November is sweeps month, and as television stations nationwide roll out those sex-and-mayhem ratings grabbers, we're zooming in on TV land itself. After all, our president and first lady owe their jobs to a couple of television's heaviest hitters: Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. In Linda & Harry & Bill & Hillary, Los Angeles writer Michael Leahy profiles the Arkansas duo who have become as famous for their Clinton connection as they have for Designing Women and Evening Shade. No, Harry and Linda won't be giving up their day jobs to join the administration. As John Lippman explains in TV Money, filmmakers get the respect, but the big bucks are made off the small screen. Read it to find out exactly who makes what.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), November 1993, Volume 40, Number 11, 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.
Fine China, heirloom silver and elegant place settings at formal dinners often upstage the plot in The Age of Innocence (Columbia). Director Martin Scorsese, the man who made Mean Streets and remade Cape Fear, moves to alien turf in Edith Wharton's austere study of unrequited love set in the stiflingly small world of New York society back in 1870. Innocence is the rueful tale of Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), a wealthy young lawyer who marries the wrong woman (Winona Ryder) because it's the proper thing to do. He is almost physically sick with passion, however, for her cousin Ellen Olenska (Michelle Pfeiffer), a woman considered tarnished when she returns to lick her wounds after marrying and separating from a titled European. Of course, Archer never quite dares to sleep with the woman he wants, which gives Age of Innocence its title as well as a certain emotional remoteness. Pfeiffer scores anyway because her warmth and spontaneity as the sexy Olenska are not inhibited by the screenplay's stubborn reliance on narration. In too many voice-over descriptive passages, Joanne Woodward speaks large chunks of Wharton's prose to tell us what a company of marvelous actors seems perfectly capable of showing--if it were given a chance. What results is a fine old-fashioned romantic drama, done with exquisite taste throughout, but more bookish than cinematic.
By playing the reformed drug addict who was Mary McDonnell's feisty home companion in Passion Fish,Alfre Woodard fired up a career already on fast-forward. Just 40, she plays the lead ("a mom with five kids") in Crooklyn, Spike Lee's work-in-progress about a Brooklyn family not unlike his own circa 1973. "Spike wrote it with his sister and brother," Woodard reports between takes on location in New York. "It's not about crooks--that's just what his mother used to call Brooklyn--it's comedy." Any role she takes has to "feel natural," says Alfre. "You can't do a part that makes you feel like you have sand in your pants."
No surprise here: When asked to name her favorite on tape, Cynthia Geary,Northern Exposure's scatterbrained barmaid, chooses the goofy 1972 comedy What's Up Doc? "I know it's corny," she says, "but I think it's hilarious. And Barbra Streisand has always been a favorite of mine." Not all of Geary's viewing tips lean to the silly; she also recommends such sober rewinds as Enchanted April, The Crying Game and Woody Allen's bittersweet Husbands and Wives. "But for the most part," she says, "I'm a sucker for crying movies--like Kramer vs. Kramer and Terms of Endearment. I resort to movies whenever I need a good cry." So be on the lookout for the weepy one on the aisle.
From pinup photographer Eric Kroll comes a vid trip through the bizarre. Girdle Gulch and Girls from Girdleville are what Kroll likes to call "full-color bursts of concentrated fetish obsession." We call them strange stripteases by the busty and beautiful, crammed with Kroll's favorite obsessions: lingerie and leather, voyeurism and fantasy. While some of the backdrops show imagination (from cactus-covered mesas to golf courses), we think Gulch's autoerotic blow-job-toe-job-in-the-tub sequence a bit much. But you be the judge. (Call 212-684-2465.)
This month, Voyager promises to have its first John Waters film on disc: the legendarily offbeat Polyester. Waters has supplemented the 1981 dysfunctional-family comedy (starring drag-queen diva Divine) with stills from his personal collection and early Super-8 footage. Will the package also include the scratch-and-sniff Odorama cards originally issued at movie theaters? Voyager ain't sayin'.... Update: MGM/UA's deluxe release of Fellini's Roma, the master's 1972 return to the city of his youth, is now in CAV format--ideal for Fellini's penchant for sensory overload; and MCA/Universal's newest offering of Phil Alden Robinson's 1989 paean to baseball, Field of Dreams, is letterboxed at last. What does that mean, sports fans? Correct: Your laser Field now has a left and a right.
Hissing from summer lawns department: John Kelly has been impersonating Joni Mitchell since 1984, but he says it's not what we think. It's a theatrical device. "I'm portraying a character who happens to be a woman. I'm not getting a thrill from putting on a dress." Kelly admits he looks as good as Joni Mitchell and he can sing like her. No comment from Joni--or from RuPaul, either.
Jazz has never boasted many women instrumentalists, but they were there early on. Louis Armstrong's departure from King Oliver's group in 1924, for instance, came at the urging of his wife, Lil Hardin, who met Armstrong when she occupied the piano chair in the Oliver band. Yet in spite of a handful of important pianists--such as Marian McPartland, Mary Lou Williams and the bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi--women have traditionally played second fiddle when it comes to the business of blowing an ax. So it's an overdue treat to find so many recordings by women instrumentalists.
Why do so many good baseball books appear at World Series time? A. Bartlett Giamatti, the former commissioner of baseball, knew the answer: "As soon as the chill rains come, baseball stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." Now that there's no joy in Mudville, Roger Kahn hits a literary home run, again, in The Era: 1947-1957 (Ticknor & Fields) by tapping into many baseball fans' deepest passion--the 11 seasons when the Yankees, Dodgers and Giants played in New York. As they did in The Boys of Summer, Kahn's insights, descriptions and anecdotes bring the golden age to life.
I was on the verge of a male meltdown. I was at home watching TV and had turned to Donahue. The show was supposed to examine men who were physically abused by their wives, but it quickly turned into a yuckfest. At one point, a woman stood up in the audience and told Phil and the rest of America how she had hammered her husband with a pencil holder she had flung across the room. It had bounced off the wall and whacked him on the back of his head. "A bank shot," said Phil to much laughter. As Mr. Sensitivity egged her on, the woman described how hubby's laceration had been so bad that "he went in an ambulance." Bigger laugh. P.S.: She couldn't understand what she had done to make the cops haul her in.
The New York Times recommended this book. A murder mystery, my main addiction. I'm reading it. I'm excited. The guy's good. OK, on page one he mentions a dress pushing a woman's white breasts up through a hole in the ozone. Still, snappy dialogue. Then on page four someone is described as cutting his wrists "like a hysterical old woman." Oh, so what? Am I so politically correct that a little sexism or ageism upsets me?
Fifteen years ago, when I was doing a story on the death of the Bronx, I wandered into the Lincoln Hospital detox center run by Dr. Michael Smith. I couldn't believe what I saw: The doctor was sticking acupuncture needles into a heroin addict and calling it treatment. True, the Chinese have been using acupuncture for centuries, but trying it in a program in the Bronx was controversial, to say the least. Back then, many of the doctors and city bureaucrats I talked with thought Smith's use of acupuncture was quackery. These days, he is hailed as a medical pioneer, and the "alternative medicine" of acupuncture is turning out to be one of the most effective treatments for drug addiction.
Sheila Kuehl, managing director of the California Women's Law Center in Los Angeles, got things rolling in the Litigation Strategies workshop at the Speech, Equality and Harm antiporn conference in Chicago ("Hatefest," The Playboy Forum, August) by urging the crowd to think creatively.
Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most prolific writers in America. Her critics even complain that she writes too much. She has written more novels than Nobel laureate Saul Bellow, more short story collections than John Updike, more books of essays than Norman Mailer, more words of poetry than Emily Dickinson and more plays than Chekhov. Critic Harold Bloom considers her "our true proletarian novelist." Author and critic John Gardner called her "an alarming phenomenon--one of the great writers of our time."
When it looked as if the whole thing might die in the snowdrifts of New Hampshire, when Gennifer Flowers and the specter of the Oxford draft dodger threatened to kill him off, when he had been gripped by the flu and seemingly eaten every fast-food burger in New England while metamorphosing into an indulged doughboy, it had been Harry who had simply gone out and bought him bigger suits. It had been megamillionaire and TV emperor Harry who, working on three hours' sleep, got down on his hands and knees to lay color-coordinated carpet in a television studio for the candidate's live call-in show before New Hampshire voters. It had been Linda, ten days before the primary, who had directed the gathering of filmed testaments from Arkansans, film to be used in New Hampshire advertising in order to dispel the image of the Oxford draft dodger. It had been Linda, in July, who had written, produced and edited The Man from Hope, a moving 14-minute bio-pic on her friend, which rival Republican strategist Mary Matalin would later call "the single most important visual in turning around the preconvention image of Clinton as a pampered, spineless guy and in sending him out of Madison Square Garden in first place, when he had arrived in third."
Roseanne and Tom Arnold will reveal anything--and we mean anything--to the press. They'll discuss their sex life, they'll show off their tattoos, they'll moon photographers. But even Roseanne and Tom, with their extraordinarily flexible limits on self-disclosure, won't tell you the one thing that would probably interest you the most: They won't tell you how much money they make.
By birth order, the oldest of the triplets is Marilise, pronounced Mah-ree-leeze-ee but without too much emphasis on the final syllable. Whisper it as if you were barely getting a life-sustaining breath into The Girl from Ipanema. The middle sister is Lilian. Say more than Lih-lee-ah, less than Lih-lee-ahn. Then comes Renata. Heh-nah-tuh. The Brazilians are slouches at an initial "r." Hence, the city the sisters live in, assuming you're ready to go native, is Hee-oo, not what you've always called it, Ree-oh. Now forget which is which and who's on the left and who's on the right. This isn't trick photography. But makeup and photo artistry can't help but minimize the differences among the sisters, though the differences are real. Besides, the triplets themselves are not above a prank. Three distinct pictures of them appeared in one Brazilian magazine above responses to the question "Do you like guys shy or extroverted?" Lilian said extroverted; Marilise, shy; Renata voted with Lilian. "Actually," reveals Renata, "all three pictures are of Lilian." And so the triplets play trickster once again. Marilise, Lilian and Renata Porto were born, at ten-minute intervals, on March 1, 1974, in the south Brazilian town of Tucunduva in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The triplets have been famous for about three years as models for Onix jeans, Neutrox shampoo and Azaleia sandals. But they have also appeared four times in one year in Playboy Brazil. That is why if you mention triplets anywhere in Brazil, from Iguaçu on the border with Argentina and Paraguay to the faraway Amazon, the response will be either "Ah, the gauchas" (the female counterparts to gauchos) or "Oh, the playboy triplets." When they worked at a trade show recently in São Paulo, they signed 9000 (text concluded on page 176)Three of a Kind(continued from page 86) autographs. And while a handful of pop-music superstars, a couple of Brazilian TV personalities and Pelé, the retired soccer great, are more famous than the trio from Rio, this is about where the triplets fit in: Roughly speaking, they're the 16th, 17th and 18th most famous people in the world's fifth most populous country. That doesn't mean that people know each of them by name. They're just known. Universally. As the triplets.
I like to ask married couples how they met. It's always interesting to hear how two lives become intertwined, how of the nearly infinite number of possible conjunctions this one or that one comes into being, to hear the beginning of a story in progress. As a matrimonial lawyer I deal extensively in endings, and it's a relief, a sort of holiday, to visit the realm of beginnings. And I ask because I have always liked to tell my own story--our story, I should say--which I had always felt was unique.
The old Adage "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" has become the consumer electronics dictum for the Nineties. Companies once considered archrivals are now teaming up in an effort to grab a piece of the industry's latest multibillion-dollar pie: interactive television. Apple and IBM have formed a multimedia software company called Kaleida. Microsoft, General Instrument and Intel are working on a smart cable box, with RCA and IBM developing a smart TV to go with it. Matsushita, AT&T and Time Warner are backing an interactive entertainment system called 3DO. AT&T also just bought 20 percent of Sierra and has formed a partnership with Sega. Movie studios, in their rush to embrace the new technologies, have created such a fervor that the movement has been dubbed "Hollywood Meets Silicon Valley--Part Deux."
The first time I saw Paris was late in the summer of 1944, when I was a GI in the U.S. Army. We had been fighting our way south from the Normandy beaches since June, and the war would go on for another year. It was no time to feel romantic, but my first glimpse of that beautiful city on the Seine marked the start of a love affair that has never ended. And it wasn't just because the streets were filled with crowds of French men and women cheering and waving and generally going nuts with joy as we rode along the boulevard on our half-tracks. The Parisians, free at last from the German occupation, saw us as liberators. All I could see was the scenery: the magnificent avenues and monuments to the glories of French history, the public parks and gardens alive with masses of flowers. And the breathtaking women, stylish in all things, as only French women are.
Picture this. You've survived the Everyman ordeal of moving--that is to say, you've survived but one of your most precious heirlooms, alas, has not. Let's say the movers have inadvertently damaged the framed photograph of you with your arms around Winona Ryder and Mickey Rourke to such an extent that it's just you with your arm around Mickey. At the moving and storage company's complaint department, expecting to go toe-to-toe with someone named Boom Boom who wears a kidney belt, you are instead staggered by the apparition of Miss November: a French-Irish siren named Julianna Young. She has in her voice the vulnerable rasp of Superman's movie girlfriend and the eye-opening figure of Wonder Woman on her very best day. There must be a mistake. Is this a temp dispatched by Botticelli?
Standing 6'6" and weighing 230 pounds, World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis can lounge around in anything he wants. But it should come as no surprise that the British boxer, whose 23--0 record will soon match him up with World Boxing Association champ Riddick Bowe, prefers to relax in the best--namely, the latest looks in robes. That's right, there are trends in luxurious robes just as in tailored menswear; right now, rich colors, silky fabrics and handsome detailing, such as contrast collars, cuffed sleeves and ankle lengths, are what you want. You can even go practical with a style lined in terrycloth. And since luxury begets luxury, we favor silk pajamas or boxer shorts--as Lewis does at right--worn underneath. Talk about a knockout look.
Brian Dennehy's credits, piled one atop the other, stand as tall as the 6'3" Irish-American actor himself. His films include "Cocoon," "Presumed Innocent," "Gorky Park," "Best Seller," "10," "Silverado" and "First Blood," in which he was the first to unhinge Rambo. Dennehy's stage work moves easily from "The Iceman Cometh" to "The Cherry Orchard." He has enlivened TV and cable with "The Jackie Presser Story" and "To Catch a Killer," in which he played John Wayne Gacy. He's also writing and hoping to direct an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's "Swag" and will soon appear on TV as the chief psychiatrist in the series "Birdland," set in a mental hospital.
The moment the cable TV industry announced its plans to expand to 500 channels, a host of entrepreneurs, promoters, hustlers and Barry Diller wanna-bes began trotting out their ideas for programming to fill those channels. Already gearing up are, in fact, the Golf Channel, Food Channel and Military Channel (which, if God has a sense of humor, will wind up positioned next to the inevitable Gay-Lesbian Channel).
There's a large billboard outside Stanford Stadium that advertises the football team's 1993 season. The home-game schedule, boldly painted on a background of leaping flames under the words Hottest ticket in town, is flanked by a 20-foot-high portrait of the coach who put the heat into this program just by showing up. It's a pretty good likeness as billboard art goes: white hair over tan face, a quiet smile that puts vivid parentheses around his mouth, crow's-feet at the corners of his deep-set eyes, thought lines across his forehead.
The American struggle over sex--who may have it, with whom and under what conditions--was joined when the first Puritan slapped the cuffs on the first libertarian and led the laughs in the village square. Since then, the most personal of human activities has been subjected to a tortured array of public regulations, devised principally by church and government. Now other institutions want to patrol the sex beat.
The question was an intriguing one, and during the first few months of 1993, helped by a shrewd publicity campaign, it titillated movie fans around the world: What's the big surprise in The Crying Game? By early spring the answer had been leaked by TV film critic Gene Siskel, more than hinted at by Jaye Davidson's Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and finally written large in the closing credits of the scattershot spoof Hot Shots! Part Deux, which recklessly reveals The Crying Game's secret: "She's a guy."
As 1993 Draws to a close and the 1994 model year begins, Playboy has been interviewing automotive executives, checking out show cars and sneak-previewing new wheels worthy of your interest. What's the word? Good news on the home front--the Detroit renaissance is in high gear. American makes have reclaimed significant sales volume, and Japan's market share here seems to have peaked--at least temporarily. Unfavorable exchange rates have forced Japanese automakers to increase prices just when domestic manufacturers are holding fast and even reducing some sticker prices. American gains have been helped by value pricing (selected well-equipped models with popular options, sharply discounted) and improved quality. Even where prices have increased, domestics have added more content, so the net result is a better deal. Costly European marques such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW are also holding prices and offering extremely attractive financing for leases. Here's a take on what's happening country by country.
Playboy expands 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, 30, 94, 116, 156, 158--159, 124--127 and 177, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.
As electronic components shrink, functions such as measuring the vertical drop of your favorite ski run or keeping track of your golf score are getting out of hand and onto your wrist. Sorry, Dick Tracy, but talking into a two-way wrist radio is no longer the stuff of comic strips. Panasonic has introduced a rechargeable 900-megahertz Wristphone that operates up to 1000 feet from the base station. Timex' Nassau Scoremaster watch may not improve your golf game but will keep an accurate score. And there's no more need to dig under your couch cushions for the TV remote: The new Wrist Controller by Casio turns on your TV, VCR and cable box and features channel selection and volume control. No, it can't bring you a cold beer.