Playboy, July, 1957, Vol. 4, No. 7. Published Monthly by HMH Publishing Co., INC., Playboy Building, 232 E. Ohio ST., Chicago 11, ILL. Entered as Second Class Matter August 5, 1955 at the Post Office at Chicago, ILL., Under the act of March 3,1879. Printed in U.S.A. Contents Copyrighted By 1957 by HMH Publishing Co., INC. Subscriptions;in the US, its Possessions, the Pan-American Union And Canada,$13 for Three Years: $10 for Two Years, $6 for one Year, Elsewhere add$3 per year for Foreign Postage. Allow 30 Days for new subscriptions and Renewals. Change of Address: Send Both old and New Addresses and Allow 30 Days for Change. Advertising: Main Advertising Office, Howard Lederer, Eastern Manager,598 Madison AVE., New York, N.Y., pl 9-7470; Western Advertising Office,232 E. Ohio ST., Chicago 11, ILL., ML 2-1000; Los Angeles Representative, Fred E. Crawford, 612 S. Serrano AVE., Los Angeles 5, Calif., DU 4-73521; SAN Francisco Representative, A. S. Babcock, 605 Market ST., San Francisco 5, Calif.
You're familiar, we're sure, with the current trend toward rear-window car stickers bearing such chauvinistic messages as "Made in Texas by Texans." Well, twists on such cornpone were not long in coming:
No sooner had we called attention to the current fashion of excerpting the clean halves of ribald phrases for book titles (Playboy After Hours, April 1957) than both William Iversen and Preston Sturges performed this service upon the identical couplet: Iversen for a satire in our May issue, Sturges for a jolly new film called The French They Are A FunnyRace. Though made in France, T.F.T.A.A.F.R. is replete with the same wackiness that made Sturges' Hollywood films (The Great McGinty, The Lady Eve, etc.) so delightful. With good old Jack Buchanan as the most British of ex-Majors, Martine Carol as his delectable French truffle of a wife, and Noël Noël as the archetypical Frenchman, this infectious trio has a go at a dozen-odd all-too-human shibboleths that have helped make France the second home, spiritually, of every non-Frenchman. Derived from Pierre Daninos' best-seller, The Notebooks of Major Thompson, the film lampoons both English and French with equal good humor. Talk about entente cordiale!
By popular standards, French playwright Georges Feydeau, who died in 1921, is as outdated as a pair of spats. Outdated, that is, until Bert Lahr, comic, and Peter Glenville, adapter and director, got hold of his Hotel Paradiso (at the Henry Miller, 124 W. 43rd), and proved that a laugh is a laugh no matter what the epoch. The plot is too frantic for sane synopsis. Rubber-pussed Lahr, married to battle-axe Vera Pearce, makes a passle of passes at Angela Lansbury, who is the wife of John Emery, a paunchy fuddy-duddy who neglects his marriage bed to investigate poltergeist phenomena in a Parisian flea bag. Long before a pack of Mack Sennett French cops descend on the hotel, Lahr and his lady love are in uneasy residence; a friend, Douglas Byng, shows up with a monstrous brood of teen-age daughters. Ghosts walk; Carleton Carpenter signs in with a nubile French maid who plans to give him his first lesson in practical biology. Everybody gets in everybody's hair. Doors slam: furniture crumbles; and an idiotic bus boy gimlets a hole through a wall and, incidentally, snaffles a pound of flesh from Lahr, who happens to be rump against plaster. Bert Lahr is one of the theatre's great comedians. There are not many of the traditional funnymen left, and Lahr improves with age and experience. Without him, Paradiso would be an amusing museum piece: with him, it is a return to the Golden Days, when a comic did not need a gag writer in his hip pocket.
The Innocent Ambassadors (Rinehart, $4.95) is the account of a trip that took Philip Wylie and spouse to Hawaii to view their first grandchild and, characteristically, brought them home by way of the Far East, Near East and Europe. Although Wylie is particularly concerned with the attitudes toward America, and the inroads of Communism in critical areas, his book is a fascinating blend of tourist-travel adventure and personal comment. "When many Americans go abroad," states the author, "they will find to their horror and hunger great cities without mashed or French fried potatoes and whole nations without ketchup." Though fearful of the ideological wash of the Communist tide, Wylie still found time to visit a Tokyo burleycue in which a succession of attractive Japanese girls sang, danced and simultaneously removed their kimonos with un-oriental insinuation. Through all his wanderings, from China to India, from the land of Canaan to Italy, Wylie's trained eye and ear have caught the kaleidoscope of vivid insights and assorted enjoyments which provide the condiments for observations and comments less easily digested. As an ambassador, Mr. Wylie isn't quite as innocent as the book title indicates.
As every mythology buff knows, the Gate of Horn guards the Abode of Sleep, that drowsy, cloudy mansion in which all dreams come true. Bibbers who wend their way to Chicago's un-mythological Gate of Horn (753 N. Dearborn) will find this basement bastion very much awake, and happily dedicated to the furtherance of folk music. A small bar blithely be-hung with modern art and a just-to-the-left "theatre" cluttered with tables and chairs comprise the Gate, with simple, comfortable decor the keynote throughout. Those who are hungry in body can order charcoaled hamburger, steak or brockwurst sandwiches; those with a more cerebral yen can listen to five-string banjos, six-string guitars and 46-string harps, though not at the same time. The benevolent balladeers behind all that hardware are liable to include the likes of Bob Gibson. Theodore Bikel, Big Bill Broonzy, Jo Mapes, or any of their country cousins. The lights go on (though not very brightly) every day at five and the Gate swings mightily till four next morn. Favorite hot-weather nightcap there-abouts is titled The Gate, and in it goes a big slug of Pernod, couple of cubes, a quarter of lime and a splash of tonic.
That incomparable dreamdust duo, Jackie Gleason and Bobby Hackett, have cranked out another mood biscuit, this one titled Music for the Love Hours (Capitol W816). You may find it a little annoying to share your tête-a-tête with at least a thousand fiddlers, but the relaxed Hackett horn seems to make everything worth-while, especially on right pretty offerings like Serenade in Blue, Our Love and Ghost of a Chance.
At First the Captain of the ship who landed on Porcosito, and who subscribed to a popular science magazine, thought he had discovered the Missing Link – the creature that was neither man nor ape. The first skeleton he found had a subhuman appearance. The thorax was capacious enough to contain a small barrel; the arms were remarkably long, and the legs little and crooked. The bones of the hands, the feet and, the jaw were prodigiously strong and thick. But then, not far away – it is only a little island – in a clump of bushes, he found another skeleton, of a man who, when he was alive could not have been much more than two feet tall.
It was on broadway not long that I bumped into Bosley Feibush, who had been a college classmate of mine longer ago than I care to remember. He was wearing a belted lavender jacket over an open shirt with a decolletage so deep that it exposed almost all of the black cloud of hair that blew across his chest. Below the waist he had on kelly green linen slacks and gold buckskin shoes with crepe soles as thick and juicy as six-dollar steaks. He also wore the indomitable smile which had been his trade mark from his days as bus boy in the borscht belt to his subsequent successes as social director and Hollywood writer.
"There Is No New Thing under the sun," said the son of David, but he didn't know about the 10 new things under the hot summer sun of July, 1957 – a bracing batch of tinkly, tasty, frosty coolers, cunningly concocted for the exclusive dogday delight of playboy readers and their fetching friends.
Why do so many right-thinking guys, whose fashion taste is perfectly secure at the office and around town, go ape when it comes to sports attire? The moment they're liberated from the suit-and-tie ritual, it seems their sense of Ivy-bred style takes a nose dive, and they emerge from the clubhouse or locker room in a get-up that would embarrass Lord Invader. "Mass-produced eccentrics," Russell Lynes calls these peacockclad clods, men who – without realizing it – are actually competing with women to see who can look prettier!
It's a down scene, man. You and your chick fall by and dig the wild sounds. Those cats on the stand are really makin' it. Baby, everybody's smokin', you know? Assembled are a whole raft of well-known jazz wailers from all the going schools—traditional, swing, cool, etc.—and all you have to do is match up their nicknames with their square handles. If you're truly hip you'll have no trouble fielding all 15; if you bring down as many as 12, you can still count yourself a daddy-o; anything under 10, however, rates you as a cube from Dragsville.
So far, I haven't done too badly this year. We had a fire in the tennis shop that burned 12 new racket frames, I lost three of my middle-aged pupils to the golf pro when they OKd those motorized golf carts for our hotel course, and yesterday I cut my hand in three places opening a can of tennis balls the hard way.
Among those Age-Old sybaritic self-indulgences which the exigencies of modern life tend to deny us, are the pleasures of the bath. He who nips into his shower and out in a flash, then scrapes off his whiskers any which way and dives into his clothes, may be saving minutes but he's also denying himself one of the few decent luxuries he can enjoy in solitary splendor. For the order of the bath should no more be restricted to merely getting clean than the order of a dinner should be a mere matter of stuffing the gut.
While Fogbound in a beach cottage one summer day, I was glancing through a soggy copy of the New York Herald Tribune that a neighbor had used to giftwrap a bluefish, when my eye chanced upon a White Rock ad and skidded to a stop – Psyche, the kneeling nymph, had taken a dive off her rock! "White Rock introduces a great new drink . . .The Vodka Plunge made with new White Rock Vodka (The world's one and only)!" the ad said, and went on to predict that, "Everybody will soon be taking "The Plunge'! It's the vodka drink of the year . . . cooling, delicious, surprising!!"
We were winging our way to a busy week of conferences with authors and agents, and our mind was filled with thoughts of the loftiest literary calibre. So lofty were they that we scarcely heard the dulcet voice of the stewardess requesting us to fasten our seat belt. She repeated the request, and we looked up into the brown eyes of petite (5' 3") Jean Jani of Dayton, Ohio. That seat belt got fastened pronto, and, later on, when Miss Jani returned to find out our preference in cocktails (double Martini with a twist, thank you), we engaged her in conversation and whipped out our embossed business card. We won't say she consented to become Miss July right then and there, but in the course of polite palaver (during which she told us she is a student stewardess and this was her first trip, that she is saving money to buy a T-bird, her favorite drink is a Vodka Gimlet and she is the proud possessor of a pile of Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte and Jackie Gleason platters) we did manage to get in our innings and pave the way for this month's Playmate.
From the land of the rising sun, where he sketched his impressions for our May issue, Shel Silverstein flew the great circle route, touching down briefly in Anchorage, Alaska, to the Land of the Midnight Sun — Scandinavia, the home of the Vikings, Ibsen, Grieg, Strindberg, Ekberg, Kierkegaard, smörgåsbord, sex changes and the Swedish massage. Our bearded ambassador – with – port – folio called us, collect, from Copenhagen to make certain his Scandinavian sketches had arrived safely. They had, and included with them was a brief written report on his personal adventures: "This has been one of the most hectic months of my life," he wrote. "After touring Norway and Sweden, I settled down in Copenhagen, where I thought my beard would permit me to blend quietly in with the Danes, many of whom are also bearded. I couldn't have been more wrong. Due in large part to this damned beard, I (1) became involved in a barroom brawl (which I won) over a woman (which I lost), (2) worked as a solo washboard and featured vocalist (because I spoke the best English) of Papa Bue's Bearded Viking New Orleans Danish Jazz Band (a very popular group until I joined them), (3) suffered a slightly broken foot, acquiring a limp, a cane and a very glamorous air, (4) was under observation and investigation as a 'Russian Agent' because I was seen entering the Russian Embassy in quest of a visa, and (5) became involved in a brief but glorious romance which I'm not telling any 1,000,000 playboy readers about. As of this writing, my foot, heart and political standing are all in pretty good shape."
The Trouble With Amb is that it's very, very small, and people who run across it on maps are apt to think it's a cartographers' abbreviation for "ambush," "ambiguous," or even "ambary," a plant that grows in patches thereabouts, instead of what it really is – viz., Amb, an independent but utterly insignificant country on the Indus River, and smack in the middle of Pakistan. Not only is Amb so small as to be hardly worth mentioning but, to make matters worse, it is getting smaller at an average rate of 21/3 acres an hour, and if it keeps losing ground like this, it will be all gone by the end of the year. The diminution of Amb began a decade ago, when Pakistan passed a law against the jagirs, or fiefs, on Pakistani soil; as 30 square miles of Amb were jagirs, Pakistan took them back. A second, even more stunning blow was delivered in 1950, when, after coming across some 80-year-old papers, Pakistan laid claim to the entire left bank of the Indus, 290 square miles of Amb, and away it went. At the same time, Pakistan appropriated Amb's vassalage, the Khanate of Phulra (pronounced like "pool room" without the "m") – 20 square miles. The upshot of all this aggrandizement is that Amb, today, is only 14 square miles and 4014 persons, all 4014 of them on the good-for-nothing right bank of the Indus, and even there the sovereignty of Mr. Mohammed Farid Khan, the Nawab of Amb, is shaky indeed. His people are restive, some of them want to go to Pakistan, and the Nawab, I understand, is so uncertain of their loyalties that he hasn't been to Amb for many years; instead, he sits in a palace in Pakistan and, with a pair of high-powered field glasses, he watches Amb warily.
For Adventurous fun and excitement, for the intimacy and privacy of a small world in itself, for the pleasures of being on the water and in it – and snugged down cozily after dark – there's nothing that comes anywhere near a cruise party on a husky, handsome yacht, if you have the right crew aboard.
I Left The Club Early; the officers were playing cards for high stakes. It was evening, but the torrid heat made one think the sun was still shining. I found Pudica scarcely dressed, her shoulders exposed to the breeze which seemed to burn them. Her arms were bare, those beautiful arms into which I had bitten so many times during moments of emotion, and which tasted as sweet as a strawberry. Her hair, heavy with heat, tumbled on her bronzed neck, and she was ravishing thus. Half lying over a low round table, she was writing. Now if Pudica were writing, it was no doubt to some lover, for some rendezvous, for some new infidelity to her husband, Major Ydow, who accepted her acts in silence. When I came in, the letter was written, and she was melting some wax to seal it, some blue wax spangled with silver.
In good Bavarian fashion, Munich's riotous Oktoberfestnaturally gets under way in September. It's a low, sweeping bow to the bacchanalian harvest god, and beer barrels roll out by the score. As you might have guessed, several thousand high-spirited, busty Brunnhildes do their level best to get the party-prone tourist in the swing of things, and invariably succeed. All Munich goes nuts for a good six weeks, and Lufthansa will fly you right to the center of sport for a scant $333 from New York. The Sausage Fair at Durkheim in late September dishes up more of the same – only wurst. In fact, September is festival month all over Europe and we especially recommend the sherry wine shenanigans at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, and the wild goings-on of the Pffiferday Fiddlers at gothic Ribeauville, France, where delicate white Alsatian wine gushes day-long from the fountain in the market square.
Playboy peeks in on a succulent sunbather enjoying Old Sol on a posh penthouse terrace ... reminisces with Robert Paul Smith about The Goofy Girls of The Roaring Twenties ... gets mad with Max Shulman at super-serious stud poker players ... chuckles with Ray Russell over a low-down subject ... asks and answers, with Herbert Gold, the pointed question Do Nice Artistic Girls?