The first thing you'll want to know is how did we do it? Jimmy Carter, the most religious of candidates, not only sitting for a highly irreverent Playboy Interview but, as he said, spending more time with us than with any other publication. The major factor was the determination and persistence of interviewer Robert Scheer, who has spent the past couple of years dogging the footsteps of such people as Nelson Rockefeller (profiled in Playboy, October 1975) and Jerry Brown (Playboy Interview, April 1976) and somehow getting more of substance out of them than any other journalist we know. Assistant Managing Editor G. Barry Golson, who also questioned Carter during the final session in Plains, Georgia, reports that that meeting nearly didn't take place. "It was after Carter got the nomination, when the pressures on his time increased dramatically, that I watched Scheer really operate," Golson says. "We were in a New York hotel and everyone in the country must have been looking for press secretary Jody. Powell. He was assumed to have gone back to Plains with the candidate but couldn't be reached. Scheer then called Powell's mother in Georgia and found out that Jody and his wife had remained in New York under an assumed name. Scheer dialed the number, woke up Jody and poured out some of the most persuasive, magnolia-scented Southern sweet talk I'd ever heard. We got our final session. I was amazed: Scheer is from the Bronx."
Playboy, November, 1976, Volume 23, Number 11. 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: Henry W. Marks, 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, 818 Fisher Bldg.; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Blvd.; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 417 Montgomery St.
A British doctor has concluded that Denmark's high rate of venereal disease may be blamed on the Danish word for condom. The doctor said Danish men probably prefer not using the contraceptives at all to stuttering out the 30-letter, ten-syllable word--svangerskabsforebyggendemiddel--to the pharmacist. In Sweden, where they are known simply as kondoms, venereal disease has been on the decline.
Why do black people talk the way they do? Some linguists (white) answer, "Because they have thick lips." Black linguists demur: "Say that again, turkey, and I'll go up 'side yo' head." But scholarly disputes over pronunciation aside, we can all agree that black language, particularly black slang, often presents problems of vocabulary. Therefore, in order to prevent minor social blunders, we present Fran Ross's glossary of black terminology, excerpted from the soon-to-be-published book "Titters: The First Collection of Humor by Women" (Macmillan), edited by Deanne Stillman and Anne Beatts.
Voted in for her contribution to the art of good grooming: a Canadian woman who claims that the excrement of a mynah bird has cleared up her dandruff. The girl was having lunch at a tennis club when a mynah bird landed on her head and relieved itself. "I left it there," she said, "thinking it had to have some nutritional value. I rubbed it into my hair and let it dry before washing it out. I guess you could call it a poop treatment.
At her mother's wedding, an ample, beautiful young matron (Marie-Christine Barrault) whose dolt of a husband has disappeared--as usual, with another guest's wife--finds herself alone with a stranger (Victor Lanoux). He asks her to dance. Though he could pass for a bank teller, he's a dancing teacher, she learns, who automatically changes jobs every three years just to diminish life's dullness. His name is Ludovic, hers is Marthe. They have just become cousins by marriage and discover an even closer tie when their respective mates show up looking smug and rumpled. That's only the beginning of Cousin, Cousine, a delicious adult comedy about love, extramarital dalliance and unchained sensuality in the very bosom of the French bourgeoisie. Writer-director Jean-Charles Tacchella won France's prestigious Prix Louis Delluc for 1975 with this, his second feature, and the screen is brim full of evidence that he deserved it: Everything he tries to do, he does exactly right. If French film imports were appraised like perfume, you'd have to place this one somewhere between Joy and Chanel No. 5. Cousin, Cousine ends with a family Christmas scene, disrupted somewhat when Marthe and Ludovic retire to a back bedroom--by now they have graduated from mere intimacy to headlong desire and don't give a damn what anyone thinks--while their impatient children, mates, grandma and assorted uncles and aunts wait to open the presents. Thinking she ought to feel humiliated, Ludovic's spoiled, faithless wife (played with suave screwball perfection by Marie-France Pisier) goes into the bathroom to cut her wrists but starts touching up her lipstick instead. Suicide, after all, might hurt. Tacchella guides his hero and heroine through a frank and refreshingly funny love scene--during one brief post-coital respite, Ludovic takes down Marthe's recipe for a rabbit marinade--that's an instant classic on the level of It Happened One Night. Though both Barrault and Lanoux are maturely attractive, they are Real, rather than Beautiful, People in the chic Parisian mode of, say, Deneuve and Delon. They are, however, irresistible, and so is Cousin, Cousine.
As a breakthrough movie, Last Tango in Paris looks fairly tepid compared with director Marco Ferreri's The Last Woman, a smash hit in Europe and sure to invite controversy, as well as outright animosity, over here. Plainly aware that it takes two to tango, burly Gerard Depardieu--France's answer to Albert Finney, who co-stars with Robert DeNiro in Bernardo Bertolucci's long-awaited epic 1900--avoids Brando's crotch-covering coyness and outstrips his leading lady (Ornella Muti, a ravishing Italian beauty) reel after reel. Depardieu appears nude during great chunks of the movie, occasionally sporting an erection, frequently fondling himself or jerking off at the bathroom sink to relieve his sexual tensions. But then, sexual tension is the main problem of the film's hero, a practicing male chauvinist who finds that he cannot function in a changed modern world where liberated women mock the concept of "phallic supremacy." Divorced or separated from his wife (ZouZou) and given custody of their infant son, Last Woman's horny protagonist starts off by seducing the boy's nursery school teacher, who moves in with him, takes over his child, befriends his wife and ultimately proves to him that he is the baby, merely using women for his infantile self-gratification. One day, in a blind rage, he solves his problem--or at least attacks it--by cutting off his cock with an electric carving knife. Penectomy may seem to be an odd sort of dramatic solution, but director Ferreri is less interested in offering conclusions than in delineating the danger zones in human experience, as he showed in his awesome, orgiastic The Grande Bouffe. Ferreri's caterwauling couple fights the age-old battle of the sexes to its grisly finish with a peculiar intensity that commands attention as a work of art.
Jerry has fallen in love with his neighbor Richard's wife, Sally: "Since the start of their affair he was always running, hurrying, creating time where no time had been needed before; he had become an athlete of the clock, bending odd hours into an unprecedented and unsuspected second life. He had given up smoking; he wanted his kisses to taste clean." Jerry's wife, Ruth, perceives the new buoyance in Jerry's behavior: "He became crazy about the twist and at parties his contorted, rapt, perspiring figure seemed that of a mysterious son in whom she could take only an apprehensive pride, his energy so excessive. . .. It was grotesque and would have been pitiful in a man of 30, if he did not seem, in a frantic way, happy." Ruth is unnerved by Jerry's liberated behavior; she fears he has discovered her affair with Sally's husband, Richard: "She composed confessions and explanations in her head. . .. The best she could say was that she had done it to become a better woman and therefore a better wife." John Updike's eighth novel, Marry Me (Knopf), is a delicately sculpted portrait of two young couples in suburban Connecticut, circa John Kennedy, all trying to become better people and better spouses. But mostly trying to figure out what it is they want and how to get it without coming totally unhinged by their all-too-typical infatuations, guilts and deceptions, of themselves and of one another. Updike's vision of couples is always microscopic, and this is a brilliant close-up view of middle-class marrieds struggling through the changing morality of the early Sixties.
There's no doubt that Jan Hammer is now in the public consciousness. As soon as we heard The First Seven Days album, we knew it was going to happen, and it has. But we must say we're not too crazy about the kind of music that's getting him all the attention these days--that LP with Jeff Beck and Oh, Yeah? (Nemperor), featuring the Jan Hammer Group (Hammer on almost every kind of keyboard, Steven Kindler, violin and guitar, Fernando Saunders, bass and vocals, Tony Smith, drums and vocals, plus percussionist David Earle Johnson on most of the tracks). Well, Oh, Yeah? is a very tricky (tricked-up?) package. Hammer plays as if he had a dozen fingers on each hand, and some of the numbers sound like they're designed to transport you straight to disco land--a strong, almost hypnotic beat, figures repeated long after you've got the message and vocals that can vie for inanity honors with any of the big-selling pop-rock pap around. It's all done marvelously well, mind you, but it still has the stamp of the cookie cutter to it. Oh, Yeah? was cut in the States; Make Love (BASF/MPS) was recorded live in Munich. Maybe that has something to do with the latter's having it all over the former. Hammer plays only piano and organ; he just has bassist George Mraz and drummer Cees See for backing and there are no vocals within earshot. Simple stuff--but cerebral enough to bring you back for multiple replays. It probably all boils down to the difference between what's new and what's nuance. We'll take the velvet glove every time.
Even before Le Perroquet opened in late 1972, Chicago's gourmet drumbeaters were touting it as Troisgros West. Jovan Trboyevic (the owner of another highly regarded local dining spot, Jovan's) promised his fans a "no-nonsense restaurant" that delivered cuisine that was truly haute, not a flash-in-the-pan pyrotechnic display or a variation on the old baked-onion-soup game. Well, the place is now firmly established and, while Le Perroquet can be a little stiff-necked at times (no yahoo renditions of Happy Birthday, please), it provides an exceptional dining experience.
Although it has recently become fashionable to use the word orgasm to describe the male climax, many women and men seem to believe that women experience a great variety of orgasms but men always have that same old squirt.
No doubt, you've heard of Pavlov's famous experiment with dogs, in which he taught his pets to salivate at the sound of a bell. I wonder: Has the experiment ever been duplicated with humans? The sexual applications are particularly intriguing. I figure that if you struck a gong every time you engaged in foreplay, the woman would come to associate the bell with lovemaking. Eventually, the bell itself would be sufficient to excite her. She would then be ready for sex without further ado. What do you say?--P. S., Seattle, Washington.
It was during a full meeting of the corporation's officers and directors that the arrogant president and chief operating officer asked to have his secretary sent in. When she appeared, he snapped, "How can I possibly edit these minutes if I have nothing to write with? Damn it, Miss Jones, where is my gold pen?"
For selling about a third of an ounce of marijuana to a state undercover agent, Jerry Mitchell, 19, was sentenced to 12 years in the Missouri state penitentiary. Had his case not come to the attention of a legal reform group, he would be in prison already, instead of in college, while his case is appealed. He may end up in prison yet; contrary to the belief of many young people, pot offenses are not yet on a par with underage beer drinking, especially in the rural parts of the country.
When Playboy decided to publish Dr. J. E. Schmidt's "Jogging Can Kill You!" in our March issue, we knew we were going to stir up some controversy. But we were hardly prepared for the blizzard of mail that descended upon us from an outraged jogging fraternity (which evidently has more members than Sigma Chi) and from doctors and physical therapists whose faith in the benefits of jogging was unshaken by Dr. Schmidt's heavy blows. Among those who wrote to us at length was Dr. Kaj Johansen, who is with the Department of Surgery of the University of California, San Diego. We found his comments, which follow, reasonable enough to offer here as counterpoint to Dr. Schmidt's piece.
New York City has its problems, but fashion is not one of them. It is fact and not just Big Apple chauvinism to say that Manhattan is the nation's fashion capital. It's all here: the buying and the selling, the wholesaling and the retailing, the expensive and the cheap, the domestic and the foreign, the sublime and the ridiculous.
Long before clothing, the string of beads was the status symbol. The larger and heavier the wearer's beads, the more prestigious his position. The Renaissance man showed his status with gold and silver jewelry pounded out by Benvenuto Cellini and his crowd. Today, no one really cares a lot about your social position, but there is considerable interest in your sexual position. And your jewelry can speak out as to what turns you on. The range of design can go from blatant pornography to the subtlest look of Oriental ivory carvings. Now, in highly dramatic fashion, you can prove to yourself that it pays to advertise.
Testing--or, rather, "tasting"--a loud-speaker's sound is not unlike wine-tasting. You can, after some sipping and swallowing, pick a good wine without ever having set foot in a vineyard. You may not even know whether grapes grow up or down. Similarly, you can train yourself to pick a good speaker without knowing how it's assembled inside the box, or whether or not the tweeter is made of recycled paper tissues, or how such appealing terms as diaphragm, compliance and pumping have crept into hi-fi jargon. What you will develop is a gut reaction.
Of course it's a conspiracy. Isn't everything from the FBI to the Audubon Society part of a vast interlocking, diabolically complicated plot to keep you and me weak, bankrupt and stupid? I know this to be true, having heard lengthy testimony in scores of saloons, gas stations and lunch counters across the nation. I even know who the bastards are. It's They. They can do whatever They want, based on the rock-bound logic that all things are possible if a man can be landed on the moon. They could find a cure for cancer. They could have world peace or full employment. It's all a matter of fitting it into Their grand scheme of the Superconspiracy.