Following up last month's statement by Jack Kerouac, The Origins of the Beat Generation, this July issue of Playboy offers The Sound of Beat, a clutch of poems by Kerouac and two of his beatnik cronies, Gregory Corso and Allen (Howl) Ginsberg. This poetry complements a feature on The Coffee Houses of America, those interesting little java joints where beat verse is often recited and sometimes written. From one such coffee house we also gained a delightful dividend -- peppery Yvette Vickers, this month's Beat Playmate. Herbert Gold, who once took us to task for calling him a hipster, would probably do so again if we called him beat; having no wish to be taken to task (one of those nowhere little John Sack-type countries), we will only put forth the opinion that, to us, the inhabitants of his story, The Incredible Adventures of Dino (it's not about Dean Martin) seem mezzobeat at the very least. But maybe that's only because our definition of beat is a little broader than some. We'll tell you about it sometime.
After glomming Patrick Chase's International Datebook for the past several years, avid reader John Langley informs us that he was suddenly smitten by the vapors, went into a high fever and whipped up a kind of Irrational Datebook, the ultimate word in let's-get-away-from-it-all vacation spots. He tells of a mystic spa on the shores of Dire Straits, near Rising Gorge, on the top of Crucial Point, where sits the luxurious Hotel Last Resort. As the visitor strolls the grounds, crossing a bridge before he comes to it, he can see large stables full of horses of different colors. In the trees (principally for barking up, and all of them wrong), the birds are in hand (except for the two in the bush) and the rippling streams are full of the ones that got away. The leaves on the ground are all newly turned, and straight-and-narrow paths of primrose lead from one pitfall to another.
Home away from home for evening people on New York's East Side is the living Room (2nd Ave. and 48th St.). What with divans, armchairs, a fireplace and a shoes-off hominess, it's a typical American parlor. There's even a TV set, but boss Dan Segal says no one has yet ventured to turn it on. Hi-fi keeps the handholding, dark-corner devotees happy from cocktail hour till nine, when the live ones arrive -- the entertainers, that is. Night we looked in, Matt Dennis was there chanting his wares. Others on the bill included the Jack Kelly Trio and amiable guitarist Ernesto San Miguel, who crooned bilingually. An impressive array of showbiz bigs flow in, and overflow up to the Private Living Room topside, an equally comfortable velvet-draped hideaway. Food prices are absurdly low, and you'll want to try the steak and shellfish in bite-sized chunks impaled on toothpicks in little baskets. Hours are 5 P.M. to 4 A.M.
Sonny Rollins, the big strong wolf of jazz tenor men, hews his way through six tunes in his latest recorded outing, Newk's Time (Blue Note 4001), titled in recognition of Rollins' physical resemblance to pitcher Don Newcomb. It features the titan of the tenor with an ever-ready rhythm section -- Wynton Kelly, piano; Doug Watkins, bass; and Philly Joe Jones, drums; and the terrain covered includes a volcanic Miles Davis original, Tune Up; trumpeter Kenny Dorham's exotic Asiatic Raes; Rollins' own Blues for Philly Joe; Wonderful, Wonderful, of Johnny Mathis fame; an almost danceable Namely You, and a striking tenor-drums duet on Surrey with the Fringe on Top. Some of this is Rollins-rough, but none of it is dull. The rhythm section, urged by Sonny's surging power, must swing or perish. It swings.
No marquees set apart Soviet theatres from other buildings; no casting is posted on the small billboards that do modestly mark the playhouses; scripts are almost always published in magazines prior to production -- and yet the entertainment industry (in all its forms: drama, ballet, opera, operetta, circus, puppetry) flourishes with such robust health in Russia that theatre cicerone Faubion Bowers can justifiably title his recent book on the Soviet stage Broadway, U.S.S.R. (Nelson, $5). There are 29 legit houses in Moscow (including the gargantuan Bolshoi with its 25 entrances, and the one they call The Musical Theatre Named After Stanislavsky And Nemirovich-Danchenko) and they're seldom dark, always packed. A play is usually called something else: it's a Lyric Comedy, Comic-Farce, Tragic-Comedy, Tragic-Farce, Fairytale-Comedy, Fantastic Comedy, Heroic Comedy, Comedy-Vaudeville, Spectacle-Joke, Lyric Drama, Heroic Drama, Dramatic Poem, Romantic Chronicle, Heroic-Spectacle-Concert, Scenic Composition in Five Acts, or Drama with Circus and Fireworks. Happy endings are favored, even in traditionally tragic ballets, but this may not be a result of official ukase so much as an example of mass preference (there have been French and Italian operatic versions of Hamlet and Othello with happy endings). Translations, oddly enough, form the bulk of the dramatic repertory, and Lillian Hellman's Autumn Garden, originally a one-set show, can be observed with four elaborate changes of scene and Negro servants interpolated purely for purposes of being berated by the whites (Negro characters are usually played by white actors, sometimes with their entire heads covered by black cotton stockings with eye-and-mouth-slits). In one operetta, Western ways are interpreted as including men in full dress in the morning, slugging green Chartreuse out of whiskey bottles or ordering "1001 Nights cocktails" (gin, whiskey, vodka, cognac and spirits). The Teatr Estrady, Muscovites will furtively advise you, is "the best place in town for hearing real jazz" (Lullaby of Birdland, with the trumpeters in their midnight blue evening jackets and boutonnieres standing up to toot the wilder riffs). A folk-singing duo at the Estrady in blue jeans and suede shoes are considered by some "too quiet" because they don't play Rok i Rol. After soaking up Russky showbiz from Moscow to Uzbekistan, and interviewing directors, musicians and legended ballerina Ulanova, Bowers says in summation: "A far clearer picture of Russian life ... emerges from a study of entertainments than from enquiring into politics." 64 photos and a fat index.
Danny Kaye, as cornetist Red Nichols, sings, mugs, imitates Louis Armstrong's anguished vocal sounds and carries a load of guilt and grief in various parts of The Five Pennies. His anxieties stem from his blaming himself for his daughter's having contracted polio. He drops out of music and gets a wartime shipyard job so he can be around to cheer the kid up and help her walk again. The picture, which ends with his musical comeback, is a fairly factual bio of the Dixieland rebel who, with trombonist Miff Mole, developed far-out, highly integrated small-combo jazz in the mid-Twenties. The musical interludes -- and thanks be there are plenty of 'em -- are rousing-wild. They include Kaye and Satchmo doing The Saints, contrapuntal singing by Satchmo, Kaye and moppet Susan Gordon (as Nichols' daughter, age 6) and Red's famous Battle Hymn. Tootling and percussing in Red's Five Pennies are Ray Anthony as Jimmy Dorsey, Shelly Manne as Dave Tough, Bobby Troup as (continued on page 20) Arthur Schutt and Ray Daly as Glenn Miller. Bob Crosby has an amusing bit as a bandleading megaphoney. Kaye's his usual supple, comfortable self, and Satchmo is fantastic. Fun, like they say, for all the family.
Destry Rides Again, along with a stageful of slick musical comedy invention. Despite the fact that Max Brand's whiskered yarn has been three times to the Hollywood well, the Broadway version is a passably fresh and sprightly product. Leonard Gershe's adaptation of this oat-fed classic does little to improve the basic plot beyond a perfunctory happy ending, and may even lose an important segment of satiric comment en route. But there's no complaint about the players. Andy Griffith is the drawlin', you-allin' hillbilly who wouldn't hurt a fly, but he looks right convincing when he finally grabs a pair of his pappy's six-shooters and turns the Last Chance Saloon into a shooting gallery. Griffith's voice pleasantly handles a git-along ditty called Once Knew a Fella and a soft-soaping ballad, Anyone Would Love You. Dolores Gray has obvious physical assets as Frenchy, the haughty hostess of the Last Chance establishment, and can bugle out a song like nobody's business, except maybe Ethel Merman's; when she sings Fair Warning to Griffith and to sinister varmint Scott Brady, you can hear every word of the lyrics -- even across the street. Oliver Smith's settings for barroom, jailhouse and sun-baked prairie vistas, and Harold Rome's musical notations for gunmen, cow-hands and loose ladies are the Old West as it should have been, even if it never was. But the ultimate star of Destry is Michael Kidd, who turns his double chore as director and choreographer into a personal triumph of movement over material. This show should draw, podner, but mostly tourists and tired businessmen. At the Imperial, 249 West 45th, NYC.
Doctor Colles was a thin, pale man with receding hair. Mr. Melchior's chauffeured car had picked him up at his stuffy little office, crowded with papers. He had begun to talk almost at once, and he was still at it now. While waiting for the traffic light to change and listening to Doctor Colles' conversation, Mr. Melchior took a long green cigar from his case and lit it.
Jazz --festival variety -- will be blowing up a storm this summer, filling the sultry air with swinging sounds from one end of the U.S. to the other. And right in the center will be the biggest and most grandiose gala in the blustery 60-odd-year history of jazz music -- the Playboy Jazz Festival, August 7, 8 and 9.
The little cars so popular today can present a tight problem for those couples with amorous leanings. In fact, for a twosome to have leanings in any direction without colliding with windshield, dashboard, steering wheel, cigarette lighter or gear box is a devilishly difficult feat. Herewith, then, some sporty verse on the cuts and bruises of outrageous fortune in a sports car.
When he heard the screams, Carnaday stopped walking. A fist closed about his heart. He stood perfectly still, waiting, sure that the end had come and that he had lost. The screams grew louder, raking across his eardrums like angry claws. He forced himself to look up.
Any amateur chef worthy of his salt and other spices should be aware of the advantages inherent in outdoor barbecuing. A situation is created in which the male assumes complete control, while delighted damsels sit admiringly on the sidelines. The elemental environment of nature, in which cocktails combine with the atmosphere to enhance appetite, builds maximum anticipation for eating a memorable meal. And, most important of all, cooking al fresco is easy.
An old European custom with a new American accent has taken hold on both Coasts and at a few hip points in between. This is that rallying place of beat intellectuals, the coffee house, which -- from obscure sproutings in Greenwich Village at the end of World War II -- has mushroomed in big cities and college outposts into a five-million-dollar-a-year business. The mushroom has roots deep in Old World culture, for Samuel Johnson and his Boswell cracked their wisest in the coffee houses of 18th Century London, and the very word café is, of course, just the French way of saying coffee. But unlike modern cafés, the American coffee house of today seldom serves anything stronger than coffee.
When our team of researchers and photographers descended upon Los Angeles to gather material for the L.A. portion of this issue's feature, The Coffee Houses of America, they saw many beauteous bohemiennes sipping espresso. Being thoroughly indoctrinated company men, the question "Playmate?" flashed through their minds more than once. But when they spied Yvette Vickers at a small table in Hollywood's Cosmo Alley, that question became an affirmative, exclamatory statement.
Wise way to take on a fresh, sporty appearance: go both plain and fancy. Wear solid-shade jackets and patterned slacks for country doings and spectator sports, do it vice versa when you're in the city.
A delightful dividend of the current boating boom is the emergence of the smaller yacht, a far cry from the gold-braid days of million-dollar floating palaces, just as far from the popular family cockleshell. Between these extremes, today, there is a growing world of yachts and yachtsmen which is less formal than of old and less overpoweringly exclusive, but which still preserves those nautical niceties consistent with fine fun afloat. Today's stock yachts in the 30-foot to 50-foot range are compact pleasure packages providing luxurious quarters comparable to those ashore, vessels on which one may enjoy a way of life which has glamor, excitement, variety and the camaraderie of a very special sport. In this magical world, adults have adult excursions on cabin cruisers and cruising auxiliaries, men get away for easygoing weekends of sport fishing and poker, (continued on page 65) and other aspects of high living on the high seas are pleasantly prevalent. Several factors have contributed to this easier, water-borne way of life, most important among them the boats on which it is lived -- a representative fleet of which is pictured on these pages.
In the spring a light young man turns to fancy thoughts of taking his activities out onto the leather seat of his convertible. Sometimes it is only imitation leather; but then often, alas, it is only imitation activities.
Fifteen swimmers comprised the Yugoslavian Olympic team competing in Austria in 1954. Fourteen returned to their Iron Curtain country. One, Tania Velia, selected as "Miss Yugoslavia," displayed brains to match her blonde beauty by slipping away from the guards into the American zone at Salzburg, to escape forever from Yugoslavery. Tania cooperated swimmingly when we asked to take pictures. She was wearing her modest team sweatshirt and swimsuit. We explained that, for Playboy, we'd like something a bit more appealing, so she obligingly peeled off the shirt and suit and swam about in her birthday finery, and fine it was. "Something like this?" asked the Slavonic tonic. "Everything like that," we said.
The next time you turn on your television set and find yourself confronted with an evening of vintage film fare so familiar you can almost recite the trite and true dialog before the actors do, try playing our new game, Teevee Jeebies. Any number can play, and the rules are simple: Turn down the audio, and create your own scenario for the stirring scenes that move across your screen. (If you turn off the video as well, you may improve matters further, but you won't be playing the game.) The more active the imagination, the more the fun. See what a good time we've had with these scenes from some typical TV movies?
A wealthy chatelain, in the old days, was married to a lady of great beauty and small intelligence. When he was required to make a long journey to the king's court and thus leave his wife alone for many days, he feared that her simple mind might lead her into peril, for scoundrels and adventurers were aroam in the land. Therefore he counseled her: "Woman, you must promise that during my absence, should persons of any rank put questions of any nature to you, a plain No will always be your answer." This, he reasoned, was the least complicated way to keep her and his property from harm. The lady promised, and the chatelain departed.
Wise time to do Europe is in the fall: the weather is balmier, the days are still long, the dusks are softer and the social season is on the upswing, while the obstreperous rubbernecks have headed back home. And September is festival time in almost any country you pick: harvest festivals, music festivals and just plain fun festivals abound from one end of the Continent to the other.