They say that into every life a little rain must fall (yes, they really do say that) and, with this in mind, we sent Robert Scheer out after Nelson Rockefeller. It wasn't malicious on our part, mind you, since anybody whose name is Rockefeller is news. It's just that Scheer has spent the better part of a lifetime working in opposition to Rockefeller and everything he stands for. In fact, Scheer was one of the first journalists to lift some covers off the CIA, which he did when he was the editor of Ramparts during its glory days. We didn't know that there would be a full-dress CIA scandal when we sent Scheer off to write about Rockefeller and we certainly couldn't have guessed that Nelson himself would be named to investigate that scandal. But that's the way things turned out and we aren't complaining.
Playboy, October, 1975, volume 22, number 10. Published monthly by Playboy, Playboy building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States, its possessions and Canada, $24 for three years, $18 for two years, $10 for one year. Elsewhere $15 per year. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of address: send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Playboy building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Marketing: Richard S. Rosenzweig, Director of Marketing; Herbert D. Maneloveg, Director of Marketing Information; Nelson Futch, Marketing Manager; Lee Gottlieb, Director of Public Relations. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director; Don Hanrahan, Associate Advertising Director; Jules Kase, Advertising Manager, 747 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10017; Chicago, Sherman Keats, Associate Advertising 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.
One of the most bizarre stories of the year reached us through The Bangkok Post, which reported that an 18-year-old Thai housewife, angered at her husband's infidelities, cut off his penis as he slept and threw the organ out the window. A neighbor heard the man's yells and rushed him to a local hospital, where doctors asked the neighbor to go back and retrieve the severed penis. The neighbor returned and was just in time to spot a duck waddling down a path--with the penis in its beak. Police detained the wife for questioning. The duck was released.
License plates are more than a jumble of numbers used to identify the car--they often cryptically identify the driver as well. As readers will remember from a piece in Playboy (February 1968), license-plate codifiers have long adorned their cars with clever short messages designed to make tailgaters pull up short. But today, what with sexual liberation and a general over-all kinkiness inherent in anyone who goes to great lengths to adorn an automobile, the personalized plate has become the personal statement.
For the past week, the television screens of America have been lighted up--or blanked out--by the industry's annual orgy of seasonal debuts. On the premise that you couldn't possibly have taken in all the new shows yet, we commissioned Newsday's Marvin. Kitman to preview some of them for you. Bleary-eyed but game, he responded:
We have to assume that everything, including the astrological chart, was working for them when cornetist Ruby Braff and guitarist George Barnes decided to join forces. The Braff-Barnes Quartet has been responsible, since its inception, for some of the nicest sounds around. And it now has a pair of new LPs to delight us. To Fred Astaire, with Love (RCA) takesten tunes with which Astaire has been associated and shows that--no offense intended--they can stand by themselves. (Well, not quite by themselves; Braff and Barnes have imbued them with a vitality that belies their age.) The Ruby Braff--George Barnes Quartet/Live at the New School (Chiaroscuro) has more (but not much more) of a Dixieland feel to it than the Astaire album. Be that as it may, it provides another perfect example of what a tight, inventive, immensely listenable group is supposed to sound like--there're Sugar and Solitude, A Ghost of a Chance and Goose Pimples, and a half-dozen other tunes that will keep you close to your speakers. Let us add a final few words in praise of bassist Mike Moore and rhythm guitarist Wayne Wright, who supply the launching pad for the Braff-Barnes flights of fancy.
Previews: Looks as if there'll be a bit of everything on the fall book lists: the long-awaited novel, the literary event, the potential blockbuster, some fact tht reads like fiction (and vice versa) and a few unusual topics, serious and otherwise. The long-awaited novel--is ten years long enough?--is Williams Gaddis' JR (Knopl). JR, its 11-year-old hero, parlays an order for thousands of Army-surplus wooden picnic forks into a nationwide family of companies--which he directs out of a pray phone at his Long Island school. It's a comic but revealing insiht into money and influence in American. The event is the publication of Beyond the Bedroom Wall (Farrar, Starus & Giroux), Larry Woiwode's chronicle of the fictional Neumiller familyy of North Dakota and Illionis. Dispensing with linear narrative, Woiwode observes the Neumillers from many points of view during a series of specific moments chosen from the family hisotry. Back again, and probably headed for best-seller lists, are author Marry Renault, tackling Alexander the Great in The Nature of Alexander (Pantheon); the creators of Is Paris Burning?--larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre--with Freedom at Midnight (Simon & Schuster), a tale of the birth of India and Pakistan out of the ashes of the British raj; and yet another espionage thriller from Len (Iperess File, et al.) Deighton, Yesterday's Spy (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). From Farrar, Straus & Giroux we can expect, besides the Woiwode book, Donald Barthelme's The Dead Father, billed as his first "real" novel' Passions, new stories by Isaac bashevis Singer; and a book we looked for all last year and hope will surface during this, The Right Stuff: electric kook Tom Wolfe on the astronauts.
Previews: If 1974-1975 was a vintage year for epic disaster movies, the 1975-1976 season may be remembered as a bicentennial orgy of big-time film biographies, several devoted to Hollywood's own. Among the holiday baubles to come will be Lombard and Gable, director Sidney J. Furie's homage to two alltime-great superstars, with Jill Clayburgh and James Brolin running the considerable risk of unfavorable comparison. In W. C. Fields and Me, due early in 1976, sobersided Rod Steiger plays the celebrated screen comedian opposite Lenny's award-winning Valerie Perrine as Carlotta Monti, Fields's longtime mistress, with Jack Cassidy in a supporting stint as John Barrymore. Busby is the projected title for a bio based on the career of veteran choreographer and director Busby Berkeley, creator of artdeco fantasies in such memorable musicals as 42nd Street and Gold Diggers of 1933. The swinging life and times of swash buckler Errol Flynn are also due to be commemorated on film, though the actor destined for In-like-Flynn fame has not been identified as we go to press. Beyond the range of Hollywood's Who's Who, watch for Leadbelly, a completed biography of black folk singer Huddie Ledbetter, rumored to be a winner, with Roger Mosley in the lead role; Richard Burton as Tito; and Telly Savalas as Nick the Greek, a high-rolling professional gambler of yes-teryear. In Rome, Fellini's Casanova is getting up steam with Donald Sutherland, of all people, starred as the 18th Century originator of kiss and tell. Paul Newman will be visible, presumably catching the spirit of'76, in Buffalo Bill and the, Indians, by director Robert Altman, who has cast Nashville's Geraldine Chaplin as Annie Oakley. Another Nashville alumna, TV's Lily Tomlin, is joining Bruce Dern and a canine movie newcomer in a comedy titled Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Warner Bros., not strictly a biography of Rin Tin Tin but a tongue-in-cheek tribute to a dog who had his day in Hollywood.
For the past year, I have been in love with an attractive, vivacious, twice-divorced 26-year-old woman. (She has a four-year-old daughter.) She is the most sexually experienced lover I have ever had. By her own admission, I am the first person to completely satisfy her. Perhaps because of this, she has badgered me constantly to marry her. Recently, she informed me that if I didn't marry her, I would be the last man she would love. I found out what she meant a few nights later, when I came home and discovered her on the couch making love to another woman. She has since completely changed over to the lesbian life; she has quit her job moved in with her girlfriend and sent her daughter to live with the child's grandmother. In our final conversation, she stated that she would go straight if I married her. Not having had any previous contact with homosexuality, I feel disgusted, emasculated and just plain confused. What should I do? I love her and would like to be a part of her life, but I'm not ready to get hitched.--H. F., Sarasota, Florida.
During the past few years, almost every state has substantially reduced penalties for simple marijuana, possession. This year, Alaska, California, Colorado and Maine have joined Oregon in eliminating jail sentences altogether, and the District of Columbia and Ohio may soon pass similar reforms. Federal decriminalization bills are now before Congress and advocates of drug-law reform predict that a dozen or more states will have abandoned the handcuffs-and-jail approach to pot smoking before the 1976 elections. These new laws do not legalize marijuana. Private useand possession of small amounts remain offenses punishable by civil fines (in California, the offense is technically a misdemeanor but with no permanent criminal record) and the sale of any amount is still a crime. Nevertheless, these reforms signal, we hope, the beginning of the end of a long, dark era in American legal history that began with liquor Prohibition and the dubious proposition that the Government must protect its citizens from themselves by turning them into criminals.
It's Called getting by with a little help from your friends. Fiona Lewis had worked with Oliver Reed on an obscure English film that you probably will never see. Oliver Reed had worked with Ken Russell on a film that you probably will see or have seen. When Reed heard about Lisztomania, he recommended Fiona for the role of Countess Marie. Obviously, she read her lineswell enough to get the part. It was a bit of a change from previous roles. "Usually I played a character called simply The Girl, a cipher that just passed through the film, not much of a character at all, really. At least in Lisztomania I had the opportunity to play many roles in one and, under Ken Russell's direction, I developed a complete character." Two weeks after Fiona completed the shooting for Lisztomania, she left London and set about becoming a resident alien in Los Angeles. To pursue her acting career? Well, not exactly. Fiona is now engaged in a form of employment that offers a little job security. Like what? Try free-lancewriting. When she gets an odd moment, she interviews celebrities (such as Gene Wilder, Donald Pleasence and co-star Roger Daltrey) for Calendar, the L.A. Times supplement, and works on her first screenplay. "It's about a 14-year-old girl living in the south of France in 1929. Very incestuous." Not exactly a made-for-TV movie, but the lack of commercial prospects doesn't bother Fiona. "I love to write. I've published articles and have written several short stories. If the screenplay sells, fine. The important thing is keeping busy. I can't bear lying in the sun doing nothing." Chances are Fiona's name will be found in the credits of a lot more films--perhaps for acting, perhaps for scripting, perhaps for both. We can't wait to see the next reel.