We don't know whether you're a cover-to-cover Playboy reader or only spend time with the special features that catch your attention each month, but on the chance that you're a part of the second group, we urge you not to skip Charles Beaumont's "Black Country" in this issue. Here is a story about jazz and about the people who play jazz, packed with all the power, emotion, and excitement of the music itself. It has been a long time since any story moved us as much as this one. Beaumont considers it the best story he has ever written and it is certainly one of the finest we've printed to date.
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 coincidental.
Spoof Collins blew his brains out, all right -- right on out through the top of his head. But I don't mean with a gun. I mean with a horn. Every night: slow and easy, eight to one. And that's how he died. Climbing, with that horn, climbing up high. For what? "Hey, man, Spoof -- listen, you picked the tree, now come on down!" But he couldn't come down, he didn't know how. He just kept climbing, higher and higher. And then he fell. Or jumped. Anyhow, that's the way he died.
All sophisticated playboys are interested in virginity. We trust that the matter of your own virginity has already been satisfactorily taken care of. You must now face up to the problem of virginity in your female friends and acquaintances.
As the newest, most unorthodox brand of jazz, be-bop has been a both precocious and pungnacious baby. With Dizzy Gillespie as their Grand Lama, bopsters have proceeded to produce some mighty strange music. They've also given the language some new, very expressive superlatives ("crazy," cool," "the most," "the greatest," "the end"), given humor a thing called the bop joke, and the world of fashion Dizzy's own beret, goatee and bop glasses.
Early one morning last week, I was up at the crack of my back and on the links for a fast eighteen holes. Being a little nearsighted, I lost my caddy, and for over an hour followed a squaw carrying a papoose. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship with the Cleveland Indians, but it didn't do much for my golf game.
All of these drawings involve embarrassing situations as viewed by the rather abstract pen of artist William Steig. What you get from each of them will probably be as much dependent on your own experiences as Steig's. For ourselves, we found them mildly amusing the first time around, far more humorous on the second and third looks, and after that they'd become such good friends we were no longer able to judge them.
Maryn was bored. She emerged from her bath dripping and unattractive, and waited resignedly as the Warm-Dry blew her lank young hair back from her forehead. The autotape whipped out and took the measurement of her immature figure.
Bridge is one of the oldest card games still being played. Once known as euchre, it passed through various stages and was successively known as whist, partnership whist, auction bridge, and finally, contract bridge. The game holds a beguiling interest to most people because it is undoubtedly the most challenging of all card games, combining skill in bidding, play of the hand and, also, the subtle art of gamesmanship. Gamesmanship, as defined in an amusing book on the subject by Stephen Potter, is the art of winning without actually cheating. In bridge, the expert uses gamesmanship, when he not only plays his cards but also his opponents, in attempting to gain the maximum from the hand.
Those who consider the English a rather stuffy bunch have never met Jane, England's favorite cartoon character. Americans, used to Blondie and Little Orphan Annie, would probably find this beautiful British comic-stripper a little disconcerting. Picture, if you can, Daisy Mae out hunting Li'l Abner in her birthday suit, or the sinister Dragon Lady stepping from behind an oriental curtain completely nude. That's just the sort of thing Jane's enthusiastic fans have learned to expect of their heroine in her daily appearances in the London Daily Mirror.
Not all of England's cartooning is as breezy as Jane. Punch, Britain's famous humor magazine, recently did a satire on its equally famous American counterpart, The New Yorker. This included take-offs on several of The New Yorker's cartoonists, in styles so close to the originals that even regular TNY readers will have difficulty telling the difference.