When You Read this month's Playboy Interview, it's virtually certain you'll be reading the words of a dead man. Jimmy Hoffa disappeared on July 30 and his family and the FBI now believe he was kidnaped and killed. Jerry Stanecki, an investigative reporter, for Detroit's WXYZ radio station and the ABC radio network, had begun a series of intensive conversations with Hoffa this past spring. The last time they spoke was about a month before the former Teamsters chief disappeared, and Stanecki never got the chance to get back to him with follow-up questions. But what he did get Hoffa to talk about--violence, organized crime and the possibility of being killed--is enough to make you shiver. To update the story, Stanecki, who has broken many of the developments in the Hoffa case on the air, has augmented his interview with "It Gets Dark Every Night"--a reporter's sketches of the madness that surrounded the search for the missing Hoffa.
Playboy, December, 1975, Volume 22, Number 12. 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.
If you search your brain for the big moments in music this year, you'll come up with a short list. Short but good. There was the Stones tour, the assault of reggae on America, a new/old Dylan record and "Red Octopus," the Jefferson Airplane's first crack at the top of the charts in years. The people who make up the Airplane, or the Starship, as they now call themselves, have been at it a long time. In fact, it's their tenth anniversary as a band. So we sent Research Editor Barbara Nellis to visit with Grace Slick, one of rock 'n' roll's survivors.
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, one of the giants of jazz, is gone and it's ironic that his most ambitious undertaking should get to the public after his death. Big Man (Fantasy) is a folk musical based on the legend of John Henry, with music by Cannonball and his brother Nat and lyrics by Diane Lampert and Peter Farrow, with the book by Lampert and George W. George, and it should provide a fitting memorial. The twin-LP album is filled with fascinating sounds, not the least of which is Joe Williams--in the role of John Henry--who is something else. Scrap any of your preconceived notions of Williams as a jazz singer; what you'll hear here is a new Joe Williams who'll knock you off your chair. Randy Crawford and Robert Guillaume are almost as effective in their roles as Carolina and Jassawa, respectively. At this writing, there are plans afoot for concert performances and a stage production. We wish Big Man well; it and Cannonball deserve it.
JR (Knopf) is the Finnegans Wake of American business--an enormous, rhythmic dream preserved as if on the rolls of a player piano, performing brittle music for an indifferent audience. The novel unfolds as an endless string of conversations through which is revealed the nightmare of the American corporate structure, a system "set up to promote the meanest possibilities in human nature and make them look good." The prodigal hero of William Gaddis' second book (his first novel, Recognitions, published in 1955, has emerged as a bitter American classic) is a grubby 11-year-old boy, JR, who sleeps in his clothes and operates a multimillion-dollar "family of companies" out of a pay phone in his Long Island school, a handkerchief knotted over the mouthpiece to disguise his voice. It is these conversations inside the phone booth that provide the book's brilliant, mad humor. By using the phone to keep tabs on the U. S. economy, JR aims to catch "Mickey Mouse by the short hair." The characters who tumble in and out of his schemes--composers, artists, generals, novelists, spinsters, widows, Congressmen, business tycoons, drunkards, kinky secretaries and a mail-order lawyer--texture the novel with competing sets of cadences and vocabularies that nudge us deeper and deeper into Gaddis' terrifying world. JR understands the ultimate logic of American chicanery: "Like I mean this here bond and stock stuff you don't see anybody you don't know anybody only in the mail and the telephone because that's how they do it nobody has to see anybody, you can be this here funny lookingest person that lives in a toilet someplace how do they know...."
Novelist Thomas McGuane has two substantial credits as a screenwriter--in Frank Perry's Rancho Deluxe and Arthur Penn's forthcoming The Missouri Breaks (with Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson starred). For 92 in the Shade, adapted from his own novel, McGuane took on the directorial chores himself. What results is another interesting, ambitious movie that doesn't quite work out--though its unique personal qualities are more fun to contemplate than many a piece of sure-fire formula stuff from Hollywood's assembly line. Peter Fonda and Warren Oates square off for a life-and-death confrontation of a spoiled young man with good family connections--whose whim is to buy a skiff with an outboard and become a fishing guide for tourists--and a wild-assed veteran guide who views the Florida Keys as his private deepwater preserve. Margot Kidder, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Harry Dean Stanton and Elizabeth Ashley portray a number of raffish local characters on both sides of the dispute, and the dialog McGuane puts into their mouths is full of fine Southernfried grit. "If turkey was goin' for ten cents a pound," drawls Oates, "I couldn't buy a raffle ticket on a jay bird's ass." That sort of thing. McGuane, however, makes a movie as if he were still writing novels--with too many obscure passages (some obscure lighting as well), plus a kind of bookish narrative style that lets dramatic tension go utterly slack on film. Still, there's enough vivid local color to fill several movies--largely because McGuane knows these out-of-the-way places and people like the back of his hand.
A terraced walkway of the Cocoa Building of Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco has been bricked off, painted white, hung with Hungarian folk art and delicate green plants, a regal Magyar herdsman's coat and pottery and metamorphosed into Paprikas Fono, a Hungarian country inn high above the friendly glitter of Aquatic Park and San Francisco Bay. "Cooking with love" is Laszlo and Paulette Fono's motto, and their goulash (Gulyás)--prepared in a thin-walled iron kettle hung over an open fire, in the traditional Hungarian herdsman manner, and then served with sour cream and chopped scallions and a sweet Palacsinta, a cake made with ground nuts instead of flour, or a delicate strudel--fulfills the promise. Mrs. Fono is an enthusiastic propagator of Hungarian witticisms in addition to explanations of the cuisine. A reference to dictator Horthy, the admiral who ruled a country without a seacoast, evoked a raised finger, a glittering eye and the remark: "Well, he is now smelling the lilies of the valley from the bottom." Expect some Hungarian conversation along with your meals. There are the standard specialties, Veal Paprikas, a fantastic Hortobagyi mixed grill of tender beef, skewered lamb, Debreceni sausage, grilled pork, Esterházy chicken livers (not a judgment on the Esterházy family but nicely mushroomed and wined). Then there is a little menu of Vendeglo (little-restaurant) specialties, including Fish Paprikas, Lamb Tokany, mixed Palacsintas (ham, asparagus soufflé and mushroom sauce) and a shrimp-on-skewers-with-wine-sauce dish that they sentimentally name Adriatic Memories. And in case you tire of standard Hungarian, there is also a Csarda (country-inn) section of the menu, designed for brigands, highwaymen and traveling salesmen. Choose, here, from Shepherd's Grill, Gypsy Steak, Transylvania Cabbage Gulyás (a favorite of Bela Lugosi and Mel Brooks, no doubt) and Bandit's Grill--marinated chunks of beef and pieces of bacon grilled on skewers, with a bed of rice and a fresh-mushroom sauce. The wine list is mainly Hungarian and Californian but suits the powerful images of the food. The desserts are sweet, with much fruit and cheese and nuts and brandied chocolate, and the espresso is almost strong enough to cut through the powerful sleepiness induced by overeating. Pleasure convinces the body that there's still time to smell the lilies of the valley from the top. The Fonos opened this restaurant to make amends for the transformation of their crepe palace, The Magic Pan, into a mass-market conglomerate operation. They are forgiven. Paprikas Fono is open from 11:30 A.M. to 11 P.M. daily. BankAmericard and Master Charge cards are accepted. Reservations are not necessary (415-441-1223).
I've been dating my latest girlfriend for about a month. We met while I was working at a bar. At first, it was fairly easy to converse--I suppose because there was a counter between us, and whenever I got stuck for something to say, I could tend to some small task behind the bar and thus conceal my shyness. However, when she and I are alone, I seem constantly to be searching for a subject to talk about. I become so self-conscious trying to impress her that what I end up saying is not enjoyable for either of us. I keep trying to live up to the image of a witty man about town; the result is frustration. Any suggestions?--A. M., Saginaw, Michigan.
In 1967, Dr. Robert E. Hales, a 34-year-old suburban Indianapolis physician, lost his medical license for engaging in sex with five women patients. The women, who knew one another, reportedly confided in another doctor, who urged them to sue Hales for malpractice; they did, asking damages of $525,000 in three separate civil actions. The sex, it turned out, was consensual, the suits were later dropped and Hales--presumably wiser in such matters--might have regained his license and resumed his medical practice but for the zeal of a local prosecutor and a 19th Century Indiana sex law. The sex act Hales was accused of performing was oral intercourse, described in the Indiana criminal code as the "abominable and detestable crime against nature with mankind or beast" and punishable by 2 to 14 years in prison.
The bumper sticker read: Where's Jimmy Hoffa? Call 313-962-7297. It was on an old flatbed truck on the John C. Lodge Freeway in Detroit. Thousands of similar bumper stickers on cars and trucks across the country asked the question: What happened to the "little guy" who wheeled and dealed with money, words and clubs from the streets of Detroit to the huge white monument of a building known as Teamster International Headquarters in Washington?
The Violence that had swirled around Teamster Local 299 in Detroit for the past year had preyed on Jimmy Hoffa's mind. It wasn't the violence per se, since Hoffa and violence were hardly strangers. It was the why behind the recent incidents and bombings that bothered him. First, a boat belonging to Dave Johnson, president of Local 299 and a loyal Hoffa supporter, had been blown out of the water. Then Ralph Proctor, an official of Local 299, had been severely beaten by two men. Finally, the parked car of Frank Fitzsimmons' son had been blown up near a Teamsters hangout.
It is understandable that Tom was desperate. Near panic. His time was running out. To be more precise, his account at the Timebank had a balance of one hour, 14 minutes and 27 seconds: 1 hr 14 min 27 sec. If he could not make a deposit within that period, his account would be closed. At that moment, he would stop breathing. He would be dead. Perhaps this requires further explanation.
Playboy's Winter Guide...to the Very Best in Skiing
Skiers, as nearly everybody suspects, are a breed apart. It is well known that snow bunnies and hot doggers alike will put up with just about anything to find that slope of perfect powder, that flash of pure crunch. But why work for your pleasure? There should be a way to improve the odds on finding the good times--a Michelin guide to skiing.
We'd still be shooting that damn movie if it hadn't been for Harry. And I want to tell you it was me who at the very beginning said Harry would be no good for the project, and don't forget it. That's because Harry is a dope. I am not talking about his acting ability. He probably was as talented in his own way as the rest of us put together. I am only talking about his capacity to understand a very good deal that could have made everybody extremely happy, if only some dope wouldn't fall in love with a dizzy broad the way Harry did. I will never forgive Harry. I don't know where he is right now, but someday I'm going to meet him someplace, I'm going to spot him coming down the street with his skinny face and his eyeglasses, and he'll probably have that dumb blonde on his arm, and I'm going to walk up to him and say, "Hello, dummy, you happy now? You happy you blew the whole thing?"
First let us define our terms. A peep show is a small spectacle or object viewed through an opening or a magnifying glass. Peep means to peer through a crevice, to look cautiously or slyly, to begin to emerge from concealment and to put forth or cause to protrude slightly. Yes, even that. Watch yourself. What is about to unfold is the absorbing case of the Voyeur in the Foyer. A voyeur is someone who believes that in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is to be found at the nearest keyhole. The lady, above left, is a maid. A familiar noise from room 907 has caught her attention. It's the couple from Schenectady, here for the cure. Settle back. This could be fun.
The Midmorning Sky over the Oregon State Hospital in Salem looks liverish. A quiverish, ready to collapse with torrential rain at any second. On the crewcut lawn behind the main building, an orderly shoos his excursion troupe of exercising patients back to shelter past a charter bus disgorging a troupe of Hollywood film technicians.
Histoire d'O has become a classic of erotic literature, alongside My Secret Life and the works of De Sade. During the winter of 1954. O had already become the topic of conversation in French cafés and salons. To further confuse matters, no one knew who its author, Pauline Réage, was. In early 1955, the book received the Prix des Deux Magots, an honor that had been bestowed on such underground notables as Raymond Queneau and Antoine Blondin. The police attempted to suppress the work; but as suddenly as the investigation began, it was shut down amid rumors that a high governmental official had read the work and ordered it left in circulation. Grove Press published the English translation in 1965. Now director Just Jaeckin has turned it into a remarkable film, starring Corine Cléry and Udo Kier (as her lover, René). The story is of a young woman whose lover donates her, body and soul, to a château where women are kept enslaved for the pleasure of a group of men. They are tortured, shackled and used for pleasure. Thus trained for their submissive role, they are returned to the outside world, where they are expected to behave in a manner befitting the customs of the castle. If they slip up, they return for more training. It is a nightmare and a day-dream combined, without moral or message, an exploration of that dim area between pain and pleasure. Incidentally, Mlle. Réage's identity is still unknown.
On June 20, 1974, a slow, unwieldy vessel filigreed with struts and derricks lumbered out to sea on a top-secret mission. She was the Glomar Explorer. Her secret task was to raise from the depths of the Pacific Ocean a Russian submarine that had sunk. The U.S. Government wanted to obtain the submarine's missile warheads and her codes. For this, it was willing to spend $350,000,000 of the taxpayers' money--an amount equivalent to giving 3,000,000 more people Medicare coverage, sending 20,000 students to college or buying 90 tanks, 60 bombers or a third of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Rumbling Along in my 1962 Dodge D-100, the last good truck Dodge ever made, I tossed my empty out the window and popped the top from another can of Schlitz, Littering the public highways? Of course I litter the public highways. Every chance I get. After all, it's not the beer cans that are ugly; it's the goddamned highway that is ugly. Beer cans are beautiful, and someday, when recycling becomes a serious enterprise, the Government can put 1,000,000 kids to work each summer picking up the cans that I and others have thoughtfully stored along the roadways.
Playboy Photographer Richard Fegley discovered Nancie Li Brandi working a blackjack table at Harrah's at Lake Tahoe. Lady Luck never looked so good. He immediately asked her to pose for the centerfold, responding to her beauty the way a gambler reacts when a pair of aces, split and hit, both turn up blackjack. Maybe he needed an excuse to write off his Nevada vacation as a business trip? No matter. The Internal Revenue Service's loss is our gain. It soon became apparent that Miss December has the soul of a gypsy, even though she uses cards to determine people's fortunes in a somewhat different way. After spending a quiet childhood in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, Nancie teamed up with an old friend for a bit of cross-country rambling. "We're both free spirits," she says; "we'd just decided to go our separate ways together for a while." First stop for the pair was a mountain resort near Williamstown, Massachusetts, where Nancie learned to maneuver on skis. "Actually, New England didn't get much snow that year," she says. "I'm not sure you could call what I did skiing. It was closer to downhill ice skating." Nancie and her guy decided to pull up poles and head West for whiter pastures. They landed at Lake Tahoe. Nancie took a two-week course in dealing at Harrah's. "At first I was all thumbs, but after a while, I could handle cards with the best of them." (All thumbs? We doubt it.) Her man tended bar and taught skiing at the Sierra Ski Ranch. For a time, their schedule seemed perfect--working nights and skiing days--but soon the gypsy spirit returned. A few months ago, they moved on to Los Angeles. There Nancie learned that one of her duties as Playmate would be a promotion trip to Japan. Perhaps that's what persuaded her to pursue a career in modeling. We're willing to bet you'll be seeing more of her in the future. With Nancie's looks, it's in the cards.
Sportswriters and fans like to carry on about "dream teams," "front fours," "zone defenses," and so on and so forth. This would have you believe that most games come down to mysterious clashes of impersonal forces. But it ain't necessarily so. When it gets right down to what coaches call the nut cutting, it is still one man trying to beat another. When the two men are good enough, the rest of the game seems like so much scenery. Remember Sam Huff against Jimmy Brown? Or Wilt Chamberlain against Bill Russell? Roger Bannister and John Landy? When the best men at their game go one on one, you don't need Al DeRogatis or Howard Cosell to explain what is going on. There are still great match-ups around. Here are five of the best. And we'll let them tell you about it.
Henry Bivvens was no dummy. Everybody said so. A man doesn't own and run a successful 1000-acre farm, dead-drunk every day by noon, by being stupid. He had seen something moving. At first it was just a dark shadow. But as he got within spitting distance of it, he could distinctly discern substance.
It was during the time that Howard Hughes was cooped up in bungalow four of the Beverly Hills Hotel that I became proficient at catching flies. During that period, I was one of six people in the Hughes organization who saw Hughes and the one who served as his sole companion in that dark bungalow, staying with him as he ran and reran movies. He would sit, nude except for a hotel napkin on his lap, in the sweltering heat (he refused to allow the air conditioners to be turned on), stacking Kleenex boxes atop one another, watching the films. I sat in a chair several feet behind him, his projectionist ... and flycatcher.
The black-and-white Tudor walls of the Wild Boar Inn were lit up by the Jaguar's headlights as we swung into the cobble-stoned courtyard. We had left the inn on a hill near Beeston in Cheshire a half hour earlier, after we'd cadged a set of keys to the red XJ-S from a Jaguar publicrelations man. We said we wanted to see how its new headlights and its dashboard lighting worked at night. But that was only a ploy, not the real reason at all.
It may be too early to tell, but there's every possibility that 1975 will be fondly remembered as the year that lit a fuse to the careers of many a sex god and goddess of the not-too-distant future. Every movie career requires a good, firm launching pad--a picture that has either the quality or the box-office appeal; better yet, both--to make its participants register strongly with critics and fans. This year saw not only an astonishingly high quotient of first-rate film fare--Jaws, Nashville, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Bite the Bullet, Rollerball and Tommy, just for openers--but also an unusually large contingent of movies that delighted the crowds, if not the critics (Earthquake, The Great Waldo Pepper, Mandingo, The Return of the Pink Panther, Shampoo and The Towering Inferno are good examples).
Christopher Marlowe's unfinished "Hero and Leander," a retelling of the Greek legend of the two lovers, is one of the best-known poems in English literature. Its brilliant style and sensuous descriptions made it a 17th Century favorite--and a ripe subject for parody. In 1651, Dr. James Smith, an Anglican clergy man who moonlighted as a poet, wrote an anonymous burlesque called "The Loves of Hero and Leander," in which the noble lovers in Marlowe's verse were transformed into lecherous caricatures and their affair into a slapstick comedy. It is understandable that Dr. Smith, author of many hymns, archdeacon of Barnstaple, canon of Exeter, precentor of Exeter Cathedral and rector of Exminster, was a little shy about owning up to this product of his bawdy imagination. Copies of the book are extremely rare and this is the first modern version published in 324 years.
Mountains Crumble. deserts and glaciers inch forward. Islands disappear under the sea. And our annual music poll continues to evolve. It started back in 1957 as the Playboy Jazz Poll and became the Playboy Jazz&Pop Poll 11 years later. Predictably, there was some carping from both sides. OK. With a wave of our magic editorial wand, the Playboy Jazz & Pop Poll now becomes the Playboy Music Poll. What we've done is break up the ballot into four parts--Pop / Rock, Rhythm-and-Blues, Country-and-Western and Jazz--that correspond to the four types of music selling the most records and commanding the most attention today. The four generic divisions have differing sets of subcategories, since we're polling for different things in each case. For instance, pickers are germane to Country-and-Western, whereas saxophone players are not but are pretty important in Jazz. Speaking of which, we've also combined some groupings that were previously separate. The various reed players have been put in a Woodwinds category, while the piano, organ and synthesizer people have become Keyboards--this due, of course, to the ever-increasing number of musicians who are doubling up. Also, in the fields where groups are important--which means three of the four, Country-and-Western being the exception--we've combined vocal groups, instrumental groups and self-contained groups (the ones that both sing and play) of whatever size into a simplified Group category. All in all, we think that, besides giving more people a chance to win a Playboy Medal, our new format is a better reflection of what's happening. Now we hope that you'll hurry and send in your ballot; for the winners--and, most likely, some more surprises--check our April issue.
For a brief moment, while waiting for the control tower to clear me for take-off, I glanced out through the Perspex cockpit canopy at the surrounding German countryside. It lay white and crisp beneath the crackling December moon.
I have observed for years that certain insects engage in bizarre battles. In these rare photographs, the struggle goes on between consenting adults of several species, including Atrociously horni (above left) and the Japanese swinger beetle. The reason for these activities is unclear, but the combatants never kill or even go steady. Specialists have reported observing similar behavior in dogs, cats, chickens, mice, cattle and humans. The mystery may someday be explained, but for the time being, we must simply observe and try to delve deeper, deeper, oh, God, deeper!
The first coupling in outer space was a fitting climax to the joint venture undertaken by the United States and Red Russia. Commie space technicians successfully completed docking maneuvers by inserting their vehicle into the opening of the American module, although NASA officials had insisted that the Bolshevik vehicle be provided with a heat-resistant sheath (painted bright red, of course) --for the prevention of disease only. Inside the U.S. capsule, cosmonaut and astronaut joined in a historic embrace that will be remembered as one giant schtup for mankind.
While on an expedition to the upper Amazon, where we had hoped to study the rather inventive mating habits of the rare and agile black garter monkey, we came upon, instead, deep in the jungle, an innocent Stone Age tribe--the Titsaday.
The lifts have been closed for an hour, the last few stragglers chased off the mountain by a sympathetic ski patrol. After stashing your equipment, you make your way to the lodge bar, unbuckled boots clunking on the stairs. Collapsing onto a sofa near the fireplace, you set about roasting your body to the proper degree of tenderness. Outside, the snow turns purple in the dying light. A girl from your morning ski class takes the middle third of the sofa and asks if you would like to warm your cockles. You offer to pay for a round of drinks. The bartender is an artist: He heats the ceramic mugs with boiling water before adding the steaming brew. Notice that he does not stir the drinks with a cinnamon stick; this is a class joint. Several mugs later, the circulation has been restored to certain vital parts of your anatomy that you have not thought about all day. You and your friend retire. The next morning, you wonder where you found the energy and, alas, where you lost the recipe for that killer drink.