Parents, hide your children! Here comes George, the toy the June 20 Business Week claims just might revolutionize the toy business.
George is a miniature VW van that moves around in response to voice commands and in fact is already moving off a Connecticut assembly line at a rapid enough clip to insure that even at $30 apiece close to a million will be sold by year's end.
Wonderful and revolutionary though it is, however, George does have a flaw: he only appears to obey commands. In actuality, says Business Week, George "moves in a predetermined sequence - left, straight, right, stop - in response to sounds rather than specific words." And inventor Robert McCaslin is already hard at work on something called Dancing Lights, a bunch of optical fibers that sway to music, of which he says, no doubt solemnly, "I believe it will be bigger than George." Hallelujah!
Oh Lord, Walter Zacharius used to be an awful sinner, he used to publish unrepentant flesh-pedding magazines like Gallery, Escapade, Caper and Swank. But now, glory be, Zacharius has seen the light.His new effort, Nashville/Gospel, is nothing less than "an inspirational magazine with country and western as a backdrop."
"I don't think I ever had my heart in the darn things.I'd rather do it than look at the pictures," says Zacharius about the dark old days. Nashville/Gospel, which isn't even distributed in the wicked state of New York, is balm to his soul, even though his friends "all think I flipped out."
Recent issues of Nashville/Gospel have featured articles like "The Great Gospel Exercise Book," "Confessions of a Truckstop Waitress" and "Superstar Connie Smith says: If it's between God and my husband, I'll choose GOd." Also prominent is a cartoon avenger named Gospelman, last seen paddling some sense into Hustler publisher Larry Flynt. Chomp Chomp
Almost as a public service, the July 4 Sports Illustrated presents "Chaws," more than anyone ever wanted to know about how and why athletes chew tobacco.
A primary reason the 35 per cent of baseball players who chew do it seems to be "taking casual pleasure in something that causes other people, even from a distance, to blanch and grow dizzy."
Pittsburgh's O'Brien brothers liked to spit on each other. Football player Billy Ray Smith liked to spit on the ball on obvious passing downs. Joe Horlen chewed Kleenex. Johnny Mize would put chaws he was finished with in other people's pockets. And according to one stain-free souce, Phillies pitcher John Boozer "used to go into the clubhouse and spit on the ceiling. When it dropped back he would catch it in his mouth. He was a breed all his own." Loved Ones
Playboy was a little nervous last fall when it announced its first Playmate Photo Contest, wherein one was cordially invited to send in snaps of "your playmate photographed your way." Other magazines had held similar amateur erotic photo contests and received what one Playboy spokesman could only describe as "motel Polaroids." That, obviously, would never do.
Everyone's more relaxed now, however, for after sifting through 25,000 photographs sent in by some 4,500 people, a winner and 10 runners-up have been picked and they will even be published, something Playboy had been careful not to commit itself to, in the August issue.
Photo editor Gary Cole was relieved to report that "we did not get a lot of extremely explicit material, nothing really kinky. A lot of submissions came from smaller cities and towns. It was fairly basic Americana." All of which pleased Hugh Hefner, who originated the contest because, says Cole. "He wanted the readers to have the feeling that Playmates are girls who for the most part come in over the transom."
Only if they can fit, that is. You Dirty . . .
What can "wriggle through a hole no larger than a quarter, scale a brick wall as though it had rungs, swim half a mile and trend water for three days, gnaw through lead pipes and cinder blocks with chisel teeth that exert an incredible 24,000 pounds per square inch, multiply so rapidly that a pair could have 15,000 descendants in a year's life span?"
The rat can do all that and more, says the July National Geographic, which calls the pesky fellow "Lapdog of the Devil" in an article featuring cute photos of rats doing tricks and not-so-cute photos of rats doing other things.
Rats, it seems, have a bad name because they deserve it: They spread at least 20 kinds of disease, destroy perhaps a billion dollars worth of property in a year, and will devastate about one-fifth of all the food crops planted in the world, depriving people in India alone of enough grain to fill a freight train stretching more than 3,000 miles.
On the good side, though, rats would not be dirty if they had the chance and never, never do they grow as big as cats, no matter what the nursery rhyme says. After the Fall
It all started as sort of a joke at one of those endless New York's publishing parties, when media types Alice Donald and Carol Rinzler began talking. Donald recalls, about how "there was a magazine for the Working Woman, the New Woman, the Cosmo girl, the Redbook Mother, but there was nothing for people like us."
And so was born the concept for Fallen Woman, described in a delightfully wacky press release as "for the woman of the '70s, the trendy, upwardly mobile woman who is genuinely "On the Make," who knows how to get what she wants - without pausing to bother with out-dated moral scruples."
Proposed articles included "How To Feel Successful Even With Dirty Hair," "What To Do When You Are Named Co-respondent." "The Hare Krishnas: What Do They Know About Chanting For Five Hours That Can Purify Your Sex Life." "Can Additives Be All Bad If They Let You Do Your Shopping Once a Week," plus recipes for things like making Hostess Twinkles in rum and flambeeing potato chips.
Once the laughter had died down, however, Donald and Rinzler began getting lots of phone calls from eager people really interested in making the magazine a reality, including an offer from Esquire to introduce it the way New York introduced Ms. Nothing has been decided for sure, but don't be surprised if a Fallen Woman appears in your future before long. Guess Who?
Washingtonian magazine has asked a number of Washingtonians (who else should it ask) just who they would like to have marooned with them on a desert island.
Some folks, though hardly all, gallantly named their spouses, musicians were another favorite choice - Ear's Diana McLellan picked the baritone from Mitch Miller's band - and Redskins coach George Allen mentioned a surprising desire to spend some time with Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce.
Philospher Paul Weiss made the heaviest choices - Buddha, St. Augustine, Muhammad, Shakespeare and Leibniz - while Duke Zeibert made the lightest: any three high-stakes bridge and backgammon players, Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Elizabeth Taylor. Most practical selector was Jody Powell, who wanted the chairman of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, while the funniest was Mark Russell, who asked for Oral Roberts ("I assume he accepts Blue Cross") and Jesus Christ ("thereby eliminating any worries of food shortage.") Tidbits
A piece of self-analysis by movie producer Robert Evans in the July Viva: "If they were to make a movie of my life, I think I'd have a difficult time trying to relate sympathetically to the main character." . . . The July High Times picks the 10 best dope-smuggling boats, everything from Chinese junk, great for running a load of opium out of Singapore, to a half-million-dollar, 10,000-ton Liberty ship, famous for its astounding cargo capacity . . . Redbook asked a lot of famous women "What makes a man a good lover?" and five refused any comment at all: Bette Davis, Dorothy Hamill, Louise Lasser, Olivia Newton-John and Bernadette Peters. . . . Argosy has stopped selling subscriptions: from now on the magazine will be available only on news-stands . . . The July 7 Jet is jampacked with exclusive photos of the Muhammad Ali wedding . . . Photoplay's 56th annual Gold Medal Awards went to Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Farah Fawcett-Majors and Paul Michael Glaser.
How to make the ultimate sand castles, 8 feet tall and terribly elaborate, is revealed in the July Sunset . . . Backgammon, which apparently has everything else, will now have its own magazine, wittily titled Backgammon Magazine.