich Village boite named by proprietor and pianist Lewis Friedman for the rowdy character Ethel Merman played in Cole Porter's vintage musical Anything Goes. The word is out that nearly everyone in the know has been going to Reno Sweeney ever since a bunch of "in" people hired the place to whoop up a 1972 New Year's Eve party for singer Bette Midler, thereby triggering the elusive chemistry of success. With dim lights, fresh flowers, brick walls and rich wood paneling blended in a style vaguely shipshape and discreetly chic, Sweeney earns its swelling reputation both as a first-class dining spot and as a showcase for some of the most upwardly mobile singing talent on the café scene. Melissa Manchester (an alumna of Miss Midler's Harlettes, and a fast-rising recording star since her breakthrough on these premises), Novella Nelson (of Purlie), Alaina Reid, Lee Horwin and Ellen Greene are a few of the gifted chanteuses whose "now" sensibility draws a youngish crowd. Sounds of the Seventies mingle subtly with the Forties ambience of Sweeney's Paradise Room, where entertainers pause for station identification under a twinkling neon sign inspired by art deco. Patrons with good memories should dig piano interludes by Friedman and singing guitarist Tiger Haynes--a veteran of the old Bon Soir, where he ignited his own group, The Three Flames--coolly performing Too Darn Hot and similar oldies favored by the smart set several decades ago. Before, during or after the show, a slew of spruce young waiters who seem to be on shore leave from the Good Ship Lollipop hustle the specialties of the house from an eclectic, medium-priced menu, all à la carte and above average to choice in quality. The minimum varies from night to night, with a high of $8 per person on weekends. Monday is audition night, when a dozen or more brave young things sing their hearts out in front of a live audience to see whether they merit a regular booking at Reno Sweeney. The experience is well worth the trip downtown. Phone: 212-242-1366.
One of last year's most notable books was Lillian Hellman's "Pentimento." The book struck a kind of moral toughness and a sort of uneasy truce with life that would move any reader and make him curious about this woman. We asked Staff Writer Craig Vetter, who lives in California, if he would spend an afternoon with Hellman, who was touring the state to promote her book. He jumped at the chance and sent us the following report:
There is as yet no historical proof that the Forties and the Fifties were deliberate. It has become accepted, therefore, among most well-meaning people to regard them as the kind of accidents that can happen to anybody. No permanent damage; they'll come out with a little ice water and some Glory spray foam.
There was no stinting by writer-producer William Peter Blatty nor director William Friedkin on The Exorcist. The film version of Blatty's best seller cost a reported $10,000,000, most of it splashed upon the screen in a deluxe display of opulent settings, fine acting, unnerving special effects and grand camerawork (by Owen Roizman, with an assist from England's ace cinematographer Billy Williams, who shot the hypnotic, ominous prolog in Iraq). Above all, the movie is a triumph of technology--a chillingly graphic (but rather hollow) rehash of the slick supernatural horror-cum-hokum that held 6,000,000 readers in thrall by depicting the forces of good and evil at war in a demon-possessed child, whose mother just happens to be a famous Hollywood actress making a film on location in Washington, D.C. As the child, Regan, young Linda Blair has a role that could clinch awards for the make-up department and sound men, who keep her looking hideous while she growls bassoprofundo obscenities in several languages, masturbates with a crucifix, then invites her mother to perform what used to be thought an unnatural act. Nevertheless, The Exorcist carries an R rating, presumably avoiding an X because it's a classy production under the flag of director Friedkin, a perennial winner whose last box-office coup was The French Connection. Yet class counts for something, and you can size up The Exorcist by the company it keeps. There's Sweden's Max von Sydow, very grave in the title role; actor-writer Jason Miller in an auspicious film debut as Father Karras, the doubting younger priest who makes a supreme sacrifice; Lee J. Cobb, marvelous as a star-struck local detective; and, by no means least, Ellen Burstyn, who turns her difficult one-dimensional role as the desperate mother into a major emotional outlet. The cast also includes a couple of bona fide Catholic priests in speaking roles, doubling as technical advisors with other reverend fathers and a few certified M.D.s. Short of a papal seal or an A.M.A. endorsement, who could ask for anything more?
Ben Webster, the legendary tenor-sax man, died last fall in self-imposed exile in Europe. Shortly before his death. Denver free-lance writer Rachel Morris, while traveling in Denmark, tracked Webster down to his Copenhagen apartment and talked him into sitting still for an interview. Her report follows:
The Circle Repertory Theater, one of a number of off-off-Broadway theaters burgeoning in New York, is beginning to bolster the commercial theater. The Circle opens new plays in its experimental home, then moves them off-Broadway for long runs. Last season the company presented Lanford Wilson's The Hot I Baltimore, named best American play of the year by the New York Drama Critics Circle. This season the company offers When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? by Mark Medoff. Red Ryder is not in Baltimore's class, but it is an intriguing play and Medoff is a very promising new writer with a keen, contemporary ear. The theme is the death of heroism. The author's protagonist, Teddy, breaks up a sleepy Western diner, stripping the patrons of their illusions and their complacency. His attack is physical as well as intellectual, and his main object is Red Ryder, a crewcut counterman whose dreams have been conditioned by comic books and Western movies. Under Red's surface swagger beats a heart of custard. Desperately wanting to give him courage (and love) is the countergirl, the chubby, sweet-tempered Angel. Malicious and terribly funny, Teddy forces them (and the patrons) to face themselves. As directed by Kenneth Frankel, the cast is authentically in character, with acting honors going to Kevin Conway as the uproarious Teddy. This is a demonic rascal of a character--a burn, a clown and a savior--and Conway is a dynamo. At the Eastside Playhouse, 334 East 74th Street.
My wife and I enjoy a loving relationship. She is charming and beautiful, with a sharp, inventive wit. My problem is this: When we find ourselves in bed and our sexual interest peaks, she becomes so absorbed in her fantasies that she leaves me out of the picture. Lately, she has asked that I act out certain scenes from late-night movies or that I pretend to be Paul Newman or Cary Grant. I have become preoccupied with these characterizations and I fear that my own identity has become lost in the crowd. She says that her sex life is terrific, but it's gotten to where she won't make love unless I comply with her wishes. How can I drop out of this drama school without losing my precious wife?--J. M., Allentown. Pennsylvania.
Late last year, Jane Fonda called reporters to the Los Angeles Press Club and told them she was suing the President. During the press conference, she held a bulging FBI file, a gift from columnist Jack Anderson, filled with memos discussing her personal finances, children, travels--all sorts of gossipy information she claimed was gathered illegally. Furthermore, said Fonda, there was a clear line of responsibility for the file that was traceable to the man on Pennsylvania Avenue with the faulty tape machine.
There were about 40 people at Jerry and Samantha's cocktail party that evening. It was the usual crowd, the usual discomfort, the usual appalling noise. People had to stand very close to one another and shout to make themselves heard. Many were grinning, showing capped white teeth. Most of them had a cigarette in the left hand, a drink in the right.
She made an impressive entrance, back in December 1963: sort of a Playboy triple play, showing up on the special double cover, in the centerfold and in an editorial compilation of top Playmates for the magazine's first decade. Donna Michelle went on to become Playmate of the Year, a model, an actress (in TV, American and French films) and one of the readers' all-time favorite gatefold girls. It's been a little over ten years since her Playmate appearance, yet she still gets fan mail. Now living on a ranch in Northern California, Donna's carving out a new career on the other side of the shutter. "I got interested in cameras when I posed for Playboy," Donna told us. "I asked Pompeo Posar [the staffer who shot her Playmate pictures and the photo above] a lot of questions, and I started collecting lenses. Finally, photography got to be too expensive to maintain just as a hobby, and I began shooting professionally." Lately, she's been focusing on women; we took a look at some, and thought you'd like to see them--and her--too.
Blue laws, as readers of The Playboy Forum know, are repressive laws designed to regulate private sexual conduct. Such laws are the ultimate expression and embodiment of American puritanism and they are depressingly common today, despite the sexual revolution. Every state has more than its share of blue laws, some of which have been on the books for a century or more. The following is a list of unverified examples from several states, and it is hoped that by exposing these oppressive statutes, license and abandon may flourish--as God obviously intended.
Three summers ago--a geological ice age ago. it now seems--I was carried in an Israeli jeep, lare one afternoon, to the northern canal town of El Qantara. Ahead of us, a vague lemony sun glowered low over a measurelessly yawning sandscape singed and blasted to that brute simplicity of a terrain fit for the performance of human slaughter, still idly littered here and there with rusted scraps of machinery left from 1967, with distant tanks bluffly surging through fuming wallows of dust. The jeep was driven by a young Israeli lieutenant who had the improbably chaste and frail and bespectacled face, under his bulky helmet, of a lost acolyte. Reaching El Qantara--now a mute, battered, pocked ghost town--he banged with a sudden headlong viciousness through its empty wrecked streets as if pursued, sluing to a stop at last at the sunken fortifications along the canal. This was the Bar-Lev Line--a labyrinth of sandbagged slopes of gray grassless dust, resembling deep gulches of ashes, strung with a white ribbonry that fluttered in an oddly thin and dingy sunshine, a light that seemed tarnished with some dark glister of lethality and menace. We made our way clumsily down a steep blind passageway, in a barging clatter of boots and helmets--abruptly blundering into a bunker, and the stricken stare of an officer, obviously just wrenched out of sleep by the clamor of our descent, sitting with a rigid erect immobility on the edge of a cot in the feeble glare of a light bulb. He was a plumpish man, nearing middle age. his thinning hair blowsily ruffled. Taped to the corrugated-tin sheeting at his back was a child's crayon drawing, on notebook paper, of flowers and clouds and birds. To the dim humming of an electric generator, he continued to stare at us, murmuring only a few halting phrases with an expression of helpless terror--not quite able yet to gather himself back out of the cold, dreadful nothingness into which he had awakened at the sudden clumping of boots and clanking of helmets down the tunnel toward him.
A bunch of the boys are whooping it up at Elaine's one sodden evening in early 1973, their imaginations inflamed by Deep Throat, The Devil in Miss Jones and, to be sure, Marlon Brando's big first in Last Tango. The conversation gets around to the possibility of making what one of the conspirators now describes as "a hard-core, sophisticated, big-name, auteur-style sex movie." The big names at hand include Candy co-author Terry Southern, novelist Bruce Jay Friedman and perennial Playboy contributor Dan Greenburg, along with lesser-known Carl Gurevich, a former insurance man and semipro hedonist (also a talent scout for the Baltimore Colts, but never mind that) who was about to become executive producer of Fourplay. It may be time to mention that all are more or less charter members of Elaine's--an "in" place on Manhattan's Upper East Side, frequented by artists, writers and expatriates from the Stage Delicatessen and Sardi's.
Most of our playmates have never modeled professionally before our photographers shoot them, so the expertise is usually on the other side of the camera. But getting our April Playmate, Marlene (as in Dietrich) Morrow, to sit still in relaxed poses was a picnic, since Marlene has been a professional model for the past two years in London. "Posing is almost instinctive to me at this point," she says. "If someone tells me to look sexy with a string of pearls, I know exactly how to do it." And howl Although most of Marlene's modeling has been done clothed, you don't have to be an Einstein to tell she's equally at home unclothed. Especially with a string of pearls. But we don't have to tell you that--you can see. What we do have to tell you is that Marlene is also a very interesting person. Born in Billings, Montana, she moved to Osaka, Japan, where her father was a baseball player on a Japanese team. From there, the family moved to L.A., where Marlene grew up. "Believe it or not," she says, "up until the time I was 13 I wanted to be a missionary." She gave up that idea and settled on the notion of being a housewife with a load of kids. But that's been postponed indefinitely, now that her career is spiraling upward. She loves modeling, and especially the travel involved, but in the back of her mind is the idea that one day she might like to try her hand at acting. "In a way," she says, "to be a good model you have to be a good actress. Sometimes you'll get a horrible suit to model and you have to make like it's divine. That requires acting." But for now, Marlene is satisfied with her life in London--visiting pubs and going out with Englishmen, whom she finds vastly different from American men. But does she plan to make London her home? "Someday," she says, "I'd like to buy a trailer and just travel around the world for a whole year. Is that crazy?" Is Sadat Jewish?
An exhaustive research effort is being made," said the speaker at the medical convention, "to develop a replacement for the somewhat inconvenient daily contraceptive pill. We already have a morning-after one, and perhaps some laboratory will soon come up with a pill to be taken only once a month."
It was as nice a little whorehouse as you ever saw. It sat in a green Texas glade, white-shuttered and tidy, surrounded by leafy oak trees and a few slim renegade pines and the kind of pure clean air the mentholcigarette people advertise.
Spring is just about here, summer is a few calendar leaves away and long, warm days are in the offing. Energy, which is normally associated with heat and light, has been in short supply--but now who needs it? It's time to take it slow, and get the feel of whatever you come up against. Languor and sensuality are the order of the day. And when you apply that to fashion, it means several things. First of all, that you'll be digging the touch of natural fabric, be it silk, linen, cotton or leather. Also, that you'll be savoring the body-clinging ease of wrap jackets, fitted shirts, short tops and knits. The aesthetic of '74 recalls the architectural dictum that "Less is more"; and in this case, less busyness and boldness means that more skin will be showing (precisely how much is a matter of orgones, time zones and individual preference, of course). Colors, in keeping with these hazy, lazy days, are going to be soft, earthy and generally muted, with occasional bright accents. Careless flamboyance is out; it's no longer cool to be uncool. We're not, however, moving backward to some rigid classicism out of the frozen past but toward a new emphasis on subtlety--with a silent "b."
Playboy's History of Organized Crime Part IX: A Little Light on the Syndicate
Middle age is the time when men who have reached the pinnacles of their chosen professions begin to receive the public recognition, esteem and other rewards that accompany wealth and power. So it was in the late Forties and early Fifties for a small group of very wealthy businessmen, mainly Italian and Jewish, who, along with the 20th Century, had reached their middle years. They were the men who had helped create and who ruled a shadowy organization that had no formal title but was called, depending on who was doing the calling, the Syndicate, the Combination, the Mafia or any one of a dozen other names and whose influence on the entire nation was profound and malevolent. But that part of their lives was concealed as much as possible and rarely discussed, especially by those who had come to them often for help and had repaid past favors with public tributes. On the surface, at least, these were men who wielded great power in half a hundred industries and whose careers had been marked by unselfish labors for scores of charities and community betterment projects.
Gloomy buzzards! Damned devouring crows! Get out of here! You want to dry up my plants? Take the other road, around Doña Casilda's house; let that old Christer kneel to you as you go by! Show a little respect for the house of a Juárez republican! Have you ever seen me in your temple of darkness you vultures? I've never asked you to visit my house! Get out, get out of here!"
Marilyn Chambers had just previewed part of her new stage show (left) at a New Jersey theater, and visions of topflight bookings were dancing in the head of her manager, Chuck Traynor. "She's only twenty-one," he told us in breathless non sequitur, "and she really explodes onstage." They were due back in Hollywood a few days later to see about some proposed movie roles. Which was the kind of action Miss Chambers had in mind when she left her staid New England home town and gravitated to New York. But while she modeled, studied acting and even played bit parts in a film or two, her career was going nowhere. Then she moved to San Francisco, where she answered a newspaper ad placed by the Mitchell brothers, stalwarts of the porno-movie industry. Marilyn wanted a nonballing role but settled for a nonspeaking one; the movie, Behind the Green Door, cast her as a beautiful abductec, submitting--and responding--to all kinds of bizarre sexual stimuli. But while it made the rounds, her past came back to haunt her: It was revealed that Marilyn Chambers, porno star, was the sweet young mother on the Ivory Snow, box in your supermarket. Procter & Gamble, which makes Ivory Snow, was mad; but in the long run, the incident sold a lot of soap--and gave Marilyn a boost, too. She followed Green Door with another porno hit, The Resurrection of Eve. and then Traynor--a sort of Svengali to female porno stars--entered her life. Now it looks like Marilyn, thanks to her sex-movie detour, may actually become the aboveground star she always wanted to be. Some may well regret that; but you can bet she isn't looking back.
Next I'll tell you about a poor peasant who married before he knew any ways to pleasure a woman in bed (as he hadn't tried it before); but his wife knew all about what men can do, because, to tell the truth, the priest had done it very well when he wished, and when she wished, and so forth, till the day she was to wed her lord and master.
I am convinced that my old man was clairvoyant. I mean, why else would he, in the drab year of 1949, go down to his local Oldsmobile dealer and come home with the first hell-fire, running-sumbitch. hot-damn V8, Rocket 88 in the entire blasted county? You've got to admit that it was a trendy thing to do, what with all his neighbors lumping around in porthole Buick Road-masters and ultra-dumbo sedans like that. After all, the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was what you used to call your "hot" car and, in a day when the guys in zooty pants and duck's-ass haircuts--automotive visigoths known among the decent folk as "hot rodders"--were cruisin' in '40 Ford flatheads, having a set of "wheels" like that could boost you to stardom overnight. There it was, in four-door, almond-green splendor, appearing one day in my own driveway: a chance to become a living legend on a learner's permit. The 88's appearance was deceiving. It looked like all the other bulging, Jell-O-mold American cars of the day. Tall and rather narrow, it featured tumorous fenders that gave it a strongly pneumatic quality, as if it had been doubled in size by an injection of compressed air.