With the Historic exception of Walter Cronkite, television anchor people, as a breed, take a lot of heart. Senator Jesse Helms is out to get CBS' Dan Rather. Brown & Williamson, the tobacco conglomerate, successfully sued Chicago's Walter Jacobson. Christine Craft lost her job in Kansas City, she claimed, because she wasn't pretty enough. Nobody could ever accuse NBC-TV's Linda Ellerbee of that; nor, as she demonstrates in And So It Goes: My Adventures in Television (illustrated by David Croland), is she merely a decorative piece of fluff. She's a funny, sometimes selfmocking, writer, and a damned good one. Our article, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the industry, is excerpted from her book, due soon from Putnam.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), April 1986, Volume 33, Number 4. Published Monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In the United States and its possessions, $56 for 36 issues, $38 for 24 issues, $24 for 12 issues, Canada, $35 for 12 issues. Elsewhere, $35 (U.S. Currency) 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 55230, Boulder, Colorado 80323-5230, and allow 45 days for change. Circulation: Ed Condon, Director/Direct Marketing; Jack Bernstein, Circulation Promotion Director. Advertising: New York: Elaine Hershman, New York Manager: Walter Kuenstler, Marketing Director, 747 Third Avenue, New York 10017; Chicago: 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago 60611; Detroit: 3001 West Big Beaver Road, Troy, Michigan 48084; West Coast: Brian Van Mols, Manager, 8560 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles 90069.
Stylish and Sexy as a Chanel commercial, 9 1/2 Weeks (MGM/UA) was directed by Adrian Lyne, whose Flashdance displayed his flair for putting together a collage of ultrafashionable erotica. There's scant substance here, but who cares? An entire generation of well-heeled, ripe-and-ready Yuppies may find themselves responding to the designer-label look of Lyne's glossy homage to a novel by Elizabeth McNeill (one steamy excerpt appeared in Playboy in April 1978). It's all about a New York career woman in sexual and psychological bondage, for a time, to an affluent young businessman who woos her, wows her, blindfolds her and awakens her to her own sensuality in unexpectedly exciting ways. I'm not sure that Mickey Rourke, as the dominant male, projects quite the right air of commanding kinkiness. He's a little too laid-back, a shade cool. But spontaneous combustion occurs whenever the camera settles on Kim Basinger, already singled out as a scorcher in Fool for Love and no less a presence as the sexy recruit for Rourke's obedience training. Whether she is turning herself on in a darkened projection room or doing an impromptu striptease to entertain her insatiable lord and master, Basinger emerges as a golden girl right up there with Bardot and Harlow-- and demonstrably a surer actress than either of them. Lyne's cosmetically retouched 9-1/2 Weeks might be dismissed as Son of Flashdance or maybe just a lightweight Last Tango; but while he seems dedicated to the proposition that beauty is only skin-deep, his appreciative ogling of Basinger and Gotham's mid-Eighties glitter damned near proves his point. [rating]3 bunnies[/rating]
Quote of the Month: From Clarence Clemons, on the difference between working with The Boss and being his own boss: "It's a hard thing to do, but every man wants to leave his own footprints in the sand ... being the boss is full of responsibility and working with Bruce is no responsibility. You just go out and you're only responsible to him. You have fun and you don't worry about the small details. The benefit of doing my own thing is having the last word ... about how I want things done."
These are my credentials: I don't watch David Letterman. I don't watch 60 Minutes. On Friday nights, I go out. I don't quite know what to make of this, but suddenly I find that I have more in common with my co-workers' kids than I do with my co-workers. The reason? Tuesday night at the tube, the best double bill on TV.
The White House Mess (Knopf), by Christopher Buckley, is one of the funniest books ever written about the mess called Washington, D.C. Set in the near future, The White House Mess purports to be the memoirs of Herbert Wadlough, a snob if there ever was one and a former member of President Thomas Nelson Tucker's Administration. That was the Administration that invaded Bermuda in 1992, remember? Wadlough was involved in that fracas, and it was he who allowed himself to be gassed with GB-322 on the Today show to prove that gassing the island was an acceptable thing. But why not read the book and find out what happened? You'll encounter a lustful Presidential wife, a mean Presidential kid, an ambitious Vice-President who is always being sent out to pasture, a Cabinet of lightweight thinkers, a Congress of dolts and a White House that is filled with plots and counterplots, in the middle of which sits Wadlough himself, a Yuppie manqué, an Anglophile, an accountant from Boise who has taken on the trappings of Washington, never to shed them. We should thank our lucky stars that Buckley's vision of a venal and vapid White House could never actually be taken as the truth, for if it were, it would mean the country is really in a terrible mess. Read The White House Mess and weep with laughter.
No sporting event compares with the N.C.A.A.'s Final Four in basketball, not if you want to observe the best scholar-athletes in our American universities. These astounding young men not only are taller than Nepal and capable of slam-dunking a handful of Sherpas, they can also quote the great poets and philosophers, solve intricate mathematical problems and even, in many cases, spell their own names.
This all began with Epictetus. That probably sounds fancy, but it's the truth. The year was 1977, and I was sitting in a farmhouse in central Illinois. It was snowing, many days and nights of snow, huge drifts, no communication with the outside world, telephone lines down, roads closed.
I rented the movie Arthur again the other night. I just love Arthur. Dudley Moore: handsome, witty, rich and drunk--sozzled because no one loves him. Falls madly in love with Liza Minnelli. because she's kookie and steals ties for her father. Dudley is engaged to another, but he doesn't love her. He loves Liza, but she's a waitress; the family won't approve.
I've been seeing a girl steadily for the past two and a half years. We are the best of friends and love each other very much, but we come from opposite ends of the sexual spectrum. I am sexually liberal and have in the past enjoyed a good deal of sexual activity. My girlfriend, however, is still a virgin and is extremely insecure and backward regarding sex.
Herpes, the love bug, keeps making legal news. In a case discreetly titled Kathleen K. vs. Robert B., the California Court of Appeals has ruled that a woman who contracts herpes has the right to sue the man who infects her.
At approximately four A.M. on February 17, 1970, Military Police were summoned to the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, residence of Dr. Jeffrey R. MacDonald, a physician and captain in the Army Medical Corps, where they discovered Dr. MacDonald's pregnant wife, Colette, and two children, Kimberly, five, and Kristen, two, clubbed and stabbed to death. MacDonald was lying partially across his wife's body in the master bedroom. The bodies of Kimberly and Kristen were found in their bedrooms. MacDonald, who apparently sustained a number of stab wounds--one of which resulted in a partially collapsed lung--was rushed to Womack Army Community Hospital, where he was treated and released. So began one of the most bizarre and celebrated murder cases in recent history--best known through Joe McGinniss' best-selling book "Fatal Vision" and NBC's two-part docudrama based on the book, but endlessly debated by virtually everyone who has heard of it.
We Call them Twinkies. You've seen them on television acting the news, modeling and fracturing the news, while you wonder whether they've read the news--or if they've blow-dried their brains, too. I make my living as a reporter and sometime anchor woman on network television and, like almost everyone in my business, I have an overdeveloped ego and a case of galloping ambition. Some of my colleagues want to be the Anchor Man on the Mount. Others see themselves as the Ace Reporter. Because of 60 Minutes, there's a whole herd of them determined to be the Grand Inquisitor; and because of the way ratings affect our jobs, a heady number want only to be the Friendliest Anchor on the Block. At least one wants to be Jesus. Me, I just don't want to be thought of as a Twinkie.
A few years ago, we got to ride a Superbike racing machine around a track in California. It was $15,000 worth of high-tech parts and about 800 man-hours' worth of labor. The result was an "idea" of a motorcycle. Pure speed. Thought-control handling. We wondered, knowing that such a bike was possible, how long it would take for some company to offer all that technology to the consumer. We have the answer now. Japan and Italy have uncrated street-legal production racers for the aficionado. To match the performance of these motorcycles in a four-wheeled vehicle, you would have to spend in excess of $100,000. To fully appreciate these machines, you may have to pay in excess of $100,000 to a lawyer. Keep him on permanent retainer, so you can keep your license. We know a few roads where courage and competence can combine with technology to produce the rush of the century. These bikes go fast, handle well and stop on a dime. They do those things better than any machine you've laid your hands on. The time to dream is now.
Alexandra Mosca is a mortician--or, as she prefers, a funeral director. And if there's one thing that bugs a funeral director--a stunning, funny and bright funeral director--it's being sloughed, off as a mysterious, black-cloaked phantom. Playboy--having in the past found beauties among the women of Mensa, on the Springfield, Ohio, police force and even in the forests of Alaska--has now added Alexandra to its list of discoveries and, luckily for us, Morticia Addams she's not. "I'm posing for these pictures to prove that the undertaker isn't that shadowy figure depicted in mythology. True, we wear black suits and not a lot of make-up, but Playboy found me attractive. Frankly, I'm flattered." Alexandra was born 28 years ago aboard a ship in the Mediterranean. Her mother, a Greek, died in childbirth and her father, an Italian, put her up for adoption. Making her first transatlantic trip as an infant, she ultimately wound up in Queens, New York. "As a child, I was always interested in--fascinated by might be the wrong term--death." Eventually, that admittedly macabre preoccupation led Alexandra to undertake her first undertaking assignment. During a Las Vegas Night at a local church, she met a man who happened to be a funeral director ("We were playing craps"). Somehow, he persuaded her to work for him. It was a far cry from your typical part-time job (no cashier-at-the-local-candy-store stuff for Alexandra), and she soon found herself absorbed in her work. "I felt I was helping people. See, when you're a teenager, you somehow think you're immortal. Life'll never end. When you're a funeral director, that whole notion changes. In fact," she adds quietly, "whenever I'm feeling sorry for myself, I think about the young people I've buried. That's when I suddenly feel very lucky." Realizing she had found a career, Alexandra began to save her money. In 1982, she became proprietor of her own funeral service in Queens. Believe it or not, life in the funeral lane is fast, and that sometimes poses social problems for Alexandra. "I've had three fiancés and numerous boyfriends. The fiancés were old-fashioned men who wanted me to stay home and make macaroni. As for the boyfriends--well, they were a little better. They weren't taken aback by my profession, but they'd get annoyed when I was beeped in the middle of a romantic dinner. That's understandable, but, hell, you never know when you're going to get business." And when it comes to business, Alexandra shines. She radiates a compassionate--almost tender--aura. "After the embalming, I dress and make up the body. You have to take great care not to overdo the make-up; otherwise, they'd look like dolls. I want to make them appear peaceful. Then there's the family. You're the target for their grief. They'll spar with you and give you a certain amount of abuse, so you need infinite patience." She takes a deep breath and smiles with her eyes. "The real reward is when they come back later and say: 'You made this terrible experience a little easier for us.'" Alexandra maintains her sense of humor, even when contemplating her own demise. "I wish I could take care of myself when I die," she comments with a some-what bizarre enthusiasm. "Obviously, I can't. But when I do go, I get the feeling there'll be a lottery. A lot of men in the biz would love to see me naked." Well, now those men have their chance--while Alexandra is still emphatically alive. Although in the past Alexandra had posed for more than 200 oil paintings by an artist friend, her gig in front of the Playboy cameras was something new. She's fully aware that she may get some flak as a result and has decided to make no excuses whatever. "It has taken me a long time to realize it, but I think I'm a bit of an exhibitionist." But just as Alexandra was opening up, the conversation came to an abrupt halt. Honest to God--she was beeped.
There are only two seasons in this country, the dusty and the wet. I already know the dusty and I'll get to know the wet. I've seen worse. I've seen Baghdad, Bombay, Queens--and now this moldering spread deep in Mayan country. Aztecs, Toltecs, mestizos, even some bashful whites with German accents. All that and a lot of Texans. I'll learn the ropes.
Key West. Home to Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Buffett and, for the day, Teri Weigel. The town is half shack, half sensitive restoration. Beer-bellied tourists stroll the veranda of the Hemingway house, wearing sumo-wrestler sweat shirts. There are film crews on every corner, trying to soak up the atmosphere. There's a woman going crazy on Caroline Street, or close to it, animating a pair of jeans in a manner guaranteed to make your heart stop and seriously challenge the sexual preference of half the town. It's Teri Weigel, Miss April, filming a fashion spot. When Hollywood or Madison Avenue or Paris wants a little bit of Florida style, it calls Teri. Twice she has been a special extra on Miami Vice ("I was in a wedding scene in one of the early episodes. I did a casino shot in another. I walked across the street in a bathing suit in Scarface. I had something in Stick. The problem is, I never get to see myself on TV. It seems that on Fridays, I'm flying somewhere to work"). How did she become one of the hottest models in Florida? "It was always a childhood fantasy. When I was 14, I used to pull down good money doing architectural drawings for a local builder. I won a two-month trip to Japan when I was 17. Once you have a taste for travel, you can't sit still." After college, she scouted New York and Europe. New York said she was too short to model. She went to Europe and proved it wrong. ("I was cocky back then. I said, 'You'll see.'") Five months in Paris, two months in Germany, two months in Italy, four months in Japan. "It's not so glamorous. (text concluded on page 192)Miami Nice(continued from page 108) It's not so exciting. I've lived all over the world by myself." Teri's home base is in the Miami area, but she talks of eating grapes in Italy, sauerkraut in Munich. She talks of watching couples in gondolas in Venice. She talks about playing golf in Osaka, dancing in the high-tech clubs in Tokyo. She spends a lot of time reflecting on her life. "I had an incredibly happy childhood," she says. "My grandfather was a successful butcher. He bought a whole block in Pompano Beach. All of his children and their children lived on the same street. I grew up with 17 cousins. There was always something happening. I remember doing the craziest things to get attention. I would put the plastic fruit from the dining-room table under my T-shirt and parade around for laughs. We had a strict Catholic upbringing. When we were kids, we'd take the piano bench and some pieces of bread and perform mock Masses in the living room. This may sound boring, but none of the grandchildren drinks or takes drugs. We are a proud family." How did her folks react to her appearing in Playboy? "My mom is very conservative. For a while, she wouldn't go shopping with me because I wore G-string underwear. But they taught us to be independent. I took home a couple of issues of Playboy and said, 'Look, Mom, this is art.' I took home a couple of issues of Penthouse and said, 'This is filth.' She's come around to seeing why I'm doing it. My grandmother found out I was doing Playboy and can't wait." Teri's plans for the future? She's studying to be an actress. "I love emotions the way some people like food," she says. "When I was in Paris, I would go to the Louvre. I spent hours looking at the old paintings. Every eye, every lip, every hand had an emotion. The more contemporary paintings left me cold. There was no feeling, no gesture I could identify with. Acting lets me recapture intense, almost ancient emotions." Music provides the same release: "I like James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, people who know how to use words. You can dance to a beat, but words move you. I listen to a song because there's a certain feeling that comes from the words. When we shot the November 1985 cover for Playboy, I listened to Sade's Smooth Operator for ten hours without getting tired of it. At the end of the session, the assistants burned the tape. I live with a musician, and I've considered trying to sing. The problem is, I am still shy about my singing. I can scream in the car, but the minute someone is around, my voice drops to a whisper. I've got to learn to let what's inside come out." Will she make it? Does the sun shine in Florida?
Wishing to impress the pretty coed who had only reluctantly agreed to a date, the middle-aged professor took her for a spin in his Porsche. The aging hot rodder burned rubber at lights, took corners on two wheels, performed figure eights, spin-outs and doughnuts--finally screeching to a halt in front of his apartment house.
Back in 1960, a very young Jack Lemmon lusted after Shirley MacLaine in a semicomedy called The Apartment. The movie's big laugh came when boy invited girl to dinner and we saw him adroitly drain the spaghetti through a tennis racket. There's been a lot of tomato sauce under the gastronomical bridge since then, and we've learned that there is more to Italian cooking than meatballs and lasagna.
At your right is a lush illustration depicting one of music's greatest recent moments--Mick Jagger and Tina Turner performing State of Shock at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia. Looks like love to us, and love has been the operative concept in music for the past 18 months or so. Something has changed.
The Live Aid concerts had more than a few memorable moments, but perhaps the most astounding were contributed by Phil Collins. After a typically charming performance in London, where in addition to a solo set he sat in with Sting, Collins hopped a Concorde to Philadelphia, where he played a second solo slot, then capped the day by drumming with a reunited Led Zeppelin. An effort above and beyond the call of duty? Yes, but the funny thing was, it seemed perfectly in character.
Tempus certainly fugit. It's hard to believe that 22 years have passed since master comedic actor Peter Sellers appeared in these pages and on our cover in a special feature we called Sellers Mimes the Movie Lovers (Playboy, April 1964). Recently, though, that fact stared us in the face in the decidedly postadolescent form of Victoria Sellers, daughter of Peter and actress Britt Ekland, who was born about a year after that issue hit the stands. Two decades later, here she is, all grown up and starring in her own version of that memorable pictorial. Sellers, who died of a heart attack in 1980 at the age of 54, left some rather large footsteps in which to follow. But having been raised in the whirlwind of her parents' lives. Victoria has developed a fairly long stride herself. The quintessential movie-colony child, she has had four mothers and two fathers. She has a half brother and a half sister from an earlier marriage of her father's and a younger half brother born of her mother's union with movie and record mogul Lou Adler. When she was a teenager, her mother's live-in companion was rock star Rod Stewart--a situation most teens would envy. But for a child with Victoria's background, it was nothing special. "I didn't really know who he was," she admitted. "I suppose I had heard his songs, but when I was living there--that was from when I was 11 till I was about 15--I didn't really make the connection.
Judge Reinhold has an infectious laugh and a memorable name. Born Edward, Jr., and quickly dubbed Judge by one of his father's lawyer friends "as a corny joke," Reinhold, 27, is a very warm Hollywood property. He has already appeared in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop and Head Office, and he plays the lead in Disney's upcoming Off Beat.
When Tony Wheeler first hit the road a decade ago, he was "virtually penniless" but was determined to tackle the overland route from Europe to India. A year later, he and his wife, Maureen, landed in Australia, dead broke but rich in one valuable commodity: the how-to of traveling through Asia on a shoestring.
"Joan is the reason I'm eating skinless chicken breasts and Wasa crackers," says Oprah Winfrey, fresh from her acclaimed performance as Sofia in The Color Purple and now crucially dieting for a guest shot on The Tonight Show with Joan Rivers. Winfrey, who got her first taste of national exposure from Tonight Show appearances with Rivers and followed those up in a big way with her work in Steven Spielberg's hit film, is already a Chicago institution. Her morning TV talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, on Chicago's channel seven, regularly crunches the opposition, including a popular silver-haired gent named Phil Donahue.
What will you be wearing this spring? Worry not. As lapels widen a little, so does the focus on clothes. This season, there's definitely something for everyone. If you're a traditionalist, you'll welcome the return of the classic blazer. This time around, though, there's a little something extra. You can call it the emblazoned blazer or, more simply, the club look. This solid stand-by, with a proper crest added, has just a bit more dash and flash to take it anywhere from the right university club to the latest supper club.
"What They Didn't Teach Us About Harvard Business School"--Those vaunted M.B.A.S have been taking a course called administrative practices, A.K.A. Machiavelli for beginners, for decade that classroom may have been the place where American product quality died--by Laurence Shames