W. Somerset Maugham insists that he has never pretended to be anything but a storyteller. If this is true, he is certainly one of the very best storytellers living today. His unusual "A Woman of Fifty," in this issue, helps prove that.
Playboy is published monthly by the HMH Publishing Co., Inc., 11 E. Superior, Chicago 11, Illinois. Postage must accompany all manuscripts and drawings submitted if they are to be returned and no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. Contents copyrighted 1954 by HMH Publishing Co., Inc. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission. Printed in U.S.A. Any similarity between people and places is purely concidental.
My friend Wyman Holt is a professor of English literature in one of the smaller universities of the Middle West, and hearing that I was speaking in a nearby city – nearby as distances go in the vastness of America– he wrote to ask me if I would come and give a talk to his class. He suggested that I should stay with him for a few days so that he could show me something of the surrounding country. I accepted the invitation, but told him that my engagements would prevent me from spending more than a couple of nights with him. He met me at the station, drove me to his house and after we had had a drink we walked over to the campus. I was somewhat taken aback to find so many people in the hall in which I was to speak, for I had not expected more than twenty at the outside and I was not prepared to give a solemn lecture, but only an informal chat. I was more than a little intimidated to see a number of middle-aged and elderly persons, some of whom I suspected were members of the faculty, and I was afraid they would find what I had to say very superficial. However, there was nothing to do but to start and, after Wyman had introduced me to the audience in a manner that I very well knew I couldn't live up to, that is what I did. I said my say, I answered as best I could a number of questions, and then I retired with Wyman into a little room at the back of the stage from which I had spoken.
Not Since Dr. Kinsey's interviewers trudged cross country asking coy young things the scientific equivalent of "Have you had it lately?" has the noble art of empirical research produced such a fascinating set of statistics.
On this and the next four pages, you will find some of the wonderful, satirical drawings of Heinrich Kley. A German painter of some note, in the early 1900's Kley turned from portraiture and still life to the audacious pen work that has made him famous.
The playboy of the future will drive a car very much like this experimental model, if Ford's designers have their way. The FX-Atmos will never be put into production, but a number of its styling and engineering features will be included in the future cars produced by the Ford Motor Company. This low slung, twin-tailed, plastic "dream car" is pearly white, accented by broad bands of red on the front luggage compartment and rear wheel housings. From windshield to rear stabilizer fins, the upper sides are icy blue. A clear plastic bubble canopy offers maximum visibility. The car seats three; the engine is in the rear. Radar antennae jut out where you'd expect to find headlights. Guided by radar, cars of the future will stay on highways automatically – veer away from oncoming vehicles – making accidents almost impossible.
This guy Virgil Partch really gets around. In previous issues he's mauled Sex (it hasn't been the same since) and Liquor (we've been on the wagon since that one). Now he's giving Women the eye and recording his experiences with them – marital, extra-marital, inside and outside, and all around the town. Like the drawings that have come before, we can only say that these are pure Vip.
A few months back photographer Andre de Dienes sent us some delightful pictures of the interior of his home. We printed them in the January issue and afterward we wondered whether the surrounding California landscape might not be just as interesting. We asked Andre about that and he wrote back that it is and sent more photographs to prove it. We've never seen rocks, sand, and fields of grain as fascinating as those in Andre's section of the country.
Everyone has a personality. Personalities fall into two basic categories, Extroverted and Introverted. Introverts and Extroverts are easily recognized with the naked eye, but when you try to define the more subtle variations of these types you need help.