Bobby Baker started as a Senate page in the early Forties and rose to become the confidant and "fixer" for the men who wielded power in Washington through 1963. He went to jail in 1971 on a variety of charges without revealing where the bodies were buried. He does so this month, in a dramatic excerpt from Wheeling and Dealing (illustrated by Ignacio Gomez), written with Texas author Larry L. King and to be published by W. W. Norton.
Playboy, June, 1978, Volume 25. Number 6. 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.
Back in 1936, MGM's musical extravaganza The Great Ziegfeld won an Academy Award as Best Picture and cost a mere $2,000,000. Columbia Pictures Television must have spent a good deal more making Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women, a spectacular special of the same length, to be telecast by NBC-TV Sunday, May 14 (8-11 P.M., Eastern time).
Jules Massenet's Thaïs isn't just another naughty French opera, it's a wet dream set to music. Repressed sexuality energizes it; perfumed religiosity adds another sensuous dimension; and it's all set back in the ancient Egypt of Cecil B. De Mille, where anything goes. Athanaël, a desert-dwelling, superchaste monk, journeys to the sinful city of Alexandria in order to preach godliness to Thaïs, a high-priced courtesan/actress/priestess whose example, he's convinced, has helped plunge the town into its present decadent state. Truth to tell, Athanaël himself is gradually succumbing to her magnetic allure; he sees her in his dreams, dancing lewdly. When they meet, their confrontation results in a neat moral reversal: he winning her away from the fleshpots, she breaking down his puritanical defenses. Ultimately, she dies in a convent, her soul borne aloft by angels; he, his soul overwhelmed by physical passion, laments bitterly at her feet.
Alayne Yates's book Sex Without Shame: Encouraging the Child's Healthy Sexual Development (Morrow) couldn't come at a better time. Last year, the Puritan press generated a national burst of pious outrage over child pornography, the abuse of minors at the hands of callous X-rated film makers, pimps and worse. Behind the campaign was the notion that children need to be protected from all forms of sexuality until they reach an age when they can fully appreciate the subtle nuances of guilt and shame that make sex such a bummer for many adults. Yates--a practicing pediatrician and concerned parent--makes a telling point in the first few paragraphs: Children come into the world fully equipped to enjoy sex. Most male babies are born with erections. Female babies lubricate vaginally in the first four to six hours of life. Masturbation culminating in climax may occur as early as the first month of life. Children are sensuous beings (it is no mistake that Cupid--the god of love--is depicted as a child). Yates then builds an impressive and often horrifying case against society--the myriad ways that parents can confuse a child's sense of sexuality. She draws on anthropological studies to show other cultures and other, healthier, styles of parenting. The second half of her book is an intelligent, compassionate plan for child rearing that is a cross between Dr. Spock and The Joy of Sex. If enough people read this book, we might actually make the world safe for eroticism.
Compared with conventional film comedy, Robert Altman's A Wedding is something else. But then, practically any Altman movie is. This time out, the wild man from Westwood took an all-star company, augmented by local talent, to the Armour mansion in Lake Forest, Illinois, and sorted out the bullshit surrounding one of the most cherished American institutions: marriage. Virtually all the action occurs during the wedding ceremony and the reception following at the home of the groom's parents. The groom, Dino (Desi Arnaz, Jr.), takes the bride, Muffin (movie newcomer Amy Stryker, with braces on her teeth), to be his lawful wedded wife, and most of their kith and kin assemble for a horrendous day of booze, sex, drugs and unwelcome family skeletons. Practically none of the invited guests show up, but nevertheless, the reception gets under way. The groom's grandmother (Lillian Gish), a cantankerous matriarch, thoughtlessly dies in her upstairs room before the first champagne is poured. The mother of the groom (played elegantly by Nina Van Pallandt) can't get through the festivities without a fix from her family doctor (Howard Duff) and the bride's mom (a tragicomic tour de force by TV prima donna Carol Burnett) begins negotiating an illicit affair with the groom's uncle (Pat McCormick). Meanwhile, the bride's seemingly retarded but sexually precocious sister (Mia Farrow) reveals that she's pregnant and lays the blame on her new brother-in-law, the hapless groom, who is presently being ogled by a homosexual usher. Heard enough? There's a lot more in this slice-of-life social comedy carved from the heartland of middle America with mercy toward none. A Wedding is so outrageous, irreverent, off the wall and shot from the hip that some plain folk out there in the hinterlands are sure to hate it, though Altman addicts--especially those who have grown accustomed to the master's ebullient excesses--ought to have a field day. Dina Merrill, Virginia Vestoff, Paul Dooley, Lauren Hutton, Viveca Lindfors and Vittorio Gassman round out the party, with an especially strong stint by Gassman as F.O.G. (for father of the groom, in the verbal stenography spouted by Geraldine Chaplin as an overbearing wedding coordinator), an Italian immigrant who married money, bought the American Dream and finally discovers that he has sold his soul in the bargain. Beneath its giddy surface, that's what A Wedding is really all about--moral devaluation in our consumer society, which conducts its sacred nuptial rites as if marriages were made in a shopping mall.
By 7:30 on Wednesday night, the long, semiresidential street in La Mesa is dark. Only the small shopping center is lit; cars have already filled its inadequate parking lot, spilling over to the busy street in front. The entrance to The Classic Cat, sandwiched between the deli and the 7-Eleven, is framed with pictures of long-legged, big-breasted girls, but an advertisement is freshly plastered above the pictures: Wednesday Night Only. Nude Male Entertainment.
I am 60 feet below the surface of the Caribbean, somewhere off the Virgin Island of St. Thomas. I exhale. The bubbles make a strange ringing noise as they pass my ears. The silver shapes shimmer and expand as they rise to the surface. Delicate coral fans wave in the current, discreetly hiding a three-foot-long barracuda. Several yellow striped fish collide in front of my face mask. I am astonished to find myself underwater. I've entered a movie filled with strange creatures and vivid colors. The only thing missing is Jacqueline Bisset in a T-shirt. All things considered, I don't really miss her. A few feet away, my girlfriend is floating. She tries to grin. An impossible task with a rubber mouthpiece lodged between your lips. We are having the time of our lives.
Idol Gossip: Plans are under way to revive two old TV classics--The Original Amateur Hour and Ralph Edwards'This Is Your Life. The latter is currently the number-one hit in London and Australia and Edwards wants the new American version to be done live and with an m.c. other than himself.... Columbia has picked up the film rights to the Broadway smash Annie for (leapin' lizards!) $9,500,000, the largest amount ever paid for rights to a musical.... Neil Diamond will probably star in MGM's contemporary version of The Jazz Singer, now in development.... Lucky Jeff Bridges, who just got done starring with Farrah Fawcett-Majors in Somebody Killed Her Husband, is off to Munich to co-star with Bianca Jagger in The Ringer. ... Art Buchwald has titled his new collection of columns The Buchwald Stops Here. It's due out this fall.... Beginning this summer, Bantam will publish a series of original Conan novels starting with Conan the Swordsman. Later, Bantam will put out the novelization of the Conan flick in which Arnold Schwarzenegger has been signed to star.... Bette Midler will star in The Rose, now rolling in New York and L.A.--it's a musical love story that plays off the turmoil of the late Sixties, with Bette playing a concert rock singer.... Alex Haley may appear as himself in the last two hours of ABC's Roots: The Second Hundred Years, to air in 1979. The last sequence will deal with Haley's search for his roots.... Neil Bogart, president of Casablanca Record & Film Works, is working on bringing Donna Summer's album, Once Upon a Time, to Broadway as a musical production.
I have an unusual dilemma. Two female acquaintances (a beautiful blonde and a well-built brunette) have recently invited me to join them in bed. This is the sexual fantasy of most men in America, but it has me stumped. I have never been in a ménage à trois, and I don't have the foggiest idea of how one manages two women at once. Any tips would be appreciated.--S. F., Raleigh, North Carolina.
Attractive Ph.D. male with genius I.Q. wants to fuck brilliant woman. Can only make it if she is as remarkably learned as I am. Good looks important but great mind essential. Send copies of academic honors, Stanford-Binet test results, state career achievements, including a list of all books you've read and written, to: Box 69, New York, New York.
From time to lime, "The Playboy Forum" will present this page as a special feature reporting and commenting on various aspects of our criminal-justice system. While it will not necessarily represent Playboy's editorial position on the issues discussed, we believe it will provide an opportunity to present material not regularly covered at length in other sections of the magazine. George V. Higgins is a prominent Boston defense attorney, author and columnist for the Boston Herald-American. His first novel, "The Friends of Eddie Coyle," was published in 1972 and his most recent, "Dreamland," appeared last year Before entering private law practice, he was first a state and later a Federal prosecutor.
The most inspired cinematic stroke of 1977 was the casting of George Burns as God in Warner Bros.' huge moneymaker "Oh, God!" And, by God, there may be a Second Coming of Burns's tennis-shoed Lord in a sequel. Playing God isn't bad for a performer who readily admits that he was a god-awful vaudevillian until he teamed up with a dainty Irish dramatic actress and dancer named Gracie Allen. To hear Burns tell it, in his self-deprecatory manner, he went into retirement the moment he hooked up with Amazing Gracie. "Gracie did it all," he says. "All I had to do was smoke a cigar and ask, 'Gracie, how's your brother?'"
All of us have fantasies; few of us get to realize them, especially in front of a camera. One of the troubles with being a model--and Apollonia Van Ravenstein is at the top of that profession--is that you spend all your working hours acting out other people's fantasies. Apollonia hasn't complained about that, you understand; professionalism oozes from her pores. "Apollonia has a greater range of emotion than any other model in the business," opines Ara Gallant, photographer of fashion's haut monde. "She has an actress' sense of what a photograph is about." It seemed to us a shame that such talent should be visible only in fashion magazines, so we asked Apollonia to confess a few of her own fantasies and have Ara photograph her for us in situations in which she had always wanted to find herself. These dreams of Apollonia are fairly recent ones. When she was a youngster in the Netherlands, she fully expected to live out her life as a French teacher. But at the age of 17, she went to Paris and started modeling. Five years ago, she went to New York and joined the top-rated Zoli agency, which, though it has made her a big name professionally, has never given her the chance to play Fay Wray to Ken Norton's King Kong. "In this age of machines, I love romance," says Apollonia of this project. As for us, it's easy to see we've gone ape over Apollonia.
Aristotle "Telly" Savalas is sitting on a sofa in Western Airlines' VIP lounge at Los Angeles International Airport, a glass of wine clasped in one hand and, in the other, the pink-sheathed thigh of his companion, Pam, a coolly stunning brunette approximately one third his age. He is dressed in Southern California regimentals: double-breasted, cream-colored blazer and open-collar shirt of royal blue set off by the traditional Malibu medallion. Inscribed on the medal's face is Telly's Pop, Savalas' race horse, which, running injured [he was finally put to sleep not long ago], had finished 26 and a half lengths off the pace in his last outing and will not be featured this sunny afternoon at Tijuana's Agua Caliente Race Track, where it has been officially proclaimed Telly Savalas Day.
As we approached Cuba in a twin-engined plane from Miami, we flew into heavy clouds. I felt we were going through some protective covering, as if Treasure Island lay below. I felt strange vibrations, as if I were going to be rediscovering some lost land, and was thinking it had to be a great place, and most likely still was, because Grandpapa lived there for so long and was so happy there. I was really excited to finally return to Cuba.
The Baseball Managers' Cash-On-The-Line, Clutch-Player All-Star Poll
Each Year, a Number of baseball all-star teams are selected and announced with considerable fanfare. First, there are the teams that play in the major leagues' own midseason All-Star game, teams on which the starters are selected by the fans--the popular favorites. At season's end, the Associated Press and United Press International poll baseball writers and broadcasters for votes on the best all-round players, while the Rawlings sporting-goods company sponsors the Gold Glove defensive all-star teams.
We Meet Gail Stanton in her hotel room. She is wearing a bluesatin bathrobe and she smells like jasmine. We ask her what folks do these days down in her home town, Memphis, Tennessee. "Same as usual," she deadpans. '"They spend all day drinkin' RC [pronounced ah-ruh-see] Colas and eatin' Moon Pies." We then ask what the hell a Moon Pie is and, amused by our Yankee ignorance, she explains that it's a chocolate-marshmallow concoction. Astute readers will recall seeing Gail in The Girls of the New South, April 1977. As she explains, Memphis is in the Bible Belt and the local reaction to her appearance in Playboy was somewhere between indignation and outrage. "Folks who didn't even know us called my parents, just to tell my mother what a disgrace I was. My older sister and I shared an apartment then, and we'd get these obscene phone calls. Some guys were clever. They would act like they worked for a messenger service and say they had a small package for me. 'About six inches,' they'd say, and we'd hang up." But despite such complaints about her home town, Gail loves it and the South in general. "The South's come a long way. Racial attitudes have changed, for one thing. Young Southerners have gone from accepting the ways of their parents to adopting a whole new way of thinking. In fact, I think in some ways, the South is much better than the North. The most unfriendly people I've met in my life were Northerners." Gail is a computer programmer for serious and a model for fun. She takes her discovery by Playboy with a grain of grits. "I don't like the life of modeling and I'm not planning on being a movie star. I'd much rather talk about humane treatment for animals or Mideastern relations." Her concern for animals begins at home with her two Afghan hounds, but she's also an avid member of The Memphis Humane Society. Her interest in the Middle East is the result of a two-month modeling job she took, there last year. "Our media give such negative images of Arabs. All Americans think Arabs do is live in tents, ride camels and screw the humps. But actually, they are a very serious, very religious people." Gail describes herself as an example of the new Southern woman, who's "goal-oriented and outspoken." With girls like Gail below the Mason-Dixon line, it's no wonder the South is rising again.
The Script for The Debra Jo Fondren Story would be rejected by any self-respecting Hollywood producer. We can hear them now: "Too pat. Where's the tension, the drama, the believability?" Take, for instance, this synopsis of the first reel: A young, beautiful girl, an avid reader of Playboy, dreams of becoming a Playmate. Unfortunately, she lives in a small city in Texas. Beaumont is the name and it's slightly off the beaten track. She is spotted by a playboy photographer's assistant, who suggests she just might have what it takes.
There I was, talking with this woman. She was neat and I wanted to say something that would make her say, "Hey." I didn't want her to say, "Wow." "Hey" would do. But what should I say? She talked about her ex-husband. I talked about my ex-wife. We had another drink.
Just before the divers at La Quebrada in Acapulco take the long fall from the cliff into the surf, they kneel at a little shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe and say their prayers. It's not hard to imagine what they ask her--I used to know the prayers they know--probably, something like, "Remember, O most gracious Virgin, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy intercession or sought thy mercy was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence. I fly to thee, O virgin of Virgins, my Mother. To thee I come. Before thee I stand. Sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Ward in carnate, despise not my petitions but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Let the water be deep enough, let the current be gentle, save me from garbage on the water, from the rocks, from blindness, from death, and may the turistas drop at least ten pesos apicce into the hat before they haul their fat white bodies back onto the buses."
If You Detect a tinge of equivocation in the title above, you're a pretty sharp cookie; because that's exactly what's intended. Prepared, packaged cocktails are something of a mixed bag. But they do offer a lot to the single guy on the gallop--particularly in the convenience category. Stating the obvious: Prepared cocktails dispose of considerable measuring, squeezing, stirring, shaking, fumbling with ice trays and the mess accompanying that ritual. There's also the matter of the daiquiri that becomes progressively sweeter due to undissolved sugar at the bottom of the glass or the sour that varies in tartness, from drink to drink, depending on the size and acidity of the lemon. Premixed quaffs are, if nothing else, consistent.
There's a Village halfway between Kaluga and Moscow where once lived three handsome brothers, three wild young men. And in the same village lived the beautiful Fyokla Matveevna, wife of the parish priest. Now, this Father Savva was always running about and trying to find some way to impress the bishop with his spiritual zeal--and thus neglecting his wife. So it was that, while the priest was away, Fyokla would receive each of the brothers secretly.
It was a deep, rich orange and its memory is branded on my brain. One sweet summer day, when I was six years old, that magnificent Buick Century convertible with the leather seats swept into my family's driveway and jiggled my rationality off an axis to which it never returned. There it sat, the embodiment of speed and panache, its luminous presence overwhelming the mundane contours of my father's black sedan. Its owner, a Navy captain, graced me with a brief, electric ride and from that moment onward, automobiles with open tops have generated within me special, small-boy responses that defy age and the responsible standards of maturity.
Would you believe that Leonardo da Vinci was the father of the contact lens? In 1508, he worked with the principle upon which modern lenses are based; later, in the 17th Century, Descartes toyed with the idea of placing a lens directly on the cornea. Through the 1800s, various improvements were made on the concept and in 1887, a lens was produced that reasonably could be tolerated by the wearer. But for all practical purposes, it wasn't until the Thirties that contact lenses became more than a fascinating research project.
As you've probably noticed, the word light or lite is continuing to proliferate on beer taps, bottles and cans across the land. Last year, thirsty Americans gulped down 12,000,000 barrels of the mysterious brew and this year, if all predictions prove true, more people than ever will be bellying up to bars and checkout counters with steins and six-packs of this new breed of suds in their hands.
Learning to fly an airplane is a lot of fun and cheaper than you might imagine. Flight training is usually on an hourly basis--about $30 an hour for both aircraft and instructor. The total will come out to something like $1500, which is less than you'd spend for just a season on the ski slopes. Less, for that matter, than you'd pay for a two-week stay at a good tennis camp. It's about what you'd fork over for a year's membership at a fair-to-middling country club.
Moving? Fine; but before you pack and take off, note that moving day poses special hazards to audio equipment. For instance, the fact that a turntable sits next to a receiver when installed does not mean the two units should be linked to share twin berths in transit.
Tea for two, cocktails for two--why not coffee for two? The diminutive coffee makers pictured here are a mixed breed: Some are as new as a handful of Colombian beans just picked by Juan Valdez, while others have been time-tested. Except for the Personal Coffeemaker (one cup), they can brew from two to six cups of delicious Java faster than you can say Mrs. Olson. The Chemex, for example, is an old-reliable model that's been around for years. All you do is pop in the paper filter and add a heaping tablespoon of coffee for each cup and one for the pot. Boiling water goes from the kettle to a Pyrex measuring cup, then over the grounds. In a jiffy, you have great coffee at the bottom of the pot (enough for half a dozen cups) and an easy cleanup at the top. Put the heat-resistant Chemex on an electric warmer, pour yourself a mug and settle back. But you're not going to sip solo, we hope. Who wants to drink alone when you're bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and full of coffee beans?
The old order changeth plenty. Gone from the sports-car list are the Jaguar and the Healey. Panteras and Cobras are vintage cars now. Into the breach from the Far East comes Mazda with new ideas about what a sports car should be. It's the RX-7. I've preview-driven it in Japan and it is very good.
Back in those halcyon days when you were a kid, there was probably an ancient, black Smith-Corona, Royal or Underwood typewriter tucked away up in the eaves. You'd haul it out (and those babies could give Charles Atlas a hernia), crank in a sheet of paper and bang away on the keys--which invariably became wedged together in one mass of inky steel. Compare that experience with the one you'll have after you've equipped your study or home office with one of the new portable typewriters that everybody's picking up (literally picking up, as most weigh in around 20 pounds). Many are electric--or you can opt for a manual machine--and quite a few come with a choice of type styles. The Olivetti Lexikon 82 pictured below, in fact, is the first electric portable to offer interchangeable type faces. For business letters, just snap in the pica, elite or livius type ball and get clicking; later, in the wee small hours of the morning, you can switch to an informal face, such as sirio, and write your girl a poem.