Our History Comes to us these days in little bursts, sound bites, each condensed to ten or 12 seconds on the evening news. Makes it hard to put it all together. Almost eight years ago, there were those who noted that the freeing of the hostages from our embassy in Tehran on the very day of Ronald Reagan's Inauguration seemed a bit too pat; then there was the scandal about Jimmy Carter's campaign briefing book's finding its way into the Reagan-Bush league. Neither issue occupied the national attention span for long. Now, however, Abbie Hoffman (whose earlier criticism of the American body politic made him one of 1968's Chicago Seven) and journalist Jonathan Silvers (who co-authored Steal This Urine Test with Hoffman) look back at the 1980 Presidential race through the lens of the Iran/Contra hearings. Did the Reagan-Bush team make its first arms-for-hostages swap five years before the Iran/Contra deal? Did George Bush's CIA contacts infiltrate the Carter White House? Were the Tehran captives jailed for an extra 76 days to sway the election? An Election Held Hostage (illustrated by Nick Backes) suggests some provocative answers.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), October 1988, Volume 35, Number 10. Published monthly by Playboy, Playboy Building, 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: $26 for 12 Issues, U.S. Canada, $39 for Issues. All Other Foreign. $39 U.S. Currency only. For New and Renewal Orders and Change of Address. Send to Playboy Subscriptions, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51593-0222. Please Allow 6--8 Weeks for processing. For Change of Address, Send New and Old Addresses. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to Playboy, P.O. Box 2007. Harlan, Iowa 51593-0222, and allow 45 days for change. 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.
WhenConrad Doblerplayed in the N.F.L., we loved to hate him. But since retiring from football and co-starring in Miller Lite commercials, Dobler has a new image. His latest step in that direction is his autobiography (written with Vic Carucci for Putnam), "They Call Me Dirty." We talked with him about that and other things.
For Jim Abrahams, codirector of Airplane!, Ruthless People and the upcoming The Naked Gun, once is not enough when it comes to viewing his favorite videos. He and his wife watch Arthur so often they can quote entire scenes verbatim. Other favorite reruns: A Thousand Clowns, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Radio Days, Jaws and Witness. If the kids are awake, he says with a paternal chuckle, "we'll watch Robin Hood for the 97th time." And when the merry men are tuckered out? "No titles come to mind. I don't have discriminating taste in stag films."
Sex and the Animals: Or, Dr. Dolittle Does the Wild Kingdom. Footage of our four-legged friends in the act; does the birds and the bees one better. Intended as a documentary, now a European hit. Go figure (Video City Productions).
Gloria Swanson says it in Sunset Boulevard as a siren of the silent era: "I am big. It's the pictures that got small." There's new meaning in that famous quote when you pop one of the rrrreally big films into a VCR, where it shrinks from wide-screen spectacle to armchair dimensions. Because TV's squarer shape often blanks out huge chunks of the original image, tape-industry innovators have introduced "letterboxing," which runs a black border above and below the picture--a solution with obvious drawbacks, so far used mainly on a few Woody Allen flicks, at Woody's insistence. How do major epics play at home? Here are the results of some recent test reruns:
Silliest Workout-Tape Title:Aerobics with Soul: Afro Workout (Crocus Ent.); Least-Likely-Sounding Bodybuilding Video:Pump It with Dr. David Engel (Nelson); Most Dubiously Named Police Documentary:The World's Best Known Dicks (Rhino); Best It's-A-Living Video:Duck Identification (3M Video); Favorite "Think I'll Do That Tomorrow" Video:Installing Insulation and Sheetrock (You Can Do It Videos).
Before Prince or Terence Trent D'Arby, there was rock-and-roll punkfunkmeister Rick James. Recently, the renaissance rocker completed "Wonderful," a new platter of down-in-the-dirt dance music. "The title is self-explanatory," Rick told us. It made sense to have James inspect another originator--punk rock's founding father, Iggy Pop--and his new LP, "Instinct."
If you've got something to say, speak up department: Tipper Gore turned down an invitation from director Penelope Spheeris to appear in her current rock documentary, The Decline of Western Civilization Past II: The Metal Years. Is it possible that she can dish it out but she can't take heavy-metal heat?
Rage Against right-wing extremism colors every frame of Betrayed (MGM/UA), directed by Costa-Gavras, who has whetted his appetite for political controversy in such timely hits as Z and Missing. Here, he has another hot topic--plus potent sexual chemistry between Debra Winger and Tom Berenger. She's an undercover FBI agent on assignment in Middle America's farm belt, investigating the murder of an ultraliberal talk-show host. Berenger's a handsome widowed rancher with two kids, Maria Valdez and Brian Bosak, who seems like Mr. Right in the best sense until after she has gone to bed with him. Only then does he reveal his virulent hate for "Jews, niggers and faggots." That's sufficient culture shock to galvanize Winger, an actress whose casual air conceals deep emotional reserves; and Berenger maintains his leading-man charisma even in a role that makes the killer noncom he played in Platoon seem almost benign. Despite all a keen company of actors can do, however, Joe Eszterhas' screenplay ultimately undermines credibility with more liberal zeal than logic. Would a man, fairly early in their relationship, invite a woman to join him and some cronies on a mysterious "hunt," then ask her to finish off their prey--a wounded black man--by pumping a bullet into his head? Subsequently, would a fine girl like Debra, goaded by a Bureau colleague (John Heard) she used to date, move right into the trigger-happy rancher's home? Maybe, but Costa-Gavras doesn't quite convince me. While his unnerving film has the folksy excitement of a Fourth of July picnic that winds up with burning crosses instead of fireworks, Betrayed finally offers pat answers to many of the burning questions raised. [rating]2-1/2 bunnies[/rating]
Until she made it big in Big,Elizabeth Perkins was becoming almost as famous for the roles she didn't do as for those she did. She nixed the part in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow that brought Madonna to Broadway. "A very painful decision," she allows in a phone interview from California. She tested for the Broadcast News role that won Holly Hunter an Oscar nomination. "Holly was great. You win some, lose some. Anyway, that was my introduction to Jim Brooks, who produced Big." Even after earning raves as the sleep-around career girl who has an affair with Tom Hanks before she learns he's only 13, Perkins was startled to read she'd got that part only because Debra Winger was pregnant and recommended her as the best substitute. "I was shocked that Debra Winger even knew who I was. I idolize her." Already a Chicago-trained trouper who scored with her first movie role in About Last Night ..., Perkins inspired co-star Rob Lowe to note: "She reminds me of what Katharine Hepburn must have been like at 27--strong, stubborn and sexy." She's soon to be seen ("as a schoolteacher, damn it") in Sweethearts Dance, with Don Johnson, Jeff Daniels and Susan Sarandon, but her dream would be to play photographer Diane Arbus in a movie she's sure Hollywood will never make. She was about to say why when her doorbell rang. "Hey," she reported moments later, "they just delivered a trampoline to my house, those guys from Fox! I can't believe there's a trampoline in my living room!" Surely, to commemorate her bouncing first date with Hanks in Big. Does this mean she's being bribed to do a sequel? "Oh, God, I hope not," groaned Perkins. "What would they call it--Bigger?"
Ze'ev Chafets may have set out on a journey to find a Jewish America, his personal confirmation of a society existing beyond the urban crawl of his youth and the stereotyped neighborhoods of a Woody Allen film; but if Members of the Tribe (Bantam), a chronicle of his cross-country schlep, accomplishes anything, it shows an amazing, almost cosmic connection among people who have absolutely nothing in common but their Jewishness. Along the way, Chafets shmooses with Louisiana's bayou Jews, noshes with the vanishing Jews throughout the South and goes meshuga in search of Jews in the heartland of Iowa. It's a touching, sometimes hilarious romp among the chosen few.
Welcome to college, gentlemen. I assume you have the only three skills necessary to profit from the education you are about to receive: (1) You know how to tap a beer keg; (2) you know where to buy condoms; and (3) you know how to sleep in class with your eyes open and a smile on your face.
My life seems empty and strange, so I have been searching for the meaning of love. I made the terrible mistake of searching in an excruciatingly trendy New York night club. There was a supercilious man wearing the most precious tie anyone ever saw. He made me want to die or leave town. So I went to Texas.
I have a boyfriend who talks dirty in bed. Not with swear words or anything like that. He makes up long, involved fantasies, using the names of people we know. Usually, he asks me to imagine that we are having a menage à trois with one of our female acquaintances. He will say, "And Mary is stroking your breasts, just so. Her hand is touching your clitoris, delicately." Or "Jennifer is pressing her breasts to your back cupping your breasts with her hands." Sometimes I wear blindfold and pretend that it is actually happening as he describes it. Is that weird? He has never even hinted at making the fantasy a reality, so some of my initial nervousness has disappeared. I even find that his sound track fuels my imagination. Maybe I don't have a problem, after all. But could you still tell me how common this is?--Miss B. J., Chicago, Illinois.
In the past few months, newspaper editors, business leaders and newsstand dealers have received a shocking 24-page report from The Institute for Media Education called "Executive Summary: Images of Children, Crime and Violence in Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler Magazines."
"If Disney can build majestic amusement parks around the world to tell the story of a make-believe mouse, just think what we can do with Jesus Christ." --Mel Wilcox, insurance salesman, promoting the construction of a two-and-a-half-billion-dollar, 25,000-acre replica of the Holy Land in west Texas
Freedom of speech is continuously under siege by those who want to restrict what others read. Banned Books Week, sponsored by booksellers, librarians and others, reminds us, "it is only when all speech is protected for all citizens that everyone's rights are guaranteed."
You have to sympathize with the guy. Representative William J. Hughes, chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, has on his desk H.R. 3889, The Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988--a bill that, in spite of its name, would do little to protect children but a great deal to limit freedom of expression (see "No Laughing Matter: The Reagan War on Obscenity," The Playboy Forum, June).
He was a born scrapper and a dead ringer for Lyndon Johnson, and, like L.B.J., he is one crafty gamer. Roger Craig's game is baseball, and he's living proof that the baseball gods didn't break the mold when they created Casey Stengel. When Craig was hired to manage the San Francisco Giants in the waning days of the 1985 baseball season, it was as if Casey's hapless early Mets were reborn. The Giants lost 100 games that year, the first time that ignominious distinction was achieved in the history of the franchise in both New York and San Francisco.
It's tough being a well-dressed man for all seasons, especially when each seasonal change means drastic alterations to one's wardrobe, as styles go in and out of fashion at the whim of designers and manufacturers. This fall and winter, we're happy to report, the fickle shifts in style are down to a minimum. No radical changes here, just good fashion sense in traditional cold-weather fit and feel--a seasonal solstice for looking great. While the over-all cut of a sports jacket varies little from season to season, Italian design firms such as Missoni Uomo have widened lapels and styled jackets a bit longer and slightly closer to the waist, in a tighter, more European fit. Ties, also wider this year, prove to be a wonderful gauge to changes in men's fashion. Many of this fall's ties are patterned in a Forties-retro look, with a two-color dotted design and a tied four-in-hand with a tight knot to offset the tie's broader cut.
Perhaps you've noticed that, unlike in past years, every third cookie and breakfast cereal in your local grocery is not an official product of the U.S. Olympic team. This situation did not come about by chance. It reflects a shift in the Olympic-sponsorship structure from individual products to corporate sponsors.
Shannon Long is your basic girl next door, if next door is 12,000 miles away. She comes from the little town of Surfers Paradise, on the eastern coast of Australia, about an hour from Brisbane. The guys there are big, and loud, in a yobbo way, still calling girls sheilas and drinking their Castlemaine XXXX beer. "Don't let the ads fool you," Shannon advises. "We have regional loyalties. Foster's is the beer to drink in New South Wales. Victoria Bitter is the Melbourne brew. In Queensland, we drink 4X. If you don't, everyone gives you heat." Shannon is explaining Australia as she sits in a Chicago hotel room eating--what else?--a Vegemite sandwich. "I've had it on toast almost every day of my life. The first time I came to the United States to test for the centerfold, I didn't bring any. Never again."
Two politicians decided to put aside their differences and go deer hunting together. Deep in the woods, one stumbled on a rock and accidentally shot the other. In a panic, he dragged the wounded man ten miles back to the car, then sped to the nearest hospital.
Its time to dig out the orange slacks, matching sweater and color-coordinated stadium cushion, lay in a fresh supply of blue face paint, brush off the old hog hat and get the gorilla suit from the dry cleaner. From now until the final bowl game in January (the Hyundai Kiwi Bowl, isn't it?), you'll spend Saturday afternoons in the grandstand seats handed down from your Uncle Harry, cheering, eating and drinking your way through another glorious college football season. Of course, if you're a committed couch potato, you'll be hunkered in front of the TV set, remote in one hand, a brew in the other. It may get better than this, but not often.
Morton Downey, Jr., debuted his shout-and-shock style of TV talk show on Black Monday, October 19, 1987, on super-station WWOR in Secaucus, New Jersey. He has since roared to nationally syndicated success, portraying the leading vulgarian of our time. The son of famous parents--Morton Downey, Sr., was revered as the "Irish minstrel boy" and Barbara Bennett was one of the Bennett sisters--Junior's confrontational tactics seem designed to render him infamous. Writer-publisher Al Goldstein spoke with Downey the day after he appeared on the Phil Donahue show and publicly swore off his trademark cigarettes. Five minutes into his talk with Goldstein, Downey took up the habit again, continuing to puff furiously throughout the interview.
Fasten Your Sun Belts, Guys, and Meet the Girls of the Southwest Conference
Almost a decade ago, when Playboy was hopping about the country in search of college ladies who best ignited our national school spirit, we decided to peek in on a popular cluster of nine campuses--eight of them in Texas, all of them part of the Bible Belt--dubbed the N.C.A.A.'s Southwest Conference. To our delight, what began as a photographic shot in the dark turned out to be a winner: Bejeaned and bounteous, the Girls of the Southwest Conference (Playboy, September 1980) brought city boys to their knees and set men everywhere dreaming of one-way tickets to the Sun Belt. Well, we figgered eight years was enough time for y'all to cool down--so we decided to go back. We asked Playboy Contributing Photographers David Chan and David Mecey (whose last pictorial collaboration was Women of (text concluded on page 133) the Ivy League Revisited--October 1986) to high-tail it to the heart of Texas--with a little side step into Arkansas--and they came back with a hot-blooded cowboy fantasy. "The thing that separates the women of the Southwest from some of our other college-women features," says Playboy Managing Photo Editor Jeff Cohen, "is that out there, everybody's a hard body. That and the fact that there are more allover tans. The body consciousness is unbelievable." Well, start believin', pardners, as you say howdy to the women of the Southwest Conference.
Beer is stepping out. It has been a homebody for too long. These days, beer is dressing up, putting on the style, being seen in all the right places. Even in California--especially in California--tine beer is sharing the stage with wine. Wineries press their grapes cheek by jowl with new little breweries grinding their malt and scattering their hop blossoms in their copper kettles. San Francisco's stately Stanford Court Hotel is switching to wineglasses for beer service, and its list of wines by the glass features beers, too. In the Napa Valley, the Calistoga Inn is brewing its own beer. It is one of 25 or 30 new brew pubs in the state. Wine bottles are even used to package the beer made by some boutique breweries.
For an actress who is associated mostly with comedies (The Sure Thing, Spaceballs), Daphne Zuniga takes life very seriously. "Whenever I get too caught up in my career, I wonder, What are you doing for the world?" For Zuniga, it's not an idle question--she's a cofounder of Young Artists United, a group of New Wave Hollywood activists, and a member of both Network, Jane Fonda's political-action group, and CISPES, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador. Zuniga, 26, comes from a family steeped in involvement. She grew up in Berkeley and vividly recalls the antiwar riots and "clinging to my mom for dear life." Her mother, a Unitarian minister, schooled her on the women's movement, and her father, a professor, took her on yearly trips to his homeland in Guatemala, which exposed her to the turmoil in Central America. Her commitment hasn't slowed down her career, and she has recently scored major roles in Last Rites, Boys and The Fly II. "Life is scary, my next movie is scary--I'm ready to do a musical," she says, "like Oklahoma!."
Joe Martin has always been prolific. By the time he was 20, he had four children; now, at 41, the Wisconsin-based cartoonist produces three daily strips that appear in 300 newspapers: Willy'n Ethel, Porterfield and the two-year-old, highly successful Mister Boffo. "I invent 24 jokes a week, 104 a month, or 1248 a year," Martin says, casually adding that he's also scripting a Mister Boffo movie and building a home television studio. Martin, who comes up with his jokes by walking aimlessly every day for seven hours, has also written four books, including How to Hang a Spoon, about an art he has obviously mastered. Oddly, he almost didn't make it as a cartoonist. "In the Seventies, they told me I was too close to another strip that was failing--Gary Larson's The Far Side," he explains. But Larson took off, and soon after, Martin followed. The two share a bizarre sensibility, but Martin's work may be even more warped, one day featuring household hints from Mr. Gross-Man, the next day bare-breasted Gauguinlike amazons called The Tit People. "A lot of my ideas don't make it into the papers," he admits. Like the one about a man talking with his shrink. "All my friends think I'm crazy," the patient complains. The psychiatrist suggests thoughtfully, "Why don't you kill them?"
"You live, you learn, you joke, you move on," says Barry Sobel, who has lived 25 years, learned razor-sharp timing, joked for crowds ranging from a handful to 250,000 and moved on to become this year's one-man multimedia comic event. Raised on "pizza and visits to the dermatologist," the Manhattan-born Sobel first broke through with black audiences, doing an uncannily accurate James Brown--style singer who closes acts with the drained protest "I can't do no more!" Some of the L.A. Lakers adopted the slogan on their way to the 1987 N.B.A. title, and Eddie Murphy called Sobel "the only white comedian who, when he does black characters, you don't want to punch in the face." Sobel's high-speed demolitions of pop culture have also made him a hit on The Tonight Show and Friday Night Videos. Recently, he trained Tom Hanks for his role as a stand-up comic in the upcoming comedy Punchline. "It was like teaching Picasso to finger-paint," says Sobel, who co-wrote Hanks's character's on-stage material and plays a supporting role in the film. "Every day at 11 or 12, he'd call and say, 'Barry, get up! We're having lunch.' I'd go over, we'd have lunch, we'd nap, we'd watch videos, we'd go home. But in between there, we wrote a lot of funny stuff."
In the Olympic equestrian trials, an event that's like a triathlon for the four-legged, Bruce Davidson ended up straddling the podium by winning both first and second places. No one had ever pulled off that feat. Jumping from one mount to the next, the unstoppable Davidson rode four horses for the three-day event, broke a rib and earned slots on the plane to Seoul for two of his horses. "It was an awesome day" he recalls. "I'm not sure if I would advise if again." A veteran of three Olympics--Munich, Montreal and Los Angeles--and the holder of two Olympic golds and a silver, the 38-year-old Davidson has been called the Mark Spitz of horse sports. "I've just been at it a long time," he demurs. Two of his best horses, Dr. Peaches and J. J. Babu, have had equine-flu inoculations in preparation for the summer Olympics. Even though only one can compete, by taking both, Davidson increases the odds of having a healthy horse in South Korea. "I can be fit and in the best shape ever," he says, "but if my horse isn't well, then it just isn't much of a competition."
It's a small band big on Eighties tech. Pat MacDonald married Barbara K more than five years ago, and they formed Timbuk3, in which they both sing and play guitars alongside a third member--their "jam box," a compact ghetto blaster they preprogram to play all the required rhythm parts. They scored a top-20 hit in 1986 with a spoof on Yuppies called The Future's So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades), and their new, second album, Eden Alley, makes their own future just as bright. "You've got to remember--we started out playing for tips in bars," recalls K, 31 (he's 36). Now, thanks to two well-received albums, a cameo in the film D.O.A. and a shot on Saturday Night Live, those years are over.