We don't remember who it was described Philip Wylie as "God's Little Acher" but it was an apt soubriquet for this bitcher-and-moaner sans peur et avec reproche. In both fiction and non-fiction, the wily Mr. Wylie has been lighting firecrackers under the fanny of complacency for some time now: Generation of Vipers, with its famous mauling of "mom," was a major social fact of its day; his doom-doting novels, like Tomorrow!, have been used in' Civil Defense drives; his tirades against the educational system have stirred up PTA and school boards. Just back from a round-the-world junket which allowed him to rest, think and build up a head of steam, Wylie honors this issue with a blistering blast against American women, American men, American advertisers and all points west in The Abdicating Male. It's exhilarating, exterminating stuff: must reading for all males—be they pro, con or indifferent to abdication.
Playboy, November, 1956, Vol. 3, No. 11, Playboy is published monthly by HMH Publishing Co., Inc., 11 E. Superior St., Chicago 11, Illinois. In the U.S., its possessions and Canada, subscriptions are $13 for three years; $10 for two years; $6 for one year; elsewhere, add $3 per year to cover foreign postage. Please allow three weeks for entering new subscriptions, renewals and for change of address. 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.
No matter what you may have heard to the contrary. Australia has two sexes just like most other countries. It also has wombats, wallabies, koala bears, Tasmanian devils, laughing jackasses, kookaburra birds and Scotch over-the-bar at the Australian equivalent of 21¢ a slug. At current currency conversion rates a bottle of 12-year-old costs $3.20; brandy, local but lovable, dents your money clip to the pleasant tune of two bucks a fifth, as do gin and rum. We learned these things in the spirit of Dedicated Men gathering information on Melbourne and environs — site of the XVI Olympiad that runs, or sprints, from November 22 through December 8.
Giulietta Masina has very little to say in La Strada and even then speaks mostly with her incredibly expressive eyes. As a pathetic simpleton, sold by her mother to touring strong man Anthony Quinn who rapes yet reveres her, she alternately whinnies and whimpers, is idiotically happy and tragically sad in a poignant portrayal of innocence abroad. Starkly photographed on location, among the sleazy circuses and tawdry fairs of Italy, the film is deliberately awkward, intentionally simple, a Chaplinesque excursion into the human heart that offers a stage for the sensitive Giulietta Masina to transform the tiny imbecile into a giant of character.
If the photograph on the back of Eddie Condon's Treasury of Jazz (Dial, $5) may be believed, co-editor Richard Gehman did all the work (using a Cutty Sark case as a desk), while Eddie sat around and drank, of all things, milk. Jazz fact and jazz fiction by some mighty impressive people are offered here, and the prize piece, we think, is Charles Beaumont's Black Country, the evocative story that first introduced Beaumont to Playboy readers in September of 1954 and subsequently appeared in The Best from Playboy. Another Playboy story — The King, by James Jones — has also been selected for this treasury. Among the other contributors: George Frazier, Leonard Feather, John Crosby, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and others, as they say, too numerous to mention.
Not long ago, Shorty Rogers brought us to the brink of interplanetary warfare (without consulting Dulles) by composing and playing a ditty called Martians Go Home — this only a few months before that planet's closest approach to Terra in 30-odd years. Wadda risk! Quelle brink! Anyway, the Martians got mad and Shorty knew it was up to him to backbrink, so now he comes up (in the nick of the space-time continuum) with Martians Come Back (Atlantic 1232), as pretty an astral LP as has penetrated our space helmet in a month of moondays. In this one. Shorty plays eight new tunes with various combinations of other cats from outer space, including his original Giants. It's all truly gone goods, yet tuneful and with the Basie metabolism ticking away like a time bomb. These boys are up in cloudland, but they have their feet on the ground (of Mars).
"Giving presents," said Lady Pamela Wyndham Glennconner, a turn-of-the-century gadabout and social light, "is a talent. Unless a character (that's you) possesses this talent, there is no moment more annihilating to ease than that in which a present is given or received." Cheers for Lady Pam, say we. To help stamp out those annihilating moments, Playboy's beady-eyed scouts have been giving their all this Christmastide to a search for the absolute End in glorious gifties. You'll find five full-color pages of miraculous merchandise on 59-63; here we'd like to clue you on what's special about the most tasteful, titillating and terrific.
Regard the man in the gray flannel suit: habitat, Madison Avenue. His self-effacing flannel habit is presumed to mean he is conservative, clever-but-cagey — even cautious. Before he OKs a campaign he will consult every authoritative source from polls to encyclopaedias and every sachem from psychiatrists to big shots close to the White House.
Late on a Recent evening a slightly crocked citizen stood in bemused wonderment on Chicago's glittering Rush Street. One by one and in groups, on foot and in Cadillacs, Mark IIs and T-birds, elegant folk were converging on a carved wooden door near where the lush was standing. Each newcomer produced a key from his pocket and used it to gain entry, and each time the door swung open a bedlam of gay noise and the flare of gaslight flowed out into the stilly night. "Sounds like fun," said the drunk, to no one in particular and wove his way to the door. He tried it, but it didn't budge. Back at the curb again, he scanned the building from which the enticing din issued, saw only a plain wooden facade with no sign in neon, paint, or lights which would indicate that this was a bar or nightclub. "Musht be a private party," the man said. "Think I'll crash it." Again he assailed the door.
The man with the graying crew cut and mustache closed his eyes solemnly. He imagined the music. In his mind, he regulated its flow. First a little faster, then slower and then he set it right there. Just right. With a mental knob, he lifted its volume and brought in the velvet intimacy of the voice of Nat "King" Cole.
During the coming holiday season, any polished young man surrounded by his sisters and his cousins and his aunts will still dutifully raise the old ivory-handled carving knife over the traditional turkey and ask who wants the drumstick. But when the same guy wants to companionize with a particular girl, when he feels that the time has come for certain views to be intimately welded together, he knows there must be a change in menu. He can hardly hope to raise his stock over the carcass of a big gobbler swimming in the same old giblet gravy the wench ate when she was five years old.
The Etymologist in our Research Department insists the word "buxom" is descended from a Middle English grunt meaning "pliable and obedient." It would be nice to think that Miss November, pretty Betty Blue, is both, and furthermore that she is "readily incited; prone; of speech, mild and courteous" — definitions of "buxom" Noah Webster lists as obsolete. But businesslike Betty (she's currently working as an office manager in Los Angeles) is far from obsolete, and the abundant buxomness you see on this page and those on the left can only be interpreted in the modern sense (Noah, you're on again): "Having health, vigor and comeliness; plump and rosy; jolly."
Just to look at Ginny Lane, you would be bound to say that she was intended for better things than singing a song called Scrambled Eggs. But what those better things might be, nobody in the music world was likely to tell you, for on a recent Thursday Ginny's record of Scrambled Eggs sold its one millionth copy. This meant that to date the American public had shelled out $890,000, exclusive of what vanished into the maw of juke boxes, to hear Ginny sing:
When it Comes to Hunting, we usually prefer to do ours under antlered heads on the walls of a quiet bar in Greenwich Village. We'll listen to the other guy's hunting yarns (if they're brief and he'll keep our glass filled) — even the gibberish about .416 Magnums ("For champagne?" we asked), and the time the wounded buffalo holed up in a thicket of wait-a-bit thorn. But when it comes to sitting out a damp, dismal dawn in a duck blind or crawling around an African anthill on knees and elbows — uh-uh. You don't catch us trying any such foolishness, not with so many pleasanter ways at hand to prove one's virility.
Ski-happy souls can ski at home, but it's more fun abroad. At new, reduced round-trip air fares from New York, $700 or so will net you the works for eight snowy days at St. Anton in the Austrian Tyrol plus four more at Gstaad in the Swiss Alps, where the world's leisured foregather at slope and hearth. You'll especially want to hit St. Anton during January for the Arlberg-Kandahar ski races (General Tours, 595 Madison Ave., New York). While you're in Austria, stow the hickories for a few days and dig into Vienna's Fasching (pre-Lenten) festivities that run riot through January and half of February (Austrian State Tourist Department, 48 East 48th St., New York).
Men ask, "Should I replace my wife?" This is a callous attitude and one with which we have little sympathy. A wife is not like an automobile, traded in yearly as later models appear. True, with cars a new bit of grillwork or a change in fender line can drive you quickly to the showrooms lest you become a laughing stock in the neighborhood. But luckily the models in women are rarely improved. The changes in so-called "fender lines" are slight, the chassis design remains almost constant, and mechanical improvements are conspicuous by their absence. With reasonable care a wife should last for years and years.
Reading a book not long ago about popular sports of the past, I was interested to note how few of them have succeeded in keeping their grip on the public taste. They had their day and vanished never to be heard of again. I suppose about the only one that has survived into our modern age is haberdashery. You still find dashing the haber going on. But what of knurr and spell? Or boxing the compass? Or mocking the turtle? (A cruel sport, this last. The players stood in front of their turtles and made wisecracks about their faces, and the competitor who was the first to get his turtle good and sore won the chukker.)
...Playboy's lovely Christmas Playmate makes you welcome in a special seven-page picture story ... A. C. Spectorsky describes Exurbanites at Play ... Shel Silverstein takes a humorous peek at the button and buckle fashion trend ... Wolcott Gibbs reviews the current Broadway season ... Playboy's most popular cartoonists offer some very merry Christmas cards with verses by Ray Russell ... and a host of other features help make this Third Anniversary Issue one of the most entertaining yet.