The sudden death of a rising young talent always evokes a particularly stunning kind of sadness. It was so with James Dean in the Fifties; with Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison in the early Seventies; and in the recent suicide of comedian Freddie Prinze. Perhaps because he was a comic, we assumed his private life was full of fun and humor. We know now that was not the case. This month, in a profile based on talks with Prinze's family and friends and some interviews with him before his death, Peter Greenberg attempts to find the why behind the 22-year-old's untimely passing. Alan Magee painted the accompanying portrait.
Playboy, June, 1977, Volume 24, Number 6. 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: 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; Mark Evens, Associate Advertising 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; 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.
In an article about the ancient art of glass blowing, the Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Castle reported that in the Forties, an Italian artisan "became well known in the United States for blowing Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters." For this, the piece continues, Walt Disney invited him, in 1948, to vacation at Disneyland free of charge.
Now that we're about halfway into 1977 and most New Year predictions have been proved either right or wrong, we thought it appropriate to ask contributor Willie Feinberg to contact his favorite seer, Migh Howey Shrize, for some midyear predictions. Unlike your average, run-of-the-mill prognosticators, Shrize names names, dates and places:
Dan Wakefield's new novel, Home Free (Delacorte), is one of those innocuous efforts: a pause that refreshes but doesn't satisfy. Gene, 23, is a college student who doesn't know what to do with his life. He shacks up with Louise, but that relationship ends when the pizza gets cold waiting for her to come home and boredom becomes an unwelcome roomie. There's the usual assortment of crazy friends, women, drugs, weird scenes. Wakefield's novel lacks insight, but it makes up for it in mileage: Gene honestly believes movin' on will erase the pain. "Keep on truckin' " seems to be the slogan of this Sixties novel, but you can go only so far--and Hollywood is the end of the line. In Tinseltown, Gene gets involved with Uncle Phil, a helpful chap who can't say no when his friends ask for smack. At the end, clean Gene has run out of answers--but, for Christ's sake, he hasn't even asked the questions! We have a gnawing feeling that Wakefield has been watching too many soap operas (exhibit A: All My Children) and that he sees novel writing as an exercise in filling up pages with clichés. But because it is easy, breezy and readable, Home Free is fine for those 15-minute gigs--waiting at the dentist's, riding the bus.
Growin' old with rock 'n' roll can be fun. As time passes, the immediate impact of each year's hot new group might not be so intense as before, but the sense of rock 'n' roll as music with a history grows apace. The resultant intermingling of personal, musical and historical time can produce a pleasurable sense of dislocation that, if it doesn't quite equal the experience of seeing the Stones or Led Zep for the first time, sure beats the hell out of growing up.
Could "Network" really happen? Paddy Chayefsky's controversial screenplay for one of the year's smash-hit films has been attacked as a wild exaggeration of the facts of life, corporate-TV style. But one chapter of its gospel, enunciated by the rapacious programing executive played by Faye Dunaway, is that the secret of high ratings is hitting the audience in the gut. Get them to hate, love, fear. In other words, arouse their emotional responses. Is "Network's" excess--firing an anchor man for low ratings, then rehiring him when he hypes his audience by threatening to commit suicide oncamera--really so far removed from dumping an anchor man on grounds of low G.S.R.?
The Super Bowl is in progress in Miami (Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers), with 80,000 fans in attendance, while a Goodyear blimp hovers overhead--a gigantic booby trap carrying enough dart bullets to kill three times that many people. In this age of incredible terrorist capers, virtually anything seems possible, even probable, and Black Sunday (deftly adapted by Ernest Lehman, Kenneth Ross and Ivan Moffat from Thomas Harris' novel) wrings maximum suspense from the play-by-play description of a Black September plot to give all Americans a shock in the name of Palestinian justice. Producer Robert Evans and director John Frankenheimer (with his hottest assignment since The Manchurian Candidate) have outdone themselves to make Black Sunday believable, intelligent, bone-chilling and as up to the minute as any piece of bad news since the Olympic-village raid in Munich. What makes the movie work so well is not ace cinematography or Frankenheimer's close coverage of meetings, murders, pursuits and split-second strategy over a two-month period in which FBI men and dogged Israelis track the terrorists from Beirut to California, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and Miami. Strong characterizations are the key, and here's a horror story represented on both sides by recognizable, scary but honest-to-God people who seem to be the victims as well as the defenders of their wildly conflicting causes. Marthe Keller, fresh from her American debut in Marathon Man, projects such ruthless fanaticism as a Palestinian Liberation Organization ringleader that you're apt to forget she's beautiful. The deadliest weapon in her arsenal turns out to be Bruce Dern, piloting that blimp and preparing explosives as a volatile U.S. war hero who has been brainwashed by the Viet Cong, divorced by his wife, pumped up emotionally within a pinpoint of detonation. Pitted against them is Robert Shaw, playing a veteran Israeli operative who allows that "doubt has entered in" after 30 years of unflagging professional vengeance. Shaw is the real hero of the piece, with Fritz Weaver, Bekim Fehmiu and Steven Keats prominent among his do-or-die friends and implacable foes. There are damned few of them left by the time Black Sunday ends with a bang, leaving you both limp and exhilarated--feeling everything you're supposed to feel when a firstrate topical thriller really takes off.
History repeats itself in Young Lady Chatterley, a silky soft-core sex comedy with Harlee McBride as a latter-day descendant and of D. H. Lawrence's English gentlewoman--a legend in her time--who was frequently and forcefully seduced by a gamekeeper on the family estate. As heiress to the Chatterley house and grounds, Harlee also inherits milady's willing ways, not to mention the services of a blond bearded gardener (Peter Ratray), a bloke ever ready to plant seed. In the film's occasional flashbacks, offered as excerpts from an old diary, Mary Forbes and Patrick Wright perform some lusty grappling as the original Lady Constance and her paramour. Director Alan Roberts, who has cleverly exploited rather than remade the Lawrence classic, uses literature only as a jumping-off place into some flamboyantly romantic screen sex--picture-pretty people who can act a bit, nudely doing it over hill and dale, through sun and rain, from riverbank to forest glades to sturdy four-poster beds. Photographed mostly on location in California (at the former Harold Lloyd estate, also at the mansion of financial wheeler-dealer Bernie Cornfeld), Young Lady Chatterley is semiliterate froth, sexually upbeat, an eyeful of breezy erotica just titillating enough to turn the tide on a first date. If that doesn't work, boys and girls, try reading the book aloud together.
We're not quite sure what's going to happen," said the press officer of Britain's National Theatre nervously. The National, an enormous cultural bazaar on the south bank of the River Thames, was about to open its third, most experimental, theater with a production of Illuminatus!, an adaptation of the cult sci-fi trilogy by Playboy Senior Editor Robert Shea and former Associate Editor Robert Anton Wilson.
Alas. I find it difficult to meet girls or to establish sexual relationships. After a great deal of thought, I've decided that masturbation is the cause of my shyness. When a male masturbates, he fulfills his sexual desire. Since he is satisfied, he is much less inclined to go out and pick up chicks. Thus, his chances of having a sexual relationship will be reduced. In contrast, the man who does not masturbate will be more successful in having sexual relationships because he will be horny all the time and, thus, will be more greatly motivated to meet girls. Do you agree with my conclusion?--J. A., Phoenix, Arizona.
OK, so you like being a man. After all, you've been that way since the beginning. In fact, when you think about it, there's nothing else you'd rather be. But wait a minute. Wasn't there one reflective moment when you were angry with the opposite sex and bitched to yourself. "Hey, those women have it better than us guys. That's not fair"? What did you mean? You probably had something specific in mind that you really envied. There's probably not a man alive who's not had these kinds of thoughts. In fact, women have them, too. They watch how the male species cavorts about this earth and are convinced that the grass must be greener on the other side of the biological hill. Aha! The perfect subject for one of our never-fail, double-crossover unscientific super sex polls.
In January of 1975, a brooding, combative actor named Robert Blake made his debut in the title role of ABC-TV's "Baretta"--and within four months, he'd nailed down the stardom that had eluded him throughout the course of a lifelong show-business career. Now in its third season, "Baretta" differs little from the rest of TV's urban shoot-'em-ups, save in this respect: Blake's violent detective approaches his job as if he were a closet social worker. Baretta's greatest pleasure--aside from thwarting the baddies and baiting his bosses--lies in straightening out the confused lives of the show's various victims, and on most episodes, everyone's a victim, including the hero himself. Still, Blake's bravura portrayal of this singular, streetwise hawkshaw won him a well-deserved first-season Emmy, and if he managed to skip the following year's televised award ceremonies, no one in the entertainment field was particularly surprised. It was, after all, perfectly in keeping with the ongoing legend of Robert Blake, Hollywood pariah.
They were all there, crowded onto the sixth-floor intensive-care ward at UCLA hospital: the true and false friends, the close and estranged relatives, the press agents and the pretenders to intimacy. Somewhere inside it all, Freddie Prinze lay dying.
Walk through the MGM commissary beside Barbara Bach and you sense immediately that you're in the right place at the right time with the right girl. People don't faze easily here in one of Lotusland's historic eateries--where Garbo, Crawford, Harlow, Hepburn and other fabled images have grabbed a quick lunch between takes--yet the commissary's jaded clientele pauses to note Barbara's passage as if she were trailing the same brand of indefinable star dust that made Hollywood what it used to be. Matter of fact, she is James Bond's brand-new leading lady, co-starring with Roger Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me, which more or less adds up to playing the title role. While waiting for the big Bond epic to open with a splash this summer, she has been biding her time, as a luscious, vaguely Bondian secret agent in a TV pilot film titled The Mask of Alexander.
He used to take Dute to the bathroom with him and they'd have long conversations behind the locked door--conversations his mother sometimes overheard and reprimanded him for because she thought he was talking to himself. Sometimes he would take Dute to school, but not very often, because it was too risky. The other kids would have got the wrong impression, just as his mother (continued on page 116)So long, old buddy(continued from page 111) always did, if they'd happened to over-hear his side of the conversation, and would have made fun of him. No, most of the time, he left Dute home and walked to school with only his sister, Jane, for company, except, of course, for the times Dute talked him into playing hooky, and those days didn't count, because he and Dute spent them as far away from the schoolhouse as they could get.
It's hard to believe what has happened. Everything good that could happen to a book happened to Helter Skelter. It sold 200,000 in trade and 200,000 in book club, at ten dollars, and 6,000,000 in paper at $1.95. Then there was the fourhour television show based on the book, and for that we got a sizable amount.
Her first name is pronounced Veer-va and means, roughly--but then, everything translates roughly from Estonian--"reflections of sunlight on the water," and June Playmate Virve Reid is as refreshing as her name implies: an old-fashioned girl who can't wait for tomorrow. "I love antiques and old clothes, silks and velvets," she says. "I can dress up and look as if I'm from another century. But the future and the unknown fascinate me, too, and I love to read science fiction." Until a few months ago, Virve was living peacefully in Vancouver, British Columbia, a few blocks away from "an endless beach I could stroll for hours. On a typical day, I'd draw or cook or read," she says. "I'd been going to art classes for two years, but I wanted to travel and make some money for a change." She got a chance to do just that when fate, in the form of a local photographer she'd met at a party, stepped in. "I'm very spontaneous--don't like to make plans," Virve says, "so when I met this photographer, Ken Honey, and he took my test shots, I figured it was destiny that I become a Playmate." Maybe it was; at any rate, Virve was soon on her way to Los Angeles for more pictures. "I'm a bit of a chameleon and adapt well to any surroundings, so I was right at home in L.A., except that, being only 20, I couldn't get into any of the clubs where the action seemed to be. But the atmosphere at the Playboy Mansion was definitely something to which I could become accustomed." When she and lensman Phillip Dixon got together with a batch of old clothes, Virve felt completely at ease. "Phillip has the kind of creativity I agree with," she says. "Sometimes I'd be waiting for him to load the camera and I'd get into a certain mood and he'd say, 'That's it!' My gatefold, for example, is very Victorian. The photo sessions were interesting, erotic and fun." Who could ask for anything more?
A passionate beauty of mature years sought male companionship whenever her salesman husband was on the road. After one such encounter, her delighted partner exclaimed, "That was great! Say, how many husbands have you had?"
Each morning before leaving for her Spanish class, Norma Bernstein checked the house for spiders, scorpions, lizards and other vermin. She would shake out the sheets, blankets and pillows, inspect the kitchen cupboards and the space beneath the sink and poke a stick into the cracks in the slate flooring.
It is summer in New York City and I am down in the pit, right at the very bottom of the Rockefeller Center ice-skating rink. When the weather's not cold, this sunken expanse of concrete is called the Promenade Café. It's 6:30 P.M. The sun has not yet set. They say the sunset over the Palisades across the Hudson is one of the most beautiful in the world. Sunset-giving smog is New Jersey's gift to the world, at least to that portion of the world above the 20th floor in New York skyscrapers, those privileged few who can actually put an eyeball on the red setting sun.
Last Year, the body in the body politic belonged to November's Playmate/cover girl Patti McGuire. Playboy's editors voted her the outstanding candidate of the year and, indeed, one of the most beautiful ladies ever to grace our magazine. And that opinion was also held by our regular readers--men of taste, one and all--and by the teeming multitudes who picked up Playboy for the first time, curious about that interview with the gentleman from Georgia. And Patti may have changed the course of history. Seems that the former President decided to use the November cover as a symbol of what the opposition stood for; the rest, as they say, is history. If Ford had had a better idea, he would have enlisted Patti--for one thing, she would have helped carry the C.B. vote. When we finally caught up with our Playmate of the Year, she was fresh off her own campaign trail. For a few months, she had been visiting college campuses, car shows, a C.B. and trucker jamboree in Ohio--you name it--as a roving ambassador for Playboy. She's learned to sympathize with politicians. "I was in Miami when it snowed. I was at the University of Ohio when it was ten below, signing autographs on a porch near a beer wagon. I don't know whether it was me or the beer, but there were (text concluded on page 220)Playmate of the Year(continued from page 147) a couple of thousand students there. The campus security cop who was standing nearby kept shouting at me to be careful. He wanted me to keep away from the crowd. 'If they pull you in, we'll never get you back,' he said. Can you imagine? I said, 'Aw, come on, they're only guys.' "
The Empire is Crumbling, the pound is slipping and Twiggy is positively zaftig, but one thing will never change--the British knack with a picnic. Conceivably, the outing in the country has its genesis in the plowman's lunch, hearty victuals packed for field hands who worked too far from the manor to return for their midday repast. But it wasn't until the early 19th Century, when a group of London bucks formed the Picnic Society, that the word picnic came into fashion.
Dominique Nastase, one of the world's most beautiful women, has turned away from the tennis court at Forest Hills where her husband, Ilie, is playing Hans-Jürgen Pohmann. She lowers her sunglasses over her eyes but still looks away from the court.
Call it the most unexpected twist in American automotive enthusiasm since the country went cuckoo for gocarts, but the fact remains that this nation's good burghers--known far and wide for their fierce loyalty to vehicular plushness and comfort--have gone bananas for trucks. Yep, trucks. Everything from 18-wheel, twin-stack, 13-speed diesel KWs and Peterbilts (which they do not drive) to endless legions of pickups and other utility vehicles of all shapes and sizes (which they do drive, in stupefying numbers everywhere, from fiestas to funerals, from grocery stores to grand opera). Nobody has quite figured out why all this is happening. Surely, some of the phenomenon is related to the entire leisure-time expansion in America--pickups and other recreation vehicles are well suited to all sorts of weekend utility, from hauling or carrying various camper units to trucking motorcycles and lumber for the do-it-yourselfer. But there is more to it, vaguely related to America's shift toward the heartland and the hoary traditions of down home, as interpreted by such latter-day balladeers as Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels and, in a broader sense, the country boy from the fleshpots of Texas, John Denver. What all this means is as yet unclear, but there is little mistaking the fact that the corn-pone nostalgia craze has set hundreds of thousands of Americans loose on the highways in trucks and fantasy tough-guy vehicles of all types. From Sunset Boulevard to Fifth Avenue, one can witness the amazing sight of otherwise sane adults who have forsaken their Buick Electra 225s, with the quadraphonic sound and the tilt-and-telescope steering wheels and the crushed-velour upholstery, lumping along in short-bed pickup trucks and towering four-wheel-drive behemoths that look as if they ought to be hauling pipe on the North Slope. What in hell is going on here?
The removal of Dr. Henry Kissinger from constant media attention has not proved as traumatic to Dr. Strangelove addicts like myself as I feared. Even with the help of an entirely new act in Washington to laugh at--and the break-the-news-gently understanding as far back as November 1976 that the good German doctor would have to clean out his desk in the office of Secretary of State--it could have been a real tough slice of cold turkey. After all, with Dr. Kissinger around, I did not need to rely entirely on those terribly infrequent two-in-the-morning television reruns of Stanley Kubrick's cinematic masterpiece. With Kissinger almost always on the tube, I had the real thing.
I am Aghast in Ecstasy. Outside, a mountain bird slides up and down its effortless scales, then, satisfied, gives it up and there is silence except for the slurping noise of her lips on my cock. The fear of waking her two small daughters, asleep in the same bed, who would find their mother's head being pressed (however tenderly) close to my groin, of my wife's wandering sleepily toward the bathroom outside the cabin and being treated to the sight of my leisurely pumping hips, the sound of her friend's contented murmurs--it is enough to unman Priapus.
You've got a fast car, right? Zero to 60 in a wink, tires smoking all the way? Top speed well over 100 miles an hour? Sure. That's a fast car. Not too fast, mind you, but fast enough to win a few informal encounters at stop lights. However, you'd best keep a sharp lookout in your rear-view mirror for a boxy four-door sedan with a squarish radiator grille topped by a three-pointed star.
The old swimming hole has gone underground, and even Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn wouldn't complain. Its modern counterpart is the self-contained subterranean swimming/lounging chamber pictured above called the Maderna Pool after its Austrian designer, Alfons Maderna. And now that similar versions have proved immensely successful on the Continent, a Baltimore company, Maderna America Corporation, has been given the exclusive U.S. rights to manufacture and market the pool over here.
Sometime around the turn of the century, a French travel writer whined that St.-Tropez had been discovered as a tourist retreat. He can thank his lucky St. Emilion that he wasn't around for Brigitte Bardot's invasion during the Fifties and its subsequent fallout. It's now the undisputed playground of the jet-set gentry. It was there, you may recall, that James Coburn arranged his elaborate scavenger hunt in The Last of Sheila. The place has a deserved reputation: It's effortlessly beautiful. Trouble is, it's also desperately chic.
Everybody knows that the games people play on TV these days are no longer just greedy variations of The Price Is Right. Home-video-game companies are busy cranking out a variety of spectacular electronic hardware that's guaranteed to make boob-tube junkies of us all. So whether you opt for following a bouncing ball, playing blackjack or driving a realistic-sounding race car, it's all right there on the small screen. So long, Late Show.