As the song says, "To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season"; and to turn the winning letters on the most popular game show ever, Wheel of Fortune, there is Vanna White, who a year or so ago was happily enjoying the measured fame accorded her as Wheel host Pat Sajak's side-kick. Then, suddenly, her face was everywhere. By now, she has probably appeared on more magazine covers than the Statue of Liberty--including, this month, our own. Inside, there's even more Vanna to be thankful for--Vanna, photographer David Gurian's historic homage to America's top letterwoman. It was shot in 1982, when Vanna was posing for lingerie ads. Vanna was so pleased with the pictures that she personally showed them to Editor and Publisher Hugh Hefner on one of her many visits to Playboy Mansion West.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), May 1987, Volume 34, Number 5. 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: Jack Bernstein, Circulation Promotion Director. Advertising: New York: 747 Third Avenue, New York 10017; Chicago: 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago 60611; West Coast: Perkins, Fox & Perkins, 3205 Ocean Park Boulevard, Suite 100, Santa Monica, California 90405.
Actor Peter Reckell has worked for a number of years on stage, on TV and in movies. But he's best known for his portrayal of Bo Brady on the daytime soap "Days of Our Lives." Since Brady is a notorious wine-'em-dine-'em troublemaker, it seemed right for Reckell to comment on Little Richard's "Lifetime Friend."
Crime pays for the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, whose Blood Simple was a sleeper hit two years ago. That off beat shocker's promise of better things to come is more than fulfilled by Raising Arizona (Fox), a hilarious and uncompromisingly amoral comedy about the efforts of a convenience-store bandit (Nicolas Cage) and his rather dim wife (Holly Hunter) to settle down and start a family. They meet in jail: She's a cop, he an inmate and habitual offender. But their subsequent blessed union bears no fruit--or, as the hero puts it in a fair example of the Coens' tongue-in-cheek high-mindedness, "Her insides were a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase." The childless couple, played with wonderfully witless innocence by Cage and Hunter, decide to kidnap just one baby from a set of quints recently born to the wife of an unpainted-furniture tycoon named Nathan Arizona (Trey Wilson). The deed done, daffy comic-strip complications follow as they try bringing up baby with two lunatic ex-cons (Bill Forsythe and John Goodman) as house guests, not to mention threats from a sort of Mad Max avenger intent on tracking down the missing tyke. Visually, the movie is no less stunning than Blood Simple--further proof that the Coens and their professional associates hail from a generation of film makers so steeped in cinema that they seem to be recycling every creepy or cornball Saturday-matinee feature they ever sat through as kids. While Arizona scores minor points as social satire, the guys' real aim is to entertain you, and they certainly know how. [rating]3-1/2 bunnies[/rating]
We see so much written about travel--and most of it just tells us how much it will cost to hang our hat in a place where nobody speaks our language. John Julius Norwich starts A Taste for Travel (Knopf) by noting that as travel becomes easier, it becomes harder to be a traveler in any real sense. It's too easy, too inconsequential or too boring. Norwich, whose erudition and taste stop just short of intimidation, does us the favor of anthologizing all the smart things writers--among them Chaucer, Thesiger, Doughty, E. M. Forster--have said about how a place can change us. He breaks the anthology down into appropriate subjects: motivations, first impressions, architecture, hardships, health and hygiene. Armchair travelers will get a workout from this book, and those of us who actually go places will arrive more alert because of it.
Serious golf season is coming up--the Masters and all that--so I feel I should share some tips with you on how to lower your handicap. They come from my library of rare, out-of-print instruction books.
Mammals characteristically nuzzle, fondle, hug, caress, pet, groom and love their young, behavior essentially unknown among the reptiles. If it is really true that the R-complex (reptilian brain) and limbic systems (mammalian brain) live in an uneasy truce within our skulls and still partake of their ancient predilections, we might expect affectionate parental indulgence to encourage our mammalian natures, and the absence of physical affection to prod reptilian behavior. There is some evidence that this is the case.... --Carl Sagan, "Cosmos"
Maybe you've seen the full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times, The Houston Post, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle or the Minneapolis Star and Tribune. The headline reads, "They did it 9000 Times on Television last year. How come nobody got pregnant?" USA Today ran a different version of the same ad: "They did it 20.000 times on television last year." Who's doing the counting?
In the past year, as America's foreign policy has undergone scrutiny on almost all fronts, there has been a tide of books and movies examining the legacy of the war in Vietnam. A disastrous consequence of that war was the devastation of Cambodia, the grim final scene of a drama that concluded with one of the worst genocides of the century--the deaths of an estimated 700,000 to 2,000,000 men, women and children in the "killing fields." Caught in the spotlight of the past 20 years, like a tragic character lurching about the international stage, is a curious, poignant and still fascinating world leader: Norodom Sihanouk, royal prince.
I've always had this enormous imagination," says Melissa Prophet, 29, whose resumé reads like imaginative fiction and whose voice was made for exclamation points. "Balls, brains, sense of humor--that's me, the whole package! So when I did Playboy, I didn't want to just take my clothes off. I wanted to have some fun!" Melissa's life and fun times began--where else?--in Southern California, where the five-year-old seen below celebrated her sister's first-Communion party by "rolling in the mud!" Her formative years formed her fantastically; she went on to win 14 beauty titles, from Miss Hollywood to Miss California World. On sheer beauty? "No way! I was a professional beauty queen--I knew what each one of those contest judges wanted to see, and I played to all their fantasies. Well, not really--but I could have."
Beyond the realm of matinee hunks such as Sylvester Stallone, there is a class of actors--those pictured on this page among them--who bring such unpredictable talent to their roles that they defy idolatry. Their characters, because they are so fully human, will never be cast in plastic and sold at Toys-R-Us. Yet they stand above the common lot; they are such off-the-wall on-screen presences that they skew the portion of reality that their films inhabit. They manage to be both quirky and heroic. Looking back at 1986, then, we salute those particular actors who made going to the movies so worth while.
Hollywood, as if caught in a self-reflective time warp, staged a massive retromaneuver in 1986: While on screen the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise was leaving its heart in 20th Century San Francisco and Peggy Sue was once again losing hers at the high school prom, the movie industry was taking its own detour back to the future. Even Top Gun, the top-grossing movie of the year, with $172,000,000 in its flight plan, played like a high-tech remake of the 1927 silent film Wings, the first Oscar-winning best movie.
If Hollywood's 1987 movies are big-buck vehicles loaded with top design and plenty of market research, then the gear of choice is reverse. That is, the studios prefer to back into new production by offering the same stuff they've unloaded successfully in years past. For instance, this year we'll see a third Jaws movie, Beverly Hills Cop II and Rambo III.
Cotton-Knit Cardigans, wide-legged walking shorts and boxy unconstructed jackets are just some of the casualwear that will be garnering more than casual interest during the hot months ahead. In general, there's a more dressed-up feeling to sportswear that marries nicely with softer fabrics and loose--but not sloppy--tailoring. It's aloha to last year's Hawaiian shirts as printed ones, such as the "shirt of the stars" in this feature, take the spotlight. Soft leather moccasins and canvas-and-leather slip-ons are shoe-ins, worn with either colorful slouch socks or no socks at all. It's going to be a fun six months. Go for it!
Barbara Hershey says she's left the past behind. So we won't mention it, except to say that the only thing about this provocative actress that hasn't calmed down is her career. Hershey's films include "The Stunt Man," "The Entity," "The Right Stuff," "The Natural," "Hannah and Her Sisters" and, currently, "Tin Men." Contributing Editor David Rensin spoke with her recently between pictures. "Barbara has two vices: coffee and curiosity. During the interview, we drank a lot of the former. Afterward, I fielded her questions."
Cowgirl? Not really. Before we took her north to Oregon for the Pendleton Round-Up, the closest Kym Paige had been to a Colt or a Mustang was on the Hollywood Freeway. So what's a nice L.A. girl doing at a rodeo like this? "Falling in love," she says. "With a calf roper. I love tight buns, and when I saw Brad Johnson in his Wranglers, well, he's one of the best calf ropers in the country, and he's got real tight buns." Kym had the time of her life in Pendleton. Johnson taught her how to "rope a steer, get him down and keep him down," and the rawhide circuit won a new fan. "The Round-Up was wild," says Kym, a reluctant actress whose TV credits include Hunter, The Love Boat, Amazing Stories and Dynasty. "Acting and actors don't turn me on. I'm into athletes, and these guys are definitely athletes. Now that I know how, I might just rope myself a cowboy."
At 1:55 A.M., Libyan time, the first of the small fleet of F-111 bombers that had taken off from England six and a half hours earlier was still 50 miles from Tripoli, racing over the dark sea at 600 miles an hour. At an altitude of 200 feet, the 40-ton plane was still under the enemy's radar horizon, invisible except for the flaming exhausts of its twin engines. Inside the cramped cockpit, side by side, sat the pilot and a weapons-systems officer. Only a few stars could be seen through the clouds, but the sky was not empty. Above and around the 17 attack planes closing in on the target flew a vast armada of electronic-warfare planes, aerial tankers, night fighters, command-and-control planes, communications-intelligence planes, rescue helicopters, all circling in the dimly moonlit night, their radios silent lest the Libyan defense forces be alerted. The entire complex attack--code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon--had been carefully orchestrated so that the first bombs would start falling on Tripoli at two A.M. local time.
No one has ever hit the jackpot on Wheel of Fortune the way Vanna White has. Before a fateful turn brought her to the show, Vanna's life was just like those of thousands of other aspiring California actresses--a scramble of auditions, castings and modeling assignments, of daily dramas and nightly dreams. Who could have predicted stardom? Anyone who knew Vanna: wholesome with a capital W, sexy as an X.
There is no best car, skeptics say. Styling? Economy? Performance? Fun to drive? No car does it all. Maybe so, but judgment can be made about various categories of cars; and to prove it, we turned over the job of choosing the automotive best of breed in 13 areas--from Best Car Likely to Hold Its Value to Best Engine--to the six experts below. Five are leading auto writers whose work has appeared in this or other publications and the sixth is last year's winner of the Indianapolis 500. Playboy Senior Editor David Stevens, who put this feature together, waved the checkered flag. Gentlemen, start your opinions.
On the preceding pages, you've read the opinions of men who are paid to play with cars. They slide, bend and occasionally break them. Then, with the detachment of surgeons, they speculate on each machine's flaws at the outer limits of stress and adhesion. In their search for perfection, these fellows casually reject machines that we would kill for.
Few young actresses in Hollywood have ever worked as steadily as Mare Winningham, or gotten juicier roles and better reviews. Yet Winningham, 27, is still virtually unknown, despite seven years of films and TV movies that have run the credibility gamut. She was the recipient of a mechanical heart in one movie and of the first brain transplant in another, yet she also won an Emmy for her role in Amber Waves. She made a memorable feature-film debut (nude in a bathtub with Paul Simon) in One-Trick Pony, was Rob Lowe's longsuffering girlfriend in St. Elmo's Fire and, in the upcoming Shy People, she plays a pregnant backwoods Louisiana woman. That most recent role allowed her to call on personal experience--Winningham was eight months pregnant with her fourth child during the filming. She confesses she's longing for "that one cherry role" that will make her a recognizable star. "Right now," she sighs, "I get stopped most often because people think I'm Ally Sheedy."
It's the baseball season and all eyes are on this year's hot young prospect. Could it be ... Barry Bonds? He was the best combination of power and speed to hit the major leagues since his dad, Bobby, who clobbered 332 home runs and stole 461 bases. Twenty-two years old, with a quick bat, quick feet, a quick smile and a short history of tearing up the minors, Bonds joined the Pittsburgh Pirates last summer and promptly went through an 0-20 slump. "Sitting in the clubhouse, I had tears running out of my eyes," he remembers. "When you're oh-for-twenty, you just pray. And, like my dad says, keep that smile. The longer you play, the more you learn about yourself. I learned that failure is temporary." He batted only .223 his rookie year, but once out of his doldrums, he hit 16 homers and stole 36 bases--enough to mark him a future star. His lucky charm is a sledge hammer inscribed with his nickname, The Kid. He kept it in his locker until some teammates swiped it and started hauling it out to the on-deck circle. Now it hangs in the bat rack in the Pirates' dugout, and this year, all those pitchers whose names--and weaknesses--Bonds spent the winter memorizing will be hearing from his sledge hammer. "I believe somebody is gonna hit .400 again someday," he says."I'm gonna try to be that guy.''
As anyone who has ever listened to Elvis, Mick Jagger or Hall and Oates can attest, there's nothing new about a blue-eyed soul singer. But few white singers have ever managed to sound quite as soulful as Mick Hucknall, 26, the lead singer of Simply Red. But Hucknall isn't just white, he's pale white, and he defiantly regards soul music as much his as anyone's. "It's the music that was there in Manchester, England, when I was a child. It was as if we were in the suburbs of Detroit, we heard it so much," he insists. That has hardly stopped a few critics, who question a white man's ability to really sing soul. "So what if I didn't sing in my father's church like Aretha Franklin?" he asks. "I'm from a working-class background and, to me, soul is the music with passion and feeling, with a sort of sexuality. It's the music that moves you."
"I love to hear myself bitch," confessesRoseanne Barr.And nobody bitches better than the 35-year-old comedienne. Only a few years back, Barr was a Denver housewife who occasionally tried out jokes at a local comedy club. Her turf was bitter suburban angst--sort of Erma Bombeck with P.M.S.--and it took her out of the kitchen and eventually landed her on "The Tonight Show." Now she's the hottest woman comic working clubs and concerts, with an act that still centers on the plight of what she calls "the domestic goddess." Her credo: "The way I look at it, if the kids are alive when my husband comes home, then I've done my job." Her husband, Bill, gave up his post-office job in Denver and followed Barr to L.A. with their three kids ("I have three because I breed well in captivity"); and while he is the brunt of much of her humor--"My husband says, 'Roseanne, don't you think we ought to talk about our sexual problems?' Like I'm gonna turn off 'Wheel of Fortune' for that"--Barr insists her 15-year marriage is stronger than ever.
Want your movie made? Forget Steven Spielberg or George Lucas--instead, Fed Ex your script to Jeremy Zimmer A.S.A.P. Renowned as the "Wolverine" for his energy and tenacity as a deal maker, he is the most-whispered-about young agent in the film business. A pivotal force in such current movies as Ruthless People, Tough Guys and The Golden Child, Zimmer, 28, is also "deeply involved" in a slew of upcoming films, including the much-anticipated screen adaptations of two best sellers, Bright Lights, Big City and Less than Zero. That makes life hectic--his secretary takes as many as 200 calls a day and Zimmer works a 70-hour week, reading 300 screenplays a year. "I love the competition," he says. But, as even Zimmer knows, in Hollywood all glory is leased short-term. "Last year, I was the hottest kid in town. This year, I'm sure it'll be some other 25-year-old," he says. "Right now, I see myself as just another middle-aged nine-to-fiver, working for the gold watch."
While a pair of colorful suspenders is a creative way to express your fashion individuality, it's a cinch that belts--and especially buckles that can be interchanged among belts--are not about to let the trouser industry down. In fact, buckles in precious metals have given new life to metalcrafters who hand-tool intricate designs into their creations just as a sculptor might. (Often, a precious-metal buckle will be available in a lesser metal for about a quarter of the price.) Antique shops are also a happy hunting ground for monogrammed buckles. If you chance upon one that you can't live without and the initial on it isn't yours, you can always change your name.
"The Mercantile Tube"--Forget going to the Bank, Let alone The Mall. You can learn to manage, and spend, your money just by watching Tv. Jerry Stahl introduces the Financial Evangelists and Bill Zehme Reviews Home-Shopping Shows
During the disco era, black male ballad singing all but died out, and its resurgence has been one of the most encouraging trends of the past couple of years. The problem is that even the finest of the new black balladeers (Freddie Jackson comes to mind) is more formally correct than soulful, and the results are often as mechanistic as any nonhuman beat box. Among Jackson's peers, feeling parallels virtuosity only in Luther Vandross, whose shtick is imitating female crooners.