Playboy is two years old. On birthdays, surrounded by good friends, a man is usually permitted a toast or two and a little speech, so we'd like to toss off some thoughts on the progress of our favorite magazine.
The Roma in New York City (3rd Ave., between 46th and 47th) is barely the size of two commemorative stamps laid end to end, but there's still room enough for "Mr. Paul" Christi to hustle heavenly spaghetti and linguine in white clam sauce over to your table. Music floats in over a beat-up radio that was old when Garibaldi was a boy, and plays nothing but Rossini. Out back, Mama Christi labors lovingly with Veal Scallopine Marsala, which is simple enough in the writing: dredge two cutlets worth of scalloped veal in flour; brown in butter for 2 minutes; pour half a glass of Marsala in the pan and let it evaporate for several minutes, then cover the pan; serve any time after that.
For Christmas and New Year's celebrants, the season would be dull indeed without warmly-spiked portions of eggnog and at least one copy of The Abe Burrows Songbook (Doubleday, $4.50). This wacky welter was published too soon for Abe to include his latest smash, For Every Man There's a Woman so How Come I Wound up with You?, but you will find both words and easy-to-ruin music to such light-headed Burrows ballads as The Girl with the Three Blue Eyes, I May Be Sick and The Duke of Dittendorten, this last a memorable Operetta-type Operetta. In addition, you get an illuminating introduction by the composer–who also co-authored Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, etc.–explaining just why he bothered to pen the immortal masterpieces in this collection. Fine singing stuff for those big holiday parties.
The Tender Trap, a celluloid version of the Broadway comedy by Playboy-regular Max Shulman and Robert Paul Smith, is a clever confection about an unmarried theatrical agent (Frank Sinatra), his married crony (David Wayne), and the women in their respective lives. The script is adult (not above mentioning such things as paternity suits) and the direction, by Chuck Walters, has snap and savvy. Sinatra, who is described by one character as "attractive, in an off-beat, beat-up sort of way," runs away with the show, but Wayne follows close behind. As for the women, there are Mrs. Eddie Fisher and a number of walk-ons, all equally darling and equally dense; there's also Celeste Holm, a victim of her congenital ailment, fallen archness. Of course, Hollywood makes its usual obeisance to conventional morality–Sinatra gets married and the married guy returns to his wife–but despite these minor failings, it's a pleasant picture with a bouncy title tune, sung once by Sinatra and once too often by Debbie Reynolds.
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. Entry as second-class matter applied for at the Post Office at Chicago, Illinois, August 5, 1955. Contents copyrighted 1955 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 the people and places mentioned in this magazine and any real people and places is purely coincidental.
It took her quite a while to get around to it, but that's the way Ruth is, and there's nothing you can do except wait. The direct line doesn't work. I'd tried it once and she'd married Hank. So I sat there, watching her wind up, and waiting, wishing she weren't so damned pretty: it didn't make me feel much like the friend of the family I was supposed to be.
It was a little caricature of a town square. In it were the following fresh ingredients: a candy-box of a bandstand where men stood on Thursday and Sunday nights exploding music; fine, green-patinaed bronze-copper benches all scrolled and flourished; fine blue and pink tiled walks – blue as women's newly-lacquered eyes, pink as women's hidden wonders; and fine French-clipped trees in the shapes of exact hatboxes. The whole, from your hotel window, had the fresh ingratiation and unbelievable fantasy one might expect of a French village in the nineties. But no, this was Mexico! and this a plaza in a small colonial Mexican town, with a fine State Opera House (in which movies were shown for two pesos admission: Rasputin and the Empress, The Big House, Madame Curie, Love Affair, Mama Loves Papa).
Upon applying for admission to one of the most exclusive country clubs in New England, the rather reserved, unimpressive looking young man was notified that he must play a round of golf with the club officers as a prerequisite to his acceptance.
We enjoy browsing in secondhand bookstores on off hours and we discovered a little volume the other afternoon that considerably brightened our day. It was a thirty-year-old book of Mother Goose rhymes and the only special thing about it was that several words in each verse had been deleted. The book was dedicated to The Censors, who have taught us to read naughty meanings into harmless words, and we were very amused by the way these innocent rhymes from the nursery could be changed by simply eliminating words and phrases.
Janet Pilgrim supervises subscription fulfillment for Playboy and she is a girl who is very obviously capable of raising the circulation of more than a magazine. Miss Pilgrim runs her department efficiently, which may surprise some who expect beauties to try getting by on beauty alone. Right now, she and the five girls under her are working ten to twelve hours a day filling the thousands of Playboy gift subscriptions pouring in. The weeks just before Christmas are the busiest of the year for a magazine subscription department and Janet's days are long and hectic, which got us to wondering what her holiday evenings are like. We thought our readers might be interested, too, so we sent a Playboy cameraman home with her to find out.
Gwendo Travis was the kind of girl who would phone you at three in the morning to ask, "Darling, what's a salt lick? I've been reading The Green Hills of Africa." After assuring her it was nothing more sinister than a mineral deposit where jungle animals went on sodium chloride benders, she would say, "Thank you, dear – you've taken a frightful load off my mind," and hang up.
We must confess that, up until recently, we always thought of Japanese theatre in terms of grim movies like Rashomon and Gate of Hell, the classic Kabuki dancers and the traditional, stylized Noh plays.