Writing, the practitioners of that art keep telling us, is difficult stuff, indeed. Research, they say, is only slightly less arduous. Well, we can't believe that Peter Passell has anything but a ball doing both. Following up on the 1974 best seller The Best, which he co-authored with his Yale graduate school roommate Leonard Ross, Passell has produced How-To. The book is being published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux; portions of it appear here under the title How to Do Everything. Passell, who teaches economics at Columbia University, attributes his having gotten into the "authority" racket to having had two martinis before lunch one day while waiting for a bad cheeseburger. "We started The Best as a guidebook to cheeseburgers." It ended up as a guide to the best in everything. Ross has since gone straight as a California public official, and Passell decided, he says, "to present the incredible wisdom of my garbage-can mind in another form, How-To, which is the very best kind of book to write, because everything fun immediately becomes tax-deductible."
Playboy, March, 1976, Volume 23, Number 3. 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: 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.
Hello, I'm a Frisbee. Dr. Stancil E. D. Johnson, a California psychiatrist who strongly believes in the therapeutic value of playing Frisbee, wrote to Forest Lawn requesting that on his death he be cremated and his ashes mixed with finest-grade raw industrial polyethylene to make 25 high-grade, number-one-mold, professional-model Frisbees. "As I think toward the future," wrote Johnson, "and envision that scene during which my remains will waft through the air between the hands of those whom I have loved so much, my heart even now rises in anticipation." Forest Lawn, not impressed by the sentiment, declined.
Voted in for his ingenious solution to the oil crisis, a 28-year-old yoga master from Kashmir, who, as a display of his powers of self-discipline, pulled an automobile for several feet along a Bombay street with his penis.
Human frailty is certainly a solid theme for a film maker of the stature of Stanley Kubrick, who has already had his say on such volatile contemporary subjects as nuclear madness (Dr. Strange-love), the space time continuum (2001, a Space Odyssey) and violence in a sick modern society (A Clockwork Orange). As writer-producer-director of Barry Lyndon, Kubrick proves once again that he can work wonders with almost any kind of material, for this tale of an 18th Century rogue--adapted from a little-known novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, author of Vanity Fair--is leisurely, complex, poignant, picaresque, wildly romantic and as finely polished as any traditional "story" film ever brought from page to screen. Kubrick cultists who expect to be overwhelmed are apt to be surprised by the pastoral perfection of Barry Lyndon. It's an important aspect of Kubrick's intuitive genius--since he is invariably several seasons ahead of his peers in probing the aesthetic and social climate--that he knew, or sensed, that the time might be ripe for a moralistic old-fashioned odyssey of vice and virtue, in direct opposition to the current trend toward explicit, explosive sex and violence (a trend, by the way, in which Clockwork Orange was indubitably the pacesetter). What Kubrick has wrought with total assurance in Barry Lyndon is--no use mincing words--one of the most breath-takingly beautiful films of all time. Famous for his fastidious, if not obsessive, attention to detail, he has blended dialog, music--from Handel to a haunting Irish folk theme--costumes, settings, sumptuous photography and narration (much of it lifted whole from Thackeray and eloquently spoken by Michael Hordern) into a cinematic composition that commands both eye and ear and nourishes the spirit, in a kind of movie equivalent of chamber music. Another pleasant surprise is the casting of Ryan O'Neal in the title role: Those celebrated boyish charms, along with unexpected emotional depth, are perfect for this chronicle of a lusty Irish parvenu who lies, boasts, deserts the army, wenches, marries an English gentlewoman for her money, bribes the nobility in his efforts to buy himself a title and ends up a nobody--left to the obscurity and poverty he has richly earned. O'Neal projects the hero's shallow, self-serving aspirations with exactly the right mixture of balls, blarney and overzealous ambition to lift him, easily, into the list of Oscar contenders. Hardy Kruger and Patrick Magee head the capable company of characters he meets while adventuring from Ireland to Germany to a stately home in England. Secondary acting honors are cornered by Marisa Berenson, playing Barry's unhappy Lady Lyndon (see February's Playboy for a provocative preview of Marisa) in a tremulous, delicately shaded performance as the distraught noblewoman who comes to grief through loving unwisely. Murray Melvin as an epicene religious counselor named Reverend Runt, Marie Kean as Barry's feisty mother and Leon Vitali as Lord Bullingdon (the son of Lady Lyndon's first marriage and archenemy of his vulgar stepfather) add significant flourishes to a lively saga that gains dramatic momentum from reel to reel. Purely in story terms, for upwards of three hours, counting an intermission, Barry Lyndon offers everything from exquisite erotica (a charming scene of seduction between Barry and his first love, a plucky colleen played by Gay Hamilton) and a suspenseful duel with pistols (Barry vs. his vengeful stepson) to several sequences in which Thackeray's stately style is garnished with wry Kubrick humor (notably, when two portly British army officers, bathing naked in a stream, have a lovers' spat while Barry pilfers their gear ashore). Kubrick ends with yet another phrase borrowed from Thackeray: "Good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now." Though the words read like an epitaph, they could as well be taken as the legend over a cache of buried treasure, for Barry Lyndon gives new life to Thackeray by reshaping his obscure first novel into a film classic.
The stylish new look in French porno is generously displayed in Pussy Talk (which may be advertised as plain Talk in news papers that judge p-u-s-s-y unfit to print). Picking up on some of the anatomical impudence that contributed to Deep Throat's success, producer Francis Leroi and director Frederic Lansac afflict their heroine with a kind of vaginal verbosity. An actress named Penelope Lamour (a nom de film if ever we heard one), who is both beautiful and adept, initially expresses convincing dismay as a bored young housewife who discovers a new dimension in oral-genital feats. Her primary sex organ begins to speak, and speaks bluntly, too, demanding frequent satisfaction and issuing orders to its mistress--in dubbed English--to launch "operation hard-on." Pussy Talk's strident vocal cords sound fiendish enough to require an exorcist, and pieces of the film are shot from within, as if those labial lips had found not only a voice but a graphically pubic point of view. It's a bizarre idea that caroms uncertainly from outrageous comedy to serious melodrama about a woman possessed by her … well, chatterbox. Several genuinely erotic scenes include a sex fantasy in a parked car surrounded by male masturbators, a quick double pickup of two strange studs in a porno theater, plus a confessional bit with a well-endowed priest. Otherwise, the movie is marred by frequent, irrelevant flashbacks (with actress Beatrice Harnois subbing for Mlle. Lamour as "Young Joan") that try to explain the heroine's problem in terms of early psychosexual trauma. Such overstatement often reduces Pussy Talk to blather, but, wordy or not, as La Sexe Qui Parle, this rambling entry won Grand Prize over 40 others in competition last summer at the First International Erotic Film Festival in Paris.
Richard Kluger's Simple Justice (Knopf) is a landmark book about a landmark event: the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. The Board of Education, which overthrew a century of malign neglect by ordering the desegregation of American schools on the ground that separate is inherently unequal. Kluger might have been content to describe the events surrounding Brown and its four related Supreme Court cases themselves; but to his great credit, he opted for more: a study of the entire history of race relations in the United States since the day the first black man came ashore in chains. Kluger spent seven years on his homework; the result is superb history and compelling reading. He supplies every historical figure, from famous participants like Thurgood Marshall and William O. Douglas to obscure black farmers and white school superintendents, with lively biographies. He traces the activities of the Court itself with brilliance, resurrecting memos, notes and conversations to reveal for the first time the complicated process of decision making that goes on behind the curtains of the nation's most secretive branch of Government; in Simple Justice, we discover how the Court really works and learn how a former Republican governor of California, Earl Warren, managed to forge a unanimous decision out of an otherwise fragmented and contrary bench of eight individual men. And although he has little patience for Southern racism--or Northern, for that matter--Kluger still manages to give the South its fair day in court. Simple Justice untangles the often obscure and complicated record of the progress of civil rights in America in the 20th Century; it should serve, as the massive briefs of the NAACP served for the Warren Court, to prove the rightness of the cause and to draw a line of fact beyond which no one can justify retreat. It is one of those rarest of works, a book that is a one-volume education.
Singer Edith Piaf, who died in 1963 at the age of 47--looking at least 60 after a life crowded with men, ill health, accidents and drug addiction, to list just a few of the indulgences that took their toll--was the Gallic Judy Garland, a veritable goddess in her native land. The Piaf legend is explored with extraordinary candor and sensitivity in I Regret Nothing (the title borrowed from one of Piaf's durable hits, Je Ne Regrette Rien), a BBC documentary that will be televised on Public Broadcasting Service outlets sometime between March 7 and 21 as part of its Festival '76.
When it comes to singing (pop variety), the ladies--bless 'em--seem to have it all over the men in both quantity and quality. Not a month goes by without a couple of first-rate LPs featuring women vocalists landing on our turntable. This go-round, there happened to be more than ever. Barbra Streisand's Lazy Afternoon (Columbia) is, in terms of the material, the best thing she's done in a long while. Except for Shake Me, Wake Me, which perhaps was put in for comic relief, the songs are uniformly attractive--the title tune is an old favorite of ours, as is Moanin' Low, and there are several songs by the coproducer-arranger-conductor of the session, Rupert Holmes, that hold up quite well. Meanwhile, Streisand goes a long way toward proving what we've contended all along--that she can get along quite well, thank you, without giving most of the tunes that standardized top-of-the-lungs treatment. Quietly quintessential.
One afternoon, Dinah Shore was inside my television set interviewing Harry Browne, the guy who has profited in the monetary crisis by writing You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis. Dinah was being real polite to Harry, as if he were secretly the ambassador from Mars and if she said a naughty he might fly into a snit and turn men's minds to custard. Arte Johnson of Laugh-In fame was sitting next to Browne and finally couldn't contain himself any longer. "Excuse me, Harry," he said, "but I've got one question. What can the average person do in the face of the deteriorating economic situation?" Browne started in with his folderol about how people should quit their jobs, identify some skill they have and set about marketing it to their neighbors. Johnson broke in and repeated that he wanted to know what the average person could do. Browne started in again with his whacked-out fantasy of a nation of popular mechanics earning big money at home sharpening saws in their spare time and I started yelling at the screen, "What the average person can do is cop to the fact that he's up shit creek in a leaky kayak! What the average person can do is come to grips with the fact that the purpose of the recession / depression is to soak the average person!"
Of all the bad things that can happen to a person (and there are a lot of them, don't I know), one of the most easy to avoid is getting interested in words backward. 1 really hope you won't get into this.
I have become quite close to a girl who works at my office. We do everything together except sex. I don't really know what she wants. The people at the office think we are going steady, although it's common knowledge that she has someone who could be considered a fiancé in another city. We've talked and I've discovered that she will not go to bed with anyone but her fiancé (not that she comes right out and says that, mind you. One can deduce it from what she says in conversation). Her actions hint that she has a great need for male contact--she holds herself so close to me that 90 percent of the time our bodies touch. Would you say that she is dropping hints in hopes that I make advances or that she is merely being a tease? Or could it be that my mind, clouded with feelings of lust and love, sees her actions as an invitation? The gentleman in me says that I should respect her relationship with her fiancé. What should I do? I don't want to make any mistakes; even if love is out of the question, I couldn't bear to lose her friendship.--W. W., Richmond, Virginia.
It has been estimated that about 120,000,000 Americans--more than half the nation's population--watch the television shows of Norman Lear. His established series--"All in the Family," "Maude," "Good Times," "The Jeffersons" and "Sanford and Son"--have enjoyed a collective rating unprecedented in the medium and, because of their potent mixture of humor and social comment, have earned for their creator a power and influence perhaps never attained by anyone in the history of entertainment.
It is said that when God created woman, a French movie director was on the scene to offer her an exclusive contract. Let's face it--if it had not been for our Continental kissing cousins, Playboy's yearly Sex in Cinema feature might have been showing pictures of John Wayne's horse. The string of provocative superstars is impressive--Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Maria Schneider. Of course, a few years ago, it seemed that the French had fallen on soft times: The only thing they could offer us was snapshots of the original sex kitten on her 40th birthday. (Not that we're complaining--those were some snapshots.) Still, we were beginning to worry that someone was doctoring their wine with saltpeter. Fortunately, the trend took an upswing in 1974, when Emmanuelle opened on the Champs Elysées, starring the then-unknown Sylvia Kristel. Later, the ad campaign for American theaters said it all: "X was never like this." Miss Kristel, possessed of the kind of beauty that makes you want to be in three places at once, was an instant sensation. Producer Yves Rousset-Rouard and director Just Jaeckin had managed to suffuse each scene with the soft, sensuous light of a fashion spread--whether the scene was a gang rape at an opium den or a one-on-one encounter on the courts of a racquet club. Audiences cried "Encore!" and it was inevitable that we would be seeing more of Miss Kristel. Rousset-Rouard bought the film rights to Emmanuelle: the Anti-Virgin--the sequel to the book--written under an alias by Maryat Rollet-Andriane, the wife of a representative of the French delegation to UNESCO. The heroine of the two novels is supposedly the wife of a hydraulic engineer stationed in Thailand. Frenchmen knew better: Obviously, the career was a pose for undercover work in the foreign service. Whatever, the novel and the film still created quite a controversy as Parisians speculated on what members of the foreign service really did to pass the time at hardship outposts. This time out, Emmanuelle's erotic quest leads her from Bangkok to Hong Kong to Bali. No holds are barred as she turns innocence inside out in search of the perfect hedonistic life. Replacing Jaeckin behind the lens is Francis Giacobetti, one of the Continent's leading fashion photographers. (You have viewed his work in Oui.) As you can see from the stills included in this pictorial, the French have a slightly different approach to erotic film making. They believe that a work does not have to be explicit to be exciting, that less is more. It's enough for us, but even then, we may have to wait. French censors studied the original Emmanuelle for three months before allowing the public to see the film. While you're standing in line, you might look up one of Miss Kristel's other films. She's been very busy. Keep your eyes open and your raincoat on in case The Sleeping-Car Madonna, Julia, No Pockets in a Shroud or Playing with Fire comes to a theater near you.
In the night air above Sunset Strip, an 18-foot leather-jacketed Bruce Springsteen drapes an arm across the back of a 25-foot saxophone-playing Clarence Clemons and tries to bury a three-foot grin behind his wrist. One block away, the cover photograph from Born to Run is seen on a small billboard in the parking lot of Tower Records. Handbills slapped onto every telephone pole and blank wall in the area proclaim that the rising young rock star's four-day engagement at the Roxy is Sold Out. On the stage of L.A.'s top music showcase, an only slightly larger than life-size Bruce Springsteen hunkers over a microphone, delivering a monolog about the days when he and his good buddy Miami Steve Van Zandt were the helpless victims of immediate undying love, or, as they say in the papers, incurable romanticism. Miami Steve, resplendent in a white panama and pink three-piece suit with wide lapels that end somewhere in the wings, nods his head. It's all true.
Jogging has some real pluses going for it. It does develop good leg and thigh muscles. It does accelerate the heartbeat. And it does give you that tanned, outdoorsy look. But what about the bottom line? Is jogging good or bad for your health?
Unlikely as it may seem, a broken leg is the fulcrum on which this tale turns. Until last year, Ann Pennington--the younger sister of Janice Pennington, our May 1971 Playmate--hadn't been putting much effort into her work. She had done a few TV shows (The Price Is Right, Truth or Consequences), played a bit part in a movie (Funny Lady) and done a lot of what models call print work (magazine ads and such). "But I never really wanted to work," she admits. "I married young"--to her high school sweetheart, right after graduation; it lasted five years--"and I never had the drive or the desire to really do anything." Then, after her accident--on a slope at Bear Valley, where her current boyfriend runs the ski school ("I missed a lesson but went out anyway, and I wasn't careful enough")--she had plenty of time to discover herself "and get things in perspective." Now, says the 25-year-old blonde, who was born in Seattle, grew up in San Diego and currently occupies an apartment of her own in Sherman Oaks, "I realize how lucky you are to be able to do anything and, for the first time, I've been getting my head into working." Fully recovered from her spill, Ann is currently appearing in the Western The Winds of Autumn. And at press-time, she was updating her portfolio; she'd just signed with a new agent and was looking forward to a tougher work schedule. Which won't leave her much time for antique hunting, her favorite hobby--or for socializing. As it happens, though, Ann doesn't play the field: "I just like a good one-on-one relationship." Neither is she looking for another husband: "I might try marriage again, but not for a while. The one I had was supposed to be perfect, but we just didn't grow at the same pace. Marriage is a lot of work, and I've learned that life has no guarantees." Maybe not--but we can assure Ann that her life is never going to be dull.
The attractive new stenographer was being given no peace by an unattractive type who fancied himself the office Lothario, and she finally could put up with it no longer. "Look," she said with a forced smile when he next came by to loll over her desk and leer, "have you heard the story about how to keep an asshole in suspense?"
Why guitars? For years we've been telling our readers how to re-create the sound of a live performance in their living rooms--what turntables, amplifiers, receivers, speakers, etc., would impart the "you are there in a concert hall" feeling that is the audiophile's Holy Grail. It occurred to us recently (concluded on page 154)String Fever(continued from page 109) that there was a simpler way to achieve the same thing. Buy a guitar and do it yourself. It makes sense. No more worries about dust, scratches, wow and flutter, the price of records, whatever. Natural high fidelity.
"Mine used to sweat in his sleep," said the woman in the white dress, a bit drunkenly. "It literally poured off him! During the day he'd be dry as a bone, but as soon as he closed his eyes--bingo!--he'd start percolating."
Clifton Davis has good reasons to sing and dance in the rain: His night-club debut at Reno Sweeney's drew rave reviews; Never Can Say Goodbye, Davis' composition, earned him and The Jackson Five a gold record and, as you can see here, he's gotten his bod into this season's groovy thread--the pullover. Yes, that adolescent classic ("Hey, Mom, where's my pullover?") has grown up, making it the ideal springtime chill cutter. Shown here, a lightweight leather model, about $245, and muslin slacks, about $50, both by Guarna International; plus a striped polished cotton--you guessed it--pullover shirt, by Zoom for Excello, $18. His canvas brolly is by Mespo Umbrella, $16. With duds like these, we'd dance in the rain, too.
"At the proper time, after the Republican National Convention meets, some 15 men, bleary-eyed with the loss of sleep and perspiring profusely with the excessive heat, will sit down in seclusion around a big table. I will be with them and present the name of Senator Harding to them, and before they get through they will put him over."
When the American Offshore Drilling Supply Corporation merged with the Eastern Electrical Cable Company in 1969 to form Amcorp & Eastern, one of the prime tasks was to select a slogan compatible with the products of both firms. After considerable debate, the phrase "Technology for America at home and at sea" was unanimously approved by the board of directors; but a week later, the slogan was found wanting, when Amcorp & Eastern, as the first step in its diversification program, purchased a large chain of taco stands.
"The West End Horror"--The author of The Seven-Percent Solution unearths a further adventure of Sherlock Holmes (starring G.B.S., Oscar Wilde, Gilbert and Sullivan, Ellen Terry and friends). First of two parts--By Nicholas Meyer