Leading off our March line-up is an interview with Ted Patrick, deprogramer and one-man inquisition. The events in Guyana last fall drew attention to the world of religious cults. Patrick has been engaged in a war against true believers and converts for the past eight years. His techniques have been called illegal, his cures as dangerous as the alleged illness. Executive Editor G. Barry Golson worked with free-lance writer Jim Siegelman and researcher Flo Conway (co-authors of Snapping, a book that deals extensively with the cult phenomenon) to explore the world of the religious fanatic, the lunatic fringe and the self-appointed crusader.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), March, 1979, Volume 26, Number 3. Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Bldg., 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States and its possessions, $33 for three years, $25 for two years, $14 for one year. Canada, $18 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.
James Mason on Rommel, English Gentlemen and Country Music
The Desert Fox was the first attempt to make a sensible film involving the enemy in World War Two. There was a limit to what we knew about Rommel when we made the film in 1951. Desmond Young's book on which it was based was the only book in English about Rommel at that time. The Germans themselves had not gotten around to writing much about him, because they were a little shy about the whole subject.
When advance word about a movie is as glowing as it was for The Deer Hunter, there's a tendency to feel cheated whenever the film falls short of one's high expectations, which this one does all too frequently. But the flaws should not deter you from seeing this powerfully acted humanistic drama about man and war and blue-collar camaraderie. Except for a few searing scenes from the debacle in Vietnam—highlighted by an unforgettable torture sequence, in which arrogant Viet Cong officers break the minds and spirits of their American captives by forcing them into a friendly life-or-death game of Russian roulette, with side bets encouraged—Deer Hunter says very little about war as an issue at a particularly volatile moment in U.S. history. Most of the action is set in and around a bleak Pennsylvania steel town populated by first- and second-generation Russian immigrants who appear oblivious to antiwar sentiment, which they would probably ascribe to Commie agitators, anyway. Working, drinking, fighting, hunting, making out with girls and eventually settling down to raise a family are their sole concerns, at least on the evidence shown. There doesn't seem to be a real world beyond the belching smokestacks of Clairton, Pennsylvania, until the late Sixties, when three guys (volunteers, apparently) go off to fight in Vietnam with some trepidation but hardly a clue to the dues they'll have to pay before coming home as heroes.
Lauren Bacall's long-awaited autobiography will not disappoint her many fans, but Lauren Bacall by Myself (Knopf) may discourage those who are merely curious. It's clear that Bacall wrote the book herself—actually, it reads as though she talked it into a tape recorder and sanded it from the transcript. The effect is somewhat like having a 330-page lunch with a world-weary woman who's rambling on as she picks through her chicken salad. There's some good gossip, there are some great insights into Bogart, Hollywood and the film industry; but there is also much fluff. Bacall correctly assumes that we are genuinely interested in her life, but she doesn't seem to realize that that doesn't mean we are dying to find out everything that has ever happened to her. When larger-than-life personages tell us about their supposedly larger-than-life lives, we often end up realizing that life, after all, comes in only one size.
The current pop consciousness in Nashville—to break country acts into the vastly more lucrative terrain of Top 40—has assumed in some quarters the missionary fervor of a religious crusade. One star who has no heavy crossovers to bear for his sins, however, is Don Williams, the ruggedly independent Texas native with a leathery Lonesome Cowboy charisma who was named Male Vocalist of the Year last fall by the Country Music Association. Although Williams has racked up 12 number-one hits (She Never Knew Me, The Ties That Bind, You're My Best Friend, Say It Again ...) and six top-five LPs, his no-profile style—he hates to participate in any kind of promotion—has kept him almost a cult secret in this country, where hype is the game. In England, though, he has developed a fanatical following, led by none other than Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend. At one time, his albums held all four top positions on the British country LP charts.
The busy sex life of England's Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, is getting such extensive, overlapping TV coverage that viewers are apt to confuse the Edwardian era with the age of consent. While Edward the King spells out juicy details on the current Mobil Showcase series, Masterpiece Theatre's highly praised The Duchess of Duke Street has devoted several episodes to its heroine's liaison with Edward. Now Lillie picks up where The Duchess left off when PBS' Masterpiece Theatre begins, early in March, another richly atmospheric and enlightening 13-week series based on the life of Lillie Langtry (1852–1929), an actress-adventuress who collected her share of princes—Edward was only the first.
Idol Gossip: Word has it that Willie Nelson wants Robert Redford to star in The Willie Nelson Story, which Nelson plans to exec produce for Universal. Prior to that project, Nelson will make his film debut as Redford's manager in the film The Electric Horseman, co-starring Diane Keaton.... Saturday Night Live's Dan Aykroyd has landed a three-picture deal at Universal (who hasn't?). He may co-star with pal John Belushi in the screen version of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.... And, speaking of Belushi, the role of Blutto in ABC's TV adaptation of Animal House (to be called National Lampoon's First Rats) will be played by Josh Mostel, Zero's son.... The remake syndrome that infected the film industry continues to spread throughout the TV biz. Not content with simply remaking movies that don't need to be remade (From Here to Eternity, for instance), the nets have taken to reviving defunct series as well. The latest plan is to remake the old Ben Casey series, with Vince Edwards once again portraying the undynamic brain surgeon. That's progress.... Bob Hope is considering taking on the role of Walter Winchell in a film bio of the late columnist.... Warner Bros. has acquired the film rights to John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman.Karol Reisz is set to direct from a script by English playwright Harold Pinter.... Dan Wakefield's novel Starting Over, the story of a man and his relationship with two women, will be a Paramount picture, with Alan J. (Klute) Pakula directing. Burt Reynolds, Jill Clayburgh and Candice Bergen Star.... Peter Sellers will star in United Artists' Being There, based on Jerzy Kosinski's novel (Kosinski's also penning the screenplay) and directed by Hal Ashby.
What is Playboy's position on extramarital sex? My girlfriend and I are thinking about posting the banns. Our one difference of opinion concerns fooling around. I have enjoyed a healthy series of relationships with other women and I don't want to give up that option. I'm not sure that I could, even if I wanted to. My girlfriend thinks that marriage should be exclusive. She thinks that she should be able to satisfy all of my needs. I say that her view is old-fashioned and next to impossible to maintain. What do you think?—D. W., San Francisco, California.
We knew it would make trouble and, sure enough, it did. In the August "Playboy Forum," we published a "Forum Follies" feature that presented a complicated mathematical formula submitted by a mechanical engineer for translating sexual activity into distance theoretically traveled by one's dick. He called this determining one's fornication utilization constant (F.U.C.). Herewith, we present a few of the responses:
Few social movements in American history have been quite so baffling as the rise of the religious cults of the Seventies. Who would have predicted a decade ago, when America's campuses were in upheaval, that within two or three years, those same young college students who had been organizing, marching and even fighting in the streets for peace abroad and civil rights at home would now be selling flowers on street corners, hawking books in airport lobbies and selling life insurance and vacuum cleaners from door to door in the name of such unlikely "causes" as the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the Children of God, the Divine Light Mission and the Church of Scientology?
Five years ago, when we teamed up to explore the cult scene, we were like most Americans—we could hardly tell one cult from another. We had been approached on street corners by polite young Moonie flower vendors and solicited in airports by Krishna booksellers, but by and large, we viewed their comings and goings with little more than mild curiosity. As the phenomenon grew, our own journalistic and scholarly impulses were aroused; and from the most neutral starting point we could devise, we set out to investigate what seemed to us to be a growing phenomenon of young Americans who had undergone, for better or worse, a sudden change of personality. From the outset, however, we found ourselves hip-deep in some of the stickiest, most complex issues of our time: deprograming, the First Amendment, freedom of thought and the intolerable notion of mind control.
Playboy, in its February 1978 issue, published the following essay by Contributing Editor and longtime civil libertarian Nat Hentoff. In light of the allegations made by Ted Patrick in this month's interview, it seems appropriate to reprint it at this time.
Although we live in a time when increasing emphasis is placed on the concerns of women, youth, the aged, minorities and other groups, there remains one indisputable fact—men control the institutions that dominate American life.
Denise Crosby is not at all what you would expect Bing Crosby's grand daughter to be. She wears her hair butch, sports New Wave clothes, her musical tastes include Devo and Bryan Eno, and she speaks of karma and spiritual cleanliness. Also, she's a whole lot less conservative than Grandpa Bing. "Any kind of sexual suggestion wasn't looked upon highly by my grandfather," she says. "He was very conservative." Would Bing have approved of her posing for Playboy? "Since it was all done so artistically," Denise muses, "I feel he probably wouldn't have been too upset." Denise tells us she's "not into commercialism, fame or fortune; I'm into art. I like innovators, artists who've been rebellious, people who've set their own style, like Andy Warhol and a lot of the New Wave groups—Talking Heads and Devo, for example." Coupling Denise's interest in punk rock with her grandpa's classic White Christmas, some overzealous copywriter came up with the item that she was going to cut a punk version of the holiday platter: 'Tain't so, say Denise and her personal manager, Joel Weinberg, seen cavorting with her on a secluded strip of Venice Beach, below. Says Joel of Denise: "She's very special in many ways." Hear! Hear!
Young San Francisco comedian named Bob Barry tells a story about having just begun his act one night when some juicehead near the front of the room yelled out, "Fuck you! Get off the stage!" Barry hesitated, the way you do when you're hit in the neck with a cattle prod. Then he found his place and went on with his routine. A minute later, the same voice shouted, "You suck! Get outa here!"
With the trend in trousers to a narrower, tapered shape, footwear is naturally getting more attention. Designers are concentrating on re-forming the classics—and the basics for almost any shoe wardrobe are reflected here: from the dressy fundamentals of brogues to the elegant casuals, such as slip-ons and sandals. Even the most casual styles are gaining a more solid fashion footing, to the point where they are not infrequently seen in the presence of three-piece suits. The point being, shoes are the new focus, the area in which today's man can assert his fashion individuality. Even espadrilles and riding boots are likely candidates to round out the basic footwear wardrobe. The variations on the basic shoe theme have had many influences this year—from the popularity of active sports shoes to experiments with new materials. The wide appeal of specialty shoes (running shoes, hiking boots, and so forth) has produced its fashion counterpart in the lighter, looser, more relaxed mood in clothing that we can expect to see again this summer. Of particular interest are: the use of fabrics (especially canvas and linen), either by themselves or in combination with leather; open treatments, such as perforations and cutouts; lower silhouettes both in the use of slimmer soles and in flatter heels; and lower-cut bodies showing more sock, or even more bare foot. The innovations emphasize comfort and simplicity of design.
Finally, after three A.M., practically out on my feet from exhaustion, I locked my hotel-room door behind me, pulled off my clothes down to my underwear and flopped onto the bed for whatever rest I could manage to get before running to catch the next plane at seven. A few hours before, I'd been among the 80,000,000 Americans who had watched the concluding eighth episode of the original Roots television miniseries, which had ended with me oncamera speaking for several minutes to that unprecedented national audience. Of the earlier seven Roots episodes, I'd had to miss six. While they were on, I had been hurrying between airports, hotels and myriad other places in an effort to maintain a blurring schedule of back-to-back appointments in a grueling coast-to-coast promotional tour of interviews, speeches and personal appearances seven days a week, usually from before breakfast to midnight and frequently beyond.
There's no trench coat, no dingy office with a bare bulb hanging over an ashtray full of chainsmoked Camels. Yet if Denise McConnell ever screamed "Freeze!" it would be a hardened criminal, indeed, who wouldn't stop dead in his tracks. Although it may be hard to believe, this soft-spoken, doe-eyed lovely is a licensed private investigator, a true-life counterpart to the best of Charlie's Angels.
His curvaceous date had worn a plunging strapless evening gown to the club dance, and after they exchanged a lingering goodnight kiss in the hallway, the fellow stepped back to survey her, smiled and said, "I'll never understand what kept it up."
He turned onto his left side in the bed, trying to avoid the wet spot. He propped his hand against his cheek, smiled grimly and prepared himself to tell her the truth about why he had been married and divorced three times.
Maybe you haven't noticed, but the country's in the throes of a bloody revolution. Don't ring up the FBI—there's nothing political going on. We're merely referring to the ascendancy of the bloody mary. Long a luncheon favorite and prized morning-after reviver, the bloody mary has risen to the top of the cocktail charts in a surge of interest. If it isn't number one, as some claim, it's certainly in place or show position.
We asked free-lancer Peter Manso to keep tabs on Mario Andretti throughout the past Grand Prix season. Andretti won the World Championship—the first American to do so since 1961—but at some considerable personal cost. Here, he talks with Manso about the premium he has had to pay, about why he races and why he wins.
"We Were a group of girls who really gave our all for the team. You'd think no problem would be so big that the management couldn't sit down and talk it out. But we ran into a wall of silence. We felt like we were waging a war."
'Twas on a sweet morning,When violets were a-springing,The dew the meads adorning,The larks melodious singing;The rose trees, by each breeze,Were gently wafted up and down,And the primrose, that then blows,Bespangled nature's verdant gown.The purling rill, the murmuring stream,Stole gently through the lofty grove:Such was the time when Darby stoleOut to meet his barefoot love.
The pioneer hi-fi system at the center of this spread includes an SA-8500II amplifier, a TX-9500II tuner, a PL-560 turntable and a CT-F900 cassette deck, all hooked up to a pair of HPM-100 speakers. Although the sound it puts out is top-drawer (at a price, of course—about $2300), there are still things you can do to beef up the system. The audio add-on units shown here—many of which are direct descendants of equipment used by recording technicians—go about improving your stereo's fidelity in different ways, but it all sounds good to us.
Tax evasion, as every good citizen knows, is a crime. But tax avoidance is legal, and as American as apple pie. Not only has the Supreme Court sanctioned tax avoidance but there's a general consensus that if you don't take advantage of every legal device and loop-hole to lower your tax liability, you're not very bright.
Coping with a deluxe restaurant is as much a stylized performance as taking part in a tribal ceremony, which in some respects it resembles. Everyone has a role to play and the movements must be executed with charm and authority.
Y our new digital wrist watch stopped digiting? Your waterproof boots aren't? Your color TV specializes in puce? It's warranty time. And, thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, you now have a buddy in Uncle Sam. But you have to know your rights.
Rosie is Jitterbugging at the USO when her favorite second looie pops at indecent proposal!Come across, gloss! We could make beautiful music together.Loose lips sink ships, flyboy! Besides, a bonus baby would scratch my service on the swing shift.
Why, if it ain't Pigfarmer McSwill An' Th' Ever-Buxom Mizz Ruby sue!Whut kin I dew fer you fine folks T'day?Us'n down here at Teddy Bob's pig supply always means T' please fine farm folk such as yerself!An' tha's a fact!
I use "Acid-Eze." What brand do you use?I prefer "Belly-AIDS." Two tablets give me fast relief.I should try them.This is awful! Everwhere I go these days the only thing people want to talk about is Stomach Antacids. Isn't anyone interested in art or politics anymore?
Watching Robin Williams perform is like being entertained by a repertory company: Several dozen characters flash in and out so quickly that you don't want to take time to laugh for fear you'll miss something. Dialects break into falsetto, then into something that sounds like a gang of pirates, then trail off into wicked impressions or a babble of machine sounds. The temptation is to call Williams a fine actor, but he's more like 15 or 16 actors and a couple of actresses. And behind all of them is a wit faster and sharper than a Veg-a-Matic.
Ah, those magnificent men and their cooking machines. If you've had an itch to get into the kitchen, there's no excuse not to now. These appliances make food preparation a snap while freeing you to spend more time at other pursuits. A warning, though; some enthusiasts have found cooking this way so much fun that they make too much and are forced to throw a party.
We don't know what kind of car moves you—a hot-shot Ferrari 308GTS, perhaps, or a sporty new Spirit or Omni—but we do know that your motoring pleasure will be increased if you supplement your four-wheel selection with one or more of these automotive products. They range from an inexpensive rear-window defroster/demister that plugs into your cigarette lighter to a sophisticated push-button mobile phone with a memory unit that recalls the last number dialed.