There are some tragedies that we must live with for a while before we can begin to truly understand them. Such was the case when 1980 Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten was murdered by her estranged husband last August. We decided that we needed to share her story--not only because we kept bumping into our bruised personal feelings but also because who she was is inextricably connected with who we are. We set out to answer the succession of small questions that would lead to an explanation. We already knew that in addition to her remarkable beauty and a potentially successful film career, Dorothy had become one of a generation of contemporary women who pursue their ambitions and independence as vigorously as they express their femininity. That promise of freedom became the target of a man who could not deal with it. We called upon Contributing Editor Richard Rhodes to write the story, with assistance from members of our editorial staff. Parts of the narrative are based on research provided by Los Angeles writers John Riley and Laura Bernstein and on selections from Dorothy Stratten's journals, copyright 1981, Dorothy Stratten Enterprises.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), May, 1981, Volume 28, Number 5. Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Bldg., 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 50611. Subscriptions: In the United States and its possessions, $48 for 36 issues, $34 for 24 issues, $18 for 12 issues. Canada, $24 for 12 issues. Elsewhere, $31 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; Michael Druckman, New York Sales Manager; Richard Atkins, Fashion Advertising Manager, 747 Third Avenue, New York, New York 10017; Chicago 60611, Russ Weller, Associate Advertising Manager, 919 North Michigan Avenue; Troy, Michigan 48084, Jess Ballew, Manager, 3001 W. Big Beaver Road; Los Angeles 90010, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 4311 Wilshire Boulevard; San Francisco 94104, Tom Jones, Manager, 417 Montgomery Street.
Two new books of interviews with Vietnam veterans are just coming out, and the differences between them are as wide as the Pacific Ocean. 'Nam (Morrow), edited by a nonveteran named Mark Baker, has no journalistic credibility whatsoever. Since the interviewees are anonymous, the stories told could be either fact or fiction. On the other hand, Everything We Had (Random House), edited by Al Santoli, who was a rifleman with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam, gives the names, ranks, places, dates of service and present locations of all the people being interviewed, from Lieutenant Colonel Gary Riggs, advisor to Special Forces in Laos in 1960--1961, to Stephen Klinkhammer, Navy medical corpsman on the aircraft carrier Midway stationed off Saigon during the fall of that city in April 1975; a total of 38 detailed and thoughtful interviews, each disturbing in the best way.
Guitar madness can strike anyone, anyplace, any time. The only known cure is an immediate dose of well-played guitar music applied directly to the frontal lobe by way of the ears. Fortunately, relief is in plentiful supply this month, in the form of four new albums--three of them solo efforts--by masterful jazz guitarists.
Double Boiler:Hot Wacks Quarterly, a Canadian record-collectors' magazine, recently ran shots of a picture disc by the British disco duo Blonde on Blonde, which has scored a couple of hits in Japan and Europe. Hot Wacks surrendered its own fingerprint-smudged edition to us and for your edification, here it is. Listening to it turned out to be a tactical error; it has somewhat dampened our enthusiasm for the smashing Britons Nina Carter and Jilly Johnson, who have appeared nude in British tabloids, album covers and OUI magazine. Take it from us--some records are made to be seen, not heard.
Reeling and Rocking:Countryman, a film by Bob Marley and the Wailers, will have its world premiere on video cassette and video disc rather than in a theater. Then, after release to the home market, a movie-distribution deal will be negotiated for later this year.... Don't get mad at us; we read this item in Los Angeles magazine: Apparently, there are now two very explicit video cassettes for sale of Elvis romping around Graceland with five young ladies. The tapes were reportedly lifted from Graceland by an ex-girlfriend and sold to a porn syndicate. Tape price? Five hundred dollars and up.
Whatever else may be said or written about it--and you're going to be seeing plenty--director Bob Rafelson's grindingly authentic new version of The Postman Always Rings Twice (Paramount/Lorimar) is a cinch to weigh in as one of the hottest movies of the year. Come to think of it, hotter than any uncurbed passion to hit the screen since Last Tango in Paris and Shampoo. There is virtually no nudity but plenty of explicit scratch-and-grapple sex between Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson, an odd couple whose sexual chemistry takes some getting used to. Once they connect, though--like a rutting stag and a doe in heat, locked together amid loaves of fresh-baked bread on top of the kitchen table--they generate an air of danger worthy of Bonnie and Clyde. A forceful presence, as usual, Nicholson seems to be playing studied accompanist to Lange, who is a revelation in this role. Not only can she act up a storm but the girl who began her screen career in King Kong's clutches seethes with a kind of feral animal magnetism as Cora, the bored wife of a Greek hash-house owner (John Colicos), so drugged with desire for a horny drifter that she and he devise a plan to kill her husband. She's terrific, no less.
Idol Gossip: Richard Dreyfuss will play the role of the young Albert Einstein in a new Disney film scheduled to start sometime this year. Animation will be used to illustrate Albert's thought processes... .Margot Kidder's latest film project, Heartaches, represents an image change for the actress. She's going blonde to play the role of Rita, a lusty, whiskey-gulping earth mother. Says Margot: "I took this part because it was as unlike Lois Lane as I could find." A Canadian film, Heartaches is about two girls who go off to the big city to seek love, jobs and control over their own destinies.... 20th Century-Fox TV is currently developing Nine to Five as a half-hour sitcom in association with Jane Fonda and the film's producer, Bruce Gilbert. ... Universal has cast Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., John Houseman and Patricia Neal for the film version of Peter Straub's best-selling novel Ghost Story. ... In their third motion picture, Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams, the raunchy duo play madcap ice-cream salesmen in hot pursuit of their fantasy woman, sexy Evelyn Guerrero. Both of C & C's previous films have been huge box-office successes. Their secret? "The key is that Cheech and I are really a good audience," says Tommy Chong. "If we think our stuff is funny, most people who like Cheech and Chong will think it's funny, too." ... Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek co-star in Universal's Missing and Presumed Dead, to be directed by Costa-Gavras. Universal also has three remakes on its schedule--Scarface, The Thing and The Cat People, the last to be directed by Paul Schrader. ... Peter Falk plays the fast-talking manager of two female tag-team wrestlers (Vicki Frederick and Laurene Landon) in MGM's All the Marbles. Frederick, by the way, starred in the Broadway productions of A Chorus Line and Dancin'.
Traveler's checks are very big business--about 35 billion dollars at last count--and the industry continues to grow. On the surface, everyone seems to be happy. Travelers profit because the checks are replaceable and usually yield better exchange rates than dollars overseas. The companies that issue the checks profit because they get to hold your money, without paying you any interest, until you get around to cashing the checks.
How do you go about restoring sexual interest in a relationship? My husband and I seem to have reached an impasse. We still make love once or twice a week, but there is no spark. He doesn't seem to be open to changing the routine. I gave him a copy of The Joy of Sex for Christmas. He told me that he didn't have time to read it but that I should read it and give him a summary. Is our situation hopeless?--Mrs. D. K., Los Angeles, California.
Two weeks before he was scheduled to die in the Indiana electric chair, Larry Hicks, age 21, found someone who would listen to him. That was in May 1979, when Indianapolis attorney Nile Stanton was visiting another prisoner at the state prison, heard Hicks's unusual story and decided to check it out. A year and a half later, after an intensive investigation supported by the Playboy Foundation and a new trial that had all the elements of a television melodrama, Hicks walked out of prison a free man, acquitted of the double murder for which he was nearly executed. Playboy reported the case last August ("The Man Who 'Didn't Do It'") to illustrate the alarming ease with which a person who has no money, family or knowledge of the legal system can be wrongly sentenced to death.
As Masters and Johnson have changed the world--shaking up our mythology about human sexuality, launching sex into the modern age--so has Elisabeth Kübler-Ross altered the consciousness of the world in her area of work: death and dying. Before this Swiss-born physician and psychiatrist began lecturing all over the globe, working with thousands of terminally ill patients and writing (her 1969 book, "On Death and Dying," is the classic study in this field), the topic of death was, in our Western culture, the ultimate taboo. Doctors, nurses and medical personnel, well trained in the science of life but lacking in the capacity to deal with death, frequently could not tell patients the truth, could not listen to them, ignored their emotional needs and truly abandoned them. Families, too, were ill-equipped to handle a loved one's impending death. So terminal patients were left to face the last, most profound act of their lives in a nightmare of loneliness and pretense.
The year Elvis died was a strange year, and I remember it not only because of what happened to my brother, Bubba, but because that was the year we had our first transsexual here in north Texas. Bobby Joe Pitts, who worked for Builders' Supply, told the wife and kids he still loved them, but he couldn't stand it any longer: He'd always felt like a woman in a man's body and wanted to go to Houston for a sex-change operation.
In London, the moment had come. The judges had decided. Anticipation swept the crowd as it waited to hear who the new Miss World would be. The envelope was opened, the contestants held their collective breath--the winner was ... Miss West Germany! Gabriella Brum could not believe her ears. There were cheers and tears as the new Miss World took center stage to receive the crown and begin the endless walk down the runway of fame. In the midst of all the hoopla, one thought was plaguing Gabriella: How on earth do I get out of this? (continued on page 213)World Class(continued from page 113)
The war is over and they have won. The large-scale invasion everyone had feared was accomplished with very little difficulty. In fact, they had our full and enthusiastic cooperation. Now it's too late. The computer people are in control.
"I don't get no respect," says Rodney Dangerfield. "Playboy asks me to be in a layout and all the models are dressed." We asked Rodney to model neckties for us because, over the years, ties have become his trademark--when performing, he always sports a thin, red one that, more often than not, seems to be choking him. Put a spiffy designer tie on a klutzy comic and what have you got? A klutzy comic in a spiffy designer tie.
Let's talk about the future," says Gina Goldberg, nee Virenius. "My past has just been too depressing." Born in the seaport of Turku--Finland's third largest city--she was raised by her grandparents. "It was an unhappy childhood" is all Gina cares to offer on that subject. At 16, she moved to Helsinki to seek her fortune--but wasn't thrilled by the job she landed as a supermarket clerk. "I lasted about six months," she says, "and then moved on to Stockholm." There--and subsequently in several other European cities--she dished up Big Macs at McDonald's. She lived in Hamburg, Munich, Athens--where she joined a Swedish dance company--London and Paris, where she became an au pair girl for an American family and studied at the Sorbonne. At the end of six months, the family she was working for went back to the States. "Since I'd heard so many good things about America, I decided to go there myself. It was summer and New York was hot and rainy," she says, "and I was all alone. I decided I needed some sunshine, so I took a Greyhound from New York to L.A. What a trip! I spent nearly a week on the bus." Arriving in downtown Los Angeles, she went directly to Hollywood, expecting glitter and stardust. What she found was a creep following her down the boulevard. "I was really scared, so I jumped into the first cab I saw, which turned out to be a lucky break, because the driver was very nice and helped me locate a place to stay." Her luck continued to improve. She found her own place, made friends, got married (briefly) and signed with a talent agent. "He booked me as an extra in a few films--just minor stuff, like playing a Vegas showgirl in the upcoming movie Jayne Mansfield, an American Tragedy--and I put together a modeling composite." Then a friend with an eye for beauty got her an appointment at Playboy's Studio West, with the results you see here. Gina would like to become an actress, but unlike many star-struck beauties, she is sensibly pursuing a plan B. "I can't go back to McDonald's anymore. I need to do something creative. So if acting doesn't work out, I'd like to start my own business, perhaps a boutique or a beauty salon. I'm going to study business administration, just in case I need something to fall back on." That, we suspect, is the attitude that has kept this high-spirited nomad landing on her feet.
Jeans and T-shirts may still be a guy's best fair-weather friends, but sport shirts and comfortable, easygoing slacks and shorts are making a strong comeback on the fashion scene. Fresh colors, sinfully soft fabrics and a modest touch of prints are the top-drawer reasons guys are rediscovering the pleasure of a comfortable sport shirt. And casual slacks are showing up in a greater variety of styles than we've seen in years. Pleated front, plain front, straight leg, tapered leg, belted, beltless or pull-on--you name it, somebody's manufacturing it. All this seems to indicate an appetite for casual looks beyond the ubiquitous blue jeans. Not that jeans are likely to fade from your casual wardrobe, but it does feel good to have an alternative outfit to jump into--one that's comfortable and good-looking.
If You Believe champagne is the only beverage linked with revelry and romance, chances are you've never been to an Oktoberfest, Munich's annual 16-day beer frolic. But the fact that beer can generate warm and jolly sentiments is certainly no recent discovery. Man's lust for lager predates written records and may well be the most durable entente in history.
I've always liked the Eiffel Tower as a subject. I once had an apartment-studio in the Passy section of Paris and, from my balcony, I had a splendid view of the tower. I sketched its skeletal structure in all kinds of weather, all seasons and all hours of the day and night. Last spring, while visiting a friend who lives near the Champ de Mars, I began to sketch the tower again. As I drew, I noticed a shapely French soleil worshiper enjoying the spring's first rays on a ninth-floor balcon--and, from his balcony directly across the way, a motionless secret admirer, binoculars in hand, quietly zeroing in on her unclad charms. Vive la France!
Sooner or later, the Western world was bound to find out about the many-splendored young things crowding the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea. But why wait for word of mouth when you've got an eyewitness? And we have one--Staff Photographer Pompeo Posar, born in Trieste and raised in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. Having found and photographed women from all over the world for our Girls of ... features, Pompeo turned his eye to the sites of his own youth for this one. In fact, the whole thing was his idea: He would combine the scenic landscapes of Yugoslavia's Adriatic (text continued on page 204)Adriatic Coast(continued from page 154) coast with the beauty of its women, both of which have missed being fully appreciated in the West. Posar combed the area for more than two months, selecting and cajoling its frequently somewhat shy lovelies to pose for the pictures on these pages. There was the girl who missed her photo shooting because her father had locked her in her room for staying out dancing too late the night before. There were others who made appointments but canceled at the last minute. But, in the main, Yugoslavian women showed they've come a long way from the dirndl and the babushka. That's not surprising: Female college enrollment has increased by more than 1500 percent since 1939. Virtually all careers are open to women, many of whom wear the same fashions as their Parisian or Roman counterparts. Indicative of those trends were the two girls Pompeo met who invented a new barter system at one of the open-air markets. Hitchhiking around and short on cash, the vagabonds made a deal with a geriatric fruit peddler. In exchange for an ample supply of fresh figs, they flashed their bare breasts at him. Women like those undo certain popular myths about what's lurking behind the iron curtain.
Madonna Modesta--what a bad joke it was on Fortune's part to give her such a name! On the other hand, he brought things back into balance when he caused her husband to be named Tristano Zanchetto, which means zany. They lived, not long ago, in Pistoia, an ancient city of Tuscany.
New York writer Warren Kalbacker fought rush-hour traffic in his nine-year-old Pinto to meet with John De Lorean in his Park Avenue penthouse office. "It looked like a marble, chrome and glass cathedral," Kalbacker told us later. "De Lorean comes across like a blasphemer in the midst of automotive orthodoxy. He also refers to taking a leak as a pit stop." De Lorean's car, which will cost in the $25,000 range, is being introduced this spring.
In this amazing age of OPEC blackmails and big-car blues, the possession of a so-called gas guzzler can plummet one to social grottoes formerly occupied only by the Baader-Meinhof gang, skid-row regulars and high-ranking members of the Nixon Administration. That once-celebrated act of American patriotism wherein a solid citizen climbed aboard his car, boat or plane powered by a monster engine and joyously consumed various petrochemical distillates is now looked upon with the same revulsion as turning redwoods into roofing shingles for fast-food emporiums or clubbing baby seals for their coats.
Face it. It was a very bad year for movies. In Chicago, critics found themselves going back to 1979 for films to complete their ten-best lists (citing the incredible Black Stallion). In New York, one theater made money by running the 1979 hit La Cage aux Folles--a quaint movie about flaming gay-ety in France--for 82 consecutive weeks. L.A. film critic Charles Champlin resigned from his beat in disgust, saying that he could not write about films if there were nothing to write about. How did we find enough films to rave about? Well, like the man said, "It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it." Our staff diligently sought out the best and the worst. At times, it got confusing. A diet of B movies can result in brain damage. When it actually came time to make an award for favorite film, our staff was divided between Robert Redford's Ordinary People and the Zucker brothers and Jim Abrahams' Airplane! Class and glorious trash. There were some good things in the movies. Magic moments. Ray Sharkey doing his moves offstage in The Idolmaker. Leslie Quickley in Fame imitating O. J. Simpson waiting for the elevator in The Towering Inferno. All of Coal Miner's Daughter. The fight scenes in Raging Bull. The special effects in Altered States. The camp creativity of Popeye and Flash Gordon. Probably the only film that had fun with itself this year was Airplane!, which had taken five years to get onscreen. We asked its producers if any parts had been left out. They answered: "The following is a list of scenes that were cut from the final version of Airplane! (1) A ten-minute scene of Bob Hays riding a mechanical bull (cut because in several frames you could see pubic hair). (2) A half hour of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lloyd Bridges swimming naked underwater and discovering natural love (cut because it was too violent). (3) A flashback where the autopilot goes into a sensory-deprivation tank (cut because studio chiefs felt it was too unrealistic). (4) A huge production number with 100 disfigured dancers dressed as the Elephant Man singing Put On a Happy Face (cut because the lyrics got muffled through the slurping). We hope these will be helpful. Please let us know if you need more." Believe us, we do need more.
Over the years, Playboy has become embedded in the landscape of American culture. But in the landscape of this puzzle page, things may have gone too far. The words play and boy seem to be everywhere. In fact, if you look carefully, you'll find them in 30 of the names of the people, objects and events pictured below. See what we mean?
Sleeping in a pint-sized canvas pup tent may be fine for the Boy Scouts of America and Marines on bivouac, but when the rest of us take to the great outdoors, we like to do so with a modicum of ease. First on our list of campsite creature comforts is a lightweight waterproof and bugproof tent that collapses into a size that's easy to tote. And because of clever structural design, many tents don't need stakes or guy lines to stay up--and can even be moved from one location to another without having to be collapsed. Of course, the ne plus ultra of tentdom is the Optimum 350 (below), with room enough for your harem and their camels. Yeah!
Not long ago, the reversible coat hung in the same stuffy closet with the two-pants suit; i.e., it was strictly an item of function rather than fashion that no one with any sense of style took seriously. Today, the reversible coat may still be a two-for-one, but smart designers have brought the idea into the fashion mainstream by creating looks that are appealing to the eye as well as the pocketbook. The reversibles that we like best are ones that utilize different materials (leather to cotton, ciré to terrycloth, etc.) for switches in mood. And while the idea is keyed mostly to jackets, many other manufacturers, including those who make warm-up outfits, bathing suits and even socks, are about to slip into reverse gear, too. It's an easy way to double your fashion fun.
It almost sounds like the script of a Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland movie. In the halcyon days before the movie "10" changed Western civilization as we know it, two struggling kids--John and Bo Derek--decided to scrape some funds together and film an erotic movie, a visual fantasy called Love You. Sorry, guys: The Dereks worked behind the camera, John as cinematographer, Bo as producer. They left the serious acting to such underground stars as Annette Haven and Lesllie Bovee. After three years on the shelf, the work is now available in video cassette for, uh, serious students of cinema. As the stills here reveal, it was worth the wait.
"Nukes and the Politics of Fear"--Is it true that we lag hopelessly behind the Russians in Armaments? Experts from the center for defense information, a think tank full of military types, say it ain't necessarily so. A thoughtful report-by Asa Baber