The playbill page this month i]s more whiskered than usual, what with the noble sproutings of Messrs. Hemingway and Whitehead, but all that broccoli is justified by two articles from the Remingtons of noted columnist Leonard Lyons (pictured here talking to a fuzzy friend named Ernest) and the aforementioned Schweppervescent Commander. Lyons has written about The Beavers of Broadway and Commander Whitehead has issued the stern pronunciamento, Off With Their Beards!
We told you month before last about a sort of electronic BunaB, a selfpowered, controlless, Portable gadget which does no more than flash two banks of lights in random order. Or so we thought; but a friend of ours claims that it is, in fact, an amazingly efficient scientific instrument which he has named The Instant Personality Analyzer, because he can tell all he needs to know about a man from his first reaction to the blinking box. The guy who digs its charm at once – and wants one – is quick-witted, sociable, a secure neurotic who knows how to live with his problems, and a man likely to be volatile in temperament. The guy who doesn't dig it right off, who says, "Yeah, but what is it?" is apt to be literal-minded, selfrighteous, rigid and, though comfortable within his milieu, rather unsure of himself outside of it. Then, there's the fellow who tries to work out a Pattern for the flashes, scrutinizes the box on all sides, demands a screwdriver to take it apart and see how it works. "This man," says our friend, "has a latent streak of sadism which he has channeled into usefulness; he may be a surgeon or a demolition engineer. He's likely to be Physically large, extroverted and aggressive."
In The Cultured Man(World,$3.75), British-born anthropologist Ashley Montagu(full handle: Montague Francis Ashley-Montagu)has provided a sort of do-it-yourself $64,000 Question for the upper-middlebrow set. Trouble is, no dough is paid. All you get is the satisfaction of knowing how enlightened you are. Can you define the word word(try it); do you believe that a thespian is a division of genus lesbian; do you know what a nautch girlis?If you can concoct the correct answers, you're rolling. But if you thinkendogamyis canine suicide; or theexcluded middleis the chief charm of a bikini; or the glottal stop is what a Japanese girl says when you make a pass, then you might as well give up. What Montagu has done is assemble some 1500 such questions and divide them into categories from Agriculture to Words. Answers are in the back, and so is the scoring method. (We whipped through the first five categories, came up with three Excellents, one Good and one Above-Average.) What does it all prove? It proves that even though Professor Montagu has spent vast amounts of time and effort compiling this gnostic gallimaufry (learned hash), no truly Cultured Man would be caught azoic (dead)reading it.
The old Globe Theatre, rescued from the movies, refurbished in baroque and christened the Lunt-Fontanne (205 W.46th St.), is now the handsomest playhouse in town. You can see it any old time. But if you want to see the Lunts, you'd better move fast. They're threatening a limited engagement for The Visit, easily the best play to come their way in years. Its author, a Swiss by the name of Friedrich Duerrenmatt, is a craftsman with an original turn of mind and a mordantly medieval appreciation for the slow turn of the screw.
The Matchmaker, based on the Thorton Wilder Broadway smash inspired by an 1842 Viennese comedy taken from the John Oxenford original of 1835, is about the funniest, perkiest picture we've come on in years. While John Michael Hayes' screenplay carries over from the stage show every hoary slapstick device known to man – from scrambling into closets to transvestitism – the maneuvers are so spontaneously panicky that you don't mind one whit. The peppy and near perfect principals include Shirley Booth as the crafty, widowed matchmaker; Shirley MacLaine as the game, impulsive milliner; Paul Ford as the rich tightwad on the make for any sturdy young thing; Tony Perkins as the nutty Yonkers clerk dead set on a one-day fling in New York; and Robert Morse as his jumpy, girl-shy buddy. Joseph Anthony has directed the zany goings-on like he was driving fire horses, and the timing of lines and takes is exquisite. The only disturbing element is the actors' habit (transplanted from the play) of occasionaly addressing a monolog right to the audience: although this charming violation of modern dramatic convention was refreshing on the stage, on the verisimilitudinous screen it's obtrusive and out of whack. But hell, you can't have everything.
Take seven men who have backgrounds in big-band swing, who have grown in stature and musicianship while they evolved with jazz itself, who now stand out as first-rank individual stylists. Get them together, have them play a set which has the best elements of jamming and of arrangement. If you're lucky, as well as real bright in having thought this up, you'll get an outstanding LP, one that rewards repeated listenings and makes some erstwhile favorites seem wan by contrast. You don't have to do it, though; it's been done. Title: Jazz Giants '58 (Verve 8248). Personnel: Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Harry Edison, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, Louis Bellson. Verdict: a classic.
As a rule, when a couple contemplates a meal cooked in the city and toted to the wilderness, the sleeker sex automatically takes charge. A man, it's assumed, is capable of building a clay oven or pouring Scotch over rocks, but the woman knows better how to fill the thermos and pat the potato salad. The assumption is correct if you happen to be the kind who can tolerate cucumber sandwiches on thin bread or prune surprise salad with skim-milk punch. But if you want mugs of finnan haddie chowder, sliced rare steak sandwiches with their own beef juice trapped in great crusty slabs of French bread, wedges of mature stilton cheese, or coffee with cognac – if, in short, you pine for a picnic at once rural and urbane, a true Playboy picnic, you'd best read this screed and take matters into your own hands.
Sir Swithin Montross arrived at the door of his house in a mood of ultimate frustration. He had lost at cards and at the races, he had failed at love and he was about to fail at business if he didn't watch his step. His golf was shot to hell. He went in and walked heavily to his study and, approaching the decanter tray, resolutely picked up a bottle of whiskey.
The timid steps which have been taken by the designers of male fashions to give today's man equal sartorial status with women, have been pitifully inadequate. A few Italian frills, some French ruffles, a bit of Riviera coloring and Basque design-these are inept gestures revealing a paucity of imagination and a slavish fear unworthy of the new leisure and the new emancipation from Ivy. Why should women's magazines have a lock on haute couture? A rhetorical question; as these pages show, they no longer do.
The Two Men in the restaurant booth studied the dark-bearded one who had just entered. He was Robert St. John, the commentator and newspaper correspondent. Then one of the men left the booth, approached St. John and said, "Beg your pardon, sir; but my friend insisted that I ask you why you wear a beard."
During The Last half decade, LP manufacturers did a lot to pep up the product – outside as well as in. They called on top-notch artists and designers to turn out genuinely jazzy jacket art (we reproduced a batch of the better efforts in May 1956) that helped sales to soar. They also turned to a discovery made by the paperback publishers before them: that a seasoning of sex on covers could jack up the sales curve still higher.
First time we saw the girl, she was stretched out on a half-deserted beach, becomingly bikinied, a big hat over her eyes. We nudged her gently with a sandy toe and pointed out that the sun had gone down and a wind was coming in off the water and could we give her a lift someplace? In disarming confusion, she murmured her thanks, gathered together sunglasses, lotion, sandals, book and terry beach blanket, and stood up. She was shorter (5' 2") than she looked lying down. "I fell asleep," she said.
It's Friday Night, about 7:25. Suppose you live in a 31st-floor penthouse in Gramercy Park, and you're due at Le Pavillon for cocktails and dinner in 20 minutes. You bonk the elevator button but the little red light doesn't come on, nor do you hear the rumble of machinery like you usually do. You step over to the phone, ring up the building manager and ask him what in blazes is up, because it certainly isn't the elevator. He says, good god, didn't my secretary call and tell you it's on the fritz and the repairmen can't possibly get over until Monday morning?
Afashionable mutation of the U.S. nightclub scene is the small, smoky, sometimes-subterranean oasis that parlays low lights and high humor into big business. In the intimate atmosphere of Julius Monk's Downstairs Room and the Blue Angel in Manhattan, Mister Kelly's and the Black Orchid in Chicago, the Hungry i and the Purple Onion in San Francisco, ringsiders (there is often little room to put tables anywhere else) are fed the special, inside humor for highbrows doled out by the likes of Mort Sahl, Irwin Corey, Elaine May and Mike Nichols.
As Most of us Know, the fortunes of commerce sometimes come into conflict with the pursuit of a man's private amours; and when this happens, the unhappy choice between the two must frequently be made on the basis of practical dollars-and-cents judgment. When the owner of a printing concern in Alabama – Alfred Arnoe – found a partner who was willing to invest in his enterprise if he moved it to Philadelphia, he moved forthwith, abandoning a love affair with a comely lingerie buyer. The parting was tearful, but he soon found northern attachments and forgot his southern past.
An Imaginative Guy might feel cleanly cool and crisply comfortable just thinking about summer suits made of those fabricated fabrics with the chemical-type names. He might also get hot under the collar trying to figure out which is which – and why one's righter for his purposes that another. If this describes your situation, feel no shame. Even women – who are credited with knowing all about material things – usually can't tell you the difference between Verel and Creslan, or Jetspun and Fortisan. And if they could, would you listen? Of course not. You'd tell them to go soak their heads (a courteous bit of advice in hot weather), and you'd peruse the following for all you need to know.
Wouldn't You Know It? Here in the U.S., the best thing the moviemakers can come up with in the Incredible Shrinking Department is a Man; it took the French, naturellement, to discover the added appeal of an Incredible Shrinking Girl.
Sociologists And Historians, most of whom are men, are beginning to write of our epoch as The Age of the Bosom. Vital Statistics, which used to be, for example, b. 1885 – d. 1952, are now more likely to be something on the order of 38-24-36. Of these latter figures, the statistic that is really vital is the first, which is also a pretty good score for nine holes of golf. Unfortunately, what was originally functional is now largely ornamental and frequently artificial, as is so much of modern society.
They say and tell that one old man was very jealous of his pretty young wife. Oh he was very, very jealous. Jealous to a fault. But who can deny that he had his reasons? His wife, called Mobamba, had not one, but two young lovers, and the husband knew about them.
We've Always Said Nix to zipping through a trip abroad just to "see it all" in two or three weeks' time. With air fares dropping (one line has just lopped $100 off its transatlantic flight fee, to $350 round trip), you can plan on going back next year to pick up what you missed in sheer mileage by restricting the scope of your visit. So ease off and live it up – in one or two countries at a crack. A boost in that direction is a slow– motion September tour through Spain running nine to 25 days at $12 to $15 a day including everything (even button– cute English-speaking girl guides). Instead of the usual day-and-a-bit in each town, the tour allows up to six days in Cordoba, five in Seville, four in Granada, and so on. A lovely, leisurely way to see a lovely, leisurely land.