There Were Hundreds of Ifs that could have kept us from ever learning about the entire Watergate affair, but the biggest would have been if Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward hadn't been there. They're the two Washington Post reporters who singlehandedly exposed almost every bit of early incriminating information we had on the Government. "Everyone else was just coming up dry," one reporter said. All the President's Men is their account of exactly how they did it, and it's the best detective story we've ever read (Simon & Schuster is the book publisher; we're publishing two excerpts, the second in June). In addition, it contains new and more mind-blowing muck about the clay-footed paragons we put into office that gray November day so long ago. B. and W. were 28 and 29 years old at the time (Woodward had all of nine months' experience on the Post) and in less than a year, they went from pounding a beat to cracking the century's most sensational news story. While working on the manuscript for All the President's Men, they were visited by two of our editors, G. Barry Golson and Geoffrey Norman, and Woodward decided to take them to Nixon's favorite restaurant. Trader Vic's. After a nice, long political conversation, they noticed a man who had been eating dinner not five feet from them--and he looked a little familiar. It turned out to be Nixon's lawyer J. Fred Buzhardt, Jr. "I guess this is kind of an existential moment for you," said Golson. Woodward nodded with an existential smile.
Playboy, May, 1974, Volume 21, Number 5. 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 Angels, 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.
A regional tax official recently received a letter with a check for $500. "I haven't been able to sleep since cheating on my income tax," the letter read. There was a postscript: "If still unable to sleep, I will mail you the balance."
To most American sports fans, River-boat Racing ranks somewhere between mumblety-peg and frog jumping. First of all, only six bona fide river boats still operate in the U.S., and only two of them--the Delta Queen, which cruises from Cincinnati to points as remote as New Orleans and St. Paul, and the Belle of Louisville, a smaller excursion steamer--regularly race each other. When they do, the action has the feverish pace of a chess match, and the untrained eye might perceive nothing more rousing than a couple of antique stern-wheelers paddling slowly up a river, puffing smoke and hooting their calliopes at an encircling swarm of little boats whose occupants are frantically waving glasses and beer cans, as if pleading for a refill.
The American Film Theater's ongoing program of filmed plays, coolly considered, amounts to little more than a bright new marketing gimmick--aglitter with snob appeal as a kind of repertory cinema but prudently mum about the fact that movie makers ransacking best-play collections for half a century. Recruiting prestigious actors to work for peanuts in worthwhile dramas that otherwise might be dubious commercial ventures certainly has some value, nonetheless, if the productions meet the highest professional standards. On this point, however, A.F.T.'s score so far has been spotty.
It sounded like another crazy story out of Lotusland: Crooks--albeit reformed ones--teaching store clerks the elements of shoplifting? All under the approving eye of the law? This, we reasoned, had to be seen to be believed. So we sent our roving-eyed--but, as far as we know, not light-fingered--Bay Area reporter, Herbert Gold, to investigate. Here's his dispatch:
Maggie Bell grew up poor in Glasgow; but in some strange way, it must have been like growing up sad and plain in Port Arthur, Texas, because her first solo album, Queen of the Night (Atlantic), is an amazing ghost of Janis--and one song, A Woman Left Lonely, is even dedicated to her. Maggie sings with Janis' roadhouse urgency, almost touching the fire and pain that sometimes possessed her voice; but she is on Joplin imitator. She clearly got there all by herself. On cuts such as Caddo Queen and After Midnight, with some tasty help from guitarist Cornell Dupree, she lets loose and it's fine; and she sings the blues really low-down and blue. Watch out for Maggie Bell.
The current edition of Woody Herman and the Young Thundering Herd is the most consistently exciting band that jazzdom's perennial traveler has headed in some years. At New York City's Halfnote (149 West 54th Street), where blowups of his scores are a permanent fixture over the bar, Woody displayed two young tenor saxophonists--Gregory Herbert and Frank Tiberi--who swing hard and inventively with big larruping sounds. Other names worth watching for as they eventually leave the Herd to strike out on their own are Andy Laverne (electric piano) and Jim Pugh (trombone). The scores, mostly by trumpeter-arranger Bill Stapleton, range from such refurbished vintage Herman charts as Early Autumn and Four Brothers to John Coltrane's Giant Steps (the title tune of Woody's most recent Fantasy album). Collectively, the band's section work is crisp and driving; and every once in a while, Woody's clarinet rides over the wall of sound behind him as it has ridden over a long series of Thundering Herds. Whether or not big bands are coming back, the indefatigable Mr. Herman works 48 weeks every year and is booked well into 1974. Asked where he keeps finding young and eager sidemen, Woody says that his main sources are the Berklee College of Music in Boston, North Texas State University and the University of Indiana. "We don't usually get them right out of school," he adds, "but we know they're there from our sources around the country and we keep track of them." Woody thinks it's going to be easier and easier to find recruits because of the thousands of stage bands and dance bands in America's schools. An index of the interest in big bands among the young is that 30 percent of Woody's bookings are now at colleges (where the band is involved in clinics and seminars as well as concerts) and at high schools. While Woody continues on the road, the University of Houston has meanwhile inaugurated a Woody Herman Collection of early scores, old horns and other Herman memorabilia. It's installed in the archives of the university's music library. In view of Woody's capacity to keep regenerating himself through contact with the young, bold musicians who continue to be attracted to his various Herds, the University of Houston is going to have to keep expanding the space committed to the Herman archives, because Woody is far from retirement. After all, he's 14 years younger than that other long-distance swinger, Duke Ellington.
The tiny Manhattan restaurant la petite ferme (189 West Tenth Street) numbers among its patrons the Paleys, the Onassises, the Plimptons and the Capote--but don't let that put you off. It's not one of your cunningly contrived modern boites where customers leave humming the decor. Oh, it's charming, all right: whitewashed walls hung with such natural pop art as a whole prosciutto, a provolone, garlands of red onions and garlic, plus fresh flowers strategically spotted where they do the most good. But the main attraction here is the scoff, and it's the distinctive culinary expression of one man, proprietor Charles Chevillot. His family owns the Hôtel de la Poste in Beaune, and la petite ferme may be an evocation of that respected Burgundian hostelry. Chevillot's cuisine is bourgeoise, emphasizing the honest taste of superb raw ingredients rather than the rich, complex sauces and garnitures of haute cuisine. But while the cooking is unembellished, and almost austere on occasion, it's by no means artless. Two admirable appetizers, mussels vinaigrette and leeks vinaigrette, exemplify the deceptively simple Chevillot style. The mussels are steamed with onion and parsley, doused with a tangy vinaigrette and served cool (not chilled) in a crude wooden bowl. The same sauce--good red-wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and olive oil--plays a lovely counterpoint to the leeks. The entree menu is severely limited; only four are offered on any given evening--which is all to the good, considering the size and aspirations of le petite ferme. Selections are chalked on a small slate, which allows M. Chevillot last-minute flexibility on his morning market amble. If a striped bass or a salmon catches his eye, it may become one of the day's two fish entrees, poached in court bouillon and anointed with a sauce of butter, shallots and wine-vinegar dressing. Gray sole or red snapper sautée might be the other poisson. Entrecôte Poêlée (boneless shell steak sautéed in butter) is the one menu constant. (Le patron is not enthralled with steak, but "We have to have it.") The fourth main dish is likely to be en casserole--perhaps Navarin d'Agneau (lamb stew to you), Pot au Feu served with coarse salt, mustard and horseradish sauce, Osso Buco (veal braised with white wine and vegetables but served without the traditional gremolata garnish), Poulet Bourguignon or even a Lapin Chasseur. Two crisp, perfectly prepared vegetables, absolutely unadorned, come with most entrees. La petite ferme isn't a dessert lover's mecca, but good cheese is served from a board, with bread, in the French manner, never with crackers. There is no bar, and spirits are not served, but you can start with an aperitif such as the house special--sparkling white burgundy spiked with strop de cassis. And wines are fairly priced at about double the retail list. M. Chevillot is under the illusion that a couple can dine well at la petite ferme for about $25--"if they don't go wild on wine." Would that it were so. With gratuities, the à-la-carte tab could run double that. There are two seatings, at 7 and 9:30 P.M. Reservations are imperative (212-242-7035). A group of four or six is easier to book than a twosome. Lunch, served at 12:30 P.M. Tuesday through Friday, is less crowded, also a bit cheaper. La petite ferme is closed to the public on Monday--reserved for private parties.
They show up in bizarre places--alongside a canal in Amsterdam, leaning against a milepost in Italy, among the advertising placards in the London underground, tacked up next to the basketball hoop on a small-town Kansas garage. You may have seen your first one in Vietnam--240 of them were mailed over there, at Servicemen's requests--or, in the unlikely event you were there at the right time on the right dog sled, on the polar icecap. The message is alternately straightforward (Wall Drug, 10,632 Miles) or corn-pone cutesy (Wall, I'll be Drugged). So popular is this odd bit of Americana, the Wall Drug sign, that nearly 20,000 are given away each year. But their largest concentration, understandably enough, is along a dreary, 348-mile stretch of Interstate Highway 90 between Sioux Falls and Rapid City, South Dakota. The distance between signs decreases relentlessly the closer one gets to the town of Wall (population 740), on the northern rim of the Badlands National Monument. There, in defiance of all logic, stands an institution that's a marvelous mixture of high camp and big business, the ultimate tribute to the old saw that it pays to advertise.
For a lot of people, going to Florida is a far more solemn and momentous act than just visiting Disney World with the kids or dropping into Fort Lauderdale for a beer-soaked spring vacation (yes, they still do that). Some people go to Florida to die. They may not plan on getting right down to business as soon as they're unpacked, but that's how the move will end. In that state, it seems, you are either a tourist or a terminal--or a servant of one of those two.
On the best of all possible Broadways, Candide would not have flunked first time around (in 1956). The score is one of Leonard Bernstein's best and Richard Wilbur's lyrics are marked by caustic wit and intelligence. But the original production had problems, and one of the biggest was Lillian Hellman's heavy-handed adaptation of Voltaire. The first thing that director Harold Prince has done in his new version of Candide is to substitute a new book by Hugh Wheeler, one that accents the black comedy in Can-dide's picaresque journey from innocence to enlightenment, sexual and otherwise. The music is still operatic, but this Candide is a comedy. The play takes place in and around the paying customers, in an environment designed by Eugene and Franne Lee. Actors swing on vines, drawbridges drop on cue (and almost on the audience) and the orchestra is all over the place; the sound is at least quadraphonic. Almost too much is happening and Prince's Candidie is not without its coyness, but the evening is full of pleasures, not the least of which is hearing that score again, well sung by a cast of largely unknown performers. The most impressive contributions come from Mark Baker as an ingenuous open-faced Candide and Sam Freed as an elegant and assertive gentleman. Lewis J. Stadlen, doubling as a Croucholike Dr. Pangloss and a decrepit old Voltaire, has the most to do--and doesn't overdo it. This exuberant Candide was first presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music by the adventurous Chelsea Theater Center, and then, after a sold-out run, it soared to Manhattan, where it's a most welcome tenant at the Broadway, 1681 Broadway.
My wife and I have a passionate and uninhibited sex life. Lately it has become enriched by fantasies taken from various X-rated films that we have seen together. We imagine what group sex would be like; specifically, a ménage à trois with another woman present. I am excited by the image of two women caressing and kissing each other, the symmetry of breasts pressing against breasts, the intimacies based on a woman's knowledge of what turns a woman on. My wife favors a scenario in which she is an invisible observer, watching me enjoy myself with the other woman: She jokingly points out that she has never seen how the muscles in my back move when we make love, and thinks she would get off on it. Neither of us would mind having our fantasies become fact, if we could find a cooperative accomplice, but the more we talk about it, the more we feel for each other and the less inclined we are to admit a third party. We can't figure out what the fantasies mean. Do they indicate some underlying compulsion that must be cured by acting out? Are we closet voyeurs who need help? What do you say?--J. U., Columbia, Missouri.
Baseball is still mainly an American game, but the whole world knows about the flamboyant Babe Ruth and his supposedly unbreakable home-run record. It took the world long enough to notice him, but by now everybody also knows that Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron, longtime outfielder for the Atlanta Braves, is about to break that record. And everybody knows that Aaron has been functioning lately under incredible pressure. Everything he does, on or off the diamond, makes headlines; camera crews and reporters follow his every move, and when he hits the record-breaking shot--if he hasn't by now--they're going to interrupt whatever program you're watching in order to bring you the news.
June 17, 1972. Nine o'clock Saturday morning. Early for the telephone. Bob Woodward fumbled for the receiver and snapped awake. The city editor of The Washington Post was on the line. Five men had been arrested earlier that morning in a burglary at Democratic headquarters, carrying photographic equipment and electronic gear. Could he come in?
The soft rustle of a satin slip sliding down her body, the barely audible click in the dark that told you you'd unhooked her bra. It's hard to believe that such sounds and sights are almost nostalgic today. Nostalgic, hell, they're practically nonexistent. Not that we're knocking the no-bra look. Nor are we advocating anything like a return to modesty. But we've rediscovered an old truth: that leaving something to the imagination can be very sexy. (The mind's eye is a marvelous "organ" whose powers should never be underestimated.) So we decided to ask an assortment of attractive young ladies to put it on rather than take it off. They thought we were putting them on at first, but they finally got the idea. And we got a few of our own
Playboy's History of Organized Crime Part X: Perils of Power
There is an old truism that nobody retires from the councils of organized crime; the only way out is in a box. But Frank Costello, fretting away months in prison in 1956 and well aware that his legal battles were far from over, knew that such truisms are not necessarily truths. While old racketeers are usually no more willing to relinquish power and position than their counterparts in big business, there are some who have stepped down gracefully to spend their old age in wealthy retirement. In the years before his death of a heart attack in Brooklyn in 1957, nobody questioned Johnny Torrio's right to life as a rich pensioner, nor did anyone try to put a bullet in Al Capone's head when, sick and dying, he left Alcatraz and retired to his Palm Island estate in Florida. All along the Florida Gold Coast, in fact, old-time bootleggers and racketeers took their ease in the warm sun, far from the wars of their youth.
Couple of years ago, Marilyn Lange (it rhymes with tang) was back in her native New Jersey and going to secretarial school. Pretty blah. Then, on a whim, she went to Hawaii--via a tour--and stopped at Waikiki, where she met a young man who caught her fancy. She's been in Hawaii ever since, not because she's so crazy about the islands ("It's hard to get motivated here") but because Marilyn--no women's libber--frankly admits that her man's a very important part of her life: "I love being in love, and I'm willing to be a little slavish in order to make my guy feel good." She and Kip, her boyfriend, share an apartment in Honolulu--"We split the rent, because it's dumb for the man to have to pay for everything"--and they also work together, on a big old Chinese barge that's been converted to a restaurant. Marilyn is a cocktail waitress; Kip works the piano bar, playing and singing. Marilyn makes fairly good money--40 bucks a night in tips, she says--and she enjoys the job because she's a people watcher: "After you do this for a while, you can tell by their accent what kind of tip people are going to leave. Like, Australians and Canadians don't tip the way Americans do; but then, people from New York don't tip the way L.A. people do, either." While Marilyn waits on tables, Kip plays Elton John tunes if there's a young crowd in the place; if it's an older group, he'll sing something like The Impossible Dream. Marilyn gets a kick out of the customers' reactions to her man: "The ladies just melt in front of him. I don't mind if they're five years old, or seventy-three, but if they're in between and pretty, then I do get a little jealous." On nights when they don't work, she and Kip like to go down to Kalakaua Avenue, which runs through Waikiki, and watch the tourists and the beachcombers. When she's got some daylight hours to fill up, Marilyn's likely to be on her lanai--that's Hawaiian for balcony--talking to her tomatoes and spinach plants; she also likes to crochet and hook rugs. As for the folks back home, Marilyn reports that although her grandparents raised an eyebrow or two about her liberated lifestyle, her parents are too wrapped up in their own thing to worry about her much: "My mother calls periodically to say, 'How are you, my darling daughter? Are you sure you're OK?'--but now that all three of us kids have left, they've bought themselves a farm in Connecticut and they're having a second honeymoon." In case her grandparents are still concerned, Marilyn probably won't stay in Hawaii forever; after her relationship with Kip has run its course, she says she'll most likely head back to the mainland and check out some of her favorite places (Aspen, for one). Loyal as she is to the guy she's going with, she also knows something about the impermanence of relationships: She was married at 18 to a musician in a popular East Coast rock group ("It's really dumb, but I just keep getting involved with musicians"). It didn't last, and she has no plans to try matrimony again. In fact, Marilyn has no specific long-term goals. At presstime, she was about to go back to school and learn accounting; and she was thinking of investing her Playmate fee in some land. But she says--and it's like her to put herself down in a humorous way--"I have to grow up more before I decide what I'm going to do in the future." Well, she already looks pretty grown up to us.
I was just back from lunch, a long lunch lubricated by several strong drinks, and frankly, I did not feel like working. I sat down at my desk and watched a small globular spider spin her modest symmetrical web around an axis of anchor cables stretched between my fountain pen in its upright inkstand, my reading glasses in their leather case, my appointment calendar on its plastic swivel stand and my telephone receiver in its gray cradle. Any move to begin my own labors would disturb at least one of these mooring points. Fixing upon this fact as an excuse, I did nothing, merely sat for an hour in my chair and watched her drag an endless silk strand outward from the fuzzy center of her web in a widening left handed spiral. From time to time, I let loose a large bubble of alcohol fumes sent up by my suffering stomach. Loud were these belches, thoroughly vile, probably flammable, possibly poisonous. Poisonous? I waited until one rose in my throat, then leaned forward and barked it directly upon my small industrious friend. She did not shrivel, but her pace did falter somewhat, and when she resumed her work, the web contained an irregular oval gap through which much prey might eventually escape.
How the New York Stock Exchange, the Life Insurance Industry, the Sec and a Host of other Guardians
Raymond L. Dirks
Equity Funding Corporation of America, a financial-services institution, began operations in 1960 with $10,000. Its "Product" was a new way to purchase life insurance. You bought shares in a mutual fund; you borrowed against that equity to pay your life-insurance premiums. In effect, you used your money twice--and if the stock market went up in the interval, you made money on the deal.
They weren't still married. They weren't officially separated. They weren't much of anything. The way it worked was that each Sunday, Harry Towns's son would be shipped into the city with a package of bills and Towns would take care of them; he saw it not so much in terms of paying them as in terms of whittling down the stacks as they arrived. At the time he had broken up with his wife, he had owned a massive wardrobe, mostly because he rarely threw away clothing and still had sweat shirts that dated 20 years back, ones he had bought at college. He had left most of his clothing behind, although, admittedly, he had taken along his key outfits, four leather sports jackets and four pairs of his top slacks, in combinations that he could keep switching around so that he came across as being well dressed. A dapper newscaster who had never been seen twice in the same outfit stopped Harry Towns on several occasions and said, "Jesus, where do you get your stuff?"--a tribute to Towns's nimble footwork as a switcher of outfits. He had left behind his tax records, his Army uniform and a ton of his books, although in this last category, he had skimmed off the cream, 50 winners--books like Henry Esmond and Middlemarch, ones he had read but wanted to take a second and more mature shot at. He had left several suitcases with his wife, taking with him one that was expensive but professionally battered; it was that way when he bought it and might have belonged to an Italian film director, one whose career had been uneven.
In a curious little book called Good Behavior, Harold Nicolson quotes Montaigne as saying, "I'd rather commit adultery than tell a lie. "I've never been able to find this in the Essays myself, but I've always thought it was a really great line, a perfect example of the funny stuff you can get off when you have a principled morality. But what I've never been able to understand about it is how Montaigne could manage to commit adultery without telling a lie. Lying and adultery seem to me to go hand in hand; in fact, arm in arm, (continued on page 196) Adultery (continued from page 133) grappling each other right into the motel room. Maybe adultery was simpler in Montaigne's time, in 16th Century France, and easier for him, a charming man and a nobleman. But for most of us now, even in these permissive times, adultery is often a pretty complicated business, and that's of course what's wrong with it.
America has rediscovered the occult. As if possessed, we rummage through the shelves of our psychic lost-and-found department looking for parcels of wisdom that we mislaid a few centuries back. Bookstores that cater to the occult have sprung up on corners that were once the sole province of porn shops--and the juxtaposition is no coincidence. As the haunting images on these pages eloquently attest, the mystical and the sexual have been interwoven since time immemorial. They have also shared the allure of the outlawed--but never more fashionably than today. From Rosemary's Baby to The Devil in Miss Jones, scriptwriters have exploited the age-old alliance of the erotic and the occult. People are still lining up around the block to see The Exorcist.
Somebody Brought Word to the rabbi that a Jewish prostitute, a zono, had come to town, had taken a room at the gentiles' inn and had begun to entertain certain town officials and army officers in a shocking way. A little later, the rabbi thought he detected some lascivious looks on the faces of his young Talmudic students, who seemed to be whispering in corners more than usual. What a tsimmes!
You Can't Keep a Good State Down: The Disastrous California Gravity Shortage
FLOAT-OUT: The situation resulting from an acute shortage of gravity in which everything leaves the ground and flies away. CONELRAD: Acronym for a giant bunker somewhere under Kentucky in which are housed 752,350 tiny horseshoe magnets that can be activated during a float-out. GAMMA RAYS: Similar to manta rays, these deep-sea creatures lie on the bottom of the ocean, partially covered by sand, and wait to be stepped on. They then move to another spot and wait some more. GROUND ZERO: A meat dish named after famed actor Zero Mostel. It is so heavy that eating it helps keep you on the ground. T.N.T.: A branch of I.T.T. now doing research in gravity-producing procedures such as small land wars in South America and assassination of political figures.
It was a cold, dark winter, but thanks to what the inventor calls Leroy's Existential Wonder Dynamo, the lights and space heaters are going on again all over Paris. The device was developed by an American expatriate from Doom, Mississippi; the LEWD, as it's called, works by converting anguish, angst, Weltschmerz, despair, ennui and guilt into electricity. Since late March, Jean-Paul Sartre alone has been lighting all of Montparnasse. The inventor, Leroy Sump, told us why he constructed the device: "I was fed up to here sittin' around feelin' bad in the dark. Couldn't even read my comic books."
Wood-Burning TV: When was the last time you sat down to an evening of Johnny Carson? Only the very rich can afford to power that 82-inch tube you bought back in '72. But now the wood-burning television is here at last. Just light up and relax with fullchannel catatonic color. Sleek steamturbine engine allows reception up to 20 feet and designer cast-iron cabinet with Sanskrit scrollwork adds a touch of class to any living room. $395 from your dealer.
They were astonished when he was wheeled in, because they weren't prepared for the bright-blue eyes and the extreme whiteness of his skin. But most of all, they were surprised to find him so alive, so seemingly aware, for they had been told Mr. Moyachki lived in his own private world and never said anything to anyone anymore; yet there he was, number 28098, looking anything but inward, eyes darting about, blinking. And listening. Mr. Moyachki looked as if he would answer if any of them put a question to him, for new doctors were allowed to do that and in other years some had even tried to, but Mr. Moyachki never answered when they did. When they addressed him by name, all he did was sweat a little more. Sometimes he trembled. Or passed air. One year one of the new residents said he looked like a man waiting for the blindfold before his execution, and Dr. Humboldt wrote that in the record and even mentioned it as his own observation in ensuing presentations.
"In college, I couldn't decide whether to be a philosophy professor or a comedian," says Steve Martin of his days at UCLA in the middle Sixties. He eventually decided to do his stand-ups in bars instead of classrooms and started playing small folk clubs in the L.A. area, building an act that included "everything I knew how to do. I threw in some magic, some banjo playing, some jokes, some knuckle cracking, until I got it up to 15 minutes. I've never really varied from that sure-fire formula." Martin typically ambles on stage, starts a monolog, then pauses to observe, "One thing I can't stand is a comedian who'll use any cheap gag to get a laugh." With that he bends over, picks up a dime-store arrow and adjusts it on his head. "This costs 35 cents." Martin, 28, was raised and schooled in, of all places, Orange County, California. "My parents are real Orange County conservatives. I remember when I was a kid, I looked at them and said, 'Oh, no!' But at least my great-grandfather died by getting stoned on something and lying down on a railroad track. That always pleased me." His big break came when Mason Williams, head writer for the Smothers Brothers television show, saw him performing. "He hired me and I started writing for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and then they got kicked off the air." He also wrote for Sonny and Chér and others before deciding, last year, to try it on his own. It didn't take long before top clubs such as L.A.'s Troubadour were on the phone. Now he's finished an LP called I've Done Terrible Things to My Dog with a Fork, does the Tonight Show ("It's rumored that Carson moved to the West Coast to be closer to me") and, in a move of his own, left Los Angeles for the quiet of New Mexico. "I hated L.A. It took me 20 minutes to turn a corner." His career has already turned the corner, and Martin assesses his fast success philosophically: "The most important thing to remember about my comedy is that it's, ultimately, very serious. Or is it just unfunny?"
"I just want to sit there being as mentally ill as I possibly can," says Martin Mull about his new act, which is catching on like--well--wild smoke across the nation. With a mixture of low camp and straight-faced put-on, seated in a vintage Salvation Army armchair and clad in a salmon-colored dinner jacket, Mull effectively deflates the pretensions of rock music and the Woodstock generation with such somber ballads as Blacks and Blues and The Ego Boogie. His motto: "If God had meant for us to play acoustically, He never would have given us amps." Whatever that means. Born--or found in an acorn--30 years ago in Chicago, Mull received a master's in fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design. Finding the art world boring, he promptly set about to give it a little pizzazz and soon afterward became, he says, the first person to hold an exhibition in the men's room of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He also claims to be the first person to reproduce a Matisse reclining nude in hors d'oeuvres: five gherkins on a matzoh. "I've always been a show-off," he explains. After a few more such antics, Mull turned his protean talents to the rock-'n'-roll scene, which has yet to recover. He's recorded two albums for Capricorn, Martin Mull and Martin Mull & His Fabulous Furniture in Your Living Room, and has just finished a third--called Normal because "I've gotten into taking my temperature lately. I'm trying to develop hypochondria." In order to perform his smash-nonhit single Dueling Tubas, Mull taught himself to play the guitar and tuba simultaneously, another first. On a more serious note, he's composed scores for public broadcasting's Great American Dream Machine and The 51st State. Always blazing new trails, Mull is hitting the road this spring with The Martin Mull Show, using local talent in each city for a boffo opening act. What other artist offers such a chance to the baton twirlers, accordion players and operatic truck drivers of America? Says Mull: "Not only is it cheap but it's stupid."
A 19-year-old Hunga-Rican ballet dancer from Washington Heights? You gotta be kidding. Nope--Freddie Prinze came from the union of a Hungarian gypsy and a Puerto Rican girl and was raised in what he calls a "suburb of Harlem." He studied ballet and drama at the School of Performing Arts. But his real talent lay elsewhere: "I was best known for telling jokes in the bathroom at lunchtime." That was last June. Now his material's been called the funniest since Lenny Bruce. Watergate: "Nixon released the tapes because they promised to let him make an album." The ghetto: "We never believed in Santa Claus, because my father said, 'If anybody comes down the chimney, you blow his head off.' " Justice for minorities: "Hey, Pedro got four years for possession of money. They said it was conspiracy to buy stolen property." Drugs: "Bruce Lee died of an overdose of marijuana. He smoked a great joint, got really stoned and beat himself up." History: "Columbus was a pimp. Queen Isabella gives him all her money, three boats and he's wearing a red suit, a big hat and a feather. That's a pimp." Bits like that (plus a lot of luck) have made Prinze's career read like a Forties movie script: Underprivileged boy with talent plays local club, star catches act, sics hot-shot manager onto kid; manager gets kid on Johnny Carson show--which is where it really began. "I smashed the place up," Prinze says. Sammy Davis Jr. was on the show that night and raved about Freddie so much that Carson asked him to sit down and talk--a rare occurrence in the show's history: Most comedians don't get to sit down until at least their third appearance. From there Prinze went on the club circuit and now he's signed for a television pilot called Chico and the Man ("like a Puerto Rican Sanford and Son"). Listening to Freddie talk about his rise from funny kid to TV star, you can tell his head is still spinning from the side. Think of it: Last spring he was wandering around the halls worrying about final exams.
Chicago has been the underworld's bombing capital since before the turn of the century. In the city's Italian neighborhoods, Black Hand extortionists used bombs against shopkeepers and kidnapings against those whose wealth was not in the form of business property. In other neighborhoods, particularly the Irish, extortionists were also big on bombs but refined their threats from simple ultimatums to offers of "protection" (mainly against the protectors). In addition, bombs were the popular means of exposing the existence of some brothel or gambling parlor that had had the temerity to encroach on staked-out territory. With clouds of smoke and betting slips billowing out of a gutted storefront, the arriving police felt compelled to announce they'd uncovered an illegal gambling parlor. During the Chicago gambling war of 1907, pool halls and whist clubs, the usual fronts for gambling operations, were popping like champagne corks.