In comedy's fun house, nobody likes the hall of mirrors more than Garry Shandling. In an upcoming episode of Shandling's cable TV series, The Larry Sanders Show, Darlene--sidekick Hank Kingsley's able-bodied assistant, played by Linda Doucett--catches the eye of Playboy founder Hugh M. Hefner (guest-starring as himself) and poses for Playboy. And in a fantasy come true, Doucett the actress does the same for Contributing Photographer Arny Freytag in this month's pictorial, Showstopper. Kingsley, the lucky guy, volunteered to write her story.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), September 1993, Volume 40, Number 9. Published Monthly by Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: $29.97 for 12 issues, U.S. Canada, $43.97 for 12 issues. All other foreign, $45 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: 8560 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069; Metropolitan Publishers Representatives, Inc.: Atlanta: 3017 Piedmont Road Ne, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30305; Miami: 2500 South Dixie Highway, Miami, FL 33133; Tampa: 3016 Mason Place, Tampa, FL 33629.
Both Madonna and Kim Basinger were committed at various times to play the title role in Boxing Helena (Orion Classics). Basinger lost a widely publicized suit for damages after backing away from the part finally taken by Sherilyn Fenn, who makes the most of it. Helena, as you must have heard by now, is a sexy adventuress dallying with a roustabout named Ray (Bill Paxton). Her flagrant promiscuity arouses the jealousy of Nick (Julian Sands), a famous surgeon who thinks he can't live without her. After she suffers a nasty accident near his place, Nick holds Helena captive, secretly amputates her limbs--first her legs, then her arms--and finds his voluptuous Venus no less seductive, icy and distant than she was before. Young writer-director Jennifer Lynch (daughter of David, Fenn's director on Twin Peaks) proves that she is a formidably talented chip off the old block. While never bloody or disgustingly explicit, Boxing Helena lives up to its reputation for outrageousness. As Fenn's defiant violator, Sands gives a jarring performance as Nick, whose compulsive behavior seems weirdly wimpy at times. Even as you gulp in disbelief at her excesses, however, Lynch's tangled tale of erotic obsession turns out to be a cinematic spellbinder--slick and provocative, a debut shrewdly calculated to create shock waves.
Harrison Ford is promoting his latest picture, The Fugitive, but he'd rather be walking by himself in the woods near his home in Wyoming or spending time with his two youngest children or playing tennis. The soft-spoken carpenter, who has appeared in more blockbusters than Arnold and Jack combined, is a friendly, serious guy who just happens to make more right choices than most actors. Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger, Ford's follow-up to Patriot Games, is next. Contributing Editor Lawrence Grobel caught Ford's undivided attention. For an hour.
Oscar-nominee Robert Downey, Jr., may have walked the walk in Attenborough's 1992 epic, but Kino on Video has the real thing. Charlie Chaplin: The Early Films of a Screen Legend features 25 timeless Chaplin shorts in six volumes, dating from 1914 to 1917. Highlights:
Devoted vid-renters take note: From Villa Crespo Software comes Flicks!, a user-friendly, colorfully animated home-computer data base cataloging more than 30,000 movies ($59.95). Bootable info includes cast and director credits, MPAA ratings, awards listings, disc and closed-caption availability, even a (practically impossible) movie-trivia game. But here's the best feature: The entries can be edited--meaning, now you and Kathleen Turner can star in Body Heat. Call 800-521-3963.... Put on your formal bathrobe. The Video Opera House Quarterly mail-order catalog now features more than 200 titles on tape--from Aida to Xerxes--as well as laser listings, a talent index and at-a-glance "microplot" summaries for novice home divas. Call 800-262-8600.... On the heels of this summer's big-screen rendition of Dennis the Menace comes CBS/Fox's four-volume release of the imp's current animated series.... Meanwhile, for diehard boob-tube-boomers, other recent TV-to-tape flashbacks include Underdog (UAV), The Best of Andy Griffith (UAV), Gilligan's Island: The Collector's Edition (Columbia House) and Get Smart Again: The Movie (Worldvision)--as well as the trendier Cheers: The Collector's Edition (Columbia House) and Northern Exposure (MCA/Universal).
While the rest of the world rents Daniel Day-Lewis' 1992 romp as The Last of the Mohicans, Lumivision (in association with George Eastman House) offers a laser replay of Maurice Tourneur's 1920 silent version of the James Fenimore Cooper classic, remastered from the original nitrate negative and given a nice colonial-days tint. $39.95.... Simply confirming Clint Eastwood's resurgent superstar status is a new disc boxed set from Warner ($119.98) that includes this year's Oscar-sweeper, Unforgiven, along with Pale Rider (1985) and The Outlaw Josie Wales (1976). All three flicks are remastered, letter-boxed and, yep, quintessential Clint.... A guilty pleasure makes its disc debut: Dino De Laurentiis' 1980 sf campfest Flash Gordon (MCA/Universal; $34.98) arrives on laser in a remastered edition that includes the theatrical trailer, letter-boxing (restoring the image to its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio) and, of course, Max Von Sydow's scenery-chewing gig as Ming the Merciless. Queen's killer score is a hoot, too.
"About 500 videos"--that's legendary actor Jack Lemmon's estimate of his personal tape collection. Tops on his shelf? "Anything by Billy Wilder," he says, singling out the director who gave us (among others) Sunset Boulevard, The Seven Year Itch, The Front Page and Some Like It Hot. Yet despite Jack's standout performances in the latter pair, there's this little problem: "I'll watch 15 minutes of a film of mine before I start to think, 'Why the hell did I play the scene that way?' Still," he adds, "scripts then were more literate than what you get now. There are exceptions, like Driving Miss Daisy, but most of today's films just blow everybody and everything up."
An entire new way of absorbing information has evolved in the world of audio-tapes. For some booklovers, the experience of reading now comes through car speakers or the earphones attached to a Walkman. It is more intense than talk radio and less demanding than turning pages. And very big. The audiotape industry--already a billion dollars through rental or sale of roughly 70 million tapes annually--rapidly grows larger. More than 200,000 people listened to Rush Limbaugh read his book, The Way Things Ought to Be (Simon & Schuster Audio), on audiotape. That may sound modest compared with selling more than 2 million copies of the book. But it's a medium that's becoming more popular.
If your dog had your brains and could speak, and if you asked it what it thought of your sex life, you might be surprised by its response. It would be something like this: "Those disgusting humans have sex any day of the month. Females propose sex even when they know perfectly well that they aren't fertile. Males are eager for sex any day, without caring whether or not a baby could result. What a waste of effort. Here's the weirdest thing of all: They keep having sex even though the female is pregnant."
I published an article last January in the Detroit Free Press called "The Men's Movement Is Dead! Long Live the Men's Movement!" In it I said that there is no effective men's movement speaking to the issues of men and sexual politics today, but that there ought to be such a movement, and soon.
I wasn't planning to unearth a land mine of female rage and resentment. I thought I was just asking a simple question. Our grisly story starts in England. While I was there last month I saw this hit TV quiz show called Have I Got News for You. Each week's show features two male hosts and assorted celebrity guests being incessantly witty. On the shows I watched, these guests were all men. I asked a friend of the producers why that was so. "They're desperate for women," he said. "They just can't find any funny ones. The women just sit quietly or they giggle nervously."
It is the best of times for the worst of crimes. And consensual crimes are the worst of crimes, not for the usual reasons, but because they have no business being crimes. Simply put, you should be allowed to do whatever you want with your own person and property, so long as you don't physically harm the person or the property of another. Today's laws make many of those basic consensual acts illegal. Here are a few examples:
The Albert Speer award for creative social engineering: We first saw this toy prison--the perfect accessory for a Young Republican's train set--during the late years of the Bush administration. We imagined boys gleefully pretending to be drug czars shipping off dope smokers by the carload. What next? An HO-gauge electric chair? The good news: The prison is currently in a clearance bin at one third off the original price. Maybe there is hope for America.
"Today, gay soldiers jump with the 101st Airborne, wear the Green Beret of the Special Forces and perform top-level jobs in the 'black world' of covert operations. Gay Air Force personnel have staffed missile silos in North Dakota, flown with nuclear-armed bombers of the Strategic Air Command and navigated Air Force One. Gay sailors dive with the Navy Seals, tend the nuclear reactors on submarines and teach at the Naval War College. A gay admiral commanded the fleet assigned to one of the highest-profile military operations of the past generation. The homosexual presence on aircraft carriers is so pervasive that social life on the huge ships for the past 15 years has included gay newsletters and clandestine gay discos. Gay Marines guard the President in the White House honor guard and protect the U.S. embassies around the world."
During the past two decades, the first ten amendments to the Constitution have been quietly revised by the state and federal judiciary, sparing us the untidy political melee of a constitutional convention. The new Bill of Rights, based on current case law, might look something like this:
He's been dubbed "America's angriest activist," "the Paul Revere of the AIDS epidemic" and "one of America's most valuable troublemakers" (the last courtesy of writer Susan Sontag). Then there are other comments. His critics--and even some friends--have called him nasty, tiresome, rotten, ineffective, self-loathing and a bully. Will the real Larry Kramer please stand up? Or, as his targets keep hoping, would he please sit down and shut up?
It had been night so long, in some places with fire bright as day, that I had got used to the idea that there wasn't going to be anything else. But in the way I was going, the fires were definitely less than they'd been--less bunched up, less high and less hot. I kept moving according to my gut feel, even though I had to jog this way and that way among the streets. I did change streets a lot, but the people were all just like one another. Nobody said a thing to me, and my main trouble was in trying to look as confused and aimless as they did while I held on to my heading.
I'm not a real talk-show co-host, but I play one on TV's The Larry Sanders Show. Just because I'm fictional (Jeffrey Tambor gets the screen credit for playing me) doesn't mean I don't have opinions. And my assistant, Darlene--who is fictional too, but one hell of a gal--deserves all the praise I can give her. (I suppose Linda Doucett, the actress who plays her, deserves some credit as well.) Anyway, let me assure you that this isn't the usual shameless publicity stunt. For me, it's a labor of love, the ultimate turn-on. (My other turn-ons, by the way, are honesty, Dom Pérignon and getting a hug from Larry after a great show.) You see, I am a true Playboy lover. My father was a charter subscriber, and I still keep a complete set of Playboy After Dark tapes by the bed in my Malibu home. I even coined my catchphrase, "hey now," in a moment of boyish ecstasy with the April 1958 issue in my lap. So when Hugh Hefner himself appeared on our show, he practically ignored Larry. "Hef," as I call him (he called me "buddy," a term he reserves for close friends), knew a kindred spirit when he saw one. When Hef asked me to write about our Darlene, I was honored. The delightful Darlene Schepini hails from Madison, Wisconsin, where the Sanders show beats Leno every night. She first caught my eye as the lovely assistant to a Las Vegas magician, the Amazing Clifford. "He used to saw me in half twice a night. It was really scary because I thought it was real," says Darlene with her trademark giggle. "But then you saved me, Hank." Yes, it was I who gave the Sanders seductress her big break. As my gal Friday, she lubricates the wheels that keep The Larry Sanders Show running like the ratings machine it is. Darlene brings water when the Kingsley throat gets dry. She answers my phone, highlights my name in the trade papers, even types up my popular newsletter, Hanks for the Memories. (We have more than 500 readers, almost as many as you started out with, Hef.) Asked by your intrepid interviewer what she loves most about her job, Darlene answers sweetly, "Helping you, Hank." Her other turn-ons include horseback riding, kindness, puppies and romantic evenings with professional athletes. Darlene's turnoffs? "I'm a very positive person," she tells me, "but I just can't stand pollution or sarcasm." In the final analysis, Darlene is everything Hef had in mind when he invented sex appeal, American style. She's wholesome, nurturing, kind to children and animals, and has a wonderful innocence. Her body alone will keep us in syndication for years. "I have you to thank for that, Hank," she says charmingly. "Before I came to work for you, I hated my body. But now, with the way you respect me and sometimes look me right in the eye, I can sleep knowing I'm more than my body. I'm Hank Kingsley's personal assistant. When I wake up in the morning, it's 'Look out, world--here comes Darlene.' " Take that, all you cynics who think the American dream is dead. You can find it alive and kicking every month in Playboy and every week on The Larry Sanders Show. Hank Kingsley says, Hey now, America--the best is yet to come! (P.S. to Hef: Do I get the Playboy Interview now? I can dish a lot of dirt on Larry.)
Depending on how you look at it, hot rods either embarrassed or inspired Detroit. Whenever automakers introduced dull cars, rebel rodders put their own spin on standard platforms, creating wheels so wild they became American classics. Such customizing flourished in the Fifties, in part because of an outlaw status which made it that much more exciting. The slow, assembly-line barges of the day were transformed into racy, low-slung vehicles called lead sleds--because lead was used to form the slick metalwork. Remember James Dean's lowered, de-chromed Mercury coupe in Rebel Without a Cause, or Edd "Kookie" Byrnes' Cadillac-engined Model T in 77 Sunset Strip? Some guys chopped the tops on their cars--literally taking a section out of each doorpost and roof support. Then they rewelded the lower rooflines, removed the chrome, installed the biggest, most powerful engines they could find and repainted the bodies in pearlescent hues. By 1960, Detroit got the hint. Tearing a page from Hot Rod magazine, automakers dropped their biggest engines into their lightest bodies to come up with such masterly muscle cars as the Pontiac GTO and the Chevrolet 409. Hot-rodding took the backseat for a while; if you wanted a fast, stylish car, Detroit could sell you one. In fact, it wasn't until a decade later that American Graffiti and Happy Days launched a Fifties nostalgia boom. Hot rods were back, but this time a huge after-market industry emerged, offering modern reproductions of old-car bodies and components. There was no longer a need to search junkyards for vintage parts. All you needed was a credit card and UPS dropped the gear at your door. Today, the pendulum has swung back to automakers for fast, innovative new models. But hot-rodders are still competing for leading-edge design. For the past few years some of the car shows' biggest hits have been hot rods. Mitsubishi's Aluma-Coupe, a highly stylized flashback inspired by the 1932 Ford, was 1992's favorite. This year, it was Plymouth's Prowler, an innovative retro-roadster based on Chrysler's production LH sedans and pictured on our opening spread. According to Tom Gale, Chrysler's vice president of design, "the Prowler has received so much interest, we're considering it for limited production." If Chrysler goes ahead with the project, the Prowler will follow in the tire tracks of the Dodge Viper--a no-frills, limited-edition production car aimed at a niche market. The price: maybe $30,000. But don't send in the down payment yet. Instead, if you want a hot rod but lack the mechanical know-how to build your own, look up Los Angeles' Boyd Coddington, Chuck Lombardo or Roy Brizio, or Ken Fenical of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. For $30,000 to $40,000, any one of these metalsmiths will create a custom car. All have impressive credentials: For instance, Coddington built the radical 1948 Cadillac fastback show car named Cadzzilla for a member of the rock group ZZ Top, as well as Chezoom, the updated 1957 Chevy hardtop (below). To see these and other customs up close, you can check out one of the dozens of hot-rod shows held across the country each year. The National Street Rod Association's Nationals topped 13,000 entrants last August in Louisville, Kentucky. Another huge event is held in June at St. Ignace, Michigan. Attending this gathering is like stepping back in time: Doo-wop, poodle skirts and greased-back hair abound. The Oakland Roadster Show, America's oldest and most prestigious hot-rod meet, has been held every January in Oakland, California for 44 years. And the National Hot Rod Association sponsors nostalgia drag races semiannually, featuring competition cars of the past. Bruce Meyer, president of Geary's specialty stores in Beverly Hills and owner of the 1932 Ford roadster (left, facing page) and the chopped 1950 Mercury included in this feature, sums up hot-rod mania: "Hot rods are more fun than driving a Ferrari Testarossa. I grew up a little too late for these cars, but it's never too late to have a happy childhood."
If John Singleton didn't make movies, he'd be the perfect subject for one. Perhaps too perfect. Who would believe a movie about a kid who grows up in South Central Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a filmmaker? Who lands a slot in USC's prestigious film school, where, as an undergraduate, he twice wins the Jack Nicholson Screenwriting Award? Who, disgusted by Hollywood's clichéd portrayal of the gang experience, writes his own script and refuses to sell it unless he's allowed to direct it--and pulls it off?
If she hadn't grown up so close to the rolling blue Pacific, Carrie Westcott might not be a woman obsessed. As it happens, Miss September lives for the water: "I love the ocean. I love to walk in the rain. I love hot tubs, bubble baths and swimming pools. There's something about being naked in water." Her voice trails off but her smile tells all. This southern Californian sticks close to the water's edge, taking vacation breaks from her work as a model and aspiring actress in Hollywood to roam the shores of Mexico, Jamaica and the Bahamas. Carrie's call to the water probably began with her childhood in Mission Viejo, California, 50 miles south of Los Angeles and half as far from a decent beach. It was tantalizingly near and yet out of reach--the stuff obsessions are made of. She was a loner as a young girl, writing poems and playing records, awash in daydreams. By the time she hit her teens, her family had moved 75 miles up the freeway to a dusty valley town flanked by the scrub-covered San Gabriel Mountains. "I was not a happy camper," admits Carrie, who longed for brighter lights and a bigger city--or at least a shopping mall. "Canyon Country was the complete boonies back then. There was nothing to do and nowhere to go. Kids would go to the mountains to party. It was keg city every weekend." The life of many a mountaintop fete was budding beauty Carrie Ann Westcott. "I was a rowdy party girl in high school. And I still am," she adds, laughing. Carrie spends most of her nights club-hopping in Hollywood, where she rooms with her best friend. "Musicians are my weakness," she says. "When a guy writes lyrics, practices and performs--that's sexy. I always said I was going to marry a rock star." Lately she's been thinking more about her own career than a potential boyfriend's. Print modeling has blossomed into work in commercials. Can TV roles and movies be far behind? "I'm finally getting serious about independence. For a long time my identity depended on whom I was with. I was whoever he wanted me to be. I'm ready to take charge of my life."
A motorist approached an accident on the interstate. From the position of the vehicles, it looked as though a bus had been hit by a moving van belonging to a prosperous national company. The driver stopped, got out of his car and walked over to a victim lying on the ground. "Say, has anyone from the insurance company been here yet?" he asked.
I like to cook. I've always liked to cook. That is, as long as I didn't have to cook, I liked it. It was when I was made to cook that I hated it, because if I didn't do it they'd either fire me or, later, fire at me.
After Losing more than a few customers to thrift shops, menswear designers have finally seen the light. No, they haven't lowered their prices. But they have introduced suits, sports coats and other fall offerings with the turn-of-the-century vintage features we like. Jackets and vests, for example, fit comfortably and are buttoned high on the chest. Shirts are soft and ample rather than stiff and starched. And fabrics feature the antique undertones and textures of the past. So what's our take on this retro trend? We think it's the best of both worlds: You get the great looks of old with the benefits of high-quality modern construction. It also broadens your options, giving you both traditional and contemporary styles to choose from. And it enhances the versatility of your wardrobe. Here are the details.
When you tell Sarah Jessica Parker her nose is sexy, she'll blush. She'll protest. She'll thank you. She'll ask if she can quote you. And then she'll tell you how her looks (she means the nose) were, for the better part of her career, unacceptable by Hollywood beauty standards. All that's changed. Overnight, after an 18-year-career spanning stage ("Annie"), screen and tube ("Square Pegs," "A Year in the Life," "Equal Justice"), she's turned from ugly duckling to swan. Parker credits Steve Martin, who detected an infectious irrepressibility and cast her as SanDeE* in "L.A. Story." Her next role was as the object of desire for both Nicolas Cage and James Caan in "Honeymoon in Vegas," easily the best of the recent spate of my-money-for-your-wife films. Coming up: "Striking Distance," with Bruce Willis (the first time she uses a gun), and "Hocus Pocus," with Bette Midler (she plays a witch). Contributing Editor David Rensin met with Parker in Los Angeles when she flew in to attend the Oscars. Says Rensin: "Sarah wears a size one. That's all you need to know."
Flipping through the channels, I sift the offerings of late-night TV. Eventually I settle on a talk show--what else?--but there's something wrong, disturbing. The host is a big-jawed, gap-toothed comic named Lenoman. It's a little unnerving--I was expecting Jay or Dave, not both--but Lenoman tosses off a one-liner to put me at ease, then leans into the camera, screws up his face and intones a single word: "Buttafuoco." The audience is with him all the way. I feel good, but all at once things get ugly. Lenoman has split back into his former selves, and they're fighting for control of the desk--Leno at one end, Letterman at the other, both gripping the corners, sweating and cursing and tugging like pro wrestlers. The audience is choosing sides, and an army of hosts storms in from the wings: Arsenio, Chevy, Rush, Shandling, Koppel and some new kid called Conan--a tall, carrot-top guy who leans into the camera, screws up his face and repeats a single word: "Buttafuoco," and again and again, "Buttafuoco, Buttafuoco."
It has never happened before. Not anywhere. Ever. There is a greater concentration of female beauty on the southern tip of Miami Beach between First Street and Fourteenth Street than has ever occurred in the history of the planet. This sounds like hyperbole, doesn't it? But hear me out.
Weary of pro football players pouting because they can't renegotiate their $8 million three-year contract for a $20 million five-year deal? Welcome to college football, the game in which wads of money are made by schools, bowls, TV networks, coaches, athletic directors, shoe companies, sportscasters, T-shirt vendors and NCAA administrators, but the players can't even afford haircuts.
Playboyexpands your purchasing power by providing a list of retailers and manufacturers you can contact for information on where to find this month's merchandise. To buy the apparel and equipment shown on pages 28, 120-125 and 173, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
Now that Panasonic has launched the first portable digital compact cassette player, competition between it and the already portable minidisc system is heating up. Both recordable digital formats have their advantages, of course, including title-and-artist readouts. DCC-to-go gives you superb sound that's comparable with what you get from CDs-and you can also listen to analog cassettes on a DCC player. (The sound won't be quite as good, but your favorite tapes can still hit the road when you do.) Minidisc players offer great sound, too, and you get instant access to individual tracks, a memory chip that prevents skipping and the kick that comes from being one of the first to own an exciting new floppy-disk-type format. Flip a coin.
Equilibrium--Things have changed since Joey's Once-Mousy Girlfriend started pumping Iron. Now Joey wonders if he can love a woman who has developed Muscle-Prize-winning college fiction by Roland N. Kelts