Got a case of the postholiday blahs? No problem. We have what it takes to get the old juices flowing again. Besides our regular offerings of quality fiction, articles, service features and the irrepressible Playboy Interview (this month with Keith Stroup, crusader for sane pot laws), we're premiering three—count 'em, three—features. First of all, have we got a girl for you? No, we have 16 of them, all candidates for centerfold status, and we're letting you have a sneak peek in Playboy's Playmate Preview. Next, we're starting, on a monthly basis, Playboy's Sex Poll; results of this installment may come as a surprise to guys who think they can get a lady off with a lick and a promise. Finally, a feature everybody around the office is astonished we didn't think of before: The Year in Sex, a roundup of the action in the past twelvemonth. The guy who finally did think of it was Art Director Arthur Paul (who, as a matter of fact, dreamed up the Playmate Preview, too). Senior Editor Gretchen McNeese coordinated the project; Associate Art Director Chet Suski put it all together visually; and Assistant Picture Editor Patty Beaudet and Research Editor Kate Nolan did the dirty work (i.e., spent months poring over feelthy pictures and news stories).
Playboy, February, 1977, Volume 24, Number 2. 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 year, $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: Nelson Futch, Marketing Manager; Lee Gottlieb, Director of Public Relations; Michael J. Murphy, Circulation Promotion Director. Advertising: Henry W. Marks, Advertising Director; Harold Duchin, National Sales Manager, 747 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10017; Sherman Keats, Associate Advertising Manager, John Thompson, Central Regional Manager, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611; Atlanta, Richard Cristiansen, 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.
What did you expect them to do—play dominoes? Under the headline "Crops Hit by Hailstorm," Kentucky's Cynthiana Democrat ran this curious line: "In addition, the storm caused their cattle to break through a fence and hover near their house and 'ball all night.' "
Now that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, who gave us Jesus Christ—Superstar, have brought us Evita, a two-record opera based on the life of Eva Perón, the first wife of dictator Juan Perón (see Music, page 30), MCA Records predicts that its apolitical production will spawn several hit singles. Evita, you may recall, rose from a humble career as an actress to rule the pampas with a satin fist; if Evita follows in the footsteps of Jesus and goes to the movies, we'll soon be seeing dictatorial musicals such as:
F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon—a novel revered as a classic despite the fact that Fitzgerald died before completing his first draft—is now back in circulation as an unfinished movie, adapted by Harold Pinter for producer Sam Spiegel and director Elia Kazan. Slow, mannered and elliptical. Tycoon on film is an exercise in frustration. The movie breaks off approximately where the book does, with characters only half developed, conflicts outlined but unresolved, loose ends of plot dangling in limbo. Robert De Niro, as Monroe Stahr—a Hollywood Wunderkind and studio chief not unlike the late Irving Thalberg of MGM—remains aloof, authoritative and compulsive without revealing much of the man described in Fitzgerald's prose. A moviegoer learns only that Stahr is not in good health, though Fitzgerald's notes for the novel tell us that Stahr had perhaps six months to live and died in a plane crash before his time ran out. Author Pinter, whose plays and films are cryptic riddles about the fearful human condition, may not have been the ideal writer to fill the gaps for Fitzgerald. While sticking literally to the novel's incidents, Pinter has given them an overlay of terse Pinteresque dialog that's often more provoking than illuminating. Let someone say, urgently, "Listen...," the next line will be, "What?"; the next line, "Nothing."
The earlier films of French director Barbet Schroeder (More and, more recently, Idi Amin Dada—A Self-Portrait) may be echoed in a line spoken by the heroine of his newest, a cheeky romantic comedy about, of all things, an S/M mistress and her men. "It's exciting to get into people's madness so intimately," says she, when pressed to explain her peculiar profession to a young hustler who falls in love with her after burgling her apartment—no ordinary Parisian flat, he discovers, but a pad fit for De Sade, complete with whips, chains, leather, torture devices and one contentedly caged customer. Two of France's fast-climbing young performers, Bulle Ogier and Gerard Depardieu (he co-stars with Robert De Niro in Bertolucci's upcoming epic 1900), play the odd couple whose ticklish relationship is the main concern of Maitresse. Though the film brings us some real S/M freaks enacting their fantasy trips—the weirdest features a masked man who enjoys having his penis nailed to a plank from time to time—Ogier and Depardieu dominate every scene, emphasizing that the games they play in the foreground, the games all of us play, in fact, are probably as irrational as any favored by flagellants or transvestites. Besides, Bulle's cool Maitresse behaves like any working woman who takes some pride in performing a service that satisfies her clients, and occasionally slips away to live out her secret life as a suburban wife and mother. With the help of his winsome stars, Schroeder manages to take the sting out of sadomasochism, or at least to place it in the wryly slanted perspective of a cruel little comedy that ends—arbitrarily but on a cheerful note—when the lovers run away from it all in a fast car, balling in the driver's seat as they go, and have a pretty bad smashup. They don't seem to mind much. C'est la vie, perhaps, if you're into mild concussion and bruises.
Gloria Emerson was for two years a New York Times correspondent in Vietnam. The experience changed her life, and her long-awaited Winners and Losers (Random House) is an attempt to find out how the war changed the rest of America. But she comes away from intimate visits with dozens of the maimed, the bored and the bitter without getting an answer.
On the first side of Stevie Wonder's long-awaited Songs in the Key of Life (Tamla), a double-LP-plus-EP that went platinum before release, he shows a musical eclecticism unrivaled since the Beatles' salad days; the soft-rock opening statement (Love's in Need of Love Today) gives way to blues with African and electronic sounds commingled (Have a Talk with God), followed by an Eleanor Rigby-ish ballad with strings (Village Ghetto Land), a foray into jazz-rock (Contusion, featuring Stevie's traveling band, Wonderlove) and another soft-rock number (Sir Duke). The second side, from the hard-rocking I Wish—a detailed remembrance of childhood perversity—to the Al Green-ish Ordinary Pain, stretches out more; it's quintessential Stevie Wonder. Side three is the "message" side, largely because of Black Man, a long, rhythmic romp over which a classroom recites a catechism celebrating not-so-famous men, of various colors, who have affected history (it also includes Joy Inside My Tears, a ballad with a suitably paradoxical tonality). Side four, after another African-sounding tune (Ngiculela—Es Una Historia) and a ballad that Stevie sings to the accompaniment of Dorothy Ashby's harp (If It's Magic), closes with a pair of extended Gospel/rock tunes—As, Another Star—that employ such guest artists as Herbie Hancock and George Benson (on most of the earlier cuts, all the instrumental work is by Stevie). Now we get to the EP. It includes a sexy funk tune, All Day Sucker, a shuffling harmonica instrumental (Easy Goin' Evening), another message track—Saturn—which seems a bit sententious, and a joyous rocker (Ebony Eyes) that sounds more like Little Stevie than our full-grown messiah. As to whether the LP is a musical tour de force or an overblown exercise in ego—well, the truth, as usual, is somewhere in between. Musically and technically, this is a great album and will provide material for scores of other artists (another respect, besides his eclecticism—and an occasional melodic phrase—in which Stevie invites comparison to the Beatles), but it's guilty of overkill; again, like most of the better Beatles albums. As a house-rocking musician and singer, though, he's miles ahead. And anyone unimpressed by the lyric content of Songs should throw away the 24-page booklet and simply listen. These are songs that sound a hell of a lot better than they read.
The 12-hour TV adaptation of Roots, Alex Haley's epic "genealogical detective story" (excerpted in playboy's October issue and discussed by its author in the January Playboy Interview) detailing seven generations of his black ancestry, will begin on the ABC television network with a two-hour premiere (9–11 P.M., E.S.T.) Sunday, January 23, in the first installment of a marathon exposure unprecedented in television history: For eight consecutive nights, viewing audiences will, ABC hopes, be riveted to their sets to follow the adventures of Haley's forebears, which will be presented in one- and two-hour segments (total viewing time: 12 hours) concluding January 30. If subsequent episodes prove equal to the eloquent and absorbing opener previewed for critics, Roots should be home free both as a cultural landmark and as a prime-time hit. Emmy-winning director David (Rich Man, Poor Man) Greene, with a script by William Blinn and Ernest Kinoy, sets a high standard for several directors to follow in his depiction of the boyhood of Haley's progenitor, Kunta Kinte—born in the Gambia in 1750, captured by slave traders and placed in chains aboard a ship bound for Annapolis in 1767. The idyllic, primitive tribal folkways that shape the character of Kunta Kinte—up to the warrior training and circumcision rite that ultimately separate the men from the boys—are set in effective dramatic juxtaposition with the commissioning of a slave ship, plowing toward Africa for a date with destiny under the baleful eye of a captain (Edward Asner) who has some Christian qualms about the buying and selling of human beings, even blacks. Kunta Kinte is still at sea at the agonizing conclusion of part one, by which time audiences are apt to be thoroughly hooked on his virile innocence, pride and passion as portrayed by 19-year-old LeVar Burton, a USC theater major who has Cicely Tyson, Moses Gunn, Thalmus Rasulala and O. J. Simpson (in a minor role as a neighboring tribesman) for support in his promising professional debut. To tell all the story, of course, the book itself is incomparable. Roots on television—a $6,000,000 production with a galaxy of celebrated performers waiting in the wings for Haley's monumental history to catch up with them—merely adds another dimension and brings some sign of genuine distinction to a medium famished for home-grown American classics.
A weekend of downhill skiing in these athletic times can mean several hours of queuing up. Some of the more fashionable resorts feature lines longer and slower than those at a supermarket check-out on Saturday. Those crowds, and the cost of lift tickets, are helping to fuel a boom in cross-country skiing. Cross-country skiers don't need carefully groomed slopes; in a pinch, they can do without slopes altogether.
Most people look at terrorism the way our ancestors looked at violent acts of nature. Terrorist acts such as airport massacres, bombs planted on airplanes or in banks, opponents shot down in the streets and government representatives kidnaped and flown from one end of the world to the other are viewed as a savage retribution by forces beyond our control. Terrorist leaders have been romanticized and often seem more like the gods of Olympus than like the organizers of carefully planned and financed attempts to disrupt our society and overthrow our governments. Yet there is an impressive body of evidence that suggests that there is a doomsday army at work that is financed by a handful of governments dedicated to bringing the West to its knees, with a vision of a future order centered on the re-establishment of Islam as the dominant world force.
Midway through my freshman year of college, I received a "Dear John" letter from a young woman whom I professed to love demonstrably more than my own life. It was quite a letter. Her words—written with superb spareness—hurt me more than I had ever been hurt before. And so I reacted to the hurt in a way in which I think many members of my gender react when faced with a situation of inconsolable grief. I walked down to my dormitory bathroom and vomited in the sink.
As a freshman coed, I had an affair with an older man who initiated me in the wonders of sex. I learned many ways of giving and receiving pleasure and consider myself fortunate to have had such a kind instructor. However, now, two years later, I am dating someone my own age and it seems inevitable that we will end up in bed. My question is this: What should I do the first time we make love? I am afraid that if I make use of any of the tilings I learned from my first lover, my partner will think that I am too experienced and will be turned off instead of turned on. I want to please him, but how forward should I be the first time?—Miss H. O., Northfield, Massachusetts.
Face it: The time of the tongue has arrived. Everyone is giving lip service to oral sex, blowing kisses to its virtues and congratulating himself on his prowess in this form of lovemaking or the prowess of his partner. Apparently, it is impossible to give bad head. Or to receive same. When society reaches the point where an informed source is known by a code name signifying a certain variety of fellatio, you know that this country is on to something. Trying to guess the identity of Deep Throat might have been the leading parlor game in 1976, but having actually experienced the technique was a clear triumph of one-upmanship.
Shortly before the 1976 Presidential election, the Assistant U. S. Attorney responsible for the Memphis porn trials addressed a convention of the Adult Film Association. Shrugging off charges that his crusade had been initiated by the Nixon Administration and would cease if Carter were elected, Larry Parrish told his audience, "The prosecutions are going to increase manifold and with great vigor. And if you think that will stop with the Democrats, well, that's just your hope."
Last year, Lake Headley moved from Los Angeles to Red Lodge, Montana, to "take a vacation, lay low and write a book" about his adventures as a private detective. So far, he hasn't done much resting or writing. Headley, his wife, his son and two friends are accused of operating a major marijuana plantation that supposedly flourished and vanished between the time surveillance began and arrests occurred 80 days later. The case is bizarre, as is the Montana drug law under which Headley and his codefendants now face from one year to life in prison for the "sale of dangerous drugs," which not even the authorities allege were ever sold. We'll try to explain.
Keith Stroup, the 33-year-old director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, has been called "a turned-on Nader," "Mr. Marijuana" and "the first politician of pot." He's surely the most unusual lobbyist in Washington, and he just may be, dollar for dollar, the most effective. We at Playboy have known Stroup since 1970, when the Playboy Foundation put up the money to start NORML, and over the years we've heard intriguing reports of his adventures as he has crisscrossed America seeking marijuana-law reform.
It is the day before the Academy Awards. There is a small crowd of people standing in a light rain outside the stage-door entrance to the Music Center, in downtown Los Angeles. The rain has been falling all day, and now, at dusk, the city seems to be vanishing in a B-movie mist.
Changing Planes in Chicago, Father Buddy Hovacks, a balding, crewcut priest in a black suit too small for him across the shoulders, stopped at a shelf of phones to call ahead. As his connection was being made, he noticed a proper, smooth-faced old nun on a folding stool beside the flight-insurance counter across the way. When anyone stopped to buy insurance, she would speak to him, describing her order's training school for girls in Nicaragua and asking him to take out a second policy with the school as beneficiary. As Father Hovacks watched, she was refused three times. But then a middle-aged man in a bright suit and a brighter shirt obliged. "God bless you," said the nun.
It is no accident that Alex Comfort modeled The Joy of Sex on a cookbook. Unfortunately, he forgot to mention food. We are what we eat. A child explores the world around him by putting objects into his mouth. He is looking for a taste of something fine. In time, he develops other techniques for judging the world. Sight and fancy clothes. Sound and eloquent words. Our most basic and reliable sense is neglected. This is the age of the fast-food franchise. Perhaps it would be wise to consider the habits of our fore- fathers. They understood that a feast was a form of foreplay—that which satisfies hunger awakens other senses, other cravings. So feast your eyes.
The fact that most men hate having their hair cut is not because of a Samson complex but, rather, the result of the morning-after hang-up. No matter how great the style looks when the barber is through, a night's sleep or a morning's shampoo will undo the magic. A fellow knows that, on his own, he'll never duplicate that look. Still, you've had your hair styled in the newer, shorter length. Now what?
Her Name is Star Stowe and if she were from Barstow, we'd write a limerick about her, but she's not—she's from Little Rock, Arkansas, and now lives in Los Angeles. Star wasn't the moniker she was given at birth, either—the name was given to her several years ago, when the somewhat precocious Miss Stowe, then a minor, tried to finagle her way into a bar. The doorman wouldn't let her in, which prompted the fellow she was with to quote the title of a song by The Rolling Stones: "Star, Star," he said, "can't get in the door." Thereafter, people started to call her Star and she didn't object. "Some people think it's egotistical to call myself Star," she says, "but it's not meant in the Hollywood sense at all." It's meant, and we kid you not, in the celestial sense. Star happens to be fascinated by stars—you know, those twinkly little objects that come out at night. In her spare time, she hangs out at planetaria and studies pictures of nebulae and comets, and, in celebration of her interest in things celestial, she even had an electric-blue star tattooed on ... well ... a private part of her anatomy. Another star that interests her is rock star Gene Simmons, bass-guitar player for the group Kiss. They met some years ago in Las Vegas; specifically, at the elevator banks of the Hotel Sahara, where Gene and his group were playing at the time. She didn't recognize him with his make-up off (onstage the group is heavily and rather bizarrely made up), but his laidback manner attracted her and she's been hanging around with the band ever since. "Once in L.A.," she recalls, "while Gene was onstage, I flashed him—I just opened my jacket for a split second and I wasn't wearing anything underneath. Sometimes, I just love to be naughty."
One drizzly morning last September, a light-blue Chevelle entered Sheridan Circle along Embassy Row in Washington, D. C. Suddenly, it erupted with a deafening explosion that blew out its roof and fatally injured Orlando Letelier, 45, the exiled former defense minister in Salvador Alleende's Marxist government in Chile. A bomb had been so carefully planted in Letelier's car that a passenger in the rear seat was barely injured—suggesting a professional assassination. Investigators suspect that Letelier was killed by a right-wing Cuban-exile group cooperating with the Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional (DINA), the secret-police arm of the military junta that has ruled Chile since Allende was killed and his government toppled more than three years ago. Indeed, known DINA agents had been seen in U. S. airports shortly before Letelier was killed.
Garp disapproved of Ralph's mother. This was unfair—he did not know the woman, but he was convinced he knew her type. She struck him as grossly disorganized; carelessness, for Garp, was especially unforgivable in the case of a parent. Garp's son, Duncan, was ten—"not out of danger, by any means," Garp often told his wife, Helen. Duncan had been a (continued on page 128) Grap's Night Out (continued from page 115) watched-over child, and now that he had reached an age where he was expected to be responsible—and more independent—Garp was extremely nervous about him. Duncan was a sensible child, but Garp feared for what influences the boy's new freedom would uncover.
Hard-line feminists notwithstanding, millions of women in America still dream of becoming a movie star in Hollywood, Miss America in Atlantic City or a Playmate in the pages of Playboy. While everyone assumes that hanging around Schwab's Drugstore provides the path to celluloid stardom and local beauty contests the way to Bert Parks's side, the process of becoming a Playmate inexplicably remains a mystery. Well, we're going to let you in on the procedure—and give you an idea of just how tough it is to narrow down the field of likely candidates.
(Being an account of the battle between New York and Los Angeles, from the prophetical writings of Hazeriah, in the Old Testament. One of the most gifted and powerful of the seers, Haz'eriah was nonetheless banished from the temple for performing in the streets of Jerusalem an act that simultaneously broke the dietary law, the traffic code, two commandments and a personal promise to Moses. The camel involved was unavailable for comment.)
During the Bicentennial Year we've all just survived, there may not have been much more sexual activity than usual, but there was more noise made about it—particularly when it came to the preferences and peccadilloes of people in the public eye. Congressmen putting mistresses—some of whom couldn't find the On-Off switch of an electric typewriter—on the payroll? Right-wing fire-and-brimstone breathers being exposed as A.C./D.C.? The Vice-President of the United States saying "Fuck you" with his finger—while his boss was trying to make his political opponent look like a moral degenerate because he had allowed the relatively inoffensive word screw to pass his lips? Did he think the public couldn't figure out just what those deleted expletives were in his ex-boss's highly edited tape transcripts? No wonder people turned away from news of politics and immersed themselves in, for example, soap operas. There, at least, there was little pussyfooting around the subject. Abortions, prostitution, homosexuality, impotence, V.D.—no topic was taboo. And at the movies, audiences were treated to the spectacle of a 12-year-old, Jodie Foster, portraying with considerable aplomb a teeny-bopper hooker. While all this was going on, the nation's judicial system, seemingly with its collective head in the sand, managed to convict an actor and two magazine executives on grounds of obscenity—in towns where the film had not been shown nor the publication offered for sale. Somehow, the Swedes don't seem to get so hot and bothered about this sort of thing. Latest word from Stockholm is that serious consideration is being given to legislation to legalize, among other things, incest. That may take a while. In the meantime, here's a brief look at the ups and downs of the sexual revolution, circa 1976.
Back in November 1975, Ervin L. Kaplan's diminutive gentlemen and their appendages put in their first appearance before an appreciative audience. Encoring by, popular demand, but with a new cast, the troupe is better, if not bigger, than ever. Kaplan's characters must surely have as their motto "In genitalia veritas."
As we all know, man's earliest choice for shelter was probably a nice cozy cave. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.Today, man has again picked up on the idea, as witness this pair of mirror-image bach-elor beach houses that architect William Morgan recently had carved into dunes at Atlantic Beach, Florida. Each of the twin pads is constructed of Gunite, a smooth, stone-free concrete that's shot from a gun into a mold. And because each of the sliding-door oceanside entrances has a massive expanse of glass, the air-conditioned 750-square-foot interiors are literally washed with light, the upstairs being an open bedroom balcony overlooking the living room. Most of the pad's furnishings are built in; behind the L-shaped living-room couch is a full-sized kitchen, plus a washer-drier. Interior acoustics are perfect for a hi-fi and, yes, there's wall-to-wall carpeting for shoes-off loafing. Furthermore, mother earth acts as a natural insulator, keeping the rooms cool in summer and warm in winter (they're electrically heated besides). And now the price: about $25,000 per unit. Head for the sand hills!
Saturday night. Date night. You are home alone, watching the tube. Suddenly, the man from Ultrabrite comes on and asks, "How's your love life, turkey?" Rather than trash another television set, you switch channels to a rerun of A Streetcar Named Desire. With immaculate timing, Blanche DuBois answers the adman. "I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers." Sure. A few moments later, Blanche is carted away to the funny farm. Serves her right.
If you are slightly antisocial, as I try to be, but your Northern ass in February gets just as cold as anyone else's, traveling to the Caribbean to warm it up can be a problem. You know cruise ships are out after you've seen your first desperate mob erupt from one and engulf a defenseless little West Indian town.
The brain may be a good machine, but even the best models get circuit overloads and fail from time to time. Think (if you can concentrate that long) about Einstein, visions of relativity dancing in his mind, while his mental homing mechanism went through fail-safe a couple of times and left him wandering around the park until his legs gave out.