Playboy opens the holiday season with a look at what we sometimes forget is the impetus behind all the baubles and lights in December. Garry Wills, our keenest student of Presidential elections, reminds us in Under God (also the title of his new book, from which this article was adapted) that religion is not only alive and well but growing in America—and remains a potent force in politics. Wills points out that nine in ten Americans have never doubted the existence of God. Eight in ten believe in a Judgment Day. Seven in ten believe in life after death. This article (illustrated by Roger Brown) underscores a notion we don't always recognize: Religion does not waver, only the attention of the observer does. Or put it another way: As you sit down to watch the Super Bowl next month, remember that more people go to church on Sunday than attend all professional sports events combined.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), December 1990, Volume 37, Number 12, Published Monthly by Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: $26 for 12 issues, U.S. Canada, $39 for 12 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 51537-4007. Please allow 6-8 weeks for processing. For change of address, send new and old addresses and allow 45 days for change. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to Playboy, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. Advertising: New York: 747 Third Avenue, New York 10017; Chicago: 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60611; West Coast: Perkins, Fox & Perkins, 3205 Ocean Park Boulevard, Suite 100, Santa Monica, California 90405.
This may be hard to believe, but Uncle Buck, as Kevin Meaney plays him in the new TV series ("Nowhere is the talk more foul," observes Newsweek), is actually a toned-down version of Meaney's stand-up-comedy persona, a guy who likes to see how far he can bend the rules.
Cyrano De Bergerac (Orion Classics) boasts one of the meatiest parts ever written for an actor. No fewer than four previous cinematic Cyranos have been made of the hammy hyperbolic hero, not including Steve Martin's modernized tour de force in the 1987 Roxanne. José Ferrer won an Academy Award for 1950's mediocre American version. This year, Gerard Depardieu was deservedly named Best Actor at Cannes for his very French and feeling performance as Edmond Rostand's flamboyant, big-nosed duelist. Enamored of his beautiful cousin Roxane (played here with wilting airiness by Anne Brochet, making the most of a part usually lost in the male star's shadow), Cyrano wastes his life ghostwriting love letters for Christian (Vincent Perez), the handsome soldier she thinks she loves for his poetic soul. It's a frustrating story, with one of the longest death scenes on record. In Jean-Paul Rap-peneau's scenic, shrewdly subtitled (by author Anthony Burgess), richly atmospheric Cyrano, Depardieu wins by more than a nose,[rating]4 bunnies[/rating]
When Kathleen Turner tumbled down a muddy cliff in Romancing the Stone, the double taking the fall was Jeannie Epper. It was also Epper as Linda Evans in the famous swimming-pool scrap with Joan Collins on TV's Dynasty. She took falls for Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman and endured Shirley MacLaine's wild car ride in Terms of Endearment. At 49 one of movieland's leading stunt women, Epper is passing on a family tradition: Dad, on horseback, doubled for such movie stalwarts as Gary Cooper and Ronald Reagan. Says Epper: "My parents' six children were all stunt people. So are my three kids, and my only grandson, Christopher, who's now six, did his first movie stunt when he was five."
The Better Sex Video Series: Three-vid tour of everyone's favorite subject, produced especially for couples. Hot footage is maddeningly cooled by sugary commentary—but that's what the FF button's for (Learning Corp., 800-866-1000).
"Can America stand more Morton Downey, Jr.?" wonders the big-mouth of the small screen, regarding his latest projects: a TV special with Mary Tyler Moore, Predator II and Down and Dirty, a film Mort predicts "will go to video six minutes after it opens." Ah, video. When he and his companion curl up at home, they usually watch a movie of her choice—such as The Unbearable Lightness of Being or Betty Blue. "But my favorite movie of all time," he says, "is Weekend at Bernie's. Hilarious." On the other hand, he notes, "Violence is my life! Give me Rambo or give me Death Wish." Then there's his copy of High Noon ... subtitled in French? "Yup. Gary Cooper says, 'Howdy, Sheriff,' and the subtitle reads, 'Bonjour, Monsieur le constable.' I got it for laughs, you know?" Mais oui, Mort.
Fishiest Dance Video:Beluga Ballet;Best Oh-Shut-Up-and-Pass-the-Butter Video:Lady Fish-bourne's Complete Guide to Better Table Manners;Best Video Paradox:Brains by Revlon; Most Confused Vid Superhero:Ossian: American Boy/Tibetan Monk; Highest-Anxiety Video:Conflicts! Conflicts!; Most-Pleased-to-Meet-You Video:I Am Joe's Kidney; Best It's-a-Living Video:Sanitary Landfill—You're the Operator.
Meet Squirmy, the world's most famous gerbil. As you may have noticed, gerbils keep a low profile. There are no Teenage Mutant Ninja Gerbils on TV, toy stores don't carry cute stuffed gerbils for kids to play with and there are no known songs—not even country-and-western songs—about pet gerbils. And that makes Squirmy's notoriety even more impressive.
Over the Past two decades, as his predictions in Future Shock (1970) and The Third Wave (1980) have been fulfilled, Alvin Toffler has come to be regarded as one of the world's most important visionary thinkers. This last book in his trilogy of studies of global change, Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century (Bantam), is so thoroughly researched, so brilliantly reasoned and so lucidly presented that soon Toffler may be hailed as a prophet.
Vixen is the first all-female hard-rock band to surface in a long time. And this group can actually play its instruments. Bassist/songwriter/vocalist Share Pedersen even studied jazz at Boston's Berklee College of Music. For review, she chose Cheap Trick's "Busted."
As Silly as They Want to Be Department: Anyone who missed the debut of 2 Live Jews'As Kosher As They Wanna Be also missed the explanation by m.c. Moisha: "We were rapping when rapping ... was just kibitzing with rhymes." Is 2 Live Crew's Luther Campbell laughing?
This is a true story about gambling and cheating at cards. This is also a story about my grandmother Daisy. I guess you could say in addition that it is a story about female role models and what we can learn from them. As young boys, we watch the women in our lives very carefully. They teach us things.
A college football coach can be revered, beloved, respected, an educator, a father figure, the kind of man you would want your son to play for, a credit to the university, a pillar of the community, a gentleman who always plays by the rules and an all-round good old boy, but if he doesn't win a national championship sometime during his career, he will never be remembered as a great coach—great as in Bear Bryant or Knute Rockne—and according to the alumni, hanging would be too good for him.
The day Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan resigned, Bruce Fein—an astute, conservative analyst of the Court—predicted gleefully that the Court would now be transformed into "a conservative juggernaut."
The man Time magazine has called "the hottest stand-up comedian in America" once described himself in a high school classmate's yearbook as a "future retired millionaire." Jay Leno was half right about his prospects. At the age of 40, the "Bruce Springsteen of comedy" is earning upwards—and some would suggest far upwards—of $3,000,000 a year. What he was wrong about was the retirement.
The learned have their superstitions, prominent among them a belief that superstition is evaporating. Since science has explained the world in secular terms, there is no more need for religion, which will wither away. Granted, it has been slow to die in America. Even Marx noticed that, in the 1850s. But he explained it by the raw state of this country: "The feverish, youthful movement of material production, which has to make a new world its own, has left neither time nor opportunity for abolishing the old spirit world." The funeral, he was sure, had been delayed, not canceled. Yet when Communist regimes were given their own sudden funeral in 1989, an American preacher (Andrew Young) remarked, "When they come out from behind the iron curtain, they are singing We Shall Overcome, a Georgia Baptist hymn." And he did not mean the Soviet Georgia.
Gray-Sky-Eyed, porcelain-skinned, svelte Sherilyn Fenn is a true beauty. She has the mark of beauty right there on her face, like a point of exclamation under her boomerang brow. Her voice has a kind of Zen drawl to it. You know right off she's from the southern part of wherever it is she comes from. Petite, sweet, stunning Sherilyn (rhymes with Marilyn) Fenn is, among other things, Audrey Horne, the coy, kookie, existential teen coquette of David Lynch's wacky meta–soap opera Twin Peaks. Together, they form the best reason to stay home on Saturday night.
The Andaman Sea shines as blue and clear as the eyeball of the Buddha, east of the wider face of the Bay of Bengal. It is a rare hybrid of open ocean and vast circumscribed loch, stippled on its western extreme by a fringe of eponymous islands and blocked to the east by the long, bony sweep of the Malay Peninsula.
This is a fairy tale. People stand in the lightly falling snow. Something is shining, trembling, making a silvery sound. Eyes are shining. Voices sing. People laugh and weep, clasp one another's hands, embrace. Something shines and trembles. They live happily ever after. The snow falls on the roofs and blows across the parks, the squares, the river.
The holidays—roughly that period between Thanksgiving and New Year's—have traditionally been a time of spiky emotional behavior, high cash outlays and siege-mentality gift-giving and partygoing. Instead of summoning our charity and doling it out in an orderly fashion throughout the year, we are asked to give, receive, power-eat, power-drink and—as if that weren't enough—send a gazillion Christmas cards and thank-you notes. Which does not mean, of course, that the season—or, rather, how you choose to endure the season—should be devoid of tradition. I make a point of watching Brian De Palma's Scarface every December 25th, and that leaves me with a very warm feeling inside. What I'm suggesting is that there are holiday traditions of which you may not be aware, that are not your own and that may help ease you through this difficult period. It is also possible to escape Christmas entirely, to simply flee. Here are some suggestions as to where to go, singularly or in tandem, to make the most of what is sometimes a bad situation.
Valerie godsoe was a deb. Her mother was president of the Junior League in Toronto. Her father was a Canadian oil man. Valerie was a top athlete and had a well-put-together little body, dark hair and large green eyes. She looked a bit like Natalie Wood. Right out of college in the early Sixties, Valerie got a super job researching and booking talent on Close-Up, a documentary television show for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She even tried out to be the hostess of a talk show and almost got it. One day, a producer showed Valerie a picture of a blond Dr. Kildare type in a suit, with a pipe and posing by a ladder. He asked her, "What do you think of this guy?" Valerie realized it was a friend of her brother's. She had never met the boy, but their families knew each other. His father was Charles Jennings, The Voice of Canada, a vice-president of the CBC. Everyone loved his father. He was a country gentleman, warm, handsome, a big Teddy bear of a man, tweed jackets, lots of dogs, beautiful socialite wife, money. Peter Jennings was his mother's darling. His father called him Golden Boy. Peter even had his own radio show—Peter's Place—when he was nine years old. He wrote it with the family maid and played theme music from Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf and talked with kids. Then he was deejay P.J. with a hit teen-dance-party program on TV. So the first thing Peter did when they were introduced was to take Valerie down and show her his Mercedes convertible.
Last spring, at a preview of a Christie's auction held at New York City's Guggenheim Museum, the elegant crowd of collectors sipped champagne and buzzed excitedly about the 1957 Ferrari 315S, showcased like a prized metal sculpture. A few weeks later, the gleaming roadster attracted a bid, which was rejected, of $8,400,000, at an auction in Monaco. At a Sotheby's sale held there the same week, another Ferrari, a 1962 250 GTO Berlinetta, brought in almost $11,000,000, including commission—setting a record price for any automobile to hit the auction block. And you thought diamonds were a good investment.
Improved relations between the Soviets and the Americans give George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev ample reason to toast peace and good will this holiday season. And what better spirit for such a toast than vodka? Its origin is in eastern Europe, but its popularity is now global. In fact, the thirst for and production of vodka have become so widespread that many world leaders can salute their counterparts with vodkas made in their own countries. Premium imported and domestic vodkas are more varied in their types, styles and tastes than ever before and have replaced vodka's image as merely the alcohol in a screwdriver or a bloody mary.
Druff had been married to Rose Helen 36 years. What was he, 22 when he married her? Just a kid. And Rose Helen, 60 now—60, Jesus!—had been 24. Jesus! too, as far as that was concerned. Because hadn't a deep part of her attraction been, as, God help him, it was something of an aversion now, those two extra years she had on him, as if she lived in a distant, telling time zone, coming to him, it could be, from alien geography, bringing alien geography, the covered flesh she'd not permitted him to see until their wedding night and teased him with—only it was nothing nearly so playful as teasing—denying him its light even then, granting him access to her only beneath the sheet and thin cover in the darkened room. The mysterious functions of her moving parts as much mysterious. Allowed to bring away with his eyes, like some impinged victor of guarded rewards, only what he could make out in that hobbled, weighted light. Only what he felt on his lips, the moistened tips of her powdered, perfumed nipples in licked conjunction with his moving, frantic tongue, a thick, yielded chemistry of a clayey, bridal milk. The source of her sweet and sour odors protected as the upper reaches of some under Nile. And what Druff was able to take away with him on his fingers, lifted like fingerprints from that dark and solemn scene.
In the not-so-distant future, when genetic engineers begin designing a human chassis, Morgan Fox may find work as the blueprint. Miss December's nearly six-foot frame is cradled by toned muscle groups she tends daily in the British Columbia gym where she works as a personal trainer. When this energetic sportswoman says, "I love cardio," she's not talking of some lost Italian love but of her passion for cardiovascular exercise. She also skis ("I taught myself," she says of her latest kick, slalom racing. "It's pretty easy"). As a youngster in Kamloops, B.C., she was a rodeo contestant (steer roping, barrel racing) and she still rides Scooter, a quarter horse/Thoroughbred crossbreed, regularly. And every day, without fail, she goes through her paces at the gym: warm-up stretches, stationary biking, weight training, making the machine circuit, sit-ups, leg lifts—you name it. "I like to push myself to the limit," she says, "just to see what I can do."
After having a few too many and staying out a little too late, the man headed home, trying desperately to come up with a plausible story to tell his wife. Because this sort of thing had happened so often, he was having trouble finding an excuse he had not recently used.
Oh wad some power the giftie gie us," Robert Burns wrote two centuries ago, "to see oursels as others see us!" More important in these fey Nineties is making others see us the way we fancy ourselves. Damn the self-scrutiny; we want shiny stuff—Maserati, Tiffany, Rolex and Ping. But Burns, who in 1792 gave his wife a poem, knew something we've forgotten. The best gifts are personal—they assert the uniqueness of giftie and giftee alike. See for yourself.
Elizabeth Perkins is all mouth and mischief. For fun, she scares the hell out of her cats and records the terror on home videos. When David Letterman caught her wiping her nose on camera, she beamed and suppressed the urge to transfer the bounty of her sinuses onto his sleeve. "It would have been a riot," she says. She has even suggested on network interviews that the Bible may have been written by early derelicts with drool problems. Playfulness suits her. As a film actress, she is equally a caution: Her looks smolder, her sensibility froths. In "Big," as a corporate harpy with soul, she bounced on Tom Hanks's trampoline and later sweetly corrupted his virginity. Besides Hanks, she has played the girl to other overgrown boys, suck as Jeff ("Sweethearts Dance") Daniels and Judge (the upcoming "Enid Is Sleeping") Reinhold. She is gal to the galoots, which should encourage much of mankind. Currently, she appears in Barry Levinson's "Avalon" as a first-generation American Jew, even though she is Greek. She recalls, "I said to Barry, 'Why didn't you cast a Jew?' He said, 'Because you look like a Jew.' I said, 'OK.' "
Unless he spent the night with a woman and thus was obliged to make small talk in the morning, Ken Phipps's breakfast companion was the radio, tuned to an all-news station, but it was routine for him (unless some major catastrophe was being reported for the first time) to ignore the meaning of what was said while taking comfort from the sound of the human voice. He had usually caught the 11-o'clock TV news the night before. It was rare that anything happened overnight.
The British are known for many things: their rainy climate, their excellent butlers, their besieged but enduring monarchy, the quirky personal habits their gentlemen acquire at those so-called public schools, the blandness of their cuisine and the warmth of their beer. What they have not previously been known for in the Colonies is the beauty of their women. Face it; while Prime Minister Thatcher is an able statesperson, she could walk down the street without causing the casual passer-by to suffer whiplash. But Byron Newman, noted London photographer and bird watcher extraordinaire, knows where to find beauty in Britain. Here he has assembled examples of pulchritudinous plumage in their natural habitat: at work and play, going about their business. You will see the fruits of a proud history of empire. Here are women with whom we, as Americans, share common goals, if not always a common language. Our fathers and grandfathers fought side by side so that we might have the freedom to get to know one another. Let's not disappoint them.
We don't know about you, but we're kind of worried about NASA. You remember NASA: big agency, lots of gizmos, nifty logo, rocket jockeys with names like Deke and Gus and Gordo who wore silver suits and said "A-OK" and "Can do." Today's team is full of folks named Frederick and Brewster who dress up in powder-blue jump suits and click off terms such as "nominal" and "on-line." The old NASA had ships dubbed Eagle and Saturn that carried men to the moon; this NASA used something called STS-41C to haul tomato seeds into orbit.
From the black diamonds in Colorado to the bunny hills of the Midwest, this season's hottest ski-wear is as practical as it is sharp. Look for longer jackets, pullovers and one-piece suits in dark, rich colors. Muted neon accents, bright slashes of color and metallic trim give outfits a high-tech look to match the latest skis and boots. And revolutionary fabrics such as waterproof leather and Thinsulate ceramic will keep you as warm and dry on the slopes as you are by the fireside sipping a mug of steaming cider—or perhaps something stronger.
Except for mom and apple pie, there's nothing more wholesome than America's high school marching bands—particularly their wind sections, showcasing those promising players who are herewith celebrated in Playboy's Sax Stars of 1990. Psst, over here ... the preceding sentence is a smoke screen for those censors and Senators who seldom investigate thoroughly before deciding whether or not something is fit for citizens to see. Thus distracted, the censorious may not read on to discover that the actual Sex Stars of 1990 feature will discuss middle-aged men who court the sort of young women who grab their crotches and talk dirty in public, fathers who send weird gifts to their daughters, leading ladies who lampoon their private parts, rich men who ditch their wives for great sex with models in tight jeans and lots of alluring young lovelies who fortunately aren't illegal.
'Twas The Night Before Christmaswhen all through the dwelling,The adults were unconscious, the brats had stopped yelling;The stockings were hung with a je ne sais quoiIn hopes we'd get presents (especially moi).
The big music story in 1990 was freedom of speech. Record labeling, Government meddling and a slow response from the music industry made 2 Live Crew the primary target, while all rap music took the rap. If censorship was a low point, Bonnie Raitt's recognition by her peers and fans was a high, proving that hanging tough works. The big guns hit the road—Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Janet Jackson and David Bowie—and Madonna blitzed the world, on film and on tour. Sinéad O'Connor, last year's weird chick with no hair, is this year's top pop singer. It was a good year for crossing over—making it big on both the black and the pop charts—just ask Lisa Stansfield, New Kids on the Block, Technotronic, Mariah Carey and M. C. Hammer. So-called fringe acts such as Depeche Mode and the B-52's went mainstream, Harry Connick, Jr., had three jazz albums on the charts at once, country singer Clint Black wowed women of all musical persuasions and world music internationalized our taste. From TV to advertising to movies, music was the back beat to our daily lives.
Bing Crosby had it all together in the movie Holiday Inn. There he was with luscious Marjorie Reynolds, a roaring fireplace and his trademark pipe. What better way to enjoy Christmas than with a blonde, a blazing hearth and a briar? No wonder more pipes are sold during the month of December than at any other time of the year. Forget the snowstorm outside; the warmth of a pipe helps keep spirits bright. And as Hef discovered, a pipe definitely adds to your image. For relaxing after all the gifts have been opened or for a late-night smoke with that special someone while waiting for the jolly old fat man to appear, here are six great pipes—and some nifty accessories—perfect for yuletide puffing.