This month, just like every other month, Playboy is stuffed with a surfeit of fine features -- but the finest of them all, we vow, is our March Playmate. A girl with the face and figure of television starlet Marian Stafford would be memorable enough without any special gimmicks, but in this issue Marian appears 1/3 life size. This supersize pin-up is no single-issue feature, either -- it is the first of the new Playboy Playmates: big, beautiful, full-color, triple-page fold-outs that will, if possible, make America's favorite girlfriend even more popular than she is now.
It's good fun to recall Alberto Moravia's wry comment on the North American phenomena known as The Kinsey Reports. "An ignorant Italian peasant," he has said, "knows all of these things before he is twenty." Moravia today is 49, and certainly no peasant. He has fifteen published novels, two plays and a movie script for The Woman of Rome, starring Gina Lollobrigida as the ill-starred woman. He is, without much doubt, the finest writer to emerge from Italy since the farewell to fascism and we personally consider him one of the best novelists in the world today. With Moravia, as with most Mediterranean men, sex is a natural passion and he takes it in great gulps, like strong wine or bright sunlight, without blushing or apologizing.
Producer-director Otto Preminger is a man who likes to put together good motion pictures and who feels that censors don't always improve a film when they begin cutting it. When the Johnston Office turns thumbs-down to one of his movies, Mr. Preminger applies his own thumb to his nose.
We met comedian Will Jordan at a private party the other evening. We'd seen him a time or two on television and been amused by his impersonation of Ed Sullivan on Toast of the Town (he's often billed as "The man who made Ed Sullivan laugh.") Jordan's appearance surprised us: we'd never have recognized him without the introduction. Throughout his television impersonation of Sullivan, we had been under the impression that Jordan looked like Sullivan, but we discovered this evening that the man becomes so a part of any character he is impersonating that he actually resembles him during a performance and, in fact, we look more like Ed Sullivan ourselves than Jordan does.
The music from the sound track of The Rose Tattoo (Columbia CL 727) does a decently economical job of etching the emotional moods of the film, especially tunes like Floozie and Thorn of the Rose. But, generally, it's just another addition to the long and mostly undistinguished list of recorded movie background music that includes Spellbound, Duel in the Sun and Samson and Delilah. Until that happy day when a really stunning score comes along, we intend to console ourselves with the sonorous, bracing music Prokofiev wrote for Eisenstein's film, Alexander Nevsky, way back in 1938. It's the only movie music we know of that not only enhanced the film but can stand by itself as well. Eugene Ormandy's recording (Columbia ML 4247) has been selling well for several years, and there's also a newer one, done by the Vienna State Opera gang under Mario Rossi (Vanguard VRS-451), that's pretty electrifying stuff. The titles of some of the sections -- Russia Under the Mongolian Yoke, Entry of Alexander into Pskov -- might look rather forbidding on juke boxes, but we have a hunch they'll be hits long after Floozie passes into limbo. And (who knows?) some enterprising songster may yet take a fancy to one of the peppier portions and, armed with banjo, echo-chamber and new lyrics, make the Hit Parade with some such moving ballad as You Conquered Me with Flaming Love Just Like Nevsky Conquered Pskov. Stranger things have happened.
The ghosts of Diamond Jim Brady and Lillian Russell still haunt the plush appointments of Delmonico's (sometimes called Oscar's), 56 Beaver Street, way at the bottom of Manhattan isle. The flavor of the noble old pile (founded 1843) is genuine, and the fare is genuinely excellent. Dinners start at $3.50, with the accent on Continental items, but we chose a steaming, chutney-bedecked lamb curry and were made the happiest of men. Our lady of the evening plowed voraciously through a platter of chicken a la king until pangs at the waistline reminded her to subside into a cup of Delmonico's brilliant coffee. With Wall Street nearby and real stock tickers on hand in the Baroque and Jade rooms, table talk runs into thousands of shares and millions of dollars, so the visitor has the illusion that his tab is joyfully meager. About three out of four customers are male -- and a well-fed lot of share pushers they appear -- so for a real attention-getter, make sure your companion is suitably gorgeous. The palace is closed Saturday night and all day Sunday.
Who can resist the Lunts? We can't. Tell us they're brittle: and as we line up at the theatre to see them, we'll admit that only a shadow of their former suppleness survives. Tell us they're decadent: and as we furiously applaud their second, third and fourth curtain calls, we'll say, yes, they've consistently squandered their first rate talent on second, third and fourth rate scripts. But we do line up, and we do applaud, and so do several million other people, because the decadent, brittle team of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne is also charming, flawless, very funny and professional -- in both the best and worst senses of that weary word. The Great Sebastians is their newest nugget of deplorable delight. Rudi and Essie Sebastian, partners in a transparently phony mind-reading act ("The only act that reads minds in five different languages"), have played all over Europe and every house in England ("We broke the house record at the Palladium; you remember, there was an American on the bill -- Danny Kaye or something"). Now they are in Prague, 1948, on the day of Jan Masaryk's mysterious death. A formidable Czech Communist general summons the Sebastians to perform at a private party and to aid in ferreting out some of his guests' secret political opinions. Lip-curling treachery and intrigue abound while the Sebastians boil up their own little pot of intrigue -- trying to smuggle money out of the country by converting it into a single rare postage stamp. Co-authors of this "melodramatic comedy," Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse have fed the Sebastians plenty of lively lines, which the Lunts hurl back and forth in a withering crossfire. The Lunts' self-assurance is a treat even when the Sebastians' lines are just so-so. Director Bretaigne Windust keeps things crackling at the ANTA Theatre, W. 52nd St., NYC.
Playboy is published monthly by the HMH Publishing Co., Inc., 11 E. Superior, Chicago 11, Illinois. Postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings and photographs submitted if they are to be returned and no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. Entered as second class matter August 5, 1955, at the post office at Chicago, Illinois, under the Act of March 3, 1879. Printed in U. S. A. Contents copyrighted 1956 by HMH Publishing Co., Inc. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any similarity between the people and places mentioned in the fiction and semi-fiction in this magazine and any real people and places is purely coincidental.
We overheard two young ladies discussing their marriage plans on a northbound subway last week. "I understand your boy friend graduates from law school this June. I suppose you'll be getting married then."
I am sitting here thinking about suicide which I am going to commit as soon as I get drunk enough to lose the remaining inhibitions that prevent me from doing it. I am going up on Geronimo's Mesa and jump off the high ledge of red sandstone at Lover's Leap where, according to legend, two thwarted young Apache lovers jumped to death hand in hand. I will not jump hand in hand with anyone. I will jump alone as soon as I can get some little trigger of compulsion ready to force me up to Geronimo's Mesa and to the edge of the sandstone of Lover's Leap.
Next Month ... you'll meet a Parisienne cutie named Clementine ... enjoy a colorful picture-story on the sport of sports car racing ... read an article on jazz by Benny Goodman ... get some of the barer facts on advertising in an entertaining photo-feature.