Playboy's Penthouse Apartment, our 1956 presentation of a high, handsome haven preplanned and furnished for the bachelor in town, is the most popular single feature ever to appear in these pages. Today, in 1959, we're still receiving letters of interest and inquiry about it. In this issue, you will find a spectacular companion feature, Playboy's Weekend Hideaway. Designed by James E. Tucker with renderings by Robert Branham, the same team that produced Playboy's Penthouse Apartment, these seven pages of plans for a smart get-away-from-it-all sanctuary may well out-Penthouse Penthouse in popularity. Tucker is an industrial designer by training and practice, and brings to his work a fresh and vigorous awareness of the esthetics of function. Branham is a serious experimentalist painter whose infrequent commercial work flashes with the insight of the fine artist.
We were momentarily titillated, a while back, to learn that Hollywood had bought the screen rights to the novel Lolita. A second of sober reflection, however, reminded us that under the Tinseltown aegis the little nymphet and Humbert Humbert, her older admirer, would undoubtedly end up as cinematic versions of Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks. Exactly how will the movie be given the degree of antisepsis necessary for passing the censors? When we were in Hollywood recently, we garnered some astute predictions from screenwriter Alan Wilson. The eventual title of the picture, he says, will depend on the type of movie it represents. If it is to be for the entire family, they might call it Little Woman; if they want to turn it into a war drama, he suggests The Best Years of Her Life; as a sports drama, The Smaller They Are, The Harder They Fall; as a melodrama, Too Much Too Soon; as an adult western, Have Nymphet, Will Travel. If they decide to make Lolita into a musical, Wilson offers some possible songs: Humbert singing, They Tried to Tell Me You're Too Young; Lolita's solo, You Ain't Nothin' but a Father Image; and a duet on Jail Bait Rock. Anyone who fears that these assorted titles are at least risky if not risqué will be comforted to learn of a way out: the movie, laid in the hilly regions of a southern state, can open with the marriage of Lolita and Humbert, and close with our 12-year-old hausfrau knitting tiny garments while her spouse looks on with a properly cloying smile of approval. Then, of course, with the public softened up, it will be time for Son of Lolita. Is all this clear, Hollywood? If not, don't bother us. It's time for us to fix our girlfriend's Pablum.
We warmly appreciated the many critical accolades that greeted the first Playboy Jazz All-Stars Album a year ago; the industry, the musicians themselves, the critics and readers of the magazine dug it the most. This year's package, The Playboy Jazz All-Stars Album, Volume 2 (PB 1958) is, in our modest estimation, a still more exciting double-disc collection of the sounds of jazz as blown by the best men in the biz. It is also a remarkable example of intra-industry cooperation – a far-reaching and complicated one, what with all the contractual red tape that had to be cut through to get all the performers on one label. As a result, the release date of the album was somewhat delayed, but we think you'll think it was worth waiting for.
Like the celebrated Japanese film, Rashomon is concerned with a quest for the truth about a savage incident that took place in a Japanese forest a thousand years ago. Apparently the truth was as elusive then as it is now, and the ancient fable still supplies a fascinating whodunit for modern Broadway. For the better part of its stylized heroics Rashomon is an intriguing mystery yarn that offers four conflicting versions of the same incident. Only a few basic facts are common to all versions. A half-naked highwayman (Rod Steiger) Waylays a wealthy samurai and his wife. The highwayman makes love to the woman (Claire Bloom) and the husband (Noel Willman) is killed. These are the facts, but as each participant gives his version of the affair (the dead man speaks through the voice of a medium) it is obvious that each is telling the tale as he prefers to believe it. Did the bandit find the lady willing, and did he kill the husband in fair combat? Is the lady a gentle creature and a loyal wife, or is she a slut? Is the samurai with his jeweled broadword a warrior or a knee-knocking coward? The answer lies in the fourth version, staged according to the impersonal evidence of a frightened eyewitness (Akim Tamiroff). While the truth is somewhat deflating to each protagonist's picture of himself as a tragic figure of heroic stature, there's nothing deflating about David Susskind's magnificent production of Fay and Michael Kanin's play, the admirable cast and setting, the direction of Peter Glenville and the superbly illustrative music of Laurence Rosenthal. At the Music Box, 239 West 45th, NYC.
Marilyn Monroe sings, acts and necks in Some Like It Hot, which is wild, wild,wild, and larded with clever purple wisecracks about the gangsters, girl dance bands and free-wheeling libertines of the Twenties. The screenplay by Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond goes as follows: Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are a couple of broke musicians who are forced to make like broads in order to join a Florida-bound girl band – it's the only way they can escape gang leader George Raft. While celebrating St. Valentine's Day in their own odd manner, George and some pals had caught the two watching. In Florida, the gangsters come, the police (Pat O'Brien) come, there's some funny love-making (we mean funny like ha-ha) and not-so funny chase scenes. Marilyn, Tony and Jack do nobly by the arty dialog and fairly simple characterizations they've been given, and director Wilder obviously worked like hell to make this the fine ribald classic it is.
In The Waist-High Culture (Harper, $4), Thomas Griffith is a man concerned about the squeeze play which is turning American life into a sandwich of uniform mediocrity. "We are in danger of becoming a vibrating and mediocre people. Who can say of us that goodness and generosity inevitably triumph? That talent prevails and honesty pays? Who would say that quality is in any phase of our culture outracing the spreading debasement? Have we sold our souls for a mess of pottage that goes snap, crackle and pop? . . . We have left the dissemination of culture in the hands of those who feel no ultimate duty beyond profit . . ." While Mr. Griffith stabs away at much-worn windmills–the poverty of television, our laggard stance in the deadly race with Russia, the dollar obsession, our refusal to understand foreign nations–he is no cliché-lover, and the book shines with hard thinking and careful writing. Unlike lesser men who have stood on the same soapbox, he offers no three-, six- or ten-point program for the sure cure of all our ills, since of course no such panacea is possible. He writes as one who can denounce the notion that all men are created equal as a piece of fatuous nonsense and at the same time demonstrate an abiding, love-like respect for all humanity. Waist-High is a book that should leave a mark on the land.
A Girl, a Gay, Pretty and Sullen Girl with full marks for both sweetness and cruelty. When he looked in her desk for cigarettes, there was a silken pile of panties folded like flowers in the drawer, perfumed like flowers, dizzying him with the joy of springtime. When she put on a pair of them, suddenly filling out the tiny petals of cloth in two paired buds, it was as if the sun had forced a flower into delicate Easter bloom. Oh he needed her, loved her, and so for honor to them both, let us tell the truth, as straight as the truth comes.
It was Nearly Midnight before the recording session got under way. The first take didn't go smoothly. The musicians were still cold and the gaunt young singer was obviously nervous. "16594, take two," said the director from the control room, and the band began again, and as the singer swung more easily into the words, faces brightened and the drummer nodded in approval to the man on the bass. From the beginning, this had been a big night for singer Frank D'Rone, for he was cutting his first LP album; now suddenly it had become a big night for everyone in the studio, as the magic of the melodious and swinging voice caught and lifted them out of themselves. "Christ, he's good. Who is he?" someone asked. By session's end, there seemed little doubt that a great many across the country would soon know who Frank D'Rone is. There is some of Sinatra's appeal in his voice, and a bit of Tormé in his phrasing, but the result is pure D'Rone.
Walter Beauregard had been an accomplished and enthusiastic lecher for almost 50 years. Now, at the age of 65, he was in danger of losing his qualifications for membership in the lechers' union. In danger of losing? Nay, let us be honest; he had lost. For three years now he had been to doctor after doctor, quack after quack, had tried nostrum after nostrum. All utterly to no avail.
True Sports Car Devotees – who share with yachtsmen and skiers an exuberant enthusiasm for peripatetic participation in competitive events the world over – have discovered a new mecca: the 4.5-mile asphalt course laid out on Oakes Field in the Bahamas, home of the Governor's Cup and the Nassau Trophy. Within five short years, these races – originally for the exclusive pleasure of estate-owning local gentry – have taken on an international flavor and have become a magnet for the international sports car buffs, as well as dedicated racers, and something of a showplace and proving ground not only for cars but for that elegant and relaxed and yet functional attire which has come to be called sports car fashion. In fact, it's a safe bet that what was seen at Oakes Field last winter – in cars and in fashions – will be dominating the scene up North this summer. Some of the niftiest of the garb is shown here. And some of the atmosphere in which playboy took its exclusive pictures of the posh event deserves your attention before we discuss the sports car fashions themselves.
Whenever the Wolf in your stomach urges you to search the animal kingdom for something to eat, you find yourself more or less limited to four categories: beef, veal, lamb and pork. But when you move among the finny fellows you have, in this country alone, at least 180 different varieties from lake, stream, surf and sea. You may choose delicate silvery smelts no bigger than your finger, or you may take home a walloping chunk of a big-mouthed 40-pound bass. You may skin an eel that fights his way over the trackless ocean from the Sargasso Sea to a little estuary on the New England coast. You may settle for a plump trout that never left its lake in the highlands. And don't let anyone get away with the tired fiction that all fish taste alike: cite such opposite-tasting delights as swordfish and gray sole, salmon and kingfish, pompano and smoked finnan haddie.
Typographers, as a general rule, do not enjoy a reputation for being wags and wiseacres, but in Hollywood most everything takes on the protective coloration peculiar to the clime, and even printers' devils manage to live up to their label literally.
A Veteran Arranger who Still holds a carpenter's union card, a lyricist who dabbles in serious poetry, and a throaty thrush from Britain are bringing an exciting sound to jazz these days. The infectious beat of Count Basie is their basis. Using ingenious new lyrics and their own versatile pipes, trio Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross are note-for-note vocalizing such old Basie arrangements as One O'Clock Jump, Shorty George and Little Pony, with a basic rhythm section supplying the only instrumentation in back of lyrics like "Well thanks a lot but really baby I must quit the scene if you know what I mean/ Don't be quittin' just when you're hittin' the peak/ Get a record that will play a week." The gimmick incubated in 1954 when lyricist Hendricks took upon himself the mind-wrenching task of penning lyrics for the old Woody Herman favorite, Four Brothers. Teaming up with arranger Lambert (he's worked for Krupa, Kenton, James) and six studio voices, Hendricks rocorded the number for Decca, but it laid a bomb. The astute Lambert decided that they were on the right track but in the wrong train. Reluctant to return to his hard-times sideline of carpentry, he hit the discouraged Hendricks with the idea of focusing his word-wielding craft on Basie. "The Count swings hard," said Lambert, "and he should lay well for singing." Hendricks agreed, got to work, and a demonstration record was cut of 12 voices singing a dozen Basie standards. It made the round of the platter caliphs, all of whom said it couldn't be done until ABC-Paramount jazz chief Creed Taylor climbed out on a shaky limb and signed them up. When the first cutting session went no-where, the impatient Lambert cashiered his whole army of studio voices save one: Annie Ross, a curvy English-born warbler who sang with Lionel Hampton in Europe and whose adroit larynx rockets her to F over high C. The trio took off on a three-month multi-taping marathon (each singing four parts). "Multi-taping is about as exhilarating as a walk across a desert with no shoes on," groans Lambert. The exhausting process hospitalized Annie and Hendricks for a week, but it resulted late last year in the exciting ABC LP, Sing a Song of Basie (Playboy After Hours, October '58). As an encore the trio etched for Roulette Sing Along with Basie (Playboy After Hours, March '59), this time with full Basie band and singer Joe Williams pitching in. Success-flushed and eager for experiments, Hendricks is anxious not to limit himself to Basie. He has put words to Milt Jackson's Spirit Feel and Horace Silver's Doodlin', which United Artists 45'd back-to-back. Inevitably, the Lambert bunch has been criticized as a too-tricky fad, and some carpers have deplored what seems like a lack of true creative invention in merely vocalizing old arrangements; but with their records selling in the healthy thousands, and with the hot response they get at cool spots like Birdland, the Apollo, the Blue Note and the Hungry i, these swingers are also gathering accolades to the effect that they are solid artists who are making a unique and lasting contribution to jazz.
While Even the most protean members of his race have rarely made headway in more than one acting medium, Sidney Poitier, at 35, has already taken a giant step in three. Starring in the new play A Raisin in the Sun, a dozen films (including the upcoming Porgy and Bess) and featured prominently in TV drama, Poitier is not only a Negro actor carrying an unprecedented work load, but equally important, he's calling his own shots. "I pick stories," says Poitier, "primarily as they suit my taste as an actor. But I also have certain principles which help determine my behavior in life. I try not to offend these sensibilities." Which was why, a few years ago when jobs were scarce and his wife was expecting, he turned down a sorely-needed $1000 for three days' work in The Phenix City Story. "They wanted me to play a father whose son is killed by a mob, and who rises above the incident by forgiving them. To me this isn't the solution for this kind of problem." Trying to explain his remarkable success in the face of his fierce artistic honesty, he sums up: "I'm lucky. I'm fairly intelligent. I read lines coherently. I've got a strong determination to fulfill myself as a human being as well as an artist, and I'm blessed with a kind of physical averageness." Miami-born son of a Nassau farmer, Poitier went to New York at 16, where he walloped docks, jerked sodas, and parked cars before winning an American Negro Theatre scholarship. From bit roles he graduated to a featured part in the Broadway hit, Anna Lucasta. Then on to a shuttle between films and TV. His gamut-running versatility was manifested in such diverse roles as churchman in Cry the Beloved Country, Mau Mau leader in Something of Value, and juvenile delinquent in The Blackboard Jungle. But it was The Defiant Ones (for which he won the Berlin Festival Silver Bear Award) that presented him with his most satisfying role. "The film offered no panacea for social problems," says Poitier, "but it did demonstrate something significant: that two men of different races forced to live with each other, while still not digging each other completely, do discover that the other isn't such a bad guy after all." When, after 10 years of negotiations, Samuel Goldwyn finally got screen rights for Porgy and Bess, he said, "I've never considered anybody else for the role of Porgy but Sidney Poitier." The filmed version of the Gershwin-Heyward folk classic is very important to Poitier, aside from being a top-drawer showcase for him: "Few examples of American culture have received as enthusiastic a reception around the world as Porgy. The film should reach many areas that touring companies couldn't get to." When Poitier, as Porgy, ends the film with the rousing number, I'm On My Way, he is, if anything, understating his real-life case.
The Scullery Maid of the television world a little over a year ago, Cinderella network ABC is now giving her two no-longer-smug sisters, CBS and NBC, a case of teevee-jeebies, and the man behind it all is ABC's 40-year-old prexy, a burr-headed chunk of ebullience named Oliver Treyz. Madison Avenue laughed in 1956 when Treyz sat down to play ABC-TV president, especially since he was replacing crackerjack Robert Kintner, who defected to NBC. But in a burst of inspired programing, Treyz uncorked a one-two-three punch of oaters (Lawman, Rifleman and the offtrail, satirical Maverick), homicide (Naked City, 77 Sunset Strip) and hayseeds (The Real McCoys), all top audience-grabbers, and ABC is now very much the third major league. Treyz, whose lifelong motto has been "Why walk when you can sprint?" bounded into communications in 1939 as a one-man radio program in upstate New York. From there, he galloped into big-time radio, graduating to Director of ABC. When ABC-Paramount President Leonard Goldenson needed somebody to fill the ample brogans of departing TV chief Kintner, he couldn't help noticing the galvanic Treyz ("Treyz is a driving force," said Goldenson at the time. "He likes the tough things to do rather than the easy and he has the productive capacity of six men and an IBM machine"). Installed in office, Treyz hired two full-time secretaries to handle calls and incoming correspondence (he seldom writes letters and doesn't hesitate to call anybody at any hour) and initiated the industry's first 25-hour working day. Tackling each new assignment as if he is already three days late, Treyz keeps a battery of associates on a constant travel alert, often notifying them an hour before plane time that they are flying with him to California. Ideas spurt from him as from a geyser, and he constantly peppers bewildered aides with "How's this for a great idea? No, forget it, here's a better one!" The essence of the fantastic Treyz success formula (which for the first time in history has ABC out-rating CBS and NBC during many prime viewing hours) is: train all your big weapons on the young large-family audience. In 1957 Treyz felt that CBS star Ed Sullivan was ripe for heavy competition. He spotted the 60-minute Maverick in the half-hour slot preceding Sullivan. The huge audience that caught it stayed with it through the first 30 minutes of Sullivan, and a long-reigning monarch was uncrowned. While CBS and NBC have been throwing Sunday morsels and occasional week-night crumbs to the upper audience crust, ABC is almost entirely mass-oriented. However, Treyz has a ready reason: "We're still fighting to solidify ourselves with the skim. Once we've got it, we'll take care of the cream." His ambition is to make the third network the Number One network, and since the pace that Oliver Treyz maintains is for front-runners, not runners-up, few who know him doubt that he can do it.
Wardrobewise, how things shape up is entirely in your hands. Just as there is a correct way to wear clothes, so there is a correct way to keep them looking trim and fresh when they're not on your back. First method is to hire a houseboy or personal valet, and this is a dandy idea, albeit a mite expensive for some. Second method is to employ the strong silent types of valets shown here, each carefully designed to attend to some phase of the gentelmen's wardrobe, without requesting an evening off. Your reward is reaped in the crisp appearance and added longevity of your clothing and accessories.
Contrary to popular belief, fox hunting began in America just about the same time it did in Merrie England. The pastime was carried here by early colonists, and these dyed-in-the-leather sportsmen were soon making their cries of encouragement ring resoundingly over the countryside to their hounds. Today, whether they ride to hunt or hunt to ride, fox hunters still aver that the classic chase has few peers for elegant excitement. We're in complete agreement, but we suggest that, along with the master of foxhounds, huntsmen, whippers-in, kennelmen, stablemen, hunting grooms, pad boys, earth-stoppers, et al., the personnel list for any hunt be judged incomplete unless it includes a reynard-router like our April Playmate, nubile Nancy Crawford of Virginia.
Among the Paradoxical pleasures of the confirmed urbanite's existence is his enjoyment of the country. This he may indulge in measured amounts, to suit his fancy and the season – which immediately sets him apart from farmers and commuters. But when it comes to buying or building a weekend retreat, his options in design are woefully few: instead of having his choice of county or country houses to complement his city penthouse, he finds himself confronted with kozy kottages or split-personality ranch houses or gas-station-modern monstrosities. These, he discovers, are all "oriented." They may be family oriented, kitchen oriented, children oriented, suburb oriented, economy oriented. None seems to have been designed for the man (text continued overleaf) who, perhaps like you, wants his own place away from the city's hurly-burly, a place where he can relax for a weekend or a week, with companions of his choosing, in a house of his own which provides his accustomed comforts and whatever degree of privacy or gregariousness, formality or informality, the occasions of his pleasure require. Here, then, is that house, a gracious hideaway with the simplicity of contemporary elegance and the luxuriousness which the city man prefers. We have given it a lakeside setting; it would be equally suitable at the seaside, or perched on the slope of a hill with a view of the surrounding country.
In Tours, there once lived a man who was a tapestry maker to the late Duke of Orleans, son of King Francis the First. Some years before, he had married a woman who possessed both honor and property. Having taught her to obey and to trust him in all things, he lived most peacefully and prosperously.
For Many Years, the American film industry has held an almost unchallenged monopoly on that comeliest of commodities, the Sex Goddess. Imagine, then, Hollywood's current consternation at being literally outstripped by a certain French upstart. Hence, the search to find a girl to outgirl Brigitte has become the first order of business. And despite the formidable censorship obstacles in the land of the free and the home of the brave, some of the Tinseltown titans think they may have found just the thing in titian-tressed Tina Louise. She has that quality of earthiness so popular in current European imports, and in her latest film, The Trap, she proves her ability to muss up a bed in the best BB tradition.
La Barba (The beard) is what the citizens of Seville called the world's only whiskered bullfighter, Shel Silverstein. Gags about La Barba of Seville would seem in order, but these would tend to tarnish the glamor and dignity of the noble corrida tradition, so we will refrain. Before matching wits with el toro, Shel trained for a month at the ranch of Count Maza, just outside Seville. His instructors were Tito Palacios and John Short, both bullfighters of note, the latter a compatriot of Silverstein's. After mastering such intricate passes as the veronica, the chicuelina and the goanera, Shel donned the resplendent suit of lights, strode majestically through the gates of fear and faced the bull in the formal dance of death. "After that bout, I was known as El Corazón del Pollo," Shel says, insisting that it means The Lion-Hearted even when we opened our Spanish dictionary and showed him that pollo means "chicken." Did Shel kill the bull? "No," he admits, "but on the other hand, the bull didn't kill me. I still have a slight scar on the, uh, hip, though, where his horn grazed me." !Olé!
A scant decade ago, winter was the time of the year to loll on the French Riviera, but the season has been slowly pushed ahead due to a change in the weather cycle. Now, you won't to make that scene much before the first of May when the Cannes Film Festival kicks off (stay at the Carlton or the Martinez, but make reservations early). Come June, the whole coast is jumping. Where you stay and what you do depends entirely on you, since no two spots on the lovely Côte d'Azure are very much alike. The area around Juan-les-Pins and Cap d'Antibes continues to attract the international set, and the best place to rub silk-covered elbows with it is the Hôtel du Cap d'Antibes, where guests have access to the famous Eden Roc Club (bar, pool and restaurant). The younger Brigitte Bardot crowd settles around St. Tropez, with less expensive facilities and a rash of private villas. Monte Carlo is nearby too, with its famous and somewhat overrated Casino, and you won't want to miss the two Casinos (plus a variety of restaurants and night spots) at Nice. Should you plan to savor this stunning stretch of coast at your leisure, we suggest you charter a sailing yacht complete with crew, cook and auxiliary diesel. Tab for a six-passenger ketch will run you betwixt $1000 and $1200 a month.