Most guys like girls, and Robert Paul Smith is one guy who likes them goofy. He has his own special definition of that word, however, and you'll learn it when you read The Goofy Girls, his wistful picture of a bygone type, in this August Playboy. Smith has been likened to "the early Hemingway" by the Saturday Review, and has written a number of books, the most recent being "Where Did You Go?" "Out" "What Did You Do?" "Nothing" (that's just one book, not three or four). He is also co-author, with Max Shulman, of The Tender Trap, a Broadway comedy which became a Frank Sinatra film.
How does a new drink get itself born? Sometimes by accident. A few weeks back we had a housewarming at the new Playboy Building for assorted members of the press, show business and the advertising fraternity, and one of our secretaries was getting drinks for some guests. They'd asked for Scotch and water and the bar was crowded, so the young lady iced a couple of glasses herself, poured in a slug of Scotch, grabbed a pitcher and sluiced in what she thought was water. Actually, it was very very very dry Martini. The men drank up, looked puzzled, made faces, then smiled rather happily. The accidental error, discovered, was deliberately repeated for subsequent rounds. The new drink was christened on the spot: if there's more Scotch than gin, we call it a Skintch; if there's more gin than Scotch, it's a Gintch.
Frank Sinatra's A Swingin' Affair (Capitol W803) capitalizes on his earlier bright-beat smash, Songs for Swingin' Lovers (Playboy After Hours, May 1956), and comes off as cleanly as that estimable effort. The brass is punchy, the fiddles are felicitous, the rhythm rambunctious, and Frank's voice is in fine fettle. At least two of the tunes (Stars Fell on Alabama, I Won't Dance) make it a real sparkler for your collection...Sammy Davis, Jr., levels a bouncy broadside at up-tempo balladry on Sammy Swings (Decca DL 8486). The vigorous vocal vibrations include parodies on an Ellington heart-wringer (Don't Get Around Much Any More), an I-am-being-led-by-a-strange-force type ditty (Black Magic) and the bopper's delight (Perdido), all done with ear-splitting good humor.
George Abbott has always been able to pull miracles with musicals, but turning Eugene O'Neill's Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna Christie into a song-and-dance frolic was almost too much for him. He made it, though, with New Girl in Town. Anna, as you remember, is a tubercular prostitute who slinks back home to her father's barge on the New York water front in search of rest and a few kind words. She looks like a real lady to Mat Burke, a brawling Irish seafarer who has been around enough to know better. Mat wants to marry Anna until she tells him, in words of one syllable, just how she had picked up that cough. The original play and the new treatment mix like oil and water, but O'Neill supplied a happy ending of sorts, and Abbott didn't have to distort the show too much to dress it up in conventional spangles and music. Bob Merrill's score is a clever parlay of the comic and the romantic; the dancing is expert, active and completely unself-conscious; and the cast is above average: Cameron Prud'homme as Anna's boozy father and George Wallace as the rugged Mat could have played in O'Neill's original. Hollywood's Thelma Ritter, cast as an undersized pub-crawler in an oversized sweater, is funny and lovable. But the girl to watch is Gwen Verdon, as Anna. The red-headed miss, blonde now, and playing a role that is deeply scored with tragedy, comes through as an exciting hoofer who also possesses an even greater talent for emotional acting. At the 46th St. Theatre, 226 W. 46th St., New York City.
Onetime-slapsie Maxie Shulman is slapsie no more. His Rally Round the Flag, Boys! (Doubleday, $3.50), though a funny book, funnier than many being written these days, does not read like a product of the same antic pen that gave us Sleep till Noon and Barefoot Boy with Cheek, those flights of fantastic fooling that made the name of Shulman synonymous with split sides. Rally is milder, much milder: slick, safe-and-sane, earth-bound, commercial, Good Housekeeping humor, eminently suitable for filming (20th Century has already bought it for 200 Gs). A sort of Exurbanites-with-plot, it limns the adventures, amorous and otherwise, of various fauna residing in Putnam's Landing, Connecticut, and tells what happens when an Army Nike base invades such a social structure. What happens? Take your pick: some infidelity, some GI clowning, some teenage shenanigans, some unity, some disunity and a happily-ever-after ending. A cruel critic would call it Thin. A nice guy like us, gin-buck in hand, criticism numbed by the opium of summer, would call it Good Clean Fun. But we don't think you'll miss much if you decide to wait for the movie.
There is a breed of critic who labels as "satire" any work of art that is larger than life and if it happens to be too large for him to cope with, he qualifies it as "heavy-handed satire." Budd Schulberg's story, Your Arkansas Traveler, is not a satire, nor (no matter what you've heard) is A Face in the Crowd, the film he and Elia Kazan made of that story. Both are extrapolations--science-fiction, if you will--adventures into the reals of What If. Like all extrapolative fiction, Crowd takes an existing condition (in this film, the persuasive power of popular TV personalities) and asks "What if this condition were extended to the nth degree?" The answer arrived at by the Schulberg-Kazan combo is a blood-chilling one: a demagogue in denim whose lightest word can sway millions for good or evil, indiscriminately. Larry Rhodes, a backwoods bum (Andy Griffith) armed with a guitar and an insinuating charm, is discovered in durance vile by a smalltown radio interviewer (Patricia Neal). She tapes a disarming reel of his folksy philosophizing, homespun humor and impromptu bluesshouting right there in the hoosegow (the film's best scene) and before you can say Moley Hoses, "Lonesome" Rhodes has become a force that can drum up money for a destitute family, shoot the sagging sales of a worthless nostrum to the top of the chart and go a long way toward putting a reactionary in the White House. A good deal of fun (not satirical fun but expressionistic fun) is had with TV commercials and a few film taboos are thumb-nosed (a "Hell" here, a navel there, some bedhopping someplace else) as the movie gallops and snorts down its hopped-up, overcondensed track; then, as it nears the stretch, the shoddiest dramaturgical device since the old It-Was-Only-A-Dream dodge just about invalidates all the good that has gone before. Rhodes meets his fortuitous doom in something like five minutes flat, and neither Satire, Extrapolation nor Expressionism can justify the false, sleazy trickery of the ending. The race, in brief, is fixed. Like too many American films of late, one major flaw (to complete the metaphor) has turned a winner into an also-ran.
His Broad, Pinkly-Scrubbed English face set in the jovial grin appropriate to these traditional last-night-at-sea festivities, Chief Purser Joseph Amberley moved his impeccably uniformed portliness swiftly but without apparent haste through the cheerfully packed first class smoking room of the Royal Mail Steamship Atlantic, uneasily aware that something was up.
Far too many guys, whose bars boast all the ingredients of a Zombie, who score with the damsels in a finger snap, and whose apartments are furnished in impeccable taste, lack the same assurance and know-how when it comes to building a wardrobe. They collect duds haphazardly. Faced with a rackful of suits in a men's store or a counter piled high with shirts, they turn giddy as a debutante with her pick of the stag line. They are easily swayed by the (concluded on page 20) blandishments of a salesman: "This is the latest" or "Here's what everyone's wearing now". Other sad clothing sacks are the impulse buyers who splurge on a snappy new lid or a gaggle of spectacular neckties without a moment's reflection on what's already in the wardrobe back home. On the way back from lunch, they spot a suit or a shirt in a store window, rush in and plunk down the loot, repeat the process next month, and end up with drawers full of uncoordinated accessories -- very little of which pairs up with anything hanging in the closet. Let's face it, it's a stupid way to behave. For the same amount of cash, with far less effort, they could build a sensible, color-coded wardrobe that garners a triple reward: the selfconfidence that goes with being well turned-out from head to foot, the approval (even emulation) of your fellows, and the prideful smile of any lass in the company of a tastefully-garbed guy. Reaching that state involves nothing occult, believe us.
The night I got all mixed up in this was a spring night. Norma, my wife, was home, like always. Norma, my gentle young blonde wife with those smoky blue eyes and her cool arms dusted lightly with freckles. I'll tell you how much I love her after six years. When I wake in the morning and she's asleep, I just stand there sometimes looking at her and wonder why she ever wanted to marry me. Me: a balding accountant with a shape like a water tank. I stand there with a churned-up feeling and the idea comes to me complete with handles that I'm the luckiest guy in the world and all my troubles become very unimportant at that moment. I never figured I had a due bill on the world. All I wanted was what I had. But I could never tell Norma that. I could never tell her she was what kept my world in balance.
My friend Tom traveled down a curious detour of the normal instincts. He believed that the great boon of love -- the real thing: striving male and wagging, hallooing female -- was only possible with what he called a "nice artistic type." Tom himself was not an artist, of course, and not particular about which almondeyed, heavy-thighed, primordial beauty out of Henry Miller, Thomas Wolfe or Hunter College she would turn out to be. All he knew was that her breasts would be high and rosy, her ample belly starred with a biblical navel that winked only for him, and her heart surpassingly willing to help a shy lad find all the earthly delights. And that's all he knew.
You can always spot a novice at a corn feast. He brushes his butter in a delicate light film on the corn before he begins nibbling. A real corn man -- a veteran -- jabs and thrusts his butter, forcing it between the kernels in great heaps and gobs. Instantly, he sprays the buttered strip with salt, and then, bearing down with his lips and sinking his teeth into the extreme left hand side of the cob, he moves due east, oblivious to all but the crunching of his own happy jaws.
Much Has Been Said and written about the "girl-next-door" quality of Playboy's Playmates, even in literate journals like The Nation and the Saturday Review, and we've done a goodly bit of the saying ourselves.
The none too bright young fellow had been dating the same girl for more than a year and one evening the girl's father confronted him and wanted to know whether the lad's intentions towards his daughter were honorable or dishonorable.
Time, gentlemen, is definitely of the essence. A smart, functional, accurate timepiece adds the correct finishing touch to your garb, tells you when to expect a full moon, gets you out of the sack in time for your brunch date at Chambord -- all during the course of 432,000 ticks and tocks a day. Left: eminently geared for on-the-town wear, the array includes a magnificent pocket watch designed by Cartier. Flat as a roulette chip, it's 18-kt. yellow gold with a fine Swiss movement; you'll wear it anchored to an evening waistcoat with a handsome chain; $580 for the watch; $58 for the chain • An after-dark accessory that keeps a suave grip on your folding cash, the 17-jewel Swiss watch set in a money clip of deeply scored 14-kt. gold is a Tourneau creation; you'll have to peel $118 off the old money clip in order to pay for the new one • Hamilton has pioneered the only portable timepiece in existence powered by a tiny energizer, no bigger than a buttion, that runs it for more than a year. The Hamilton Van Horn is 14-kt. gold, with black dial and sweepsecond hand, is shock resistant, anti-magnetic and Martini-proof; $175 • The LeCoultre self-winding alarm watch will remind you of important engagements in a persuasive yet confidential tone; simple to set, the alarm dial revolves effortlessly in the center of the watch face; $95 • Conquest Sweep is Longines' special tag for their 14-kt. gold automatic watch in an ultra-thin waterproof case. The dial is luminous and the strap is blond-tone hide; as in all fine Swiss watches, a jeweled lever carefully controls the mainspring's action; $195 • Hardly thicker than its black suede strap, the Tourneau watch boasts an unusual segmented dial that makes it a smart-money choice for dress-up occasions; in stainless steel, $98; in 14-kt. gold, $175 • The Omega Seamaster is equally right for landlubbers engaged in non-nautical pursuits; this model is automatic, 17 jewels, in stainless steel; $95 • The cocktail hour begins whenever you say with Hawthorne's good-looking five o'clock watch; the repetitive Roman numerals are gold-etched; the band is suede; $38.50.
You could have knocked me over with a sawed-off shotgun when we got up on deck. Some change. The decks had all been swabbed. Not a sign of the carnage that had sent me below. They had even ditched that blood-soaked raft. It was gone with the sharks it had lured to their deaths.
If You're One of the hundred million or so persons in the U.S. who flips through at least one big-circulation magazine a month, you've almost certainly spotted the guy on these pages a couple of hundred times. But it's 50 to 1 you don't know his name: Lionel Wiggam. He's far and away the highest-priced, most-in-demand male model in America. He has appeared in more advertisements for a greater variety of advertisers than any other man--or woman or child, for that matter--and he earns 40 bucks an hour for doing it. In fact, his front-of-the-camera stints are so sought after that, recently, he appeared decked out in two fiercely competitive brands of dinner jackets (After Six and Linett) in two ads that ran within a couple of pages of each other in the same issue of Men's Wear magazine.
The philosophers of King Charles's reign were busy in finding out the art of flying. The famous Bishop Wilkins was so confident of success in it, that he says he does not question but, in the next age, it will be as usual to hear a man call for his wings, when he is going on a journey, as it is now to call for his boots. The humour so prevailed among the virtuosos of this reign, that they were actually making parties to go up to the moon together, and were more put to it in their thoughts how to meet with accommodations by the way than how to get thither. Every one knows the story of the great lady who, at the same time, was building castles in the air for their reception. I always leave such trite quotations to my reader's private recollection. For which reason, also, I shall forbear extracting out of authors several instances of particular persons who have arrived at some perfection in this art, and exhibited specimens of it before multitudes of beholders. Instead of this, I shall present my reader with the following letter from an artist, who is now taken up with this invention, and conceals his true name under that of Daedalus.
The Majesty of Mountains, the serenity of quiet streams, the teeming opulence of wooded places: these are optic treats extolled in song and story. And yet a city man, from the terrace of his lofty penthouse dwelling, can find scenes just as satisfying. As we stand here, cool drink in hand, there is ravishment in the jagged, crowded, glittering sky line of Manhattan; for majesty, the slim monolith of the Empire State Building and the massive, masculine dominance of the U.N. edifice are second to none; the Hudson River has the serenity of a stream, with a sweep and grandeur the stream lacks. And directly below us, on the patio of apartment 14B, a Miss Hotchkiss is--at this very moment--preparing to take a sun bath. Ah, yes, there is much to be said for the city.
Give us, if you will, Paris in the fall. More than 40 theatres will be reopening then, to say nothing of six music halls blasting at full power, a couple of ballet troupes cavorting, art galleries bright again, fashion shows drawing the chic from all over the world and, of course, the Paris Opera glittering like mad. Friday's gala night there, with troops of the Garde Republicaine lining the grand staircase and a white-tied crowd circling the great hall quaffing champagne. Good way to see it all--and a lot more--is the Four Capitals Tour, which hits London, Paris, Rome and Madrid. The package offers the cream of European big-city life in 17 days for $823 roundtrip from Gotham. When in Rome, incidentally, do as the Romans rarely do and take in some of Italy's splendid hill towns--Viterbo, Perugia, Arezzo, Siena, Orvieto--where wine festivals follow on the heels of one another from September through November. It's a fine change of pace, and the countryside is crawling with fiery, full-of-fun Sophia Loren types.
Playboy presents Francis Wallace's 18th Football Preview. The original pigskin prognosticator, Wallace has been picking the pre-season All-America players and top teams for The Saturday Evening Post and Collier's since 1937. Now in the pages of Playboy he'll rate the teams in every conference, predict their season record, name his All-America eleven and the top twenty teams in the nation. The September issue will also include fiction by Al "The Great Man" Morgan, opinion by John Steinbeck, travel by John Sack and a host of other entertaining features.