Three Popular Playboy Perennials take care of the fiction this month, and two of them break a long-term type-casting thereby. Contributing Editor Ken Purdy, onetime wazir of True and Argosy, has become known to diggers of this journal as an automotive authority and writer of sapient articles on the Rolls-Royce, the Corvette, the complete sports car stable and the late Marquis de Portago. In this issue, he takes his first Playboy bow as a storyteller with an impelling lead yarn of revenge and counter-revenge, The 51 Tones of Green.
A lot of the cats who dug On the Road the most are likely to be bugged by Jack Kerouac's latest, The Dharma Boms Viking, $3.95). For Mr. K. has discovered Zen Buddhism, and his book is a kind of hipster hosanna to the quest for nirvana. Ray Smith, the I-figure, after bumming around the country, is delighted to discover on Frisco's North Beach the self-styled "Dharma Bums" or "Zen Lunatics," whose Path to Enlightenment is conveniently strewn with wild parties and a nude ritual dubbed "yabyum," which would have made Buddha glad he had all those arms. He teams up with nympholeptic (go look it up) Japhy Ryder, their leader, an outdoor-indoor type who climbs mountains like a goat, and women likewise. Though Ray has rejected sex (" 'Pretty girls make graves,' was my saying"), he senses in faphy a genuine thirst lor higher truth, and during long treks into the Sierras they bat around concepts of dharma and karma, sutra and satori, interlarded with hip-talk, until at last, he takes a fire-watcher's job on Desolation Peak, like Japhy before him – and there finds God. ("I have fallen in love with you, God. Take care of us all. …") Well, this is quite a switch for the Beat Generation's major mouthpiece and somehow it doesn't quite ring true. Kerouac's genuine talent gives it moments of conviction but mostly it has the incongruity of, say, a jam session in a lamasery. It could happen but you doubt it.
Don't let the title scare you off: The Fiend Who Walked the West is neither a routine sagebrusher nor a horror quickie but a taut Western resetting of that classic crime chiller of the late Forties, Kiss of Death, which introduced Richard Widmark to the screen as a giggling, psychopathic murderer. In the present version, ophic Robert Evans plays the Widmark role. Serving a short term in an Army prison for pouring booze into an Indian girl whom he later attacked and gaily tortured to death, Evans becomes chummy with cellmate Hugh O'Brian, an upstanding type, who was apprehended in a nice clean bank robbery (his part of the loot was to pay for medical aid for his ailing, pregnant wife, see?). When Evans insinuates that Mrs. O'Brian may be shacking up with a sugar daddy while her spouse is doing time, Mr. O'Brian thrashes him soundly. The pummeled psycho, who has a loathing for being touched, swears a vendetta and upon his release from prison forces O'Brian's bedridden wife into a miscarriage, picks up the stashed-away funds, does in an elderly, avaricious woman with an arrow and dispatches her con-niving son with a shot in the back – all with loving care and a great deal of gusto. At this point, O'Brian – as the nearest acquaintance of the unbalanced assassin – is given a provisional release to collect evidence that will convict Evans and send him to the gallows. The cat-and-mouse affair that follows is played for every bit of tension director Gordon Douglas could muster. He's mustered a heap.
The rush for seats is in full swing for the 1958-59 Broadway season, and we suggest you scramble for your ducats right now. Which shows? Well, we've spent several salubrious hours peering into our crystal martini pitcher and have come up with these hardy specimens that should be worth your attention:
Chicago's jumping jazz cellar, The Cloister (900 N. Rush), has undergone a real gone face-lift, including more than the handsome new pine-paneled decor. There's been a change in the entertainment policy, too: in addition to the swinging small combo sounds (and The Cloister boasts two of the swingingest in the Ramsey Lewis and Eddie Higgins trios), the club has added jazz-oriented vocalists and comedians, the likes of Lurlean Hunter and Lenny Bruce. Lurlean sings with a refreshingly clean and vital pair of pipes and Lenny offers a far-out, sick-sick-sick style of humor that we personally can enjoy many times over, and have. The Cloister remains a friendly place where show and club people gather (including the girls) when earlier Near North Side spots are shuttered. Skip and Shelly, two of the youngest and nicest hosts in Windycitysville, are on hand to welcome as before, and it is a scene you will not want to miss. The new Cloister promises to be one of the most exciting spots in town. Open till four in the a.m., five on Saturdays; shows at 10, 12 and 2; no food to get in the way of the drinks.
Dakota Staton is the singer they're all gabbing about in the East, and in an increasing number of points West. On an LP called In the Night (Capitol T1003) she sings on six of a dozen tracks by George Shearing's Quintet. The gal has a fabulously flexible voice that can be deep and decisive (Blues in My Heart), rock-'n'-roll raucous (Confessin' the Blues) or boudoir-tender (The Thrill Is Gone). Her intonation isn't perfect, and there's none of the suave Chris Connor brand of hipness here, but we recommend a listen. The instrumental numbers show off some of the best Shearing in years; and on his own tune Easy, George sounds downright funky, in contrast to his customary smooth approach to jazz.
All God's chillun got two ears, in consequence of which, they all want stereophonic records and record playing equipment – with justification. The first stereo discs came out midsummer last, and, while most were rather tame (and not really very stereophonic), others were quite breath-takingly good. Why, Kirsten Flagstad and her sister Valkyries plotted against old one-eyed Wotan and, by George, there they stood, real as the Rhine, on a rock ledge across the end of the living room. And, when they had gone: lo, the Dukes of Dixieland, their funny hats almost visible. Then, Donald Byrd's exospheric noodlings on the trumpet hit you right between the ears.
You remember when Epstein's Adam was shown a few years ago," Palmer said. "People who had never been in a gallery before mobbed the place to see it. And when the Whitney had that Larry Rivers portrait of a man and his wife, nude in front of a crumpled bed – I've forgotten who they were, I knew at the time – the same thing happened. The place was crawling with art-lovers who didn't know the difference between a Peterdi etching and a Picasso oil. wandering through the rooms trying to look interested and wondering where it was. You remember?"
A Round Dozi years ago, France, a country whose interest in sex – and whose tolerance of its various aspects – can only be described as titanic, gravely decided, after appropriate public discussion, to do away with two areas of sexual activity. First was the French house of prostitution, which throughout the years had become so enwreathed with story and song that it had become an institution. Second was the licensing of prostitutes. Laws were duly passed and some people cheered and some wept: others shrugged their shoulders and wondered whether c'est, indeed, la vie.
The world of the magazine cartoonist includes more than its share of clichés – the missionary in the cannibal's pot, the young man proposing in the parlor on one knee, the secretary taking dictation on the boss' lap, the castaway on an island no bigger than a pitcher's mound – these have been asked to produce not one, but many hundreds of smiles from readers through the years. The late Sam Cobean of The New Yorker particularly enjoyed reworking such tired situations and finding in them still another chuckle no one else guessed was there. Many of Cobean's funniest cartoons were actually spoofs of the clichés themselves. His most famous involved characters mentally undressing one another, but he also had some fun with the unfeeling father who turns a disgraced daughter away from his door on a stormy night. He even drew up a series of panels depicting daughter, suitably disgraced in the spring, waiting patiently through the summer and fall for just the right cold winter's night before bundling up junior for the doorstep scene. Playboy cartoonist Phil Interlandi picks up matters where Cobean left them, drawing still more humorous situations from the same old doorstep, dad and daughter, and even getting mom and the chauffeur into the act for good measure.
We've All Seen It: a group of well-dressed people suddenly become aware of the entrance of a man on whom attention immediately focuses. He is not only welldressed, he has an air of distinction, of poise and commanding presence. He is obviously a man of affairs, in all the best senses of the phrase. Chances are, he's wearing a suit like the one shown here, tailored specifically for the fellow who's arrived, who is dressed right for those occasions which call for a touch of formal elegance. It is a ready-made suit with custom touches (by Cardinal, around $120). The jacket needs but two buttons, and tapers away in a trim cut at the bottom. It's a shade shorter than jackts have been, too, but a bit of shaping at the waist retains the very easy, relaxed line; it tactfully avoids the too-tight, but-toned-to-the-teeth impression left by extreme Ivy. Shoulders are a smidgen wider, sleeves taper and there is no breast pocket or buttonhole. Lapels are slim and pointed; trousers are slender, cuffless and pleatless, without that belt in the back. Atop the noggin? The very British, very classic black bowler (don't say derby), slated for a sure comeback this fall. By Dobbs; $15.
Some months ago. we told you all you needed to know about spirits and distillates in order to set up and enjoy a complete gentleman's bar. Here and now, we propose to do the same for wine, its selection, its storage and its service.
Mara Corday and Patricia Sheehan, Miss October, 1958
Connoisseurs of the grape tend to be somewhat fickle in their attachments – on one occasion, they may be susceptible to the rich headiness of the red wines; at another time, they may scorn these and turn to the graceful translucency of the whites. Deep-purple port or the blondest of blonde chablis – the choice of one over another is dependent upon the time, the mood, the circumstances.
Many a Well-Dressed Man clobbers the good impression he makes in his office by departing therefrom with important papers crammed in a crumpled manila envelope or poking out of his jacket. Many a well-turned-out young exec totes his blueprints or presentations (or even a flask of 15-year-old Scotch) in an antique contrivance which resembles a cross between doc's black satchel and a carpetbag. And otherwise good guys we know have the bad habit of lugging age-wrinkled brief cases all gucked up with straps and buckles, like a spy's trench coat in a B movie. Wrong, all wrong. And pointless. For today's properly accoutred man of business has available a wide and wonderful variety of correct, trim, tasteful brief and attaché cases – the very slender ones that are legal-brief size, the fitted ones, the accordion-sided expandables that double as overnighters – in a king's choice of leathers and linings. There's no excuse for not dumping your ancient model, and picking up a new one. We rest our case.
That Definitive and Weighty Work, Collectivisl Cinema, by S. L. Polichev, Hero of Culture, is going into a new revised edition. The revision will consist of a deletion. The deletion will be the name, and all mention, of a certain persona now decidedly non grata.
The Lido (rhymes with libido) has been "le plus beau spectacle de cabaret du monde" ever since 1929 when impresario Léon Volterra bought himself an outsize underground room smack in the middle of Paris' Champs-Élysées, and duked it up with a swimming pool, a Turkish bath and the Frenchiest of Frenchy floorshows. In the mid-Forties, a couple of other fellows made the place over to look like a Venetian banquet hall, added an ice rink and a panoramic stage with a rising floor, and entrusted the managership of the gigantic joint (seats 1000 popeyed customers) to shrewd, inventive Pierre Louis-Guérin, who co-produces the lavish Lido extravaganzas with René Fraday. Tourists, who have been flocking to the place for nigh onto three decades, have declared it absolutely the most fabulous girl show in all the world, though one American laconically likened it to "Radio City Music Hall – with booze and bosoms."
Two young men sit sipping their pieluncheon cocktails. They are about of an age, they are dressed much alike. The meals they order won't vary much one from the other. At the office they sit in adjoining cubbyholes, they share a secretary, they call each other by their first names – and yet they are tacit enemies in almost mortal combat. Ten years from now. they both know, one of them will have the private corner office, the five-figure income, the duplex town house or the home in the suburbs, the wife warm and socially secure in mink. One of them will live in confidence and selfrespect, the other one will go to bed to lie silent and awake, prey to the gnawings of fear and failure. One will lose, and one will win.
Some years ago, a young soldier named Francois, after serving his term of duty, returned to his native village near Poitiers to live. He promptly fell in love with a girl from one of the best families, which was not at all surprising as Nanette, for so the lass was called, had the sauciest little nose in the world and a figure so shapely that many a young man's heart beat faster at the sight of her. Indeed her large brown eyes could appear so inviting as to make a man dizzy with delight, and Francois was no exception.
You've been Digging the sounds all year through – at the most popular jazz spots, at the festivals, on radio and television, on your own hi-fi rig. Now it's time to pick your favorites for the 1959 Playboy All-Star Jazz Band. This is a way you have of saying thank you to the jazz musicians who pleased and entertained you most during the past 12 months. This is far and away the biggest popularity poll conducted in jazz – the only one outside the music trade – and winning a place among the Playboy All-Stars is considered a major honor by the musicians themselves. The jazzmen who win will be awarded the prized sterling silver Playboy Jazz Medal. They will also appear in the third Playboy Jazz All-Stars LP album, a product of intra-industry cooperation among the nation's major recording companies.
Adventuresome schussers anxious to glim and test firsthand the features of the 49th state are in for a treat. Aside from the sadly overlooked ski regions of Alaska, which are great, you'll discover that Alaska in winter is a romantically knocked-out place: where else can you watch the northern lights flaming and crackling over a moon-blued snow field, or partake of the dog-sled taxi that delivers you from the airport to Fort Yukon after a low-level hop there in a skiequipped bush plane? And Arctic Valley, near Anchorage, is now thoroughly cosmopolitan, much patronized by, among others, Scandinavian and French airline crews on layovers from transpolar flights. Which makes us think of blazing fires, hot tom and jerries and those luscious stewardesses looking for things to do. Round trip from Seattle sets you back $I65 by air.