After nine years in prison for killing Martin Luther King, Jr. (five of them in solitary), James Earl Ray made a daring leap for freedom last June 10. Coincidentally, he was right in the middle of an exclusive interview with Playboy. James McKinley, author of Playboy's History of Assassination in America, and Senior Editor Laurence Gonzales had been probing the mysteries of this brutal killing for some months when Ray went over the wall. In early sessions, Ray's brother Jerry dropped in at the prison and became a bonus interviewee. Then, immediately after Ray was captured, McKinley and Gonzales completed the interview inside Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. It includes the exclusive story of his escape and the most complete firsthand version of his story to date.
Playboy, September, 1977, Volume 24, Number 9. 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.
Sometime contributor Charlotte Chandler, who conducted our March 1974 "Playboy Interview" with Groucho Marx, got into a conversation with actor Michael Caine not long ago. The discussion centered on two of Caine's favorite topics: sex and cuisine. Herewith, some advice, as reported by Chandler, from Caine to his fellow man:
In publishing, self-help is big these days. Very big. And what do we all want most for our little selves-more even than good teeth, inner peace and a great sex life? We want dinero, de I'argent, pieniadze, dyengi, gelt. That's money. And there's no shortage of books that promise to help you find your rightful share...or, preferably, more.
By the time you read this, The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl (Capitol) will have gone gold again and again, a record-industry multiple orgasm. So you probably know already that it scores the coveted Big O. If you were there the first time around, these live tracks from 1964 and 1965 will send you zooming into the Way-back Machine, on a magical mystery tour of Where Was I When I First Heard?...and all at once they'll cheer you up and make you ache for yesterday, even when you know better. The changing backdrop of the screaming teeny-bopper crowd is also therapeutic, since the album is a slice from some days in the life before the Beatles had become legendary and turned to stone; they were huge, certainly, but they still had records to sell--and much of the between-songs patter is devoted to promotion of a charming sort. And better yet, at least given the current mania for roots, this is the Beatles before they'd discovered acid, India or 24-track studios. They weren't so far along that they had dropped their early repertoire, which was mainly imitations of American rock 'n' roll from the Fifties, warped inevitably in novel ways by passing through Liverpool brains and hands in smoky Hamburg clubs. Over a third of the tracks here are their early nonoriginal stand-bys, classics to a back-beat--Twist and Shout, Roll Over, Beethoven, Dizzy Miss Lizzie, Boys and Long Tall Sally. And the rest would fill anybody's jukebox--She's a Woman, Ticket to Ride, A Hard Day's Night, Help, Can't Buy Me Love and a resurrected minor classic called Things We Said Today. It's such a good album that not only old poor leftover hippies from the Sixties (no names, please) are buying it: A reliable eighth-grade source who was still in diapers when these concerts were recorded reports that some of the hipper kids are bringing Beatles cassettes to school these days--instead of the standard metal pantheon of Kiss, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and Peter Frampton. And the Beatles are nothing but history to these kids. Or, rather, must be much more than that--which is the surprise. But then, among people who care about such things, which is most of us, there seems to be a national hunger for the Beatles; their music continues to soothe and amuse, simple as much of the early stuff is, and make us feel better--which is what The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl will do for you, if it hasn't happened already.
When Liza Minnelli belts out the title song just before the beautiful, bittersweet climax of New York, NewYork, the good old days of the big movie musical seem to be instantly back in fashion-sort of. Director Martin Scorsese, a film maker best known for the gut-level realism of Mean Streets and Taxi Driver, has audaciously teamed Liza with Robert De Niro in a grit-versus-glitter combo that sounds dead wrong but turns out to be a stroke of smart chemistry. Letting himself go, Scorsese opens with credits in splashy neon against a Manhattan-by-night skyline, segues into a scene of hectic celebration on V-J Day in 1945, set to a reasonable facsimile of Tommy Dorsey's orchestra swinging Opus No. 1. Thereafter, every night club, train station and city street has the slick studio look of a vintage Betty Grable musical. The Minnelli-De Niro love story is tenuously linked to the evolution of pop music between 1945, the postwar twilight of the big-band era, and the beginnings of Bird-and-style bebop somewhere in the Fifties. She's a band singer who becomes a movie musical queen not unlike Judy Garland. He's a wild saxophone player who is several beats ahead of his time. Together they improvise a few frantic years of close harmony, then start to grow in different directions.
You've heard of Joseph Wam-baugh: the ex-Los Angeles cop who turned his years on the beat into a series of best selling novels ("The New Centurions," "The Onion Field," "The Blue Knight," "The Choirboys") that have all been destined for movies or TV; the guy who was credited with making "Police Story" an Emmy-winning television series. One of Hollywood's golden boys, right? Wrong.
In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet, young Stamford, a dresser at Barts Hospital, introduces two Victorian gentlemen with five immortal little words: "Dr. Watson, Mr. Sherlock Holmes," and the world of detective fiction has never been the same. Neither has the world of restaurants and bars, we might add, for the current resurgence of interest in Sherlock Holmes has spawned a rising number of clubby, Victorian-style dining/drinking establishments that do an excellent job of ensuring that somewhere it's still the London of 1895.
He thinks himself part of the New South, this high school editor in Sumter, South Carolina, and when the principal censors half of the next edition of the school paper, the kid stands up for his rights. "Sir. that's unconstitutional. The First Amendment says--"
I Chew Tobacco. Wait--don't barf all over the page--it could be worse. Before that. I used Saran Wrap for a contraceptive--on my tongue. See, pipe smoke left it raw as steak tartare. So, what I'd do, I'd galosh the tip of my tongue in a little handmade Baggie. That worked well enough, but my conversation went to heck. The damn membrane would vibrate--brrrp. Only German words came out half-normal, and I don't speak German half at all.
For the past few months, I've been dating a girl who must have been raised in a time capsule-right out of the Fifties. At least, that's the only way I can explain her rather capricious conservative streak. She enjoys garden-variety fucking, but she's still into basics-i.e., having fun with the fundamentals. At her rate, we'll be getting to fellatio around the turn of the century. I'd like to speed up her progress and have considered taking her to a porn movie. Do you think she would be turned off by seeing X-rated exercises?-H. H., Kansas City, Kansas.
In 1970, Playboy ran an article by Masters and Johnson titled Ten Sex Myths Exploded. One of the myths the pair attacked had to do with genital size--the idea that a man could not satisfy a woman unless he were built like the Colossus of Rhodes. They explained that, physiologically, all shoes fit. No matter what the size of the man, the vagina "accommodates" the penis. As excitement increases, the walls contract to provide a snug fit. Theoretically, no two bodies are so mismatched that orgasm would be impossible. Unfortunately, the whole world did not read the article. Ads still appear in men's magazines offering devices that will enlarge the penis. Men still worry about their size. And, apparently, women worry about their size.
The Red Lodge Five are now the Red Lodge Two. After weeks of pretrial hearings, Judge Robert H. Wilson has, ruled all search and arrest warrants illegal, improper or insufficient and has dismissed charges against Donald Wogamon, his son, Timothy, and Lake Headley III. The only defendants remaining in the strange case of the vanishing pot plantation Carbon County, Montana, are Lake Headley and his wife, Elizabeth Schmidt, who were living near Red Lodge on a ranch where the mariju-na supposedly grew. (See "Playboy Forum" Casebook, February and July.)
On the evening of April 4, 1968, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stepped from his room onto the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. He leaned over the rail to joke with his friends and followers below, asking them to sing a favorite song, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," that night. Just then, at 6:01 P.M., came the shot. The .30-'06 slug ripped into King's right jaw, careened to the spinal column, killing America's greatest civil rights leader almost instantly.
I was sitting in the Coliseum in Los Angeles, watching the USC-Notre Dame football game in I946, when my name was paged over the loud-speaker. I went to the nearest phone and a voice said, "Mr. Buchwald, the President of the United States wants to talk to you."
Unless you've spent the past year or two locked inside a bathysphere, you're probably all too familiar with a phenomenon known popularly as the power of the pyramid. Supposedly, the geometric shape of the pyramid emits some mystical energy that keeps razor blades sharp, energizes water, prevents fruit from spoiling and mummifies dead lower species, such as goldfish, cats and Egyptians. Nobody really knows for sure why this happens, and neither do we, but it seems to work, so who cares? Rather than offer any of the assorted theories and postulates on the matter, we've simply supplied you with your very own pyramid kit comprised of: (A) a cut-out-and-fold pyramid with a suitably incomprehensible set of instructions (razor blades, fruit and dead lower species not included); (B) a far-reaching and farfetched article on the mystery of the pyramids by amateur Pyramidalist John Hughes; and (C) a couple of our own speculations on a few heretofore unexplored powers of the pyramid.
When we chose Jean Manson as our Playmate for August 1974, we knew she had talent. Not Just Another Pretty Body, we titled her centerfold story. At the time, though, we--and she--expected her to hit the headlines as a film star. Instead, she went to Europe: first to Spain to visit her parents, then to Italy and finally (flourish of trumpets) to France, where she has suddenly become one of the country's top vocalists. Since Jean in French is masculine, and she is obviously anything but, she records for CBS Disques in France under the name Jeane Manson; that's her first album cover below. Jean/Jeane's first hit (text concluded on page 103) single, Avant de Nous Dire Adieu (Before We Say Goodbye), sold nearly a million records throughout Europe; it was number one in France, in the top three in Belgium and Switzerland, and in the top ten in Holland and Spain. Next came Une Femme (A Woman), which made the top 20 in France, Belgium and Switzerland. Her current hit, La Chapelle de Harlem (The Chapel in Harlem), is already in France's top ten. The fact that Jean is trilingual (English, French, Spanish) has boosted her Continental recording success. So has her determination to make something of herself. As she said in '74, "I don't want people to think I'm just another dumb blonde."
The Roman Restaurant was as empty as political rhetoric. At first we thought Passetto's dining room was closed, but by Italian standards, we were simply too early for dinner. It was 8:30 P.M., a June evening in 1975. The maître de seated us at the end of a long row of deserted tables. When a man in a tuxedo finally condescended to take our order, we asked for two veal dishes that came after a long wait. We two barbarous early diners were hungrily sacking our table when another customer entered to help dispel the loneliness. Naturally, at that hour, he was another American.
In the almost dawn, the viridescent butterflies gathered and hovered in a formation ten thousand feet high. They were stacked layer upon layer, a million or more in each tier. Every morning for week, they had flown up and today all had arrived finally, they Turned East
Sometimes it pays to go a little out of your way. For instance, if you were driving to Houston, it might pay to take a side trip for about 80 miles to the city of Beaumont. We know the trip is worth while because that's where we found Debra Jo Fondren. Beaumont is far enough west so that your best suit can be made by Levi Strauss and far enough south so that a one-syllable word gets stretched into two or three. That's the way Debra Jo talks. As though every sentence is a song. Beaumont isn't what you'd call a slow town, just easygoing. It is, after all, bayou country; more like Louisiana than the Texas the movies bring to mind. The boys in Beaumont grow up to be very big boys and the girls grow up feminine and unaffected. You might say it's a life well suited to the growing of hair. Otherwise, how do you explain the luxuriant growth that is Debra's? That golden mane took her a full eight years to grow and, to hear Debra talk, it was worth every minute. "To me, a woman's hair is her glory, and my long hair is my trademark. It's what sets me apart from everyone else. It makes me feel more feminine and I love it when a guy runs his fingers through it." Of course, there's more to do in Beaumont than grow hair. A warm breeze off the Gulf Coast might find Debra on the rifle range. Trap and skeet shooting is one of her passions and she's good at it."I think I'm as good as any man, and I always beat my boyfriend. In fact, this year we went duckhunting for the first time and I was the only one to bag any. Unfortunately, the bird dog we had wasn't used to working for me and he refused to retrieve them.I guess he expected me to swim out and get them myself." A lot of Debra's life centers on the water: skiing, swimming, deep-sea fishing or just sun-bathing. "Once, some deep-sea-fishing friends left me on a secluded offshore drilling rig and I took off my clothes to get an all-over tan. But the spot I picked just happened to be a helicopter landing platform. Before I knew what was happening, a chopper was trying to land and blew my clothes off the platform into the water. When the pilot and I stopped laughing, he was nice enough to lend me something to wear."
In the murkiness of a skid-row alley, a drunken floozy mistook a Salvation Army man for a soldier and propositioned him. "You may perhaps be forgiven, woman, as a pitiable victim of circumstances," intoned the saver of souls. "Tell me, are you familiar with the concept of original sin?"
We don't know whether your trip back to the campus of your choice will be quite as much fun as the ones pictured on these pages; but we do know that once you've unpacked your duds and headed storeward to replenish those areas of your wardrobe that have worn a bit thin, you'll find the fashion pickings both plentiful and good-looking. (text concluded on page 172) Back to Campus (continued from page 129) Fantasy, it seems, will play a major role in dictating styles for the coming year (and what college man doesn't have fantasies?).
Everything You always Wanted to Know About American Public Opinion (But Only "Playboy" Would Ask)
Most Public-Opinion Polls are deadly serious and quite specific. That's why, out of a sense of mischievous curiosity, we decided to commission a poll to ask the American public the sort of questions many of us discuss over cocktails, or in dormitory bull sessions, or with friends anywhere. Some questions touch on how much Americans know, the rest about what they think and feel on a variety of issues. If you've ever wondered aloud during a conversation, "How many other people do you suppose feel that way?"--well, wonder no more.
Over The Years, Playboy has presented pictorials such as The Girls of the New South, The Girls of Washington, The Girls of New York. It's all part of our never-ending search for Truth, Beauty and The American Way. It's a tough job, but we don't complain. For the most part, neither do our readers. (Never mind the few civic-minded chaps who occasionally feel that we've slighted their cities. Would you believe The Girls of Oshkosh?) So, we were totally unprepared for the reaction Photographer David Chan encountered when he toured the Midwest to recruit Girls of the Big Ten. A group of women's libbers picketed his motel in West Lafayette, Indiana, bearing signs that read: Raise our salaries, not our skirts, bite the hand that feels us. chan, chan, is a dirty old man. He and his pictures belong in a can. (We've known David for the 12 years he's been taking pictures for Playboy and we can attest that his bathing habits are immaculate. So is his eye for beauty.) The protestors claimed that they represented the women of Indiana and that if Chan did not leave town immediately, they would return in force the next day. (One would almost assume that we'd sent him there to rape, pillage, plunder and (text concluded on page 227)Big Ten Girls(continued from page 138) burn.) The next day, Chan met 200 women. Two were protestors, the rest were candidates for Girls of the Big Ten.
Dr. Boyd Mc Whorter, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference and erstwhile professor of English literature at the University of Georgia, sat in his spacious Birmingham office on a sweltering summer afternoon and explained why college football could soon blow apart.
If you should overhear a virile young Californian sounding off on the subject of jugs, do not put one and one together. Chances are, the guy's talking about wine-the kind that comes in large containers. California is jug country. The guesstimate is that West Coast vintners produce about 90 percent of the jug wine consumed in this country-and some of it never leaves the state. The quest for an agreeable, inexpensive, everyday wine challenges the sophisticated palate, and California's knowledgeable sippers have discovered that jug wines fill the niche. If that surprises you, then you haven't sampled the large, economy-size bottles lately.
We drove into arkansas, my wife and I, drinking cheap wine and singing "Row, row, row your boat," on a perfect April weekend. She stuck her head out the window like a puppy and filled her lungs with spring and squealed with the relief of having left city congestion behind. I stuck my head out and a bug hit my chin; and whereas that should have been an omen, I laughed it off, saying better a good, clean country bug than a cockroach.
She was just the girl-next-door, but she was ...Groan ... Myron ... Myron, stop!What's the matter, Sheila?I think our relationship has reached a plateau ...You mean you're ready to come? Gee! I haven't even touched you "there" yet!
Here's a funny trick that's easy to perform and is a genuine pleased at any gathering. Cut a hole in the bottom of an old shoe box. Paint your pecker green and stick it through the bottom of the box, then fill the box about halfway with wood shavings. Cover the box with a lid and casually sit and mind your own business. Sure as shootin', a lonely lass will soon approach you and ask what's in the box. Remove the lid, and as the "snake" is petted, watch her light up with amazement as it seems to grow in size and eventually "spits" right in her eye!
Nothing Has as much universal fashion appeal these days as the suit. For the young, who until recently still regarded suits as the uniform of the establishment, putting one on has revealed the psychological pleasure that's derived from a trim-fitting two- or three-button once the prejudice against the look is overcome. And as one grows older, it becomes obvious that tailored clothing is the most versatile way to minimize the errors of nature on the male physique.
First the good news: Chances are there will be some Fred Segal coming your way. Now the bad news: Unless you're in Southern California, it won't be the store. What's a Fred Segal, you ask? For starters, it's a his-and-hers fashion store in Los Angeles (with a branch in the Malibu Country Mart). But as fans across the country have known for years, the Fred Segal operation is unique in retailing. What makes it special is that Fred Segal is actually a group of nearly a dozen separate units (in such areas as jeans, jewelry, cosmetics, shoes, suits and even lingerie) owned by former and present employees who, you could say, have graduated from a course in Fred Segal Retailing, with Fred himself as the extremely energetic guiding light. Segal's is an intensely personal operation, yet it has an individualized incentive system. Somehow, the image of an efficient summer camp comes to mind, with Fred as camp director. Now, at last, Segal has launched his own line of wholesale clothes. Typically, he is starting small, with a carefully thought-out package of understated-but-right-on jeans and disco-oriented satins--but there'll be more goodies to come. As Fred modestly puts it: "Actually, we are pretty much a mom-and-pop operation." Some pop. Some operation. And since the store won't be exported, keep an eye out for the label.
In case you haven't heard, the folks at Polaroid have done it--really done it--again. Their newest development is called Polavision and it's the closest thing to magic we've ever seen. Polavision is a revolutionary new photographic system that's comprised of a compact hand-held movie camera, a cassette holding two minutes and 40 seconds of a special color film and a self-contained portable player on which the movie is viewed. You shoot whatever you like, then pop the cassette into the top of the player. In approximately 90 seconds, the movie--having been processed within the cassette--appears on the screen. And you can play it again and again, Sam, just like you would any audio cassette. The price for everything--camera, cassette and player--is about $600, and additional cassettes cost about $7 each. Say, baby, with a bod like that, you ought to be in our movies.