We don't want to give away too much about Alex Haley's dramatic odyssey back through his lineage, the genealogical journey that produced his soon-to-be-published (by Double-day), sure-fire best seller Roots, which is a chronicle of the past seven generations of Haleys, since that voyage will be the subject of his next book, to be called, appropriately enough, My Search for Roots. Suffice it to say, the research for Roots, which Haley describes as "high drama, purely a detective story," took 12 years, involved over half a million miles of travel over three continents and cost upwards of $80,000 to complete. Haley did the very first Playboy Interview (Miles Davis, September 1962) and many others since then, so it is with no little measure of pride that we bring you Roots: The Mixing of the Blood (illustrated by David Wilcox), the true story of the rape of Haley's great-great-great-grandmother Kizzy by her white master. "The fact that that sort of thing happened was no news to me," says author Haley concerning this episode. "It was commonplace in the antebellum South. I felt no sudden rage when I found out about it." At the moment, aside from mapping out his next book, Haley is consulting on the teleplay for ABC's projected 12-hour miniseries on Roots, to be aired in January and starring Cicely Tyson, Lou Gossett, Leslie Uggams as Kizzy and a host of other stars.
Playboy, October, 1976, Volume 23, Number 10, Published monthly by Playboy, Playboy building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States. Its possessions and Canada, $30 for three years, $22 for two years, $12 for one year. Elsewhere $25 per year. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of address: Send both old and new addresses to Playboy, P.O. Box 2420, Boulder, Colorado 80302 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: Jules Kase, Eastern Regional Director and Associate Advertising Manager, 747 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017; Sherman Keats, Western Regional Director and Associate Advertising Manager, John Thompson, Central Regional Director and Associate Advertising Manager, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611, Atlanta. Richard Christiansen, Manager, 3340 Peachtree Rd., N.E.; Detroit, William F. Moore, Manager, 318 Fisher Bldg.; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Blvd.; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 417 Montgomery St.
A BBC commentator reviewing the Oxford--Cambridge crew race had this to say: "Look at the way Oxford are rowing--they're much smoother in the water. Cambridge, on the other hand--well, you can see their cox jerking backwards and forwards with each stroke."
Previews: As if to answer the charge that they don't make movies like the oldies and goodies of yesteryear, Hollywood has lined up a batch of remakes and sequels. Such works in preparation as Jaws II (with Roy Scheider surviving from the original cast), Airport 1977 (Jack Lemmon and James Stewart have signed for this third go-round, to deal with a 747 lost in the Bermuda Triangle) and The Heretic: Exorcist II (Linda Blair is back, and presumably the Devil's got her again) are, of course, a relatively new crop of reconstituted hits. Also on the drawing boards at MGM are a continuation of Gone with the Wind and a contemporary, revisited Grand Hotel. Meanwhile, there'll be the modern, musicalized A Star Is Born (co-starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson) and that hairy classic King Kong (with newcomer Jessica Lange in Fay Wray's role), both due to open by Christmas. For comedy buffs, Marty Feldman is writing, directing and starring in (vis-à-vis Ann-Margret) a piece of mischief titled The Last Remake of Beau Geste.
More than 80,000 New York stay-ups who subscribe to Manhattan Cable TV may now tune in three times a week to American Blue, a recycled (and sanitized) version of Midnight Blue, which was summarily canceled in mid-May. Boobs, pubes, S/M specialists and a video centerfold--porno star Marilyn Chambers, dancing nude, was one of the more comely spring attractions--had made Blue a raging success, also a porny thorn in the side of Manhattan Cable. Premiered on noncommercial channel C over a year ago, and initially supported as a sort of pubic service by Screw publisher Al Goldstein, the program began to look like a tax write-off until it joined the commercial channel J last March. Almost overnight, advertisers were waitlisted to buy one-minute spots at $350 each ($250 for a trial shot) and Midnight Blue's commercials--most of them retained by American Blue--occasionally outblued the show itself, with blurbs for sex boutiques ("gay or straight--come on in"), hard-core movies, theaters, massage parlors and such vibrating sex products as the Orgasmatron ($24.95 with attachments). Swinging singles or couples may also buy time (minimally $35 for 15 seconds) to make a personal pitch, on video tape, for whatever scenes they're into.
Previews: The late-fall book list has no blockbusters on it, and maybe it's just as well--because some good books are coming out that might have gotten lost in the kind of media blitz we've come to know and dread. The most important of these is Winners and Losers (Random House), Gloria Emerson's long-awaited book on Vietnam. She spent the past few years traveling around this country, talking with everyone--those who fought, those who were wounded, those who deserted, the Vietnamese--trying to piece together a picture of exactly what the war has done to all of us. Random House is also bringing out The Great Shark Hunt, a collection of pieces by Dr. Hunter Thompson, the master of Gonzo Journalism, from Rolling Stone and other less regular sources. And Raymond Chandler freaks, the ones who are now reading his novels for the third time wishing there were more, have something to look forward to at last: The Notebooks of Raymond Chandler and English Summer: A Gothic Romance, combined in one volume by Ecco Press. English Summer is illustrated by Edward Gorey and published here for the first time in book form. The notebooks, which contain ideas for stories, anecdotes, pickpocket lingo, slang and essays, give the reader a look at the man who was responsible for the best detective writing ever. Just plain fun is The Rich and Other Atrocities (Harper's), by Charlotte Curtis. The author is the editor of the Op-Ed page of The New York Times and the collection of pieces includes coverage of Truman Capote's famous black-and-white ball and Lennie Bernstein's entertaining the Panthers, plus visits with Hugh Hefner, the shah of Iran, Twiggy and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Two fine novelists are back: Donald Barthelme with a collection of short stories. Amateurs (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), and John (Nickel Mountain) Gardner with a new novel, October Light (Knopf). Well, come to think of it, there is one blockbuster to mention. It's due in January from Simon & Schuster: John Dean's Watergate book, Blind Ambition. Dean, as you will recall, not only blew the big whistle but seemed to have almost total recall. We hope this one will have on-the-record sources.
I'm an institution," Don Covay will let you know before you're halfway through the door. "I'll never be out of style, because I'm part of the country's fabric. You ever heard of corn bread or greens going out of style? They'll probably be eating that shit on the moon! Well, I'm like corn bread and greens, and that's why I'll always be around."
There's war in the world of gourmet chili. Or at least a schism. Since 1967, a group of Texas businessmen, raconteurs and assorted eccentrics has been staging an annual World Championship Chili Cook-off at Terlingua, a remote and abandoned mining camp at the edge of the Big Bend National Park on the Texas--Mexico border. Although it takes place some 200 miles from the nearest commercial airport and about that far from anything else, the Terlingua chili contest, started as a stunt, has become a Southwestern tradition--an annual drunkathon and boozarama that now draws thousands to what its sponsors call "the beautiful and varmint-infested Chisos Mountains" before the first norther blows in each fall. Dallas Morning News columnist Frank X. Tolbert first cooked up the idea and grafted it onto another institution, the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), organized some 25 years ago by other Texas crazies. Two friends. David Witts and Carroll Shelby (of Cobra race-car fame), had a desolate, isolated ranch that included the town of Terlingua; another, Tom Tierney, had a Dallas PR agency; others had favorite chili recipes and a sense of humor, and one thing led to another.
Previews: Alter sitting through a summer of reruns, television viewers are getting ready for the annual madness known as the debut of the fall TV season. In the past couple of years, new shows have been falling faster than the autumn foliage, leaving schedules, network executives and millions of dollars lost down the hole in that Great Outhouse in the Sky. This year, in an effort to avoid the carnage, networks announced their fall schedules last spring. Theoretically, that should have given series producers more time to get their acts together. We'll see.
It began, appropriately enough, with an indiscretion on the part of Henry Kissinger. The former Harvard professor was, in March 1969, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. I was Kissinger's assistant for planning.
One of my fraternity brothers always gets to speaking Latin when he's in his cups. His favorite phrase is something about all animals' being sad after sex, and he usually follows it with several exceptions to the rule. He has never said the phrase the same way twice--can you give me the original and tell me who said it?--L. S., New Orleans, Louisiana.
On July 6, 1976--two days after our Bicentennial birthday--the Nixon appointees to the Supreme Court took the Bill of Rights into a basement room, tortured it for several hours and, finally, left it to die in isolation. The event was the coup de gràce of a six-month assault on civil liberties. In a series of decisions, the Court made it clear that privacy and individual freedom are less important than the apprehension and prosecution of criminals. In an effort to eliminate all obstacles to vigorous law enforcement, the men in black pushed the pendulum of constitutional protection about as far to the right as it will go.
In May, we reported the case of Daniel Atkinson, a 28-year-old heroin addict facing 20 years to life in prison, who escaped from Washington's Snohomish County Jail and turned himself in at a Veterans Administration drug-treatment center. His purpose in escaping was to call attention to the need for drug-treatment programs in prisons. The state of Washington, in fact, had such programs, for addicts both in and out of prison, but only on paper, The legislature had never voted operating funds. Atkinson wrote to Playboy and we contacted the Legal Services Center in Seattle to assist in a class-action suit to require the state to establish the programs called for by state law.
In 1960. ABC hired one Roone Pinckney Arledge, a red-haired, freckle-faced, 29-year-old nobody, to produce ten minutes of locker-room drivel per week for the network's N.C.A.A. football broadcasts. But about a month before the start of the 1960--1961 football season, Arledge placed a strange document in the hands of Tom Moore and Ed Sherick, the network's programing and sports directors. It was a theoretical treatise on the TV production of football, recommending such unheard-of techniques as the use of directional and remote microphones, the replacement of half-time shows with highlights and an analysis of the first two quarters, the use of hand-held and "isolated"cameras, the use of a split screen and the filling of "dead spots" during the game with prerecorded biographies and interviews.
For 12 years, Alex Haley researched and wrote the story of the seven generations of his family that he would call "Roots." It began when Haley, a writer who conducted the first "Playboy Interview" and many others, was on a Playboy assignment in England and first saw the Rosetta stone, the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics. He became curious about some African phrases he remembered hearing from his relatives as a boy in Tennessee and, in particular, the name Kunta Kinte, whom he believed was his African ancestor.
It's Bound to occur. Already there are women boxers, women jockeys and women race-car drivers. So it's only a matter of time before the first all-girl baseball team hits the dugouts. Once it does happen, there's a good chance baseball cards will take on a whole new dimension--along with RBIs and ERAs, you'll have CWHs (chest, waist, hips). Get the picture?
She Just turned 19, but Melanie Griffith already has a past she wishes the world would forget while she tries to handle the challenges of her future. Despite widespread agreement that she's destined to become a star, this child-woman doesn't quite look the part. Her Pollyanna grin more readily suggests a country girl who learned about life from the birds and the bees. Melanie, however, grew up--fast--in New York and Hollywood. The daughter of actress Tippi Hedren--Alfred Hitchcock's Grace Kelly-type discovery who starred in The Birds--Melanie has been a voluptuous bundle of contradictions since she first assumed the prerogatives of a consenting adult, at an age usually viewed as a no man's land somewhere between junior miss and jail bait. Many an otherwise sensible journalist has clucked over Melanie's morals as if she were a stray chick from Hollywood-Babylon, where the game of boy meets girl is rumored to be, at best, a low-stakes one with constantly changing partners. But Romeo and Juliet were mere teenagers, remember, when they met and mated in an avalanche of headlong passion that's been big box office for centuries; the mixed-up, off-again, on-again love story of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, though, has yet to attract a Shakespeare, despite the imminent prospect of an unhappy ending. But that is a scene from the last act.
In My Wildest and most narcissistic fantasy, I did not imagine how it would be. He thinks Kate is wonderful. He thinks she is some goddamned raving beauty. He adores her body, this time-flawed, painstakingly maintained and refurbished arrangement of skin and bones and flesh. He is so positive, so awed and admiring that even I, the great champion flawfinder, am starting to believe. Suddenly, my hair--well, I do have marvelous hair, even if it drives M. Marc to despair because I will not cut it--my hair is now a national treasure, glorious, American. My skin is baby soft. I smell so good. Not just my perfume--Cabochard, he adores it--but all my woman smells, me. Adores them. My pussy smells like peaches only better. All his life, every masturbatory fantasy has starred a woman with ass, hips, breasts precisely like mine. Cellulite ... he doesn't see it. Tit-tuck scars, oblivious. My voice, ah, my voice ... still slightly husky. (continued on page 196) Blue Skies No Candy (continued from page 105) He has never heard a voice of such elegant sexiness.
The Setting for this ethereal circus, this ecclesiastical, Cromwellian P. T. Barnum extravaganza, is the courtroom of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, in Memphis, and here, as the sleight-of-hand artists like to say, nothing is quite what it seems. The courtroom is spacious, as it must be to contain its subdued but zany crew; but though admission is free, the stands are nearly bare. Jugglers and midgets work here, fat ladies and clowns, acrobats, bareback riders of noble proportions, sliders of poles and wires, sweepers of tanbark and dung, and a dashing ringmaster calls the acts, but all are disguised behind straight faces and business suits of the most ordinary cut. Because it needs no spotlights to heighten the drama, the courtroom is lit like a mental ward by cold fluorescents recessed above white-plastic panels. The wall behind the judge's bench is faced with gray marble, a feeble attenuation of symbolism alluding to the mighty lex Romani of ancient days. The bench, its lines classically severe, is walnut, built in two tiers, the judge dominating in his black robe above, the court reporter and the clerk ministering below; the clerk runs his Middle English oyesses in a Tennessee dialect, compelling the performers to stand and bow their heads. The witness chair is placed to the judge's right, under his magisterial wing, and no man may approach it except by his leave. Beyond the witness chair extends the crowded jury box, where one of the female jurors wears a bandage over her ear. The prosecutor and his assistant ply stacks of incriminating documents--telephone bills, canceled checks, a detritus of notes torn from personalized memo pads--at a table cozily near the jury, facing the bench. At a row of tables on the other side of the room, balefully confronting the jury, sit the angry defendants, those who haven't skipped the country, those at least who have physical existence (for corporations and the shells of corporations are also on trial here), and the presumption of guilt hangs heavy as cannon smoke in the air.
Thank god she's a country girl. Hope Olson is at home in the wilderness. Her favorite movie is Jeremiah Johnson. She liked the scenery and the silence. At times, she entertains the idea that someday there will be a movie about a mountain woman and that she will be asked to play the lead. The part fits her as perfectly as a pair of jeans. When we talked to Miss October, she was in mourning for a favorite pair of cutoffs that she had acquired from a boyfriend a few years back. (She wouldn't go into the details of the trade except to say, if the jeans fit, wear them. Until you wear them out.) Those cutoffs had been everywhere: the mountains. The desert. Down the Colorado River. Places we can only dream about. "Finally, there was almost nothing left of them. You could see through the sides, through the rear. One day I put them in the wash and they just dissolved. I guess I'll have to start all over." We will now have a moment of silence for those jeans. The stories they could tell. Hope spent the first 15 years of her life in Wisconsin on her grandfather's farm. She learned to ride horses and later to maneuver a snowmobile around an oval track. Whatever Hope does, she does well. When she moved to California, she tried body surfing. "I discovered that the ocean was not exactly the lake I had been used to swimming in. It's much more powerful and dangerous. On my first day, I wiped out completely. I lost the bottom of my bathing suit. Got sand burns, the works." On weekends, or whenever she feels like it, Hope throws a tent, a sleeping bag and a few days' worth of food into the back of a van and takes off for parts unknown. Sometimes she and her boyfriend drop in on bluegrass music festivals. "I like the idea of people sitting around, eating, drinking, raising hell. They're always friendly. We just unroll our sleeping bag and make ourselves at home." On one of her drives across country, Hope's van began to overheat. So did Hope, so she asked a gasstation attendant where the nearest swimming hole was. A 20-mile drive down a back road brought her to a glade of cottonwood trees. "It was so nice I stayed for almost a day and a half. You really should have been there." Yup.
A highly paid executive whose firm had suddenly folded was advised by his tax accountant to discharge some of his servants. Over cocktails that evening, he raised the matter with his wife. He concluded by saying, "You know, Martha, if you could only do simple cooking well, we could let the chef go."
As the steam train suggests substance, so does the forthcoming crop of fall and winter fashions; natural fabrics (flannels, tweeds and leathers) and double-breasted three-piecers-- often with contrasting vests--all worn layered. To keep out the cold, double-breasted overcoats and the ever-popular chesterfield will be offered, along with sporty models in a variety of materials from polished leather to classic loden. Tweed slacks and jeans in chill-cutting fabrics will aid in keeping you well clothed and warm. And if you've always wanted to sport a chapeau, well, you're in luck; hats have arrived. All aboard!
For the Past few years, we've been hearing disturbing rumors that all's quiet on the college front. According to most sources, the sexual revolution had ground to a halt; the battle between the sexes had declined into a cold war in which virginity and lesbianism were the weapons of choice. All traces of the counterculture had disappeared; students no longer dropped acid to see God--they drowned themselves in Coors and saw Gerald Ford. Social activism was dead; crime had made the streets unsafe for demonstrators. We decided to look for ourself. And discovered that we should have known better.
It hasn't exactly become a fashion industry, but the high-fidelity-components field seems more than ever concerned about the cosmetics of its wares. Do not, however, read this to mean that if you buy a superstyled amplifier, you will be getting ripped off on performance. On the contrary; for the most part, there is a new happy constellation of good sound and good looks. The former virtue is based not on any space-age breakthroughs in the labs but, rather, on a rediscovery and (concluded overleaf) application of solid basics. The latter appeal is not a return to the chintzy blandness of equipment styling that brought on a so-what-else-is-new attitude several years ago but, instead, an advance to a new boldness of product concept in which units seem to be saying: Look at us; we're big and sinewy and good-looking and sensitive; we can make better sound than anything before and we're fun to play with.
New York City may still be waiting for its second wind--but the New York Playboy Club, after being closed for renovation, encored last spring in a burst of regenerative splendor as David Steinberg, Lainie Kazan and Bill Cosby all entertained during a much-publicized week of festivities. The refurbished Club on East 59th Street boasts seven floors of technologically sophisticated goodies, including a mushroom-shaped stainless-steel disco dance floor equipped with a $100,000 electronic entertainment complex and 102 well-trained new Bunnies who are equipped with no electronic parts, despite the bionic efficiency they display. The reopening festivities also included a reunion for former Bunnies and Bunnies '76, a spectacular song-and-dance revue--staged by Ray Golden and featuring ten girls from (text concluded on page 194) Bunnies of '76 (continued from page 135) around the country (Angelique Ilo. Patricia Cosier, Louise Turner, Valerie Miller, Carol Maddon, Natalie Jones, Sheila Richardson, Victoria Walter, Thelma Nevitt and Laura Wesson)--that had previously opened to rave notices in Chicago.
Messer D' Arezzo, an affluent citizen of Bergamo, wished only to see his daughter Lella married to a good husband, for this lovely, unruly girl was like a wild mare--she shied at the approach of any man who seemed hopeful of mounting her.
Executive Time, the theory goes, is too valuable to be spent sharpening pencils. placing phone calls or whatever. As Webster's New International Dictionary makes clear, an executive is charged, above all else, with the conduct of affairs. It makes sense, therefore, that he be able to dispose of the more mundane aspects of his job as quickly and as easily as possible--the better to deal with all those important affairs. It was to that end. obviously, that secretaries were invented. Not to mention the two marvelous desks shown here--the desk being one of civilization's key elements, ranking just below the bed, which it's been known to stand in for, and the wheel, which is what you have to be to work at one of these. (It's especially fun when you can clutter up the surface with some of the fine goodies pictured below.) Of course, it doesn't matter what sex you are: in fact, the changes in our society have created a number of office situations in which females are on top. Case in point is the picture above: This man Friday has the boss's routine down pat (and you'd better believe he knows what all those nifty little buttons atop her desk are for). It's not a bad job--once he accepts the idea that there'll be a little hanky-panky now and then. But what the hell, it goes with the territory. And as for the young lady, well, she could make more money elsewhere--but say goodbye to that marvelous burled-elm footrest? Never. Like Sewell Avery, they'd have to carry her bodily away.
In America, any youngster can grow up to be President. Every four years, two grownups, a Republican and a Democrat, vie for the office. Sounds simple, right? Wrong! The Federal Election Commission knows better, and herewith are profiles of some of the more than 120 bona fide Presidential candidates this year.
Joe Mikolas had a problem. By 1972, his fondness for betting on football was beginning to cost him dearly and the time had come to put an end to that sort of thing. Which didn't mean that he would have to back off completely. Joe's troubles, you see, couldn't be laid at the feet of Sunday's pros, for he'd always found the National Football League no harder to handicap than horse races featuring Secretariat. Instead, the villains of the piece were Saturday's heroes. No matter how much time he spent analyzing upcoming games, Mikolas and college-football bets went together about as well as Scotch and ginger ale. As a result, autumn Sundays invariably began with Joe seriously behind for the weekend; and although he would often manage to wipe out his losses of the day before, you know what the smart-money boys say about catch-up football.
I have a relic left over from the 1972 Presidential campaign. It is a button bearing the words Wall Street For McGovern. I keep it as an ironic reminder of the true state of the political affections of the financial community (the button was not exactly a hot seller). But it has a greater connotative value than simply underlining the obvious fact that bankers and stockbrokers didn't rush to form cadres for the South Dakota Senator. The 1972 campaign, when fear of McGovern caused stocks to decline sharply, was the first time I became aware of the emergence of politics as the dominant force in determining the direction of financial markets, replacing economics as the prime mover. It is an insight--by no means mine alone but still a minority view today--that has served me well. More important, it can be the source of stock-market profits for you if you abandon the near-impossible task of doping the direction of the over-all economy and, instead, become an astute handicapper of the political scene.
Despite the current semantic inquisition against franglais, the American craze in Paris just won't stop. Every café and corner tabac in the Latin Quarter has one or two Gottlieb pinball machines (Fast Draw and Spirit of '76 are very big) and Fats Domino on the Rock-Ola jukebox. You will hear Be-Bop-a-Lula more often in a month there than during all your years in high school. There is even an approximation of a singles bar, called Rosebud, on the Rue Delambre just around the corner from the Café La Coupole (Sartre's hangout) on Montparnasse. One night, I ran into a guy in Rosebud (the place is packed, so you literally run into people) with a skate board under his arm. "Je fais du skate," he said, drunkenly sailing off down the sidewalk.
The Japanese, an enterprising people who are lightning fast in picking up on what's happening in the Western world (small cars, cameras, recorders), have done it again. Witness the porno comic book. More than a dozen titles on the Japanese newsstands offer a full range of erotica--hetero, lesbian, group, S/M, you name it. However, the publishers operate under somewhat of a handicap. The Japanese police censors deem the depiction of pubic hair and/or genitalia a no-no. So the reader is treated(?) to a variety of physiological phenomena along with such graphic euphemisms as dripping oysters in a climactic panel. Not as explicit as what you might find in a 17th Century Japanese woodcut, voyeur-san; but then, as you can see in the sampling above, it at least leaves something to the imagination.
Jimmy Carter, on the road from the Peanut Farm to the Presidency, May not seem so "Fuzzy" after talking about Foreign policy, civil rights, his Religious Beliefs and the night bob Dylan came to visit, in an Election-Eve Playboy Interview