Last September, we found ourself trapped in an airport with nothing to read. Having already memorized the most recent issue of Playboy, we decided it was time for our biannual check-in with that other magazine. You know--Penthouse. There, in official purple prose, we found a celebration going on: "Let the champagne flow, the music blare, and the candles blaze. ... Penthouse has surpassed Playboy to become the biggest selling men's magazine in the world." Imagine our surprise. Obviously, the copy writer at Bob's place had been letting the champagne flow instead of doing his research. According to the publisher's statements filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations for the first half of 1977 by both Playboy and Penthouse--and certified by each publisher--Playboy is not only alive and well, it is the largest-selling men's magazine in the world. Our circulation is 4,919,977 copies per month, over a quarter million more than the claims of Penthouse's self-promotion department. The six foreign-language editions of Playboy sell another 1,600,000 copies a month. Those 6,500,000 copies reach an estimated audience of more than 20,000,000 readers. Facts like that could drive a man to drink, especially if he's in the number-two slot. So let the champagne flow, Guccione, and dream on. Playboy is the biggest and the best--a fact that our readers know from past experience, that our advertisers know from their own surveys and that our imitators know from their own unfulfilled fantasies.
Playboy, December, 1977, Volume 24, Number 12. Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill, 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States and its Possessions, $30 for three years, $22 for two years, $12 for one year. Canada, $15 per 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, Colo. 80302, and allow 30 days for Change. Marketing: Ed Condon. Manager/Direct Marketing; Michael J. Murphy, Circulation Promotion Director. Advertising: Henry W. Marks, Advertising Director; Harold Duchin, National Sales Manager; Mark Evens, Associate Advertising Manager, 747 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017; Sherman Keats, Associate Advertising 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.
Practical Joke of the Month: An English manufacturing company that won the bid to package a particular brand of male contraceptive received 2000 samples of the product that it put into storage for future use. When the day came to test-package the condoms, however, only 300 remained. To discuss the matter of the 1700 missing rubbers, the management gathered its employees--whose self-incriminatory smirks faded abruptly when informed that all 2000 samples were faulty.
The first time I saw Yellowstone National Park was during the summer before my tenth birthday. Shoehorned into the family car, my mother, my sister, my grandparents and I peered at the scenery while my father fought traffic that was thicker and slower than the five-o'clock rush on the freeway. Feckless bears, their moral fiber completely unraveled by generations on welfare, stood along the roadside and begged for handouts. We waited in line to see the Fountain Paint Pots and when Old Faithful erupted, you could hear the cameras clicking from half a block away.
Movie critics of feminine gender, who seem to outnumber their male colleagues, will be tempted to describe Julia as a woman's film or maybe the woman's film, if only because it was adapted (by Alvin Sargent) from a portion of Pentimento, the second and best of three autobiographical best sellers by Lillian Hellman. As a lady who was liberated long before the women's movement picked up a catchy label, Miss Hellman is reportedly nervous as hell about seeing what's been wrought on the screen by director Fred Zinnemann--with Jane Fonda (said to be Hellman's own preference) cast as Lillian, Jason Robards as Dashiell Hammett and Vanessa Redgrave in the title role as Lillian's girlhood chum who abandoned her wealthy, snobbish, socially prominent family and died fighting fascism in prewar Europe circa 1937. Hellman can take a deep breath and relax. Movies about writers and writings are not easy to bring off, but Julia is a beautiful work, obviously a labor of love on everyone's part and actually less concerned with Hellman's public triumphs or private affairs than with some other qualities she values--courage, loyalty, friendship and stubborn integrity. The plot is hardly more than an incident--about Hellman's skittish journey from Paris to Moscow, with an unscheduled stopover in Berlin to deliver some contraband cash to the antifascist underground and enjoy a final, touching reunion with her valiant old friend. Fonda has to carry the film, and she carries it like a trouper, her face a steady, crystal-clear prism in which intelligence, fear, uncertainty and solid conviction flare up on cue. Robards and Redgrave have much less to do but do it just about perfectly. The same can be said for Susan Jones and Lisa Pelikan, who portray Lillian and Julia as teenagers in frequent, eloquent flashbacks, all part of a loosely structured poetic reminiscence that flows to and from Cape Cod, Paris, Vienna, Broadway and Berlin over a time span of some 40 years, with more voice-over narration than usual in the wham-barn school of contemporary film making.
A movie's credits are often considered discredits in the world of porn, where noms de film abound. Thus, the sound man for Joy--a hard-core comedy put together with top professional skill and more than a smidgen of wit--is someone who calls himself Solomon Gemorrah. All the guys who made Joy, whoever they are, ought to come out of the closet and take small bows for a rollicking rip-off of Death Wish (originally titled Sex Wish until the film's natural gusto out-grew the desire to emulate a box-office bonanza starring Charles Bronson). Joy stars Sharon Mitchell, a sweetly sexy performer--no beauty but bursting with energy and born with the instincts of a mink--who insists she is giving up porno pics to study serious theater in England. Perhaps to prime her for the classics, Sharon plays Joy's title role as a teenaged girl who is brutally raped, discovers that she likes it and goes around New York accosting male victims in subways, alleys and airport men's rooms. Her one-woman wave of wooing in spires other lusty ladies to start attacking men in the street, in elevators, anywhere and everywhere. "Joy Grips City," proclaim newspaper headlines. And New York's finest are called onto the case by police lieutenant Handcock. "Show me your weapons," he barks, as a squad of special plainclothes investigators open their flies and take off to bring Joy to justice, Handcock's final words ringing in their ears: "Any man who jerks off on this assignment is in trouble with me." Enough said. Joy is hot stuff, handsomely photographed and refreshingly irreverent about putting Fun City through a sexual shakedown that makes crime in the streets look pretty cozy.
The hottest dating game in Texas began as "kind of a joke," a playful diversion on an otherwise boring and cold night last December in Dallas. "I thought it'd be fun to try," says WFAA radio host Dick Syatt, the cupid of the air who started this contagious madness. "But I never realized it would go over like this."
George Plimpton, great pretender to almost everything, has taken an incipient double chin into the world of contemporary boxing and come out of it, if not unscathed, still a winner with Shadow Box (Putnam's).
It was just about a year ago that expatriate tenor man Dexter Gordon came back to these shores to set Village Vanguard audiences on their ears. Now Columbia has been astute enough to make a two-LP taping of those sessions available under the apropos title Homecoming. Gordon, living in Copenhagen, has slipped from America's consciousness. He also has had the misfortune over the years to always rank just a notch below the masters Hawkins, Webster, Young and, later, Coltrane and Rollins in the jazz pantheon. But that should all be changed now. Homecoming should prove once and for all that Gordon has always been his own man--hard-edged yet lyrical, in the best bop tradition but without being wrapped up in its stereotypical phrases. Here it's Gordon's good fortune to be backed by the Woody Shaw--Louis Hayes group that is in every way up to his standards. (Shaw, especially, is a severely underrated trumpeter of formidable accomplishment.) Two tracks say it all for Gordon--his marvelously lilting approach to the standard It's You or No One and the way he moves effortlessly through his own taking-care-of-business Backstairs. It's good to have Gordon with us once more.
The outrageous Romans running amuck in I, Claudius make Masterpiece Theatre's Upstairs, Downstairs company of past seasons look like pussycats. Viewers are not likely to mourn a death in the family when these bloody descendants of Julius Caesar take over Public Broadcasting's prime time (Sundays, 9--10 P.M. Eastern time, beginning November 6) with a vibrant and gutsy 13-week series based on two classic historical novels by Robert Graves. The good old BBC has performed another miracle here, making wicked ancient Rome sizzle with life; small wonder that PBS decided to move the series up from its originally scheduled air date in mid-January. Adapted by Jack Pulman (who wrote BBC-TV's Poldark) and directed by Herbert Wise, I, Claudius has featured roles for 175 actors impersonating everyone from Claudius himself (England's brilliant Derek Jacobi, as the narrator recalling his rambunctious family history) to the decadent Caligula (John Hurt), who preceded him as Emperor, and Claudius' whorish third wife, Messalina (Sheila White).
The other day, some of my friends were talking about kissing. How some people kiss right and others kiss wrong, and never the twain shall meet. One of the guys said that he judges dates on the compatibility of their kissing. If a girl doesn't taste right or kiss right, she doesn't make it in bed. Another wondered why it is that prostitutes never kiss clients, and recalled that there was a sign in the Mustang Ranch in Nevada proclaiming that kissing the girls was unethical, illegal and unhealthy. I'm of the opinion that a kiss is just a kiss and that all of this stuff is superstitious nonsense. What do you say?--D. W., Portland, Oregon.
The rest of you can fight your way into theaters showing Star Wars. I just want to remind you that the movie was heavily influenced by the exploits of an earlier epic--the Buck Rogers series. Recently, I grew misty with memories of a time when, for half a year. I was the unseen power behind Buck--the invisible puppetmaster putting him through his paces.
The Erratic Course of the galactic cruiser as it blasted through the constellation Tsooris was hardly intentional. Its captain had been hard by the Jack Daniel's for three days running. Coincidentally, this course was avoiding the long streaks of energy striking out from the Imperial cruiser. One of the beams touched the staggering, lurching ship and blew away its curb feelers and fender skirts. Then another distant explosion shook the ship and peeled away a layer of red-flocked wallpaper in the corridor--but it certainly didn't feel distant to Little Bo Peepio, the gay android, and his side-kick Panchóo DeeToo. To look at those two, you would have thought Little Bo Peepio, the tall, wispy machine wearing nothing but a necklace that said Bitch and a Porsche chronometer, was master of Panchoo DeeToo, the stubby, swarthy pistolero robot in the Two Fingers Tequila T-shirt; but while Bo Peepio might have thrown an absolute snit at the suggestion, they were actually equals in everything except that Bo Peepio gave better head and Panchoo DeeToo was the only Panchoo unit in the constellation of Tsooris that was running off a turquoise-and-beatensilver laser system.
Tag-Team Orgies, Odd Couples, Sister Twisters, Fantasy Freaks and other Explorers of the Sexual Frontier --; it's Show-and-tell Time, as Real Swingers bare their Bodies and Souls for our Camera and Tape Recorder
It was after she and her husband had begun foreplay one Saturday afternoon that the woman discovered she was out of vaginal jelly, so, throwing caution to the winds, she yelled through the bedroom door to her small son to run down to the supermarket to buy some. The boy was back in record time and knocked on the door. "Just leave it outside, Tommy," responded his mother.
How I spent my Spring Vacation on tour with kiss in Japan
Three days in Tokyo, and so far I've seen so little of Kiss, our hosts, that I barely have all their names straight. Except for watching them clown for us during the flight over--and a solid rumor that they all ordered spaghetti from room service when they got in--the only thing I've learned about them that isn't printed every month in Hit Parader is that drummer Peter Criss is a gun fancier and has a tasty pistol collection that leans toward James Bond models. This tidbit came from a short, unplanned interview conducted with him at the huge and lavish Hotel Okura late Saturday night, lying on the floor in the hallway in front of bass player Gene Simmons' room.
though the obvious dangers of exercise (heavy breathing, sweating) are easily avoided, there are more subtle menaces lurking on the road to robust health; these examples should help you guard against them
Our Bikini-Clad Annie graces an international sporting event, where agent solly has arranged for her to present the Trophies to the winners. The sport? Well, there's no court, no field, no equipment. There's no running, no jumping, no throwing, no catching. What is there? ... Muscles! Two muscles where most of us have one! The sport is muscle building, in which the point is to achieve (as we shall see) that one perfect pose--
If you think today's breed of stamp collectors are little old men who live in musty garrets, wear two-inch-thick glasses and spend their every waking hour poring over collections of U.S. commemoratives, you haven't been to a philatelic convention lately. The modern collector, indeed, can often be found carefully examining his latest acquisition under a magnifying glass, but the reason for such close scrutiny is not necessarily to make sure all his latest acquisitions' perforations are in pristine shape.