"The Battle of Waterloo," said the Duke of Wellington some years back, "was won on the playing fields of Eton." These are reassuring words, especially nowadays, since America's military training fields are beginning to look progressively more like the playing fields of Eton than the tough, regimental basic-training camps of the pre-Volunteer Army days. Master sergeants are polite, mess is a dream come true for Milo Minder-binder and barracks are starting to resemble frat houses. Nonetheless, most experts seem to agree VOLAR (Volunteer Army) is working, at least on paper. But will the somewhat spoiled GIs of the future function adequately in a war? Or, per General MacArthur, is there no esprit in an Army that is pampered? Thinking up stumpers like those is precisely what separates magazine editors from the great mass of mortal men; for an answer, we turned to Josiah Bunting, an ex-major who served in Vietnam and an ex-instructor at West Point. When it comes to judging today's Army, Bunting is what might be called a comparison shopper; and after spending a few months interviewing raw volunteers and watching them train, he arrived at some intriguing conclusions, which appear in Can the Volunteer Army Fight? Now president of Briarcliff College, Bunting is the author of the acclaimed Vietnam war novel The Lionheads and, more recently, The Advent of Frederick Giles.
Playboy, November, 1975, Volume 22, Number 11, published monthly by Playboy, Playboy building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States, its Possessions and Canada, $24 for three years, $18 for two years, $10 for one year. Elsewhere $15 per year. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of address: send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Marketing: 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, 816 Fisher Building; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Boulevard, San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 417 Montgomery Street.
The Los Angeles Phonograph Record Swap Meet convenes the first Sunday of every month in the parking lot adjacent to the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. At 7:30 on a recent Sunday morning, the usually bustling street was so tranquil we felt like we were strolling into a photo on an album cover. As we entered the parking lot, swap-meet habitué Tony Taylor ran up and asked at once if we had anything to sell. Over a cup of coffee, he explained that he meant old 45s like Elvis Presley's That's All Right on the Sun label, which is going for $65 and up, or Stormy Weather by the Five Sharps on Jubilee, which is worth $500 in mint condition. Tony, who works in the shipping room of a cassette company, doesn't have that kind of money to spend. But he is in the market for bootlegs of old 45s, the masters of which American record companies have lost, have sold to Japan or won't re-release. Also, many of the early 45s were cut in retail record stores or local studios, and the discs disappeared almost as fast as the groups who recorded them. Copies are made from the few records still around.
In order to write Power! How to Get It, How to Use It (Random House). Michael Korda collected his observations on office politics, threw in some anecdotes and proceeded to plunder several books of quotations. The result is very much like one of those dreary college sociology texts, in which the author restates in authoritative tones what you already knew, builds a structure around it and festoons it with jargon. His notion is that power--"the ability to bring about our desires"--is a game we all play 24 hours a day with our colleagues, our spouses, headwaiters and parking-lot attendants. The game has certain rules, Korda says, and we might as well learn to exploit them. Like the authors of other single-note books, such as The Peter Principle's Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull, Korda puts his thesis through every possible permutation; but unlike such authors, he doesn't even have one of those catchy little insights that sustain the argument. He just tells you that telephone technique, handling of secretaries, firing of subordinates and brownnosing of superiors are all ways of wielding power. He has one interminable chapter about office geography, replete with charts and diagrams, that adds up to the statement that powerful people choose corner offices. Yeah, well, architects design larger offices in the corners of their buildings. From there, the argument gets more and more Mickey Mouse until you end up dealing with such gems as, "Power people have their shoes polished ... a dirty shoe is a sign of weakness." And, "By practicing in front of a mirror, it is possible to develop a firm, trustworthy gaze and a confident, relaxed mouth." We tried exerting power that way and, sure enough, the mirror cringed.
Jazz rock continues to happen, and the keyboard men are still the ones bringing it to us. Among the tougher entries we've heard lately are the new LPs by Larry Young and Cedar Walton. Young--aka Khalid Yasin--played in the original Tony Williams' Lifetime, along with Tony and John McLaughlin; he isn't exactly a household name, but he's a favorite among musicians, and from the sound of Larry Young's Fuel (Arista), he's about to bust out all over. His music is wild and wonderful, sort of Afro-Oriental space funk, with lots of pregnant dissonances and suspensions. It also has a welcome openness, for even though he gets to play, here, with an awesome array of electronic instruments--Mini Moog Synthesizer, Portable Moog organ, Freeman String Symphonizer, Hammond B-3 Organ, Fender Rhodes piano (in addition to the poor old acoustic 88)--Young doesn't overwhelm you with his sound. Or his technique. He's too busy saying what he has to say. And he gets help from a most copacetic backup group, including Laura "Tequila" Logan--another veteran of Tony Williams' ever-evolving outfit, who contributes some sexy vocalizing--and a talented guitar player, Sandy Torano.
Movies about childhood are not necessarily movies made for children, and Czech-born director Jan Kadar's Lies My Father Told Me is a case in point--a charming and lusty reminiscence, written with decided autobiographical flavor by scenarist Ted Allan. Growing up in the Montreal ghetto during the Twenties is ostensibly the subject of Lies, though sophisticated and compassionate handling by Kadar, who directed the Oscar-winning Shop on Main Street a decade ago, transforms a young boy's everyday sass and sorrows into universal human comedy. The key character is a lad (Jeffrey Lynas) caught in the cross fire of family dissension among his long-suffering mother (Marilyn Lightstone), a father (Len Birman) whose get-rich-quick schemes will never turn a profit, his beloved grandfather (played with unassuming basso-profundo authority by Israeli star Yossi Yadin) and Grandpa's decrepit old horse. Rich in surface nostalgia, Lies is richest of all in its rather unfashionable regard for the strengths and frailties of completely ordinary people--people from a long-ago, faraway world where a kid began to grow up, even as today, the moment he learned that adults are not always to be trusted. In Kadar's unexpectedly feisty fable, which is only sentimental about love, the elementary lessons of life are part of a tough preschool curriculum that includes greed, vanity, pettiness, hypocrisy, gambling, casual whoring, adultery, procreation, and the difference between an infant's suckling and a grown man's fondling of a generous woman's breasts--things Andy Hardy had not yet encountered when he was packed off to college.
Recently, we met with Frank Zappa to see how his TV special was coming along. We found him at Trans-American Video in Hollywood, seated at a desk full of dials and switches, teaching himself to paint with electronic colors. On his right sat an English engineer named Brian who relayed to a CMX computer whatever footage Zappa wanted to see simultaneously on four TV sets. On his left sat his witty script supervisor, Wendy, who inventoried the footage her boss decided to keep. The film itself, called A Token of His Extreme, is a Mothers of Invention concert taped a year earlier at Los Angeles' educational TV station, KCET. The tunes on the film are Dog Meat, Montana, Florentine Pogen, Stink-Foot, Pygmy Twylyte, Inca Roads, Oh No and Trouble Every Day. Zappa's goal is to sell the finished product to a national network or have it distributed independently.
The way my social life has been going, I'm sure that one of these days I'm going to walk into a room and realize that I've made love to everyone there. What does one say in such a situation?--L. G., Chicago, Illinois.
In July, we reported the case of Thomas Francis Mistrot, a 28-year-old inmate of the Texas State Penitentiary who has now served seven years of a mandatory life sentence as a habitual criminal. Mistrot's crimes were hardly spectacular--two vending-machine burglaries and a marijuana offense--but they were felonies at the time they were committed. Since then, Texas has revised its criminal code and today two (possibly all three) of Mistrot's crimes would be classed as misdemeanors; but these reforms did not reduce his sentence. After getting no help from prison attorneys or from state officials, he contacted the Playboy Foundation.
Doctor Johnson's celebrated judgment--"Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier"--is no longer true in the United States or in western Europe. No one not old enough to have been called to the colors between 1940 and 1945 thinks meanly of himself for not having served--even, or perhaps especially, those who managed to avoid service during the two late wars on the Asian rimland. The war in Korea made, and still makes, arguable sense for the United States; the war in Vietnam was strategic nonsense. (To a man, the generals and colonels interviewed for this article averred: "We shouldn't have gone in in the first place; but once we went in, we should have gone in and done the job, hard and fast.") In any case, few adult males who missed "soldiering" in either of those nasty little wars regret it.
Although we like to think of Playboy Clubs as cool, dark, comfortable places where keyholders can forget about all the hassle and strife outside, it's a matter of record that strife and hassle--of a relatively mild nature, to be sure--reached the Chicago Playboy Club this year. In fact, it started on the cool, dark and comfortable inside and was carried out to the bright light of day by ten sign-beating Bunnies (a typical message: Why are we the Untouchables?). Their demonstration attracted plenty of attention from the local gendarmes--and the media, which gave the girls ample opportunity to air their complaints. What they wanted was freedom to give keyholders their last names, to date them if they wished and to hang around the Club after working hours. Well, all's well that ends well, and our tale of discord and strife came to an early--and happy--denoucement when Playboy Editor-Publisher Hugh M. Hefner granted the girls' demands without delay, making all (text concluded on page 171) Bunnies of '75 (continued from page 89) Bunnies honorary keyholders. Hef conceded that in forbidding Bunnies to fraternize, he might have been "just a wee bit overprotective," insisted that he wanted to make "Bunny lib a reality rather than just a slogan" and declared, "Really, Bunnies, I'm not a male chauvinist and I love and respect all of you." He also observed that Bunnies are "responsible young ladies fully capable of leading their own private lives without bringing any discredit to themselves or the company." To which we can only chorus, "Amen."
There's an old riddle that goes something like this: Questions: What's the difference between an elephant and peterfor? Answer: I don't know. What's a peter for? Get it? What, indeed, is a peter for besides, of course, the obvious functions? To answer this very pressing question, artist Ervin L. Kaplan took needle to zinc and came up with these wry little etchings. Now when you're playing Lothario and you invite her up to your penthouse duplex, you'll have something to actually show her. Isn't that thoughtful of us?
He Scrunches around in the Bostrom seat a few times until he gets each buttock just right. A good ass is a good ride. Then he gooses the big Cummins diesel a couple of blaps to establish who is running things and backs the 55-foot tractor-semitrailer rig through a maze of a couple of dozen parked trucks. Simple: You do it with mirrors. It takes, say, 20 years' experience herding those big rigs from coast to do this just right. Knock over another guy's trailer and he gets sore-wrought.
Chances are that most of you haven't been to Hoboken, New Jersey. But if you've seen On the Waterfront--and who hasn't?--then you've seen Janet Lupo's home town. When the picture was shot there, she lived just a few blocks away and one of her girlfriends lived in the building used for the rooftop scenes. You may also have gotten the correct impression that Hoboken--despite the fact that the funky neighborhood bars are being replaced by high-rises--is a pretty tough town. Janet learned early, for instance, not to listen to the weirdos who might try to lure her into their cars (she remembers one such incident when she was seven and another--with somebody pretending to be a cop--when she was 11). When she got a bit older, she learned how to dress and walk so that her 39-inch bust wouldn't attract attention. Then, at 16--tired of being kept after school for her chronic tardiness, and despite what her teachers told her was a high I.Q.--Janet quit school, to work (among other not-so-in-spiring jobs) as a long-distance telephone operator ("I think Ma Bell lost a lot of money that year"), a receptionist at a buying office (where she sat, uncomfortably, right under the heating ducts) and a switchboard operator for United Parcel (where the girls were "too catty"). Eventually, Janet applied for a post as a Bunny at our Great Gorge resort, and for the past year and a half she's been working there (and living there, too, in the Bunny Dorm). But while she's happy enough in her job, our restless Aquarian is looking to move up in the world. So she's thinking of leaving her home turf and family--consisting of her mom, her dad, now retired from the Erie Lackawanna Railway, an older sister, who's married, and two brothers, one of whom earned a medal in Vietnam by rescuing four GIs from a burning helicopter ("We didn't know till we read about it in the papers")--and heading for Chicago, where a friend has offered to buy her a seat on the Midwest Stock Exchange and teach her the ins and outs of that business. "After all," says Janet, "I don't have what you'd call a great education, and I do want to make something of myself. I think I could handle that kind of work, so why not give it a try? There's nothing to lose." Well, we at Playboy would be losing something if Janet turned broker. But we believe in upward mobility, and if that's what she wants, we're with her all the way.
A handsome lad went into the hospital for some minor surgery and the day after the operation, a visiting male friend commented on the steady stream of nurses who came in to fluff his pillow, offer to give him back rubs and ask if there was anything else he needed. "Why all the attention?" asked the friend. "After all, you're not in a very serious condition."
I Think the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Jr., and war and assorted other goodies had so badly blown everybody's mind that sending the children naked into the woods to build a new society seemed worth a try. In 1970, like a lot of people our age, some friends and I started a commune. Ours was in the wilds of British Columbia, 12 miles by boat from Powell River, the nearest town.
Eyeball Contemplates his drink, a shining column the size of a roll of half dollars. It is bracketed by a pair of platform shoes, six-inch jobs with sequins and tiny Statues of Liberty embroidered on each toe. The topless has gone to work. With the halting grace of an English scissors jack, she lowers herself into position, a bouncing forearms-on-thighs squat. Delicately, she fingers the edge of the black-satin G String, then, hooking a thumb under the elastic strap, begins snapping it in time to the music on the jukebox. And. My. Whole. World. Lies. Waiting. Behind. Door. Number. Three. Eyeball feels stupid, consigned to a corner. He doesn't know what is expected of him. The topless draws aside the triangular curtain.
Sooner or later, whenever cocktail conversations got around to the topic of movies this year, somebody would bring up one film--Warren Beatty's Shampoo--and one specific scene from that picture, a sequence filmed at Beverly Hills' posh Bistro restaurant, supposedly on the night of Richard Nixon's 1968 ballot-box triumph. During a spectacularly banal dinner party thrown by well-heeled local Republicans, Julie Christie, playing the mistress of financier Jack Warden, is asked by a movie producer (portrayed by movie producer William Castle) what she would like.
Is Randy Newman a Redneck Cole Porter or Just Strange?
Randy Newman is chary of interviewers by reflex, bless his level sense, but bent even more unbendingly in that direction since the critical shit storm mounted in the pop-squeak press against his fifth album of art songs, Good Old Boys. Six months after the record's notoriety-nagged release in late 1974, the jowly, bespectacled composer/pianist/singer mumbles a wan hello and drops to a feral crouch on a leather sofa in a posh little parlor adjacent to his agent's office, high up in one of those high-rise megabucks towers in Beverly Hills. Newman doesn't look anything at all like a bourbon-gargling, no-necked redneck bent on "keepin' the niggers down." He looks more like a stand-in for Woody Allen or a brainy young English major parsing the Pearl Poet at the University of Kansas.
After my Exile from the court of Louis XIV, the fishwives of the market laid a host of misadventures to my account--some true, some false--and certain fishes were rightfully christened after me. I did my best to maintain this evil reputation, in the service of the Due d'Orléans.
There is a curious tree, native to Malaysia, called The Midnight Horror. We had a couple in Ayer Hitam, one in an overgrown part of the botanical gardens, the other in the front garden of William Ladysmith's house. His house was huge, nearly as grand as mine, but I was the American Consul and Ladysmith was an English teacher on a short contract. I assumed it was the tree that had brought the value of his house down. The house itself had been built before the war--one of those great breezy places, a masterpiece of colonial carpentry, with cement walls two feet thick and window blinds the size of sails on a Chinese junk. It was said that it had been the center of operations during the occupation. All this history diminished by a tree! In fact, no local person would go near the house; the Chinese members of the staff at Ladysmith's school chose to live in that row of low warrens near the bus depot.
A Lot of Men in their 40s start yearning for a new career, but most never get past the Walter Mitty stage. Meet the exception: Richard Gill, 47, who gave up his career as a Harvard economics professor four years ago to take on leading roles with the New York City Opera--and, since the season before last, with the Met, too. He still retreats each summer to New Hampshire, where he spends his time writing scholarly books (Great Debates in Economics was this year's subject) and getting the exercise he needs to withstand the rigors of the concert season ("Sometimes I have to carry around a soprano"). It's not that Gill was unhappy lecturing at Harvard, where he went as a precocious undergraduate and became an assistant dean at 21. But he had sung in church choirs and played clarinet in his school band while growing up in New Jersey (his mother was a music teacher), and ten years ago, he decided to take singing lessons--partly to get back his cigarette-damaged wind, partly to see what he might have missed. His instructor quailed at Gill's initial efforts but later insisted that the rapidly developing basso profundo try performing in public. Gill picked up some semiprofessional operatic experience during a sabbatical in England; back home again, he auditioned for the City Opera--to gauge his progress--and was offered a job. He and his wife pondered it for a few anxious months before he decided to accept (and, of course, to leave his tenured post at the university). Now that he has memorized close to 50 roles and gotten wised up by some 250 New York performances ("At first, when someone said 'Stage left,' I had to look to see which way he meant"), Gill still wonders at his own story: "It has a slightly unbelievable quality." And he relishes his professional schizophrenia: "I like the sense of balance I get from using different abilities. Mind, body, emotions--you've got to keep them all going. Then they can help one another, in some mysterious way." So says the professor--and he should know.
If it seems like businessmen have cornered the market on patriotism, drumming up sales in the name of the Bicentennial, and if you figure it's going to get worse instead of better in 1976, you may want to march to a different drummer. That would be Jeremy Rifkin, 30-year-old veteran of The Wharton School, who launched the People's Bicentennial Commission as an upbeat alternative to a "buycentennial" that he considers all hoopla, commercialism and manic fiddling while the country's economy burns. Rifkin is no soapbox radical. He's a serious economist with a knowledge of history and a flair for showmanship, and the P.B.C. is becoming a thorn in the side of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which calls it "dangerous." Bad enough are Rifkin's don't-tread-on-me pranks like the Boston Oil Party (empty drums dumped into Boston Harbor to protest energy-crisis exploiters) and the hanging of big corporations in effigy: worse are the P.B.C.'s growing popularity (10,000 dues-paying members) and its $200,000 annual budget, which supplies thousands of schools, libraries and organizations with educational materials urging drastic economic reforms--backed up by a commissioned survey showing strong voter support for some pretty revolutionary measures, such as nationalizing natural-resource industries. "It was an entrenched economic aristocracy the colonies revolted against," says Rifkin, "and that's what we have today in the giant corporations that dominate the country's political and economic life. What we need is another revolt of the middle class and a return to economic democracy." The White House and the Chamber of Commerce consider Rifkin a rabble-rousing troublemaker. "What gets them is our use of speeches by the founding fathers attacking great concentrations of wealth and power. The Chamber wants them portrayed like members of the Exxon board of directors." We can hear them in Washington now: "To arms! The Rifkins are coming!"