Your neighbors do it. Coeds do it. Even foreigners abroad do it. They watch Baywatch, the show that has transformed the planet into a global beach club. To grasp its allure, one need go no further than Pamela Anderson Lee, who, as C.J., possesses two of the show's primary ingredients: beauty and athleticism. Check out The Power of Pamela. In It's a Baywatch World, our two favorite channel surfers from the shores of Lake Michigan, Brendan Baber and Eric Spitznagel, describe the formulas that have made the show bigger than, well, the Beatles. It has to do with how Americans run along the beach in slow motion, beat up sharks and stare pensively at the ocean. Nina Berkson drew the art.
Playboy (ISSN 0032-1478), January 1996, Volume 43, Number 1, 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: 730 Fifth Avenue, New York 10019; Chicago: 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60611; West Coast: 9242 Beverly Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210; One Sansome Street, Suite 1900, San Francisco, CA 94104; Detroit: 2000 Town Center, Suite 1900, Southfield, MI 48075; South: Zimmerman & Associates, 2221 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 10, Atlanta, GA 30309; Boston: Northeast Media Sales, 8 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston 02109. For subscription inquiries, call 800-999-4438.
Pop quiz, hotshot: You're a Southern musician, smothered by rigid social traditions and enough dysfunctional family history to fill two Pat Conroy novels. What do you do? You move to Athens, Georgia and play traditional, folksy music, but sabotage it with some truly weird lyrics. It worked for R.E.M. Now the town's cult-hero songwriter, Vic Chesnutt, has joined with homeboys Widespread Panic in a Dylan-meets-the-Band scenario. They call the collaboration Brute, and their brilliant debut, Nine High a Pallet (Capricorn), instantly establishes Brute as the most talented band to emerge from south of the Mason-Dixon line since Stipe and Co. Chesnutt's sardonic tunes are eerie and slightly loony. His bandmates provide the muscle and focus to flesh out his wry rants.
The Great falsetto voices in rock and soul were in place by the end of the disco era. This tradition produced Little Richard's ecstatic gospel "wooo," and Sylvester's drag-queen scream. Other stops along the way would include the Stylistics' Russell Thompkins, Little Willie John, Jimmy Scott, Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield and Smokey Robinson. On Dare to Love (London), Jimmy Somerville drags the falsetto tradition out of the closet and uses it, buttressed by powerful postdisco beats and soul ballads, to express the triumphs and tragedies of gay love.
Joe Satriani deserves a following beyond the cult of guitar magazine readers, of which I count myself a member. His jazz-classical approach to rock guitar on Joe Satriani (Relativity) can drop your jaw to the floor. He's a virtuoso who doesn't show off unless he has something to show.
Jackie Mittoo is reggae's answer to Jimmy Smith. A lot of the organ grooves on Tribute to Jackie Mittoo (Heartbeat/Studio One) will remind you of James Brown's great mid-Sixties instrumentals. Not for organ fans only.
All aspiring musicians with leftist political sentiments should listen to the song Plenty Tough Union Made on the album To the Last Dead Cowboy (Bloodshot) by the Waco Brothers. It's a perfect model of how to hit the basic points about economic justice without coming off as an overearnest weenie. It has a wonderfully catchy sing-along melody. The Waco Brothers play "hard country," which seems to mean country rock without the slightest influence from the Eagles. Sort of a side project by members of the Mekons, Jesus Jones and the Wreck, the Waco Brothers favor lots of reverb, a touch of tremolo, serious twang and a looseness of approach that stops short of sloppy. The Waco Brothers don't limit themselves to union issues. They do particularly well describing how alcohol can help with crushed aspirations. But the main point they're making is this: It's the final cattle call for the true cowboys, "while the bankers and the lawyers drive our country to the wall." Yipe.
The curious legacy of Roger Miller is a dandy subject for a boxed set, especially since so many retrospectives are over done. Miller, who died in 1992, is generally remembered as the writer of the wacky mid-Sixties hits Dang Me, Chug-a-Lug and the mother of all trucker songs, King of the Road. But the three-CD, 70-song King of the Road: The Genius of Roger Miller (Mercury Nashville) is a project of depth, delight and, most of all, discovery. Miller's exaggerated delivery often caused listeners to overlook the way he framed lyrics around precise, hard-driving rhymes and rhythms.
Omar is a smooth crooner with a few ingratiating rough edges. Like most U.K. soul men, he has a deep appreciation for Motown and other traditional forms of hook-laden black pop. His CD For Pleasure (RCA) introduces him to America. Among his collaborators are ex-Motown staff members Lamont Dozier (Outside) and Leon Ware (Can't Get Nowhere).
I had no idea that I loved Norwegian fiddle music until I heard the glorious meditative melodies of Felefeber (Norwegian Fiddle Fantasia) (Shanachie) by Annbjørg Lien. Guaranteed to turn off the "monkey mind" of normal consciousness and to put you in touch with your deepest self.
Sufi academic Orüj Güvenç's Ocean of Remembrance (Interworld, RD 3, Box 395A, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301) could soothe anybody's troubled breast. And the flutes on Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka (Point Music) are wild enough to start rumors about where all the original Dionysian revels ended up.
Paul Lansky, America's foremost electronic composer, has a new CD. Folk Images (Bridge) is a peculiar but endearing confrontation with American folk music. A professor of music at Princeton, Lansky beguiles us with his reassessments of everyday sounds as music.
Introducing A costumed Greek chorus to chant, dance and mock human frailty in a modern romantic comedy might spell disaster for any moviemaker other than Woody Allen. In Mighty Aphrodite (Miramax), F. Murray Abraham heads the chorus and Allen calls the shots in his starring role as a sportswriter named Lenny, who shows up intermittently at an ancient amphitheater to question his fate. After Lenny and his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) adopt a baby, he feels compelled to locate the child's birth mother. She turns out to be Linda Ash, a.k.a. Judy Cum, an aspiring porn actress and prostitute played with giddy poignancy by Mira Sorvino. "You didn't want a blow job," she tells Lenny as their friendship progresses, "so the least I could do is get you a tie." Sorvino virtually walks away with the picture. There hasn't been a more winsome blonde bimbo on the screen since Judy Holliday. Woody may be a tad old for his part, but who cares? Mighty Aphrodite is light as a feather, and any fun-loving Allen fan would be crazy not to catch it. [rating]4 bunnies[/rating]
After his 1993 Oscar nomination as Billy Crystal's loyal, misused brother in Mr. Saturday Night,David Paymer had a brief career slump. "The movie put me on the map, but I didn't get a lot of work after that—until Quiz Show." His role as the conniving TV entrepreneur Dan Enright seemed to prove that bad guys do fine. Since Quiz Show, Paymer has been busy playing power politics and generally pushing the envelope as a son of a bitch. "That movie opened a whole new range of parts for me," he says. Paymer plays Michael Douglas' manipulative White House pollster in The American President, press secretary Ron Ziegler in Oliver Stone's Nixon and chief of staff to New York mayor Al Pacino in City Hall. Lest he be typecast forever as a political plaything, in Get Shorty he's "a sleaze-ball who chases women and lives it up after he hits it big with an insurance scam." He'll be suspect again in Unforgettable with Linda Fiorentino. "That's sort of a red-herring role. I'm an assistant coroner, and possibly a killer." Paymer also co-stars with Tom Arnold in Carpool. "I play a good man but a bad father who is driving the kids to school when Arnold highjacks us. We're basically the odd couple."
Is It's a Wonderful Life permanently tattooed onto your Yuletide spirit? Would you rather choke on mistletoe than watch Miracle on 34th Street again? Here are some holiday selections that will add a little tonic to your nog.
What makes a laser disc "deluxe"? Depends on the manufacturer. MCA/Universal's special edition of Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List includes a soundtrack CD, a souvenir booklet and a superb CAV, letterboxed transfer of the film. Meanwhile, the Voyager Criterion Collection edition offers running commentary by the movie maestro himself, along with script treatments, outtakes and stills. You make the choice.... Hot stuff—and cold—from Lumivision: Ring of Fire is a field trip to the volatile volcanoes of the Pacific Rim, enhanced by daunting aerial photography and computer animation; and Antarctica is a crisp, award-winning travelog of the frozen continent, from a crystal water cave inside the Chaos Glacier to the awesome sunsets of the South Pole. Although both films were shot in Imax format, they're still breathtaking on your laser player—just smaller.
Jerry Lewis acts nine, looks 50 and is the proud papa of a three-year-old—yet he's been in the business so long that Chaplin was his fan. "I'm far from modest, but I'm uncomfortable with the word genius," insists the 69-year-old nitwit savant. "Chaplin and Stan Laurel, they were geniuses. Now Robin Williams is the only reason the word is in the dictionary." Lewis is frank about what he considers unfunny video fare ("Monty Python should be put to sleep—immediately"), opting instead for "heavy-duty filmmaking" such as The Sting, Victor/Victoria and Steel Magnolias. But the Kipling yarn Captains Courageous (1937) is his all-time favorite because of the "impeccable perfection" of its story. So out with it, Jer: What's the best Lewis lunacy on vid? "The Nutty Professor was a ten-year labor of love," recalls the man who invented dumb and dumber. "It's my best work." We agree.
Straight from its bow on public TV last fall comes Berlin: Journey of a City (Think Media), a one-hour documentary celebrating the storied German metropolis—from its destruction during the Nazi regime to the infamous Berlin Wall partitioning to reunification in 1990. The program includes historic footage and an interview with German president Richard von Weizsäcker ($19.98; 800-655-1998).... Cheap thrill of the month: Night Vision's Stripping for Your Lover ($19.95), a 60-minute vid tease (and payoff) featuring peelers Julie Ann and Janine, who claim to be "the most famous stripping duo in the world." Highlight? The climactic, dirty pas de deux: a "blondage" routine.... The home-vid version of Time Life's ten-part Lost Civilizations features scenes the buttoned-up execs at NBC never let you see when the network broadcast the epic last year. Among the restored items in this four-continent crash course on the world's vanished cultures: sexually explicit frescoes used by Pompeian prostitutes to boost sales, erotic Moche and Greek pottery and a reference to alcohol enemas taken by the Maya. NBC had also electronically reclothed a nude model who was filmed to accompany the reading of an Egyptian love poem. Time Life has undressed her again, thank you ($159.99; 800-846-3843).
An American musical giant turned 80 on December 12 and his daughter, Nancy Sinatra, came up with one hell of a package. A holiday gift book and birthday present, Frank Sinatra: An American Legend (General Publishing Group) is an exhaustive chronology of his long and extraordinary career. With hundreds of intimate photographs and touching personal commentaries, it is also available in a special collector's edition that includes four CDs. You read, he sings.
"(a) Being nude except for wearing an open shirt or blouse, (b) fondling her own breasts, buttocks, thighs and genitals while close to the customer, (c) sitting on a customer's lap and grinding her bare buttocks into his lap, (d) sitting on a customer's lap, reaching into his crotch and apparently masturbating the customer, (e) permitting the customer to touch and fondle her breasts, buttocks, thighs and genitals, (f) permitting the customer to kiss, lick and suck her breasts, (g) permitting what appeared to be cunnilingus."
When the FBI screws up, as it did in the assault on Randy Weaver's cabin at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and the massacre at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, innocent people get killed. But the larger cost is that these screwups create martyrs—and myths that will not die.
Johnny Depp looks rotten. Or so he says. The women on Sunset Boulevard would surely disagree. Many of them would marry him on the spot. But then Depp seldom bows to majority opinion. As he lights another cigarette and drinks more coffee at a bookstore café on Sunset, his attention flits to a bee—a killer bee encased in Lucite. It's one of many oddball souvenirs he receives from friends and admirers. Bugs are serious business to Depp, who collects exotic paraphernalia. His career—the other subject under discussion at the table—is taken more lightly. Acting, he explains, is nothing but "making faces for cash." Others take his work more seriously. Depp is "one of the great young actors," says European director Emir Kusturica. Marlon Brando, Vincent Price and Faye Dunaway have said the same. Brando says that Depp should do Shakespeare, while Dunaway claims he is both a superb actor and a super kisser. The on-screen Depp is the world's greatest lover; offscreen he's a famed romancer of actresses and supermodels. "He doesn't belong in show business," his "Ed Wood" co-star Sarah Jessica Parker once remarked. "He belongs somewhere better." Lasse Hallstrom, who directed him in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," says, "He has real ambitions, but he is deeply afraid of being considered pretentious."
It was difficult for the Hardeman family to decide whether or not to mark the 100th birthday of Loren Hardeman I, Number One, founder of Bethlehem Motors, the nation's number four automobile manufacturer. He was weak and obviously sinking slowly into his long sleep. On the other hand, he was still capable of anger and might direct it at anyone he could identify as insufficiently deferential to him and insufficiently interested in his centenary.
Believe in Thyself. That's the moral of our tale today—the uplifting story of Pamela Anderson, a small-town girl who dreamed her way to international stardom. The whole world knows Pamela now; you can't channel-surf without being splashed by Pamfacts on ET or MTV. She's all over People, Time and TV Guide. And zillions of Pamfans recently hopped onto the Net to ogle electronic images of Pam doing the nice with Tommy Lee. Her marriage to Motley Crue drummer Tommy was a truly worldwide wedding: You can't find a Tibetan monk who doesn't know that Pam wore a white bikini that February morning on the beach in Cancún, five years after she made her famous appearance as our Playmate of the Month, Miss February 1990. Today, her first starring role in a film—as the lethal heroine of Barb Wire—is the talk of Hollywood, and everyone knows Pam sports a new barbed-wire tattoo on her left arm. Not to mention the old, mundane news that as lifeguard C.J. on Baywatch she is adored by 1 billion TV viewers worldwide every week, making Pam the number one dream girl in the history of civilization. (At the Cannes Film Festival she was mobbed by reporters, who stampeded past former TV goddess Morgan Fairchild.) Not bad for the dreamy daughter of a furnace repairman and a waitress from Comox, British Columbia. You might call it great luck for Pamela to go from our centerfold to a small role as Lisa the Tool Girl on TV's Home Improvement to international star in five years. But you would be dead wrong. It's no accident that Pam's dreams came true. She has always figured that beauty plus intelligence plus ambition and hard work would equal success. Want proof? Just check the last entry on her February 1990 Playmate Data Sheet. "Being a Playmate Means: The start of something big!"
Just how Big is Baywatch? According to its distributors, the world's biggest show reaches 2.4 billion people per week, 40 percent to 80 percent of whom may be watching. That's a viewership of 1 billion to 2 billion. Baywatch is broadcast in 110 countries and on every continent except Antarctica (where you could probably catch it on a VCR in the rec room at McMurdo Base, anyway). In the Amazon basin, locals crank up gas generators to watch it on mildewed black-and-white TVs. People in Russia, Australia, Zimbabwe, Morocco, New Delhi and Mongolia hold their breath to see if Mitch and Stephanie will ever get it on.
It was the ultimate compliment: When The New York Times and the Daily News Record (a fashion industry bible) referred to the sleek, sophisticated styling of the latest tailored menswear, they called it the Playboy Look. With energy, charisma and an on-the-town attitude, these new suits are a sharp contrast to the baggy, laid-back styles of the Eighties. Jackets are trim and structured, with side vents, strong shoulders and slightly tapered waists. This slim silhouette is offered in two-and three-button single-breasted versions, six-button double-breasted ones—and even in three-piece styles with matching vests. Keep an eye on trim-fitted trousers, too, and for rich, dark fabrics accented by a variety of stripes. Other items that put the Playboy spin on your wardrobe include white spread-collar dress shirts with French cuffs, and solid, jacquard or tone-on-tone ties. Power shoes, such as wing tips and oxfords, give the Playboy Look its distinctive spring.
Imagine spending New Year's Eve at an Italian villa nestled in the misty hills that Titian painted and Palladio dotted with palaces. The restaurant in the villa is one of Italy's finest, known for its outstanding entrées and wines. The evening is black tie, your meal is candlelit. At midnight, amid a popping of corks and cries of "buon anno," your date is presented with a pair of earrings. The Villa Cipriani, less than an hour northwest of Venice, is just one of the following eight hotels, resorts and restaurants bringing unparalleled romance to the most celebrated night of the year. Whether your preference is a dinner for two overlooking Manhattan or a feast on the Left Bank of Paris, here are the world's best places to ring in 1996.
Talk about drive. Less than three years ago, Jenny McCarthy gave up nursing for modeling and aimed her career path toward Playboy. Before you could say "fast track," the Chicago native was Miss October 1993 and crowned Playmate of the Year for 1994. With a video debut on Playboy TV, now she's the hot co-host of MTV's wildly popular Singled Out and appears with actor Tom Arnold in this winter's up-coming film The Stupids. Smart casting—Jenny's irresistible.
As you've learned from harsh experience, your office is really a gangland—in less pricey suits. To face the lies and treacheries of the ordinary business day, you need help. The axioms that follow are excerpted from a collection of management advice, Mob style. The author is a person of considerable mystery. When we asked for his résumé, we received tight-lipped assurances that he is a "capo of distinguished fame." Whoever V is, he offers the sort of advice it is dangerous to refuse.
"This is really amazing," says Victoria Fuller, her face inches away from a painting by Jacques-Louis David. "The colors are bold, the shadowing is perfect. I could stare at it for hours." Meanwhile, male patrons of the J. Paul Getty Museum exhibit confusion about where to direct their gazes: at the old masters hanging on the walls, or the young masterpiece who walks among them.
The young Swedish au pair had been working for the Schmitts for more than a year. While hardworking and efficient, she still struggled with English. One day she told Mrs. Schmitt that she had received good news from her boyfriend Sven. "He is coming visit me from army next week!"
I Used to meet her at dances during the winter. She was a wonderful dancer and a little beauty. Needless to say, holding her in my arms while dancing made me wish to know her better. It was not long before small pressures of hands and arms were asking, and answering, unspoken questions. Without a word said, she let me know that someday she would consent to more.
Conan O'Brien used to put a unique spin on his New Year's resolutions. "Instead of promising to give up things I really loved, I'd pick things I didn't do anyway. That made it easier. For instance, I would vow never to build a cedar deck with my bare hands. Or never to eat soil." But last year he got serious: "When my doctor told me my blood was 88 percent cholesterol, I vowed to give up 12-egg omelettes and steak broiled in butter. Still, I had mixed feelings about that, because a massive heart attack on the air would have been a real ratings grabber."
Sports-page headline of the future: Timberwolves Draft Shaq's Fetal Son. Agent seeks a Guaranteed Multiyear Contract. Outrageous, you say? Consider Kevin Garnett, the 6'10" wunderkind hoopster from Chicago's Farragut Academy. He attended his prom in early June and was the Minnesota Timberwolves' first-round selection (fifth overall) in the NBA draft later that month. OK, so it's the nutty Timberwolves. But what about the four teams that chose ahead of them? They selected four players who had eight years of unused college eligibility among them. That's roughly 250 college games that they'll never participate in. None of these players were old enough to buy a rum and Coke in most states. Two (Joe Smith and Garnett) were just 19.
Like all good-spirited elves, the Femlins are working overtime this holiday season to bring cheer to deserving celebrants. In this case, their surprise gift is a three-dimensional image called an autostereogram, created for Playboy by NVision Grafix of Irving, Texas. As the Femlins frolic among the bows, champagne and mistletoe, they're building a favorite emblem. To see it, hold the magazine page to the tip of your nose, with your eyes unfocused and looking into the middle distance, as if you were gazing into a mirror. Slowly move the magazine to a comfortable reading distance, and continue to look deeply into the design. A familiar image should pop into view, carrying the Femlins' multidimensional wishes for a hoppy new year.
It seems Robin Quivers doesn't care about equal billing with America's best known (and most fined) radio shock jock, Howard Stern. After all, she says, "Suzanne Pleshette was an integral part of 'The Bob New-hart Show.' It was just named after him."
Another election year has come, and the candidates are already lobbying for your support. But they're not kissing babies or making wild promises to win your favor. These hopefuls are relying on something far more persuasive—their unimpeachable good looks. After all, the title they seek isn't president of the United States; it's Playmate of the Year. And that calls for kinder, gentler politicking. Regardless of the outcome, the 12 nominees will all be winners. But only one of them will be chosen Pmoy. Here's how to express your preference: Dial the number below, pick the one Playmate you deem most worthy of the honor, and listen to her special recorded message. (It'll definitely be the sexiest campaign speech you've ever heard.) And this primary is kind of like voting in Chicago: You can call as many times as you like at a dollar per call. Besides reigning for a year as our First Lady, the Playmate of the Year will receive a $100,000 grand prize and the chance to thank her supporters with an encore appearance in our June issue. Twelve beautiful women have thrown their hats (and everything else) into the ring. Put an end to voter apathy. Show you care about tomorrow. Dial today.
It was an interesting year. Gangsta rappers faced tremendous pressure to censor themselves. Pearl Jam tried to tour without Ticketmaster. Courtney Love's every move was recorded by photographers. The media frenzy surrounding Michael Jackson's CD History didn't add up to huge sales. A young fiddle player, Alison Krauss, revived bluegrass. Saxophonist James Carter made jazz seem young again. There was a big blues revival on CD, and good-time music from Sheryl Crow. Hootie & the Blowfish, the Dave Matthews Band and Blues Traveler jammed the airwaves and the concert stages. Death took Selena, a young phenom whose tejano music crossed into the mainstream after her murder. Head Dead Jerry Garcia died too, ending the fantasy that Sixties culture could outlast the Nineties. Musicians settled into chat rooms on the Internet, R.E.M. came out of hibernation, George Jones and Tammy Wynette reunited and Barry White's distinctive bedroom voice caressed lyrics again. Björk moved out of the clubs and onto the main stage. It was a year with less stadium hoopla and more musical intimacy. We approve.
Opting for the convenience of an automatic camera once meant sacrificing creativity—but not anymore. New 35mm point-and-shooters now combine the quick-and-easy functions you expect from an automatic (no-fuss focus, electronic exposure, instant rewind, etc.) with innovations that expand your photo opportunities. Variable lens systems, for example, let you switch views from superwide to panoramic. For greater range, Samsung's ECX 1 (pictured below) offers the longest zoom lens available at 38 to 140 millimeters. And for photo buffs who prefer high-quality 120 or 220 film (the stuff the pros use), Fuji introduces the first auto-focus medium-format point-and-shoot camera—a no-brainer that comes with a pop-up flash.