Those who flip over the slick TV zanyisms of Ernie Kovacs, a cigar and mustache followed by a mobile mug, should pick up his novel, Zoomar (Doubleday, $3.50). It's not a hack job, either, but rather a robust story of cynical perception and ha-ha humor. It's all about a bright young guy who steps out of the advertising jungle into the television jungle, and his misadventures therein. Author Kovacs gets off a couple of goodies en route: the lunchbound minor exec who tells his secretary, "If my boss calls, get his name." Ernie even plays his own critic, stuffing these lines into the mouth of a newspaperman about real-life TV funnyman Kovacs: "Too erratic, his comedy is too extreme and too frequently he gets his punchline from the grisly side of life . . . man being torn apart by horses . . . trick golf expert missing the ball and bashing in his assistant's head." Yet the novel never skids to a halt. His bright young man becomes a big shot, indulges in a romp with his secretary, finally returns to his wife. Through it all, there are rich veins of tongue-in-cheek humor served in heaping portions. Addicts of the enigmatic Ernie will be pleased to discover this fresh facet of his talent.
We'd thought the gag potential of Philadelphia as a dull town had been exhausted, but a whole slew of newies about the yawn-qualities of the City of Brotherly Love has sprung up. Take, for example, the current yok that goes like so: big contest sponsored by a giant soap company in which the first prize is a one-week, all-expense vacation in Philadelphia; second prize – a twoweek, all-expense vacation in Philadelphia. Or this one: man goes to see his doctor, is informed he only has four months to live. He is told that he can do anything he wants during those four months – smoke, drink, hire a concubine, race D-Jags – anything. But in four months he'll be dead. The man asks the doctor, "Is it OK if I go live in Philadelphia my last four months on this earth?" "Sure," answers the medico, "but why would you want to do a thing like that?" The guy says: "Well, it would seem so much longer that way."
Most of the guys we know tend to like music with their romance. Our own idea of that duo under optimal conditions would, perforce, involve Peggy Lee's smoothest offering to date, The Man I Love (Capitol T864), for which Frank Sinatra conducts the ork. (And Frank told us: "I'm as proud of this LP as of anything I've ever done.") With Peggy's honeyed voice at its sexiest, Nelson Riddle's arrangements at their lushest, and tunes like My Heart Stood Still and There Is No Greater Love, this disc is one of the best of the year. The unbilled instrumental obbligatos, incidentally, are by such Hollywood bright lights as Harry Edison, trumpet, and Buddy Collette, sax ... If you're really out to score of an evening, follow up Peggy's platter on the turntable with This Is Nat "King" Cole (Capitol T870), a boodle of ballads that includes the flammable Forgive My Heart and That's All. Nat, like Peggy, latches on perfectly to Nelson Riddle's luscious scoring, and the result is sure-fire ... Same evening, same girl: for a heady nightcap, add Carmen McRae's After Glow (Decca 8583) a torchy yet jazz-happy rendering of some of the prettiest pops ever to tickle our ears (My Funny Valentine, I'm Through With Love, et al.). You should be cozy by now. Bon chance.
Michael Gazzo's crackling examination of a hophead's hell, A Hatful of Rain, is, if anything, more personal and more tormenting in wide screen than it was on the boards. Director Fred Zinneman has literally torn open the fictional tale (war hero turned junkie) and added a stunning documentary flavor by lugging his cameras into New York and playing exterior scenes against authentic backgrounds. The plot line, happily, has been left unscarred and the acting is good, with a standout performance by Anthony Franciosa as the mainliner's bewildered, love-hungry brother. Don Murray and Eva Marie Saint, as the can't-kick-it vet and his wife, respectively, might lack the strident punch of their Broadway counterparts (Ben Gazzara and Shelley Winters), but Lloyd Nolan, as the junkie's overbearing old man, whams across his lines and proves again that he's one of the best thespers in the biz. You miss this show at your own risk.
Heavy drapes shield the gastrophile's Shangri-La, Café Chambord, from New York's busy, El-less Third Avenue (near 50th). Within, the decor is underplayed to the point of refined Spartan, lest there be any distraction from the shrine's devout purpose. The high lama here is Phil Rosen, a dedicated perfectionist who lives to see that some of the world's finest food is served and enjoyed. It is. After champagne cocktails, our hors d'oeuvres were Coquille Gratinée, a merely sublime melange of scallops, lobster chunks, mushrooms and cheese sauce; Mademoiselle chose a CrèpFarcie, a wine-ennobled crab meat and lobster pancake. Our entrée was a Filet de Boeuf en Tranches, Bordelaise, so tender that we felt it understood; Mademoiselle chose Poulet sauté à la Fine Champagne, which is chicken adorned as bird of paradise and anointed with the best cognac. She raved. Dessert was a soufflé for two, drenched in a sauce of vanilla and Grand Marnier. Victor, the sommelier, suggested with gentle gravity the proper red and white wines, which included a young rosé from Provence and a crisp chablis. The tab was not small, but then we were not dealing with the short-order school of cuisine. Open every day (except Sunday) for luncheon and dinner. Most stimulating news of all is that non-Gothamites can sample the fantastic fare via the mails. Chambord frozen foods, no relation to TV dinners, include sauces (bigarde, périgourdine, veronique, et al.), soups (potage St.Germain, bisque homard, et al.) and entrées (caneton a l'orange, homard grille beurre viquerons, et al.) that come to you packed royally in dry ice, ready to pop in the oven. The management will whisk off an order blank at your request.
Before the fall drama season shifts into overdrive, we call your attention to some pungent comments anent our theatre by an overseas observer. Stage sex, American style, recently rated scrutiny by French drama critic Thierry Maulnier, in La Revue de Paris. Maulnier had the doubtful privilege of seeing, within an uncomfortably short span of time, Parisian productions of Tea and Sympathy, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and dramatizations of Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun and Caldwell's God's Little Acre – all dramas about "the ravages provoked by sexual maladjustment." Observing that "this theme is becoming almost an obsession" with U.S. playwrights, Maulnier says: "In all the American plays which we have seen this season, it is the woman who is given the demanding, active role by the authors . . . a reflection in the theatre of the fact that American society is today a semimatriarchate."
Happiest yuletides we've ever spent have been on board ship: cheek-to-cheek dancing on the promenade deck, quiet tete-a-tetes on the boat deck, clubby fun in the main lounge, midnight snacks in the bar – plus a skintingling salt breeze and 11 A.M. bouillon to assuage the hangover. Two heartwarming holiday jaunts to sun-swathed lands (and what a fine gift either would make) leave from the West Coast in mid-December. One's a 12-day junket to Acapulco at $280 up; the other's a 14-day run to Hawaii with three days ashore at Honolulu for $309 and up; both aboard Matson Line cruisers.
For years I have been bumbling along in the naive belief that the women's magazines were devoted solely to such matters as how to chintz up the living room and get a cake to rise. But it seems I was wrong – the most worrisome problem facing milady's monthly gazettes is how to muss up the marriage bed and keep one's mate aroused.
Certainly, blanchard thought, this was worth looking at twice. Something not exactly routine, he thought coolly, watching the girl over the rim of his glass, beginning to drift through the crowd toward her. It was a routine cocktail party, a publisher's affair swirling with routine types. And Blanchard hated being bored.
The phrase high fidelity – authorship unknown – actually has been around for about 30 years, but during its first two decades it led a sort of disembodied existence. It was, so to speak, a description in search of a fact.
Via the may and issues of Playboy, cartoonist Shel Silverstien has whisked us to Japan (where he was asked "Is is true what they say about American women?") and Scandiavia (where he was featured vocalist of Papa Bue's Deareded Viking New Orleans Danish Jazz Band). Both of these far-flund lands were lovingly limned in on-the-spot sketches bearing the saucy Silverstein stamp.
Time was you could make a date with a brunette on Wednesday and, when you picked her up Saturday night, be certain a brunette would be waiting for you. These days, thanks to quickie hair-dyes, your brunette may have metamorphosed into a redhead or a boysenberry blonde. This sign of the times was dramatized for us recently when photographer Peter Basch sent us a test shot of prospective Playmate Colleen Farrington, a New York TV model. We found her a pert, well-turned brunette, and we wired Pete to go ahead by all means. When the first Playmate photos arrived, however, Colleen (having dyed her crowning glory for a TV show) was a blonde. We liked her better the other way, so she obliged by becoming a brunette again and Pete, in a puckish mood, persuaded her to try a temporary head of red too, in the interest of utter confusion. On these pages, therefore, Colleen is available in three smart decorator colors. Which do you prefer?
A sure sign that social barriers no longer exist, observed a society matron of our acquaintance, is the number of cute French maids who enter a home by the servants' entrance and leave in a family way.
For those Americans who dream of a U.S.-bred-and-built sports car, it has been a long time between drinks. The list of great names is a thin one: Mercer. Stutz, Duesenberg, Cunningham – until the Chevrolet Corvette appeared in 1953 there really were no others to be seriously considered.
Gary claypool looked like the serious young man he was, a man to whom the virtues of diligence and industry were more than merely subjects for cynicism around the office watercooler. He was rising fast in the chemical concern which gave him a two-window office, and there was no doubt that he was heading topwards in the next few years.
Who blew the greatest horn of the year? Dizzy? Satchmo? Shorty? Ferguson? Whose piano pleased you the most? Who led the rest in big band jazz? You and the other readers of playboy will pick the most popular jazz artists of 1958 with your votes in this second annual playboy jazz poll. You'll pick the musicians for the 1958 playboy all-star jazz band, choose the band's leader, select its male and female vocalists, favorite vocal group and instrumental jazz combo. The winners of this biggest of all jazz polls will be awarded silver Jazz Medals, appear in special radio and television performances and on the 1958 playboy Jazz LP.
One Day during the harvest season, a knight of noble lineage was out hunting, accompanied by two dogs and a falcon. Espying a small rabbit in a clearing, he set the dogs loose, but the frightened creature escaped into the high grain. Finally a reaper caught it.
American idiosyncrasies are legion for even a perennial English visitor like myself. No doubt all travelers find that certain customs of a foreign country seem perverse or illogical-expressions of a unique national psychology. Why do the French put chicory in their coffee? Why do we English drive on the left-hand side of the road and have such a complicated currency? Why do Americans...
Miami's latin quarter is a showcase for beautiful showgirls in the classic tradition. The Quarter's lovelies dance but little, and sing hardly at all. These showgirls simply show themselves in a most attractive manner, in a minimum of beautiful costuming, and the Quarter's customers couldn't be happier.