Our pleasure in bringing you an extensive words-and-pictures panorama on The Public-Sex Breakthrough this merrymaking month is exceeded only by that of Associate Editor James R. Petersen, who enjoyed an expense-paid visit to the current pleasure center of the universe, Plato's Retreat in New York. Petersen sacrificed not only his modesty but his very flesh in the name of journalism and returned alive with a truly penetrating report. "It has been said," Petersen sagely comments, "that if you stay in Plato's long enough, you'll run into everybody you know. For instance, we met Buck Henry there." The meeting was fortuitous; comedy writer Henry, who codirected with Warren Beatty the upcoming Elaine May--scripted film Heaven Can Wait, couldn't wait to write his impressions of Plato's for us; it's forthrightly titled My Night at Plato's Retreat. And to sweeten your vicarious visit to Plato's, we sent photographer Robert Scott Hooper and his assistant, Theresa Holmes, who brought back their best effort yet in capturing our fellow citizens engaged in the ultimate act.
Playboy, May, 1978. Volume 25, Number 5. Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States and its possessions, $33 for three years, $25 for two years, $14 for one year. Canada, $15 per year. Elsewhere, $25 per year. Allow 45 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of Address: Send both old and new addresses to Playboy, Post office box 2420, Boulder, Colorado 80302, and allow 45 days for change. Marketing: Ed Condon, Director / 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; Chicago, Russ Weller, Associate Advertising Manager, 919 N. Michigan Ave.; 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.
Interrupting a psychological suspense drama for interludes of hardcore sex is a tricky business, but that's the business at hand in Anna Obsessed. While headlines warn, "Rape Killer Stalks," one Long Island suburban husband (John Leslie) neglects his wife, who gets tired of being alone and starts partying every afternoon with a comely girl photographer. While she's out on errands one night, she is brutally beaten and raped in her car by a mysterious assailant who uses a loaded gun as a dildo. Obsessed was made by The Stranger Group, a blanket nom de film for a bunch of hopefuls who are new to porno but shrewd about not trying too much too soon. Although they don't quite achieve the delicate balance between turning audiences on and scaring them stiff, they do manage some moments of shock and mystification--sandwiched between fuck sequences that are excitingly photographed, highly concentrated and unmistakably hard. The group's smartest move, perhaps, was to hire Constance Money as the itchy suburban wife, Annette Haven as her provocative friend. Two champions in their class, these creamy, sensuous ladies know exactly what they're doing; together, they do everything so well that simple questions like whodunit begin to seem wildly irrelevant.
In that vast union of losers, Chet Baker has overpaid his dues and then some. A quarter century ago, he was the brilliant young man with a horn. But it was only several years later that heroin took over his life. Everything came tumbling down. And it wasn't till the Seventies that Baker was able to surface again and get down to the serious business of reclaiming his credentials as a jazz musician. You Can't Go Home Again (Horizon) indicates that he's come back a long way. The arrangements by Don Sebesky help considerably; they're both intelligent and exciting. And Baker has a number of first-rate musicians lending musical support. Rock/jazz reed man Michael Brecker, bassist Ron Carter, flutist Hubert Laws, drummer Tony Williams and, sharing the spotlight with him on the title tune, the late Paul Desmond (it was his last recording date) work beautifully with Baker, whose tone, the only reservation we ever had about his playing, has put on weight. We like it--and the album--very much.
You might not know that their first names were Chang and Eng or that in middle life they took Bunker as a last name, but you've heard of them. They were born in 1811 on a houseboat 60 miles from Bangkok; twins connected at the breastbone by an arm-shaped band of flesh just a few inches long and thick. The famous Siamese twins. As infants, they seemed like such a bad-news omen to the king of Siam that he ordered them killed; but he either forgot about it or was convinced by his advisors that their birth didn't herald an unceasing rain of serpents. Unlike the grisly soap opera one might expect to unfold from such a genetic blunder, the twins weren't sad, bedridden curiosities. They were bright, energetic kids who could swim in tandem, loved double-somersaulting down hills and sometimes performed back flips when the mood struck them. An enterprising entrepreneur finally convinced them in 1829 to exhibit themselves in America and England. During the ocean voyage, they were often observed scrambling happily up and down the masts. The story gets even better, but you'd barely know it from The Two: A Biography (Simon & Schuster), by Irving Wallace and Amy Wallace, which is close to being the flattest, least dynamic possible telling of a remarkable story. It's more like a Ph.D. dissertation. The Wallaces get an A for research: They've apparently collected every extant scrap about the twins--letters, diary entries, newspaper accounts, laundry lists. But they get a D for discretion: They've apparently arranged the stuff in chronological order and printed every goddamned bit of it. What a long, strange trip it must have been: Chang and Eng seldom spoke to each other (what reason, after all?), found playing checkers with each other boring (comparing it to the right hand playing the left). During eight almost uninterrupted years on the road, playing nearly every burg in the East and Midwest, they were the Kiss of the 1830s, with a road manager and even a groupie here and there. Eventually, they settled in North Carolina, where they prospered as farmers and rapidly became two true-blue Southerners, staunch Whigs and slaveholders. They married two local sisters, over the objection of citizens who didn't mind their being what one writer called hyphenated but found the color of their skin distressing. The marriage arrangements were suitably novel: At first, a farmhouse split down the middle to accommodate both families and one huge custom-made bed, probably a direct ancestor of Hef's, big enough for four people. After a while, with too many children running around, they moved into separate houses a mile apart. The twins would practice "alternate mastery," each running the show for three days at a time and living with his own family. Toward the end, they longed to be separated, but no one dared perform the operation. Their predicament raises fascinating questions of identity, among many others, but it's still a double life waiting for a graceful biographer.
The revitalized Tavern on the Green, a jewel set in the sylvan greenery of Manhattan's Central Park off Central Park West and 67th Street, is galaxies above its ill-fated predecessor of the same name and deserves a place on any visitor's itinerary. Certainly the most exciting aspect is the physical presence, a splendiferous mishmash of colored glass, gilded sculptures, old prints and weather vanes, fresh-cut blossoms and other flora, polished brass and copper animal heads, rustic rafters and a pastel ceiling afloat with cherubs, elegant chandeliers and Tiffany-type mosaics, gathered--or, rather, accumulated--from the corners of the earth. The dazzling chandeliers that dominate the aptly named Crystal Room were fashioned from antique Waterford and Baccarat fixtures. Glass flowers decorating the banquet-room chandelier come from Venice and the street lamps lighting up the entrance are by the same company that made those illuminating the Champs Elysées and Spain's El Escorial. It's definitely a clutter and just this side of garish, yet somehow the whole thing hangs together. Attribute this to the fact that it's the expression of one person, Warner LeRoy. LeRoy, a man of "flamboyance, panache, sparkle, flair, originality and jovial dynamism," on the admission of his publicist, is the impresario who Pygmalioned Maxwell's Plum, the suave, swinging East Side beanery. Both exuberant fantasies rather than calculated exercises in good taste, they exude warmth and bonhomie.
Idol Gossip: Paramount wants to do a Godfather III and it's rumored Mario Puzo has been approached to come up with a story line. Francis Coppola will probably be involved in the project, though not necessarily as director.... Author Thomas (Blood and Money) Thompson is working on another crime book, this one involving several bizarre murders in India and Nepal.... Producer Michael Phillips says there will be a sequel to Close Encounters, but director Steven Spielberg has a number of prior commitments, so there's no telling when he'll be able to get to it.... Elizabeth Taylor will have a role in NBC's The Mudlark, scheduled for Christmas; she'll play an aging Queen Victoria.... Candice Bergen has signed with David Obst Books/Random House to do an autobiographical book about growing up in Hollywood, her various careers and, supposedly, her experiences with such gents as Henry Kissinger and Abbie Hoffman.... What's happening to Ryan O'Neal? After backing out of the title role in Paramount's Oliver's Story, Ryan signed to play the Wallace Beery part in MGM's remake of The Champ, then unsigned his way out of that one. (Jon Voight has been talked about as a replacement.) The reason Ryan walked? His 12-year-old son tested for the Jackie Cooper part in Champ and was rejected by director Franco Zeffirelli.
I am a single, liberated woman, age 30, who very much enjoys making love with the opposite sex. However, recently, my partner has made comments about my soft laughing and noisemaking during sessions in bed. I have assured him that the laughter stems from complete enjoyment and pleasure and that I am certainly not laughing at him. It has become a problem, though, and is interfering with my sex life. Please advise--is this common? How should I handle it with old and new lovers?--Miss C. S., Mobile, Alabama.
Imagine that you and your lover have devoted Saturday night to hours and hours of phenomenal fucking. The very next day, instead of turning on the Sunday football game, you turn each other on all over again by replaying the visions that throbbed in your brains the previous night while you reveled in each other's bodies. Not a replay of your physical selves, mind you, but a miraculous re-creation of the erotic images flickering in your innermost selves while the two of you were balling. What do you see?
Only a dozen or so states still make it a crime for men and women to engage in oral sex--often called sodomy in the statute books or the "infamous crime against God and nature," or something equally quaint and reminiscent of the puritanical times in this country when most of these laws were written. They are rarely enforced, except against homosexuals, and are regarded as harmless antiques by most people, including judges, legislators and police. But, like other statutes that serve no legitimate social purpose, they can be a handy device for destroying an individual who has offended the community without otherwise breaking the law. Nearly three years ago, we reported the case of an Indiana physician who had spent years trying to extricate himself from his state's sodomy law, which ruined him professionally and financially before it was repealed. Here is the case of a Massachusetts man still facing five years in prison because a jury, though it could find him guilty of no other crime, decided he had engaged in oral intercourse with a woman.
For her first 36 years, Anita Bryant was the stereotypic embodiment of the American dream; hers was a rags-to-riches saga in the best Horatio Alger tradition. For almost two decades, she'd been reasonably happy with her life: She'd evolved a system that enabled her to pursue both a lucrative career as a popular entertainer and a satisfying private life as a devoted wife and mother. She had a loyal husband, wholesome kids and a cozy home overlooking Miami's Biscayne Bay. Her life was comfortable and distinctly uncontroversial.
So put yourself in my place right now. Here's the setting: I am a stranger in a strange land--Des Moines--perched in the back of a sleek black limo, parenthesized by an escort of Iowa state police flashing their cherry tops and blaring their sirens, rushing to meet the governor. I am flanked on my left by Anita Bryant and on my right by her husband-manager of 17 years, Bob Green.
Anita Russell is the Lone Ranger of the modeling world. Everybody knows her work, but almost nobody has "seen" her face. Actually, Anita's anonymity is her fortune. She's a character model whose wild, even bizarre portrayals have earned her a top spot in the New York modeling sorority. Anita was the gold digger on the cover of New York and one of "the sexiest girls in America" on the cover of Esquire (above). She was also the girl on the billboard for the Rolling Stones' album Black and Blue (left)--portraying the sex object in a not-so-subtle S/M tableau that featured her bound and bruised and anything but beautiful. She almost missed out on the assignment because head Stone Mick Jagger thought she was too pretty. Anita assured him that she could also look ugly--and was so convincing that Mick himself helped tie her up. Cries from outraged feminists over that one gave her career an unexpected publicity boost, but the controversy surprised Anita. "People should have more of a sense of humor," she observed. When not on the action side of the lens, Anita busies herself with acting and dance classes. Weekends, she rides her chestnut thoroughbred, Ocean Warrior, to the hunt. Anita has her heart set on a film career. Her obvious physical attributes would seem to make her a sure bet for the "sex symbol" label, but that doesn't bother her: "To me, that's a compliment." And, we might add, a well-deserved one.
On consulting my notes, their paper grown yellow and their ink brown with the passage of almost 40 years, I find it to have been in the closing days of July 1885 that my friend Sherlock Holmes fell victim, more completely, perhaps, than at any other time, to the innate melancholy of his temperament. The circumstances were not propitious. London was stiflingly hot, without a drop of rain to lay the dust that, at intervals, a damp wind swept up Baker Street. The exertions caused Holmes by the affair of the Wallace-Bardwell portfolio, and the subsequent entrapment of the elusive Count Varga, had taken their toll of him. His gray eyes, always sharp and piercing, acquired a positively (continued on page 168)Darkwater Hall(continued from page 111) hectic brightness, and the thinness of his hawklike nose seemed accentuated. He smoked incessantly, getting through an ounce or more of heavy shag tobacco in a single day.
Summertime is almost here and the livin' is easy down Key West way, where our hang-loose gang of Playboy models, stylists and photographers bunked in at Pier House, a funky hotel that served as headquarters for each day's forays to the nearby shore and surf. The pictures resulting from this expedition definitely attest to the fact that there's going to be very little uptightness in menswear for the next six months and probably longer. Suits are even being worn with collarless shirts--and most fabrics are soft and not necessarily wrinkle-free. In fact, the slightly rumpled look is in. We also predict that cottons, silks and linens in natural shades will be top-drawer choices, but also add some splashes of brightness to your spring/summer wardrobe along the line of the witty jacket pictured on page 114, which resembles a sports coat but is actually made from sweat-shirt fabric. In short, take it easy--with style.
Freddy Python was a well-known developer around Boston, always putting together real-estate packages that, though they seldom came to anything, somehow kept him in sports cars, tailored suits and attractive women. He lived with his mother and a Filipino servant in a choice slice of house on the good side of Beacon Hill. His first and only marriage had ended quickly, without children. In the decade since, he had almost forgotten this wife; she was the most distant figure in a long line of women he had escorted and seduced, enjoyed spats and vacations with, got sunburned and frostbitten with, loved and forgotten each in her turn. In his memory, the succession was clamorous and indignant, like the Complaints line in a department store, with a few conspicuously silent, sullen sufferers hoping to make their case that way. Freddy had finessed them all: the weeper, the screamer, the tedious reasoner, the holder of heated silences. At the end of a date, however fraught, he would skillfully sail his Porsche through the bright morass of Park Square and the erratic rapids of Charles Street traffic, tack uphill into his narrow alley and nose the car to safety in its space below his mother's window. He would let himself in softly and ascend the carpeted stairs to his bedroom, a vast master bedroom that floated, all puffs and pillows and matching satin, like a dulcet blimp above the contagion of the city and its dreams. The Filipino would have turned his coverlet down. His mother would have left him a note, saying, "The mayor called," or "Don't forget your lecithin." Freddy would undress, checking his gym-hardened body for signs of wear in the full-length mirror before unfolding his pajamas. Composing his pajamaed self for sleep, he closed his eyes and folded his mind around the evening's seized pleasures. His trophies were about him, from the framed citation of the Charlestown Realty Board to the plated statuette signifying second prize in the Malden Teens Tennis Competition in 1959. His mother was below him. The Hill was quiet but for the burst of a muffler or the scampering footsteps of a mugging. Corinna (or whoever) was alone in her (rumpled) bed. Freddy was alone in his. What a life.
Phillip Dixon, the Playboy photographer who shot the pictures you see here, describes Kathryn Morrison as ethereal. "She's at that stage of life when everything is happening for the first time. She's got lots to think about. Her beauty, for instance. She's just giving in to beauty, accepting all of the pressures that go with being attractive. It's more difficult to be beautiful. You get more from the world. You have to figure out where you stand. You get it out of the way so you can go on to something else. She may strike a person as quiet, but there's something going on. She's wondering about her life." We are sitting at a table in a French restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. Glasses of red wine appear and disappear at regular intervals. Kathy Morrison, alias Miss May, is looking at the photos that will be included in her pictorial and wondering about her life story and how to tell it. She listens to Phillip's rap and nods. "I'm totally open to new experiences. Maybe it's because, as a child, I lived in 13 different towns in the Southwest before settling in Los Angeles. I'm still in motion. I went to Hawaii a few months ago. I went sailing, scuba diving, freeboarding. I spent New Year's weekend in Acapulco. I'd like to transfer some Mexican spirit to Hawaii. It's pretty dead out there. But it seems as if every weekend I'm doing something different. The Playmate shooting. Backpacking. Skiing. I've only done that once, but I really loved it. It is something I'll come back to. Now I'm just sampling life." Kathy pauses to say something to her best girlfriend. They have the reputation of getting into and out of trouble together. "Oh, yeah. We compare notes. When there's something I feel I should understand but don't, I find strength in having someone else do it with me." We talk about other things. The afternoon continues. The conversation winds down. The wine disappears for good. We move on.
Later, the newspapers would describe the man as an eccentric, and so he probably was. But until he was arrested for panhandling in a Chicago bus terminal in early 1975, Robert Friedman had lived quietly for most of his life, supporting himself with jobs as a clerk-stenographer. What got him into trouble with the Chicago cops was the attaché case full of cash--nearly $25,000--that he was carrying when he was busted. The money was his own, savings that the frugal Friedman, a devout Jew, had hoped to use for a trip to Israel. Because of their suspicions of a panhandler carrying $25,000, the court immediately had Friedman locked up in a psychiatric ward, where he was heavily drugged with tranquilizers. Five days later, acting on the recommendation of a Cuban-born psychiatrist who spoke only broken English, a judge committed Friedman to a mental institution; in announcing the decision, he explained that the purpose was to protect Friedman from people who "might be after his money." Friedman begged the judge to release him and to order his money returned; he noted that he had worked steadily all his adult life until he was laid off a few months before, that the rent on his apartment was paid and that he had not been convicted of any crime. He even promised to stop panhandling and to put his savings into a bank. The judge paid no heed to these pleas. In committing Friedman, he said: "Letting you go would mean you would be unable to take care of yourself."
Somewhere out there over the south coast of California, there's a flock of crows that thinks it saw God, or maybe the Devil, or else a man doing something so demented as to make him more dangerous than either of those other guys. They were flying along below me when I spotted them. But then, almost everything was below me. I was standing there in my tennis shoes on top of Joe Hughes's Super Stearman Wing-Walker Special, looking down at the plane and the clouds below that, then the crows and, below them, the fire roads and chaparral of the coastal hills, and I was thinking many things, but mostly that I had crossed some invisible line that separates those who are playing with a full deck from those who are playing with nothing higher than nines.
In 1839, L. J. M. Daguerre succeeded in producing a detailed picture on a silvered copperplate using a camera the size of a breadbox. His subject had to remain motionless for an hour for a sufficient exposure. Just 139 years later, we have a whole new wave of Lilliputian 110 cameras that do just about everything but say cheese. The largest of the five 110s featured here is the 6.7-inch Vivitar 742XL; the smallest is the teeny-weeny Rollei A110 that's only 3.3 inches. For a real road test, however, we lent the five 110s to five professional photographers and asked them to shoot some photos and then give us their impressions of the cameras. We dug their subject matter and they dug the cameras. Less, definitely, is more.
Howie was sitting in a straight-backed chair at a kitchen table, propping a telephone receiver between his shoulder and left ear and scribbling rapidly on a large yellow legal pad. His assistant clerk, Lenny, was poised by another phone, drawing neat lines on his own paper so he could keep things in order once the day's hectic business began. It was a crisp autumn Sunday in New York, and within the next 12 hours, there would be a dozen pro-football games and 17 major-league baseball contests, including double-headers and a night game in Texas, which is a favorite with many gamblers who like to prolong the day's action. It was the kind of schedule that makes bookmakers prosperous--but also makes them work very hard to earn their supposedly easy living.
Plato's Retreat isn't quite what the old Greek had in mind, but it's close. A dark cave. An underground den with walls of black tile and shadowy block-print cotton tapestries. The floor is an ebony carpet of Astroturf. Above and behind you, there is a blazing row of spotlights and strobes. Hanging from the ceiling in front of you is a long, low mirror that seems to draw the available light from the room like a giant, silent ventilating system. Still, you are dazzled. You see figures in the glass. Some of them are fucking, others lie quietly. The love-makers' bodies ripple, as though caught in a tide within the glass. You see a man's back arch as he rears back on his knees, a woman spread wide to receive him. Her legs spell out a secret message in semaphore. It is a strange image; but then, you are a strange audience, captive, a prisoner of the scene, prevented by the chains of astonishment from turning your head. You are watching what the Supreme Court coyly terms an ultimate sex act. These are people who love people. Your guide turns your eyes from the mirror and points to a blue air mattress in an alcove next to the Olympic-size whirlpool bath. She asks you to name the activity, to untangle the anatomical knot--it appears to be one young lady taking one man in her mouth, two in her hands and a fourth between her legs. A man old enough to be her father hovers nearby, slapping his hand on the mattress like a referee at a collegiate wrestling match. Yes. She is pinned.
Back in a more primitive social era, before the time of Gloria and Bella, one of the thoughtless flippancies concerned a handy gadget that "you screw on the bed and it does all the cooking. It's called a wife." Well, guys, them days are gone forever, and good riddance. What sociologists quaintly refer to as role adjustment has its compensations. Relationships are more rewarding--even liberating--for both camps. And many former M.C.P.s now take inordinate pride in their culinary skills.
If you've just now come into the market for an audio rig that will turn your wheels into a concert hall, you're in luck; there's a cornucopia of really spectacular sound equipment waiting for you at your neighborhood highway-sound store in a range of prices from the modest budget to the price-is-no-object level.
Unless you live in Nevada, the way you make a bet is with a bookie, and that is illegal. From what I know, a bookie is a lot like a stockbroker, in that he is paid a commission for performing a service, the major difference being that stockbrokers charge a commission whether you win or lose.
The 35mm SLR camera has democratized quality picture taking. But the prices of top-of-the-line equipment have also imposed some financial hardships on nothing-but-the-best photo freaks. If you're interested in getting a high-quality first camera and are chary of making your initial investment a major one, buying secondhand is a good way to hedge your bet and to acquire otherwise untouchable equipment at what could be a fraction of its retail price.
Last year, traveling Americans finally took charter flights to their hearts in a big way. They also took them to Europe, Hong Kong, Las Vegas and dozens of other places at prices so low that London often became a less expensive alternative to a week in the country. After suffering for years from image problems and confusing restrictions on who could sign up, charters now operate under a much more liberal arrangement that lets anyone enjoy the savings that result when a plane takes off with every seat sold far in advance.
Let's assume you're driving along the highway, minding your own business, when a police officer pulls you over because your rear license-plate light is out. After checking your driver's license, he politely asks you to get out of the car and proceeds to search your vehicle, finding two foil-wrapped joints that your girlfriend left under the front seat. You are placed under arrest and made to feel that this is a major drug bust. What are your legal rights?
No matter how you decorate a studio apartment, there's always one major question: What do you do with the bed? Some choose to hide it in a sofa. Some tuck it into a wall. And then there's the nomad type who makes himself a pallet on the floor. John Tam of Tam Design Associates in Manhattan has another solution; he's created a series of wedge-shaped polyurethane-foam furniture blocks that can be rearranged to make a formal seating area, an informal lounging spot or even--you guessed it--a bed. Furthermore, the covers on the blocks can be easily switched (there's a variety of colors available), as they're held on by Velcro closures. And the cost is reasonable: $120 for a set of three. Just think of them as adult building blocks and start playing.