Maury Z. Levy

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

The Last Steve Carlton Story

In Philadelphia Magazine (1970-1980) on January 23, 2011 at 11:44 am

By Maury Z. Levy

THERE WAS NO REAL SENSE in splitting hairs over it. The decision to get rid of the moustache was made by a very distinguished committee. Danny Ozark, the new 
manager of the Phillies, told him he’d rather see him without it. He told him this to his face. He said he just didn’t 
care for moustaches on ballplayers but that, of course, he wouldn’t demand that he shave. It’s hard to demand anything from the best pitcher in baseball, from the man who was voted the professional athlete of the year, from a guy who makes $165,000 to start. You can only suggest.

This is what Paul Owens, the second member of the 
three-man committee for the resolution of the moustache, did in his office at Veterans Stadium while he was packing 
up to go to spring training. Owens is the general manager of the team. Last year he was field manager for a while too, after they finally got rid of the Italian guy. Owens is looking over a pile of publicity pictures to help decide what will be used in this year’s yearbook. There are some with the moustache and some without. He separates them 
into two piles.

“I think we’ll be safest going with these,” he said, holding up the clean-shaven shots. “Now don’t quote me on that. I mean, he doesn’t know about this yet. He’s still 
got the moustache, you know.”

The third and deciding vote came from a 46-year-old 
schoolteacher from Buena Park, California. Larue Harcourt is president of the Athletes Financial Services Inc., a company of some 35 highly trained professionals who help make such momentous decisions. Larue Harcourt would 
like to see him take off the moustache because at this very 
moment he is working on getting him lined up with a big 
sponsor to do a shaving commercial. The marketing men 
have decided that people prefer to buy shave cream and 
razors from people who shave their whole face. There 
are just a couple inches more credibility in it.

The selling of Steve Carlton will call for a flawless product. There’ll be no trouble selling him locally. But the national picture is too fuzzy. Joe Namath could have a 
moustache because he’s a bachelor who plays for a winning team. On those counts, Carlton has two strikes 
against him.

The only one who had no real say in the moustache matter was Steve Carlton himself, in spite of the fact 
that it was his lip. But Carlton really didn’t care that much. “I don’t like to think about those things,” he said. “I just 
want to go out there and pitch and win. The moustache is only a distraction. I hate distractions. I can always grow a moustache. I can’t always win 30 games.”

Last year, Steve Carlton won 27 games for the Phillies, which came out to almost half of what the whole team won. It is indeed something to win 27 games for a team 
that ends up in dead last place with the worst record in baseball. Steve Carlton came out of last season like a perfectly cut 27-carat diamond in a setting of zircon 
baguettes.

He won the Cy Young Award, which meant he was the 
best pitcher in the league. And he won the Hickok Belt, which meant he was the best athlete in the country. He became quite an item. This shy guy who’d spent the first 
six years of his major league career in St. Louis, piling up 
a not-so-overwhelming 77-62 record, needed only a few weeks after his trade to Philadelphia to show that he was 
going to be the biggest thing to hit this town since Robin 
Roberts. Read the rest of this entry »

Jimmy Stewart: The Interview

In Video Review on January 23, 2011 at 10:02 am

AMERICA’S FAVORITE ACTOR TALKS CANDIDLY ABOUT KNOCKING HOLLYWOOD ON ITS EAR AND GARBO ON HER ASS

He is silver now, but no less golden. At 78, James Maitland Stewart looks back fondly on a career of some 80 feature movies. He’s played cowboys and con­gressmen, baseball players and bandleaders, ranchers and runamucks. And through it all, this Princeton graduate who stumbled into Hollywood by way of summer stock has had a special air of innocence and elegance that has made him, without a doubt, America’s favorite actor.

His craft, most often seen on the late show in recent years, is now being preserved for the ages on home video. MCA, which released the long-awaited Hitchcock series a while back, just came out with five more Stewart classics: The Glenn Miller Story, The Rare Breed, Bend of the River, Winchester ’73 and Thunder Bay.

As Stewart relaxed in a comfortable armchair in his Beverly Hills home, surrounded by almost as many awards as memories, editor Maury Z. Levy talked with him about his life and loves, his tapes and times.

LEVY: You, quite obviously, have a VCR in your home. Do you use it a lot for taping?

STEWART: Well, um, actually, no. You see, so many of the old movies I’m interested in are on so damn late at  night, and I just can’t keep awake anymore. But taping them from television—I just don’t find that a good thing to do. Especially, you know, if it’s a picture that I’m in. I just find the quality so gull-darn awful. The movie’s scratchy, the sound is bad. That’s why I think this new idea of prerecorded home video is so great. They go and do the taping and the cassette work at the studio, and they do it directly from the film master. I’ve seen some of the stuff and it’s absolutely crystal clear, and the sound is great.

LEVY: And that’s why you’ve let them release so many of your films on home video.

STEWART: Yes, well, that’s right. They just make the whole thing so, well, so attractive. Also, you don’t have to wait until two in the morning to see it. You can just invite people in whenever you want. Throw a little party, you know, and still get to bed at a respectable hour.

LEVY: But will this mean the end of movie theaters?

STEWART: I’ll tell you something there. For some of them, it might not be such a bad idea. Now I’m talking about those little 300-seat houses with the bad projection and the bad sound. I think it’s very disturbing what they let these things get down to. But I do hear that some folks are building bigger and better picture houses. I know there are several being built right here in Los Angeles. And, in other places around this great country, they’re reopening some grand old houses that have been closed for a long time. The owners were smart enough not to have them torn down, because they just had a feeling that the movie audience that used to be would come back.

LEVY: And will they?

STEWART: I think so. I think we might see a nice mix. People will watch the videocassettes one or maybe two nights a Read the rest of this entry »

The Sex Chapter

In Gym Psych: The Insider's Guide to Health Clubs on January 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

[From the book Gym Psych: the Insider’s Guide to Health Clubs, by Maury Z. Levy and Jay Shafran (Fawcett Columbine, 1986)]

They used to call it the broad jump. In 1968, at the Olympics in Mexico City, U.S. jumper Bob Beamon shattered the existing world record with a leap of twenty-nine feet two and one-half inches. Some seventeen years later, the rest of the world is still trying to come close. What was Beamon’s secret? How did he prepare himself the night before the big jump? With sex. Beamon had intercourse the night before. Hell, he screwed his brains out. He was very cool about the whole thing. Afterward, he admitted the sex, and his only comment was, “What do I do now?” Oh, a cigarette usually does the trick, Bob.

There’s always been some mystery, if not confusion,
about sex and sports. Different athletes handled it in
different ways. Muhammad Ali always stayed celibate for
six weeks before a fight. Did it help? Ali thought so. And
it’s hard to argue with his record. But for those of you,
men and women alike, who are more concerned fighting
the battle of the bulge than the heavyweight champ­ionship, there are some things you should know about
sex and athletics.

Sex isn’t all that taxing. Intercourse, even at its most
passionate, burns up about 250 calories an hour. And
unless you’re going for a world record in the sack, it’s
unlikely that you’ll lose more than twenty-five calories,
since the average lovemaking session lasts about five
minutes. (Did you ever wonder who times these things?
And where do they hide?)

To put those twenty-five calories into a gym perspec­tive, you’ll burn off about twice that in your preworkout
warm-up and stretch. For those of you not yet in the gym,
it takes about twenty-five calories to walk up a flight of
stairs. So if your bedroom is on the second floor, you’re
burning just as much energy going as you are coming. So
to speak.

Some athletes fear that sex will ruin their con­centration. Actually, just the opposite might be true. Sex,
like exercise, is a good way of venting stress—of losing a
lot of pent-up negative energy.

You have to know something about how the body works
to understand this. The adrenaline flow, the heightened
blood pressure—the same biological process that gets you
pumped up for sports—also gets you pumped up for sex.

This is where the brain comes in. The brain plays traffic
cop. Once the juices start to flow, the brain sends them to
the areas involved in the specific activity. And since the
body can only concentrate fully on one stimulus at a time,
you’re unlikely to see a man get an erection doing a bench
press.

This bodily flow of one-way traffic also explains why
after what seems like an exhausting workout, most people
still have lots of energy for sex. In fact, while getting those
juices flowing without draining the vital organs, the
workout now becomes a very interesting and very
effective form of foreplay. And there is data, dating back to
Kinsey, that shows the sex drive and sexual frequency of
an athlete exceeds those of the general population.

Lately, there’s been some speculation about internal
stimuli. You might have picked up on this if you watched
the Olympic marathon. Some of the runners interviewed
talked about a mysterious “natural high” that comes over
them at a certain point in the race. Some said it was like a
cocaine high—you just sort of float along, aware of things
outside your body, but Read the rest of this entry »

Andrea Mitchell: A Nose for News, a Face for Radio

In Philadelphia Magazine (1970-1980) on January 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

By Maury Z. Levy

The other reporters, the ones without the pencils in their hands, the ones without the questions in their heads,were gobbling up the $100-a-plate meal like it was real food. Andrea Mitchell, who was covering this Democratic dinner for both KYW radio and KYW television, was the only one not eating. It’s not that she wasn’t hungry. It’s just that she’s a 
stickler for facts. And she just won’t
swallow a lie, even the smallest one.

“You didn’t like your chicken cordon bleu?” the waiter asked as he lifted her still full plate from the table.

“This,” she said, “is not cordon 
bleu. This is an inedible lump of chicken on a slice of canned ham camouflaged with cold gravy.”

Anyway, she was too busy running the dinner to eat. She picked up a copy of the program and skimmed down to the end. Teddy Kennedy wasn’t scheduled to speak until 9:15, which probably meant he wouldn’t get on until at least 10:15.

“No way,” Andi Mitchell said. “If 
he doesn’t get on by 9, I’ve got to let 
the film crew go. And we’re not going to have anything for the 11 o’clock 
news.”

She pushed her way up to the head 
table on the very large Civic Center 
floor. On the stage, at the right, the 
entertainment was going full blast. Some people in costumes were singing selections from The King and I, which seemed appropriate enough. She shoved her way down the 
crowded front aisle, the one that was full of security guards. One of the guards told her to stop and go the other way. She ignored him. The next 
guard grabbed her by the arm and 
told her a little less gently. “Mr. Camiel,” he said, “doesn’t want anybody in this aisle. You’ll have to go back to the press table. You’ll have to 
go the other way.”

She looked him dead in the eyes. “No,” she said, “I’m going this way.”

Before push got to shove, Bill Green
jumped down from the head table 
and called the goons off. He asked Andi Mitchell what the matter was. She told him about her deadline. “You people do this thing,” she said, “for the publicity. What good is it if 
you don’t get any?”

“I know it’s asinine, Andi,” he said. “But there’s nothing I can do 
about it.”

“Sure you can,” she said, “go tell 
your buddy Camiel he’s screwing up 
my television feed. Go tell him people won’t even know Teddy Kennedy was in town tonight if he doesn’t get this thing moving.”

Bill Green shrugged his shoulders and said he would try. He went over to Pete Camiel, the city’s Democratic 
boss, and started talking. First Camiel was shaking his head “no.” Then Green pointed to Andi Mitchell down there in the front row, where she shouldn’t have been, and Camiel stopped shaking. He quickly started talking to some other people at the table, including Teddy Kennedy. And then, when the music stopped, Pete Camiel went up to the podium to make an announcement. Andi Mitchell signaled her film crew. “I think we’ve got it,” she said.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Pete Camiel said, “there has been a change in the program. As you know, Senator Kennedy was scheduled to be our final speaker. But the Senator has 
just informed me that he has another commitment tonight. And so, we are changing the program to make him
our first speaker.”

The crowd cheered. Andi Mitchell smiled. Teddy Kennedy didn’t have 
 Read the rest of this entry »

Jessica Savitch: ‘Please Don’t Send Me Panties!’

In Philadelphia Magazine (1970-1980) on January 20, 2011 at 11:44 am

 

By Maury Z. Levy

Saturday is pink, which is only fitting. She is standing there in the middle of the newsroom, Jessica Savitch, somewhere in between Orien Reid and Al Meltzer, and she is flashing her panties.

Maybe this is not the most professional thing to do. Mort Crim doesn’t go around showing his jockey shorts in public. But then Jessica Savitch is still pretty young, 26, and pretty green—they fix that up with makeup.

The panties are a gift from an admirer in Allentown. There are a lot of them, admirers. There is even a whole Jessica Savitch fan club, people who do nothing but live for weekends at 6:00 and 11:00 on Channel 3 to watch her anchor the local news, people who sit there all week through four newscasts a day hoping to catch a glimpse of her reporting on a fire.

It has become a cult, almost. Jessica Savitch, in about a year and a half here, has probably gained the biggest following of any local female television person since Pixanne left. She did leave, didn’t she? Or maybe she’s doing Gene London’s show.

Anyway, she is holding up the panties, the different-colored ones that came in the plain brown wrapper, she is holding them up, all seven pair of 
them, and reading off the days of the week embroidered on them, which she already knew by heart. Don’t let that blonde hair fool you.

There is a card, a big one, that came with the gift. The guy from Allentown paid two and a half bucks for it. It’s your basic Hallmark foldout, but he’s written his own messages on it in pencil: “How would you like to spend a weekend at a ski resort with me? I love you much. I am very interested in marrying you.”

The panties were nothing new. They send her gifts all the time, these people. One Christmas, some guy sent her five $100 bills and didn’t bother to sign the card. “I’ve enjoyed you all year,” he wrote, “and I just wanted to thank you. Please buy something nice 
for yourself.” Jessica Savitch gave the money to charity.

She says she doesn’t understand a lot of this, how she has become the sex symbol of the ’70s to a lot of people in Cherry Hill and Chestnut Hill and at least one guy from Allentown. She appreciates it and she resents it. Jessica Savitch, who has a very pretty face, is not just another pretty face. In 
fact, she’d even give you an argument on the pretty part.

“I’m a very flawed person,” she says. “I’ve got this lisp. People in television are not supposed to have a lisp. I have a very square jaw and my 
skin breaks out terribly and my hair 
just never lies flat and my front tooth 
is chipped.” She forgot to mention that her legs are skinny, which is why she never wears dresses.

But somehow the way it all falls together is enough to knock you over.

She didn’t always look this good.
She used to purposely tone down her 
act, because if she came on too much like the blonde bombshell, people would only talk. They’d say she got 
her job by flicking her eyelashes or dating the program director. The raps are nothing new. She’s got a lot of things going against anybody recognizing the real talents she has—the brains, the imagination, the drive, the on-camera presence in a medium that has been dominated by men.

“I had no one to emulate,” she 
says. “Who did I have to try to be 
like? Walter Cronkite? John Facenda? Read the rest of this entry »

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