This is the month of Halloween, when, for 24 hours, we each have the right to try on a strange face without being called schizoid. But there are those who need no masks to change faces abruptly, horrifically. One such person was the late Gary Gilmore, whose life seemed destined from the start to end before a firing squad. The redoubtable Norman Mailer spent two and a half years researching and writing Gilmore's life story and the result is his forthcoming book, The Executioner's Song (Little, Brown). The first installment of our three-part excerpt (illustrated by Marshall Arisman) tells of Gilmore's transformation from polite child into psychopathic, homicidal adult.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), October, 1979, Volume 26, Number 10. Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Bldg., 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States and its possessions, $39 for 36 issues, $28 for 24 issues, $16 for 12 issues. Canada, $18 for 12 issues. Elsewhere, $25 for 12 issues. 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.; L.A., Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Blvd.; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager, 417 Montgomery St.
The reason you weren't able to enjoy the talk "Suicides in Nevada" at the International Association of Coroners and Medical Examiners was because speaker Ralph Bailey, the Washoe County coroner, shot himself in the head a month before the convention.
The debates about Apocalypse Now will rage for a long time to come. After an enormous outlay of time and energy, is producer-director Francis Coppola's monumental drama a masterpiece or is it not? Does it have to be? Because of deadline pressures, I was able to view Apocalypse only as a work in progress, precisely the way it was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. The final prints shipped to theaters will have revised narration written by Michael Herr (author of Dispatches). There'll be minor changes in the opening scenes, some revisions of the music and a definite decision about how to end the movie. By now, at least half the world must know that the ending had been Coppola's stickiest problem. It's still his problem, no matter which of several climactic shots he chooses. His problem is the penultimate Brando sequence--some murky, pretentious dialog and the stolidity of Brando himself during the last 20 minutes of the film, when the legendary Colonel Kurtz is finally tracked to his lair by Captain Willard (Martin Sheen), the Special Forces man sent to assassinate him. Here's where Apocalypse gets tangled with its complex roots in Heart of Darkness. By the time he gets to the pure Conradian profundity of Kurtz's last words--"The horror! The horror!"--Coppola seems to be out of his depth and into his doldrums.
Previews: Among the hot fiction offerings for fall are a new novel by Anne (Interview with a Vampire) Rice called The Feast of All Saints; a first novel by Susan Cheever (John's daughter), Looking for Work; and Harold Robbins' latest saga, this one about the American labor movement, Memories of Another Day, all from Simon & Schuster. Viking has Dalton Trumbo's last work, Night of the Aurochs, a novel about a Nazi officer; and Farrar, Straus & Giroux is bringing out a new collection of Isaac Bashevis Singer short stories, Old Love. Another story collection, On the Edge of the Cliff (Random House), coincides with author V. S. Pritchett's 80th birthday. Jessamyn West's The Life I Really Lived (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich) is billed as a novel, but it's also a confessional memoir; and John le Carré's new espionage novel, Smiley's People (Knopf), gives the reader Smiley's final confrontation with Karla, his mortal enemy and opposite number inside the Soviet Union.
Round and round we go, in smaller and smaller circles. First there were films about film stars (such bombs as Gable and Lombard), then a plethora of TV "docudramas" about contemporary people and events (Ike and Blind Ambition) and, finally--full turn--a television movie about a television sitcom star who committed suicide just two years ago. Can You Hear the Laughter? which traces the short, unhappy life of comedian Freddie Prinze, is a valiant attempt to tell some painful truths about sudden success, drugs and Hollywood as they affected a talented young man. The film, which will be aired by CBS in the fall, has some affecting moments, but a successful combination of realistic drama, physical resemblance and accurate impersonation may be too much to ask of any film--let alone one produced under the limitations of TV.
An evening at La Folie (21 East 61st Street) brings immediate results," confides a young Manhattan member of our staff. He didn't elaborate on what kind of results he meant, but if you're partial to fresh sturgeon caviar at bargain rates, truly distinctive fare and berserk disco--all under one splendiferous roof--then an evening at La Folie will be sufficient reward.
Baby, let me drive your car: Our Hot Wax Award for cover art beyond the call of duty goes to our very own Alberto Vargas for Candy-O (Elektra), by last year's overnight sensation, The Cars. The vinyl's not as hot as the group's double-platinum debut, but it's good new rock.
Newsbreaks: Talk about rising expectations--we hear the latest Paul McCartney and Wings album, released last summer, had to sell over 5,000,000 copies before CBS Records could make any money on it. McCartney's new contract stipulates that he earn a large share of early proceeds. We're not too worried about CBS--Paul is the ex-Fab Four's main money-maker.... Rolling Stone's new magazine aimed at college students, Rolling Stone's College Extra, is being edited by Jann Wenner's sister Kate. Other news from Rolling Stone: A TV pilot tentatively called, of all things, Rolling Stone, No Holds Barred is in the works and Wenner has signed a production deal with Paramount for three movies.... Although The Who have had a very high profile in recent months, Pete Townshend has told reporters he's still opposed to prolonged touring because the stress "has killed thousands of other people. Why kill me?" ... Syntonic Research, Inc., famous for its unique Environments series of nature recordings, has been attacked as "sexist" by women's groups who object to three recent covers featuring nature images superimposed on the back of a nude woman. Two mail-order companies have also canceled orders for the three new releases, citing the covers. Footnote: One of the three albums includes sounds of a raging blizzard that, Syntonic claims, have a significant effect on body temperature. We wonder why anyone would want to pay cash for that.... A California firm called Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab gets high marks from rock groups like Supertramp and Fleetwood Mac for something called half-speed mastering, which reportedly cuts distortion and captures more high and low notes on records. The company plans to recut two classics, The Grateful Dead's American Beauty and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, at a steep $15-$16 per album.
Isn't there anything left to believe in? Not even Kiss? Our favorite killer metal space creatures? A last secure bastion of teenage barbarism? You'd think at least they would be among the last holdouts, continuing to carry unwaveringly the loud, brutish banner of Dinosaur Rock. But no. Most of Kiss's new Dynasty (Casablanca) is old Marshall Amps vs. Godzilla stuff, the best a version of the Stones' 2000 Man. But sadly, reptile fans, Kiss has joined the stampede for disco dollars with not one but two disco tracks here. It's almost enough to make us in the Kiss Army come down and defect. Is nothing sacred?
NBC News: Rumors have been circulating around Hollywood that Johnny Carson's replacement will be either Richard Dawson (host of Family Feud) or comedian David Letterman, but my sources assure me that the decision has been made--and that it's definitely going to be Letterman. Letterman got his first big break as a guest on The Tonight Show some time ago and has been guest-hosting on a fairly regular basis through out the summer. Although NBC recently signed Letterman to an exclusive contract, the network has not, as we go to press, officially confirmed that he would be Carson's replacement.
Several months ago, I became involved in a bizarre situation. I met a lovely little blonde and commenced to fall in love with her. Unfortunately, it wasn't a totally reciprocal relationship. Oh, she liked me quite a bit, but she happened to be involved with another person at the same time and tried to conceal it from me. About two and a half months ago, she went on an exchange program to the East Coast. Shortly after that, I started seeing her best friend and former roommate. One thing led to another, and now I find myself deeply involved with that girl. Looks good so far, right? Now comes the catch. The blonde's other relationship was a pain in my side while I was dating her, and that same relationship is still a pain. If you haven't guessed, the two girls I have been messin' with have been messin' with each other and they're in love! Hold it! I know what you're thinking and I have already asked, but it won't work. Both girls enjoy their time together and their time with me too much to have it ruined by jealousy trips. I have a feeling that in a month and a half, when the blonde comes back home, I'm going to be out in the cold. Both girls are so mixed up they don't know what's coming off, and, consequently, neither do I. Please help me keep my sanity and at least one of these lovely ladies. My heater doesn't work and a few blankets and your foldouts just won't make it.--P. F., Chico, California.
By now, the fellow smiling impishly on this month's cover needs no introduction; but in case you've been away for the past ten years, his name is Burt Reynolds and he's a movie star. In fact, he's the world's biggest movie star, even though he stands only 5'5", weighs 122 pounds and likes sheep and young boys. Only kidding there, Burt. Reynolds is actually about six feet tall, weighs around 175 and likes women. Boy, does he like women. His reputation as a hyperactive Lothario has been fueled by rumored romances with everyone from Catherine Deneuve and Lauren Hutton to such non-Hollywood types as tennis ace Chris Evert and country singer Tammy Wynette. But that's only rumor. The documented loves of his life have been ex-wife (and former "Laugh-In" comedienne) Judy Carne, Dinah Shore and his current flame, Sally Field.
Brenda was six when she fell out of the apple tree. She climbed to the top and the limb with the good apples broke off. Gary caught her as the branch came scraping down. They felt scared. The apple trees were their grandmother's best crop and it was forbidden to climb in the orchard. She helped him drag away the tree limb and they hoped no one would notice. That was Brenda's earliest recollection of Gary.
Tweed, Texture and Tone are the key words to this fall's tailored menswear. Styles that used to be called weekend or country clothes have come to town, bringing with them an air of casual formality that's subtly British yet international in scope. Counterpoint this with the increased use of rich fabrics and unexpected color combinations (would you believe that iridescent shades, including vivid blue and rose, are staging a comeback?) and you have a fashion score that's bright with versatility. Combinations such as velvet with tweed, loden with corduroy and--get this--even mink with wool are indications that there's a trend to more sensuality, as well as selectivity, in what we're putting on our backs. But while fashion rules are being tastefully bent, we're happy to announce that there's nothing truly radical on the drawing boards of designers and manufacturers. (By now, we've all adjusted to the narrower lapels, smaller collars and skinny ties that have replaced the dated big-spread look of a few years ago.) Next month, we'll check out the trends in cold-weather casualwear. Men's fashions, as they say, are looking good.
Whether Francis coppola is on a power trip or just circling to land after a protracted nervous breakdown seems a matter of conjecture. He has spent three and a half years and well over $30,000,000 on A pocalypse Now, his ultimate antiwar epic based on Joseph Conrad's classic novella Heart of Darkness. During shooting, his leading actor, Martin Sheen, suffered a heart attack; the entire production was almost wiped out by a typhoon; and still another slowdown occurred when Marlon Brando showed up in the Philippines--overweight, overpaid (at least $1,000,000 plus, perhaps more) and as overwhelming as usual.
January 1, 1990. It would have been difficult to convince the desperate gasaholic of 1983 that what he dreamed of as he jogged to work in his recycled polyester suit--an abundance of oil--might turn out to be a disaster. But a disaster is what the oil glut turned out to be, deflating an economy dependent on inflation, throwing into penury countries and companies that thrived on shortages.
Because I grew up in a multiethnic environment in New York City, the South has always conjured up some bad news reactions on word-association tests for me: Klan, lynch, redneck, moonshine, speed-trap towns and death ... lots of death.
Sociologists have been telling us for decades that growing up in the slums breeds malice. This month's Playmate, Ursula Buchfellner, is a living contradiction of that adage. Says photographer Peter Weissbrich, for whom she posed in Chicago and in her native Munich: "Ursula is an angel. A lascivious angel. Her radiation compensates for the fuel shortage in my studio."
I don't suppose they'll ever bring our food," complained the woman in the crowded restaurant as she finished off her third martini. Then she slipped her hand under the tablecloth, fondled her husband's thigh and giggled, "It's silly to spend all night here, George, when we could be together in our very own bed."
Adam and eve notwithstanding, apple aficionados insist there are more tempting ways with the piquant pomme than eating it out of hand. What they have in mind is cider, hard cider in the United States, a crisp, tart-sweet, low-alcohol potable, often, though not always, effervescent. It is made by fermenting the juice of apples, just as wine is made by fermenting grapes and beer by fermenting grain. While there are similarities, cider--with its unmistakable orchard tang--is quite distinctive. Devotees contend it's lighter than wine and more refreshing than beer. Alcohol content generally ranges between the two, though Devon scrumpy, known to turn the legs into spaghetti, can go 15 percent or more alcohol.
Breakfast: black coffee, one slice of dry toast,No butter, no jelly, no jam.Lunch: just some lettuce, two celery stalks,No booze, no potatoes, no ham.Dinner: one chicken wing, broiled, not fried,No gravy, no biscuits, no pie.And this dietin', dietin'Sure is a rough way to die.
The Small-Speaker revolution has been fought and the down-sized revolutionaries have won big. Now, when the Village People sing about staying at the Y.M.C.A., there are speakers that will squeeze into the Y's tiny rooms and still deliver awesome sound. Several technological advances have made all this possible: Woofers incorporated into the latest small speakers can move as much air as their larger cousins; and light diminutive-dome tweeters are capable of uncanny brightness and volume. Although minispeakers may never replace the big boys, they do yeoman's service in any room smaller than a concert hall. And when it's time to move, you don't need muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger's to get those boxes out the door.
Fred Silverman has devoured the goose that laid the golden egg. The man who led the way in transforming American television from a social force into a social disease is about to pay the price. And so are the other men and women who have conspired with Silverman and the rest of the network moguls to force-feed more than 200,000,000 Americans a daily diet of generally wretched entertainment on that three-headed monster--CBS, ABC and NBC.
With New Playboy Clubs opening overseas--most recently in Manila and in Nagoya, Japan--our Bunnies are, more than ever, standard-bearers of a far-flung Playboy empire. The plush Manila Club opened late last year to a celebrity-studded crush of well-wishers, including Imelda Marcos, wife of the president of the Philippines. In addition to a spectacular disco, the Club offers a cornucopia of fun in two bars, two (text continued on page 165) game rooms, a library, a sauna, a whirlpool and a fully equipped gym. In Japan, the Nagoya Club has joined sister hutches in Tokyo and Osaka. Before Playboy's arrival this July, the area around Nagoya was best known as the home of the cultured pearl; a full-scale Bunny hunt, we're told, uncovered more than one pearl to staff our newest Club. Future plans call for another Pacific Playboy outpost--in Hawaii. Negotiations are now under way for a suitable island location.
Sailing should be like making love; the point is not to see how fast you can finish. If you really want to get away from it all and are in no hurry to get somewhere or to do anything but relax, crewed charter yachting is the way to go. December 15 to May 1 is the season to sail the Caribbean: hot days, cool nights, brilliant sun, clear waters--the stuff of which dreams are made when snow falls and the wind howls over the States. Arrangements for the trip should be made during September or October.
The vocabulary of today's audiovisual revolution rests heavily on gamma ferrites, kilohertz, polar patterns, shims and polystyrene shells. But one need not understand the specifics, just the basics, to get a grasp on the new video revolution. The following ought to clear up some of the confusion.
The registered Playboy Bunny Costume is a modern American classic. In the years since it was introduced at the first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1960, it has been worn by thousands of women, including, for one reason or another, actress/model Lauren Hutton, feminist author Gloria Steinem and a young staff reporter for the old NBC Today show, Barbara Walters. Lauren actually worked as a New York Bunny; the two others were on assignment, investigating the mystique that has grown up around the Bunnies. Nearly 20 years ago, the costume was considered a little risqué--and a traffic stopper of the first order. It may have had wives and girlfriends up in arms, but it brought husbands and boyfriends thronging to the Playboy Club. Now, of course, the Bunny Costume is a part of Americana, much like cowboy boots or pinstripes on ballplayers. So how do you improve on a classic? Maybe you don't. But we've always been fascinated by the possibilities. And in that spirit, we've commissioned eight of the world's top fashion designers to come up with alternative styles. While they may never replace the original, their traffic-stopping capabilities are obvious.
Even the best-laid plans of busy men can go astray because somebody overslept or forgot about an engagement. To ensure that this doesn't happen to you, take a look at the alarm-equipped products pictured below. Two are clock-radios that incorporate some nifty innovations, while the third is a futuristic-looking electronic reminder that jogs your memory about daily appointments and also doubles as an alarm clock. They sure beat tying a string around your finger.
Suddenly last summer, everything below the male waist changed. It might have had something to do with the terrific way girls looked in tight-legged jeans. (They certainly affect us below the waist.) And perhaps it is inevitable that we tire of dressing the same way, day after day. Whatever the reason, almost overnight, wide, flared slacks looked as dated as Gene Sarazen's knickers--and trouser legs tightened up, but quick. Just in case this slight alteration took you by surprise, here are seven pairs of narrow-cut slacks ranging from a dressy wool flannel style to a knockabout denim that will give you a leg up on building a better pants wardrobe. We chose them as examples of basic styles that are adaptable to most situations. For more versatility, also check out what's available in satin, velvet, etc. Why shouldn't putting your pants on be fun, too?
Some things go better with a little nip from a friendly hip flask: college football games, polo matches, dry-fly fishing on a wet day and even a walk in the woods. But flasks have something else going for them besides the capacity to carry spirits. Offer a friend a pull from a bottle and you look about as cool as the brown-baggers who hang out on the corner, watching all the girls go by. But pass that person your antique silver English officer's flask--now, that's class. And it's also classier if you fill your favorite portable container with something especially palatable and fraught with character. A single-malt Scotch goes nicely with a flask, as does VSOP cognac, well-aged bourbon, Irish whisky or even a mellow dark rum. Caps off, men!