The News in pictures, photographic-type, is proffered this month in a full-scale words-&-photos takeout on cameras and accessories, written by Playboy Picture Editor Vincent T. Tajiri. Vince (whose photos have appeared in Time, Life, American and other magazines, and who, before he started Picture Editing for Playboy about a year and a half ago, was simultaneously Editorial Director of three photographic publications) presents a pretty positive case for the camera in The Well Equipped Lensman. Tied in with the Tajiri treatise is a multipage feature on Photographing Your Own Playmate which culminates in a full-color gatefold of Judy Lee Tomerlin, Playboy's office Playmate for the month of June.
Once upon a time, when life was simpler (like a couple of years ago), you could go to a movie and see the titles and credits to the accompaniment of appropriate music. Then the performance proper would begin. No more. Nowadays, you start with action and, after a bit, the titles and credits are superimposed over it -- disembodied words, names and phrases float through the air in front of the actors' eyes, or between theirs and yours. Sooner or later, like the mists of morning, they fade and the feature is at last under way. This current custom got its start legitimately enough: a few pioneering bright brains of the visual entertainment dodge realized that titles and credits were stodgy and dull, and set about making them artistically interesting and integrating them with the action -- a move we applauded. Too often, now, the mechanics of this innovation have been retained without the art; too often, they've been exploited and exaggerated and stretched out (on the unsubtle theory that you can't have too much of a good thing) so that, far from helping to build the mood, they obtrude and distract.
Word of Mouth Department: Now available on microgroove is the free association of jabber-jockey Mort Sahl, whom, one year ago this month, Playboy introduced in an article called A Real Free-Form Guy. Narrowly known at the time, he has since reaped additional praiseful press in Time, Life, The New Yorker, The Reporter, Down Beat and other tipsheets. The Future Lies Ahead (Verve MG V-15002), taped during performance at San Francisco's Hungry i, presents solid Sahl: on topics as diverse as Eisenhower, eggheads, the Edsel and Playboy ("which is a magazine devoted largely to high fidelity and seduction -- the hi-fi is up front in the science section and the other subject is called science-fiction") ... "Wait. / Wait. /Wait / Wait.Wait. /Wait./ Wait. /Wait./ Wait. / Wait. / Wait / Wait./Wait./NOW." So goes, in its entirety, the first poem on Kenneth Patchen (Cadence 3004), a gramophone cutting of Mr. Patchen shyly mumbling examples of his own famous prosody. In back of him, musical meanderings by Allyn Ferguson's Chamber Jazz Sextet attempt to "fortify the emotional content of the poetry" in subtle ways like swinging into a complete chorus of the Red Army song when the poet drawls, "Great things doing in Russia." Patchen fans, familiar with the master's work, may note that it has been somewhat laundered here and there for the comfort of hausfraus and disc jockeys: naughty words like "Christ" and "syphilis" have been expunged. Patchen has written eloquent strong poems whose images illuminate meaning like exploding Roman candles; but this record is a collection of his least valid and most factitious experiments, spuriously beefed up by unnecessary music and read by a stiff, scratchy-voiced, uncomfortable performer who bears no resemblance to the poet. It is a record that delivers potent ammunition into the howitzers of those who make it their business to hate modern poetry. They can point to it and say, "See? It's worthless!" And this time they'll be right.
That scuffed-up but lovable brood, the Waldens of Georgia and their cotton-pickin' kinfolk, have been somewhat scrubbed, ennobled and dehorned in Philip Yordan's screen adaptation of God's Little Acre, based on the Caldwell novel of carnal kicks and mild social protest. You remember the panting order: Jim Leslie Walden (Lance Fuller) drools over Griselda (Tina Louise), who's stuck on her sister-in-law's husband Will (Aldo Ray). Fat, sweaty Pluto (Buddy Hackett) has the hots for Darlin' Jill (Fay Spain), kittenish daughter of Ty Ty (Robert Ryan). But Jill craves action with all the crackers in Georgia, including an albino (Michael Landon), before sampling Pluto. As a result of all this impulsive exploration, tempers flare and tragedy looms. The principals do right smart by their roles under Anthony Mann's direction, but somehow the gutsy fatalism of the novel's grimy characters, which boosted the book's appeal, has been lost, though most of their lust binges, toned down a bit, remain. (The scene where Will rips off Griselda's ginghams was nixed for the movie, but you saw it last month in Playboy.) Don't go too far out of your way for this one.
Richard Bissell, the merchant from Dubuque who fashioned the smash Broadway musical The Pajama Game from his best-seller novel 7 1/2 Cents, has doubled the trick by adapting Say, Darling from his subsequent best-seller of the same name -- which was, of course, Bissell's thinly disguised satire on his first encounter with show business, Pajama Game. Whew. (He has promised not to write anything about what happened to him this second time out.) In any case, it appears to have been a lot of fun. Bissell (along with Mrs. Bissell and director Abe Burrows acting as collaborators) has ignored plot in favor of a marathon of running gags and a delightful lampoon of fairly recognizable show types. Pajama Game is herein referred to as The Girl From Indiana, and the audience is privy to how a musical can survive auditions, rehearsals, a New Haven tryout disaster and a triumphant rewrite.
Venturesome diners-out who hanker for such off-trail viands as moose, kangaroo, elk, buffalo, bear and mountain sheep should head for Chicago's Cafe Bohemia (Adams and Clinton Streets), the nation's sole restaurant serving game grub the year around. No fish story is the fact that you can also savor the likes of North Atlantic whale (broiled or sautéed) and deep-sea turtle (no shell, broiled). Owner Jim Janek says the biggest call is for buffalo, and he uses up about 35 of the beasts a year, purchased (in case you're wondering) from conservation officials who periodically thin out the herd that roams the Black Hills of South Dakota. The rest of the oddball animals he gets from those nasty game wardens who nab a poacher now and then and confiscate his bag. Off it goes to Janek's aging rooms for your gustatory delectation. As you might expect, the decor is strictly North Woods, with a slew of mounted heads scattered about the two dining rooms. More run-of-the-grill fare (venison, Cornish hens, lamb chops, a 55-ounce beef sirloin, etc.) is also offered -- all at moderate prices and in quantities sufficient to assuage the huskiest of appetites. Closed Sundays. Bar opens seven A.M. daily, dining rooms 11:30 A.M. All is still at midnight.
The Ginger Man (McDowell, Obolensky, $3.95) by J. P. Donleavy is a brash, bawdy novel by an American expatriate member of Britain's Angry-Young-Men set. The title comes from an old ballad, but the time is postwar and the hero is an American named, of all things, Sebastian Dangerfield, who's studying law at Dublin's Trinity College on the GI Bill. (Author and hero have these and other attributes in common -- a not uncommon trait of first novels.) Wild he is, and, as for the ginger, the accent is strictly on the first syllable. He guzzles around the clock; and his taste for women is equally insatiable. In fact, the novel might be described--superficially, anyway--as an amalgam of tipple and nipple. There's no plot to speak of. We merely follow the rake's progress as he quarrels with his wife, takes a leave of absence from college, and a leave of abstinence, period. He makes his bibulous, babe-ulous way to London, where he rackets around until he finds some kind of haven with Irish Mary ("Wow, what a wench... breasts all over her chest") who has followed him from Eire and is happy to support him. To him, she represents Ireland, itself--soft and moist, sun-stained and at peace. But through all the Rabelaisian ribaldry there runs a somber thread. Mr. Donleavy--like the other young angries--believes in mixing plenty of bitters with his gin. And though some may find his book too Kerouwacky, many, remembering Ulysses, will read it and reJoyce.
The biggest money-makers on any carnival midway are the Sex Shows. It's pretty hard to beat sex as an attraction, and most carnies don't even try. Concessionaires have spent more time figuring out different ways of presenting sex than scientists have in developing satellites. It pays better, too.
The First Electric Blender went practically unnoticed when it appeared in a bar about 25 years ago. For a long time it remained a rather expensive novelty used mostly to make a foamy rum trifle known as the frozen daiquiri. Then one day it was discovered that if you cast solid food into the teeth of the small blades whirling at 22,000 revolutions per minute, you'd be able to make, in a mere matter of minutes, patés and purées that formerly took hours of mortar-and-pestle pounding. Bachelor chefs who were in the habit of abrading their knuckles grating hard parmesan cheese could now do the same job with almost no effort at all with a blending machine. Shellfish soups, it was found, could be made into smooth bisques by flicking a switch. Spreads for canapés, ground almonds for petits fours, batters for crepes and relishes for game could all be swizzed up in no time. And, of course, creative bartenders, faster than summer lightning, began to envisage a whole new galaxy of iced drinks.
The lambent land of Italy is the home of mandolins and macaroni, olive oil and opera, gorgonzola and gondolas. Without it, there would be no Venetian glass, Florentine leather, Neapolitan ice cream or Roman fever. We of America are especially indebted to it: Cristoforo Colombo discovered us and Amerigo Vespucci lent us his name. We have a town called Italy, three called Rome, five each called Naples, Venice and Verona, and we also have an airfield called La Guardia. Our language is studded with snappy words on lend-lease from Italy: tempo, fiasco, piano, umbrella, stucco, fresco, ditto, volcano, casino, bordello, incognito, quota, soda, stanza, vista, vendetta, manifesto, motto and mah-rone! And what do we call that leaning-tower-type type in which the foregoing string of words is printed? Italic. The Boot meets The Beard this month as the fine Italian hand of Shel Silverstein -- Playboy's ambulating americano -- sketches sunny Italy.
Straw as a Male Headdress has come a long way since King Lear wobbled around the moors with hunks of it sticking in his hair. Built into boaters (also called skimmers, sennits, sailors and straw hats), it rendered nifty the noggins of our flask-toting sires, becoming the symbol of an era and the trademark of hardy harlequins named Chevalier and Astaire. Last summer, a few avant garde and sportif types wore the boater with the same trepidation -- and earned the same stares -- that Bermuda shorts once occasioned. This season, straws flat as a pancake will be the smart headgear for the urban scene, potent reminders (like sack dresses on the girls) of the rah-rah decade, but updated as to brim (trimly narrow) and band (tie materials--rep stripes, finely figured foulards--are right). The Dobbs lids pictured here are available in the familiar gleaming straw hue as well as gray or tan; they cost about $7 each. We cast our straw vote for the natural color.
Sheathed in gleaming black pebbled leather and burgeoning with an array of polished chrome dials, knobs and levers, today's precision camera is a fascinating instrument. It represents not only canny manufacturing methods but also, despite its intricate looks, the utmost simplicity of operation. Once you learn what those hieroglyphics on the box and around the lens mean, you'll realize that the modern camera is a lot like the modern car: to get results, sometimes startling ones, all you really have to do is aim it.
Ever since Nicéphore Niepce took the first photo back in the 1820s, photographing pretty girls has been a popular pastime; and in recent years, about the most popular photographs of pretty girls have appeared in Playboy as Playmates. With the idea of giving you a few pointed pointers on shooting a Playmate of your own, here's the way Playboy goes about it:
The announcements of the professor's new book on astrophysics and his wife's new baby appeared almost simultaneously in the newspaper. Upon being congratulated on "this proud event in the family," the professor naturally thought of the achievement that had cost him the greater effort.
At first she was startled by the ringing phone. But then, moving into the hallway, humming a little nursery rhyme, she thought that even a ringing telephone was something on this hot, dreary afternoon.
Legs were invented some time ago but not discovered until the 1920s, an era in which -- if we can believe the extant glyphs -- even bees had knees. Legs enjoyed considerable popularity for roughly two decades, acquired colloquial nomenclature (gams, stems, pins, etc.), and then inexplicably vanished into the obscurity whence they inexplicably came.
There is a klatsch of bright, perceptive, highly talented Americans who sit around in the suns and night spots of various climes and countries, making esoteric jokes for each other, occasionally marrying each other's wives, and somehow managing, Heaven alone knows how, to produce most of the funny things that are said and seen upon the stage and screen and television these days. The world is the Mermaid Tavern of these people; they hunt excitement from Beverly Hills to New York to London to Paris to Rome to Cairo. To get into the festive group, one must be a high roller, full of zest and a thirst for adventure; to stay in, one must keep a suitcase packed and a sharp tongue ready, for its two chief diversions are travel and wit. A complete membership list would be much too long to set down here, but some of the livelier celebrants are the novelists Irwin Shaw and Peter Viertel; the playwrights Kaufman and Hart, George Axelrod and Charles Lederer; the songwriters Cole Porter and Ira Gershwin; and such producer-directors as Billy Wilder, John Huston and Leland Hayward. There are only a few actors: the late Humphrey Bogart was one, and today there are Frank Sinatra, Martin Gabel, and young Sydney Chaplin. (continued on page 66)Harry Kurnitz(continued from page 53) Mike Romanoff, the fake prince turned Hollywood restaurateur, is the favorite host of the gang; Irving Paul Lazar, the tiny literary agent, is the mascot; and Leonard Lyons, the columnist, is historian.
There's a special kind of excitement about visiting any new place. There is the promise of adventure; there is the intimation of unknown romance; there is that solo thrill of pleasure that belongs to you when you know you'll be on your own in strange surroundings -- an anonymous man, free of the ties and props of your familiar workaday world, your wallet in your pocket, your luggage by your side, and ready to sample and savor whatever the new scene has to offer. If it's San Francisco, and if you do it right, your anticipations will be lavishly fulfilled.
Bachelor tours designed to assure the lone-faring traveler congenial mates afloat and abroad are now an established fact. Only single folk (boys and girls together) are allowed on these, and it's a fine way to escape that coterie of honeymooning or retired couples that yawningly abound on most other tours. Seven diversified itineraries are offered to Europe, the West Indies and Mexico, at prices starting at $327. They vary in length from 15 to 41 days, and the tab includes, besides the customary rubbernecking, a lot of nightclubbing, gourmet restaurants, cocktail parties and other of life's amenities.