Modern but unrefrigerated singing distinguishes Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section (Contemporary 3532), a fruitful encounter which lets Art's alto work out with the piano of Red Garland, Paul Chambers' bass, and the drummy-drum-drums of Philly Joe Jones. It's fitting that rhythm and alto get equal billing in the title, for the honors are about even most of the way, with maybe just an edge in favor of the rhythm. Recorded about a year ago, this LP leads off with a nifty You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To, all the way through some other standards and some Pepper originals, to a fine Gillespie tune called Birks' Works.
Operation Mad Ball is a kind of landlocked Mister Roberts that has to do with a U.S. Army Medical Center set up outside a liberated French town in 1945. Staff members include a clutch of whistle-bait nurses and a sharp, shrewd gang of enlisted men, one of whom is gaga over a certain Florence Nightingale but can't make out because she's an officer. To give the kid a hand, his buddies arrange an off-limits ball ("It's going to be a mad ball, man!") to provide the soft lights and hard drinks calculated to get the lady's hair down. Preparations for the ball grow frantic, the guest list is stretched to the breaking point, and the brass smell a rat. Much of the infectious fun is supplied by Jack Lemmon who turns in a deliciously droll performance as a private. The heavy is played by Ernie Kovacs, an intelligence captain slated for the Senate once the war is over, and looking for all the world like a khaki-clad Mephisto -- all sneers, smiles and smirks -- as he snuffles through the footage monomaniacally attempting to foul up the proceedings. The day is ultimately saved by Mickey Rooney as a master sergeant who speaks only in jazzed-up rhyming couplets as he dashes back and forth thinking out a solution to the men's woes. Backing them up is a fat cast of atypical GIs, all of whom make Bilko's bunch look like pink-cheeked ROTC cadets. It's a happy, screwball film with a lot of belly laughs.
Stage-struck souls (that's us) are bound to reap heaps of happy hours from Jerry D. Lewis' Great Stories About Show Business (Coward-McCann, $5), a fat anthology of grease-paint sketches by Bradbury, Bemelmans, Benchley, both Shaws (Irwin and G. B.), Maugham, Runyon, Schulberg, O'Hara, Hecht, Thurber and, like they say, many-many-more. As Irving Berlin puts it in that song: "Everything about it is appealing; everything the traffic will allow."
The dramatization of Meyer Levin's best-selling novel, Compulsion (Levin howlingly disclaims any association with the play), is a morbid, shocking reprise of the "perfect" murder committed by Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold in Chicago 33 years ago. Head shrinkers and sociologists may still want to know the "why" of the deed, but neither they nor lay theatregoers get any sort of answers; the information furnished in the play is both baffling and inconclusive. To give Compulsion its due, it does boast flashes of uneasy excitement as well as several incisive scenes that probe clinically into the labyrinth of mental illness and homosexuality; and there is a stunning courtroom session in which Michael Constantine, as the lawyer who defends the killers, pleads for leniency based on reason. Alex Segal, who directed, manages miraculously to keep a sprawling, ponderously documented case study within theatrical bounds, and Dean Stockwell and Roddy McDowall, as the young psychopaths, turn in a pair of brilliant performances in what must be Broadway's most difficult roles in recent years. At the Ambassador, 49th St., West of Broadway, NYC.
In My country when two fellows become angry enough to kill the other because of a lady, or some matter, it is the custom to arrange a duel. From such a duel as we arrange, the trouble between these two fellows will be settled, believe me.
There's Many A Man who pays meticulous attention to his I wardrobe, his little black book, or the ordering of a holiday feast, who is woefully and paradoxically indifferent to the state of his equipment and inventory in the bar department. Such a man, after returning to his apartment from an afternoon spent carefully selecting an ulster or greatcoat, may greet a guest with, "I drink gin, but I think there's some Scotch here, if you'd like that." Or, if he has more than two or three visitors, it might be, "Wait a bit, I'll rinse out the bathroom glass so we'll have enough to go around."
I wish I could tell you about her, her beauty and her bitchiness. The way she could make you feel like a god, and then laugh to herself at your clay feet. Like that first night she and her husband, Joey, asked me out for drinks. Joey was mixing them in the kitchen, and Sharman, in her low-necked gown, asked me for a cigarette.
Shel Silverstein has visited and sketched some Iore-and-legend-haunted ports of call for these pages: Tokyo, Scandinavia and London are all atmospheric places packed with color, flavor and historic grandeur, and the antic Silverstein spirit responded to them with whimsy and warmth. But, to twist an old ballad, "no place on earth does he love more sincerely" -- than Paris.
Reading and Writing and 'Rithmetic are the subjects that occupy but-ton-bright Elizabeth Ann Roberts -- a student in her teens -- even though most other girls her age are occupied with different subjects, such as Boys and Boys and Boys. Her mother, with whom she lives, feels she is too young to "get serious" about the male animal, you see, so little Liz has never had a real date, to date. Honest.
The dean of women at a large midwestern university recently began a speech to the student body with these memorable words: "The president of the university and I have decided to stop petting on campus."
On Independence day, 1954, Marilyn Sheppard, 31, was bludgeoned to death in a second-floor bedroom of her pleasant home in Bay Village, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. When the police arrived, her husband, Samuel A. Sheppard, an osteopathic surgeon, was in the living room, naked to the waist, one eye puffed shut, his neck, he believed, broken. He said he'd fallen asleep on the couch, was awakened when his wife screamed. He ran up the stairs and was knocked out by someone he never saw. "I was clobbered," he said. He came to, heard someone below. He ran down, spotted "a bushy-haired man," chased him through the house and out to the observation deck overlooking Lake Erie. He made a flying tackle, took a right to the eye, a left to the jaw and passed out again.
The most attractive task for the editors of Playboy is the selecting of Playmates every month. The next most attractive task is revisiting all twelve temptresses of the preceding annum every January. In 1957, the temptresses were tempting, indeed. They included a ballerina, an airline stewardess, a seller of lingerie, a private secretary, a blossoming Broadway actress. 1957 was the year in which David Cort, customarily a trenchant critic of American manners and mores, took a shine to the concept of the Playboy Playmate and wrote about it thus in the columns of The Nation: "Instead of being an unattainable and in that sense undesirable mannequin ... she is the girl next door or at the next desk with her clothes off and looking very well, thank you." On these pages (looking very well, thank you), the dozen delightful damozels of the past pulchritudinous year prettily await your pleasure.
It was two o'clock one chill November afternoon. The bells in the monastery chapel were chiming vespers, which meant that the good people of Picardy had eaten their midday meal and were catching a short nap. In the monastery the brethren were already in the choir -- all, that is, but Paul, the bursar, who was after all a layman who could come and go at will.
After a brief excursion into gaudier evening plumage last winter, the cocks of the walk who know their formal fashion are reverting to black, and depending on the niceties of fabric, tailoring and accessories to point up their individuality.
At a Literary Tea to which I was recently invited as ballast or something, the subject of childhood reading kept coming up, like radishes. The learned folk on hand recalled, at some length, the pleasure and profit they had gained from reading, at impressionable ages, Hans Brinker, Black Beauty, Treasure Island, Heidi and other familiar works (familiar to them, that is -- I had never heard of half of them, or knew them only as the titles of those depressingly wholesome volumes put into my hands on birthdays and Yuletides by hearty uncles and grandparents, and then, still crisp and unopened, sold by the ungrateful recipient to junkmen and second-hand bookdealers for the wherewithal to purchase Big Little Books and an occasional issue of Spicy Weird Western Horror Stories or whatever it was called).