In reverse alphabetical order (to give the guys at the end of the line a break for a change), the 1959 roster of playboy writers included Maurice Zolotow, P. G. Wodehouse, Meredith Willson, John Wallace, H. Allen Smith, Henry Slesar, Max Shulman, Robert Sheckley, John Sack, Theodor Reik, Ken Purdy, Roger Price, Al Morgan, Alberto Moravia, Richard Matheson, Leonard Lyons, Jack Kerouac, Ben Hecht, Marion Hargrove, Herbert Gold, Ralph Ginzburg, J. P. Donleavy, Avram Davidson, Roald Dahl, Noel Clad, T. K. Brown III, Charles Beaumont, Richard Armour, Hollis Alpert -- and these are just a handful of standout names from a uniquely standout year. Once again, therefore, the Editorial We have been scratching Our Editorial Head in an effort to decide who will be the recipients of playboy's Annual Best Fiction and Non-Fiction Bonuses. Eschewing further suspense-building, let's plunge right into the payoff:
Playboy Subscriptions: In the U.S., its possessions. The pan American Union and Canada, $14 for three years, $11 for two years, $6 for one year, elsewhere add $3 per year for foreign postage. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of address: Send both old and new addresses and allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Main advertising office, 232 East Ohio Street, Chicago 11, Illinois, MI 2-1000; Branch office, Howard Lederer, Eastern Manager, 720 Fifth Avenue, New York 19, New York, CI 5-2620; Los Angeles Representative, Blanchard-Nichols Associates, 633 South Westmoreland Avenue, Los Angeles 5, California, DU B-6134; San Francisco Representative, Blanchard-Nichols Associates, Phillips and Van Orden Building, 900 Third Street, San Francisco 4, California, YU 6-6341; Southeastern Representative, Southeast Advertising Sales, Chamber of Commerce Building, Miami 32, Florida, FR 1-2103.
Monday: Prof. Pomfritt sprang quiz in English lit this morning. If Shakespeare didn't write Canterbury Tales I'm a dead duck . . . Lunch at the house--turkey hash. Question: how can we have turkey hash when we never had turkey? . . . Smoked a Marlboro after lunch. I dig those better makin's the most!... Played bridge with sorors in afternoon. When game was over, my partner stabbed me several times with hatpin. Must learn weak club bid ... Dinner at house--lamb hash. Question: how can we have lamb hash when we never had lamb? ... Smoked a Marlboro after dinner. What filter! What flavor! What pack or box! . . . Chapter meeting at night. Motion made to abolish capital punishment for pledges. Motion defeated ... Smoked more Marlboros. Quelle joie!... And so to bed.
With a pride we trust is pardonable, we'd like to make an important announcement: in a very few weeks, Playboy will launch a private key club titled, naturally enough, The Playboy Club. It will be an attempt to project the plush and romantic mood of the magazine into a private club of good fellows interested in the better, more pleasurable aspects of life; as Playboy has gained, the reputation of being the most sophisticated among journals, so, we hope and expect, will The Playboy Club be known in its field. It will have the warmth, the intimacy and the fun of a private cocktail party, with fine food and drink and entertainment and, of course, numberless beautiful women -- many of them Playmates from past issues of the magazine. The first club will close its door for business (we can't say "open" for business because the club door will always be locked) in Chicago, but there will soon be others in major cities throughout the country. The limited membership will be drawn from the most aware and affluent group in each community, at an assessment of $50 per member. The fee assures membership for life and the key that will open Playboy Club doors everywhere throughout the world. For, as the clubs multiply, each lock will be precisely the same, and a member's key will fit whether he is in Chicago, San Francisco, New York or Paris. Behind that door, he will find a quality of service and personal attention that he can never receive in a public place -- the chance to enjoy the good and gracious living depicted each month in this publication. We'll bring you reports from time to time on the development and doings of the clubs. Those interested in additional information should direct inquiries to The Playboy Club, c/o Playboy, 232 E. Ohio St., Chicago 11, Illinois.
Most authors who bat out 2-1/4-pound novels should be skewered on a rusty pike. No exception is Robert Ruark, whose half-million-word, 706-page Poor No More (Holt, $5.95) tumbles on interminably. Obviously autobiographical in spots, the book explores--nervously yet explosively--the story of business bigwig Craig Price, his ascent to wealth and status, his crash to ruin. Protagonist Price is not averse to toying with the life of his lunatic mother-in-law, sacking both new friends and old, driving his wife to the bottle, nudging his daughter on the same road. Between these stints, there's plenty of lust, avarice, duplicity, impassioned violence and even arson. What Ruark has managed to do creditably well is to splash across a huge picture of a generation--the never-named generation--made up of the collegians of the Thirties. Along the way, he dabs a devastating portrait of the cocktail party, the Upper-Middlebrows of the period, a shaky South, a skittish Manhattan. Writing without the tensile strength and economy of a John O'Hara, Ruark needs cutting, editing and polishing badly. As it stands, the reader must do this for him and pay $5.95 for the privilege.
The plot of Li'l Abner (based on the Broadway musical) follows: Dogpatch is selected as the most useless spot in the U.S., will therefore be used as an atomic testing center unless a reason can be found why it shouldn't be. Will Yokumberry Tonic be the reason? (Yokumberry Tonic is made from the Yokumberry Tree which grows only in the Yokum yard. It is the tonic that has made Abner the strapping young hulk he is.) The rest of the story revolves around the tests and schemes of multibillionaire General Bullmoose to get hold of the tonic for private distribution -- also the plans of the (ugh) Scraggs to marry off Daisy Mae to Abner's rival, Earthquake McGoon. Most of the New York company is on hand, with Peter Palmer as the feckless hero, Stubby Kaye doing a standout job as Marryin' Sam, and Howard St. John so charmingly unscrupulous as Bullmoose that you root for him to win out over the U.S. Government in his nefarious schemes. Julie Newmar as Stupefyin' Jones will make every male viewer anxious to keep up with the Joneses. Two major changes are Leslie Parrish, a newcomer, as a delicious Daisy Mae, and Stella Stevens as Appassionata von Climax, giving evidence of a fine sense of comedy and a fine set of assets (see them in this month's center fold). The choreography is eye-catching, the costumes brief, and the (gulp) girls are worth waiting for on Sadie Hawkins Day.
Pieces of Eight (Offbeat 4016), the latest production at Julius Monk's Upstairs at the Downstairs room in Manhattan, is a freshly minted review starring eight coins in a fountain of merriment: Ceil Cabot, Jane Connell, Del Close, Gerry Matthews, Gordon Connell, Estelle Parsons -- satirists and stage sprites all -- and pianists William Roy and Carl Norman. They behave maniacally in 17 miniatures, holding up to the light such vulnerable aspects of contemporary culture as the Radio City Music Hall, TV programs for exceptionally mature kiddies (The Uncle Bergie Evans Show), girl-next-door songs (this chick loves Mr. Clean -- the man, not the cleanser -- and croons, "No hips could be thinner, no head more Yul Brynner"), Hawaii-and-Alaska tributes, Lady Chatterley and hillbilly ditties. We'll bet a doubloon that these Pieces of Eight are for you.
In The Miracle Worker, playwright William (Two for the Seesaw) Gibson has written an electric show about Helen Keller, the blind, deaf and mute child who grew up to be the inspirational woman she is today at 79, and of Annie Sullivan, the stern young Irish-American girl who guided the fearful, distraught child. Gibson's play, directed by Arthur Penn, is concerned only with the crucial weeks when Annie, orphaned and once blind herself, arrives in the Kellers' Alabama home to take charge of an apparently hopeless case of physical and mental derangement. Although the playwright pulls no punches as he fills his stage with scenes that are alternately touched with pity and thwacking violence, he never plays for the easy tears of the sentimentalist. Young Helen is a monstrous child with good reason, given to outrageous tantrums and sly bids for pity from her placating parents. Annie Sullivan is more than her match. Credit first-rate background performances to Torin Thatcher as Helen's confused father, and Patricia Neal as her doting, helpless mother. But Anne Bancroft as the patient, indomitable Annie Sullivan, and the 10-year-old TV actress, Patty Duke, as the hellion Helen, might just as well have the stage to themselves. Here is a pair of performances not likely to be matched this season, either for skillful characterization or for sheer physical stamina. The show starts fast, keeps rolling with mounting interest, ends with a satisfying smash curtain. At the Playhouse, 137 West 48th Street, NYC.
Even as other men, I am fond of vivacious, pert young ladies, and so I was happy to see the face of vivacious, pert young Shirley MacLaine on the covers of both Time and Look some weeks ago. I devoured both stories, hungrily ingesting the information that she is "vigorously original" (in the words of the Look writer), "a natural clown" (in the words of Peter Lawford), "a kook, but very warm" (in the words of Frank Sinatra), "a very fine, clean woman" (in the words of Charles Atlas) and "a real ring-a-ding" (in the words of Time's anonymous reporter).
Dictionarily, an hors d'oeuvre is "a relish or appetizer, served usually at the beginning of a meal," and when owners of public eating places talk about hors d'oeuvres, they may mean anything from an anchovy to the Continental hors d'oeuvre wagon, or even smorgasbord. In popular parlance, however, the phrase has come to mean simply something that people eat while they drink. At this time of year, assembling the hors d'oeuvre platter is one of the nation's most active indoor sports. It's impossible to imagine a properly arranged office shindig, fraternity affair, New Year's Eve party, or just a crowd around a punch bowl, without a display of canapés, dips and dunks. What follows, therefore, is a table of tips to help you make sure your hors d'oeuvres turn out to be chefs-d'oeuvre.
Florian's is the resort of film and fashion, and the most successful café on the Champs-élysées. The tables have been reduced to the size of dinner plates. They are crowded so close together that whoever leans back in his chair may receive bitter reproaches in his right ear for infidelity, and in his left for lack of understanding. If he leans forward to escape these he may find himself involved in a motion picture deal which is not likely to come off. The solitary is well advised to cower over his apéritif, and to fix his eyes on the sidewalk and study the passing crowd.
The italians--in additon to giving us elsa martinelli, strega and chicken cacciatora -- have contributed more imagination and inventiveness to men's casual clothes since World War II than any other national group. And they show no signs whatever of slowing up.
The suave stroll, the shoulder-borne trench coat, the police escort and the band blaring Come Fly with Me convinced 20,000 fans at last summer's Playboy Jazz Festival in Chicago Stadium that the surprise "added attraction" was Frank Sinatra. But Frank was several hundred miles away, unable to make the scene because of a prior movie commitment, and this was a good-natured tribute to The Voice by a young (28) singer named Duke Hazlett who is making a career out of imitating Sinatra's style and sound. Many of America's young vocalists owe more than a little of their way with a tune to Frank Sinatra, for he is the most imitated performer in show business today; but Duke's cannily accurate mimicry is so near perfect that even after Jazz Festival m.c. Mort Sahl explained who he was and introduced him to the wildly applauding audience, many went home convinced they had seen and heard the real Frank. Hazlett has affected not only the singing style, but also the way Sinatra smiles and snaps his fingers, and when he sets a hat cockily on the back of his head and steps into the spotlight, he bears a really remarkable resemblance to F.S. He favors Sinatra songs and punctuates his performance with Frank's pet phrases ("mother grabber," "it's a gasser," "clyde"). How does Sinatra feel about all this? He caught Duke at Slate Brothers in Hollywood about a year ago and grumbled, "I want my lawyers!" The fact that Frank doesn't dig his act disturbs Duke, who clearly enjoys working in Sinatra's shadow. Some think Hazlett is beginning to act like Sinatra off-stage as well as on. "The kid is sick," says radio and TV interviewer Jack Eigen. "He's even starting to call his wife Nancy, and that isn't her name." But Mort Sahl comes closer to the truth when he calls it "a great tribute to Sinatra. This guy is giving Frank the most that anyone can -- his whole life."
Perched at the mouth of his eight-foot exponential-horn speaker, Henry Jacobs, a 34-year-old wizard of oddsville, confronts the challenges of satire and sound. At home in his exotic, shoji-screened hilltop hideaway a few miles north of San Francisco, Jacobs is surrounded by his beautiful Eurasian wife, a pair of Burmese cats, perpetually-burning incense, and dog-eared copies of Ethna Musicology. In 1953, on Berkeley station KPFA-FM, he invented jazzman-idiot Shorty Petterstein ("Blow is like an instrument"), who later came alive on an EP record that sold 15,000 copies, was immortalized on an LP, The Wide Weird World of Shorty Petterstein. Temporarily eschewing satire, Jacobs turned to "a new art form," electronic music. Inside S.F.'s Morrison Planetarium, he hooked up Vortex -- a 40-speaker whirlpool of sound that envelops the audience from all compass points. By feeding trickily-taped "compositions" into' the system, Jacobs mixes a stunning set of sounds, while artist Jordan Belson flashes free forms on the Planetarium dome. The effect has enchanted several audio engineers, but some weary fans have been heard to implore, "Come back, little Shorty."
I used to think that writing on walls was something that people did only in the United States. But my years of travel around the world have been enough to disabuse some of this, and to show me that the act of writing on the wall is not in the least an eccentricity peculiar to us of this country, or even us of this century, but a shared experience of all peoples, of all times. Indeed, I've had to conclude that an inner compulsion to write on other people's walls is just as basic as the urge to make love or complain about taxes, and I've found that the study of these writings can throw light on an enigmatic corner of the human soul, and is a hell of a lot of fun besides.
Stella Stevens, an eye-filling inhabitant of Southern California, was summoned thence from Tennessee to test for the lead in a film about Jean Harlow, but the movie never came off and bella Stella had to content herself with so-so assignments in Say One for Me and The Blue Angel, films in which she appeared fleet-ingly and rather out of focus in the B.G., which is script talk for background, not Benny Goodman.
From Florida we hear that the stillness of the wee morning hours in one of Miami's most fashionable hotels was broken recently by a bellhop who ran up and down the corridors, screaming at the top of his voice: "The hotel's on fire, cha cha cha!"
Jaume Gelabert was a heavily-built, ill-kempt, morose Majorcan lad of 17. His father had died in 1936 at the siege of Madrid, but on the losing side, and therefore without glory or a dependents' pension; his mother a few years later. He lived by himself in a dilapidated cottage near our village of Muleta, where he cultivated a few olive terraces and a lemon grove. We became good neighbors.
Jamaica is an island-shaped island in the Caribbean, a bit south of Cuba, about 18° north of the Equator, a bit under 200 miles in length, about 40 miles at its widest, and blessed with a heavenly climate year round. You can get to Jamaica from Miami in two hours via B.W.I.A., Pan American, K.L.M. and Avianca. You can get there nonstop from New York via Avianca and B.O.A.C. in 61/2 hours, at a round-trip cost of $259. It would take 491/2 hours -- if you could make the right connections -- and cost $323 to go to Jamaica from Juneau, Alaska, but if you were in Juneau at this time of year, you'd probably deem it worth the time and money. You can't get to Jamaica from Magnitogorsk, but nobody cares.
There once lived a burgher so wealthy that his equal was not to be found in the whole city of Nürnberg. His praise resounded from many mouths and his name was known far and wide. He had a wife who was equally renowned, for she was very beautiful.
If, as Mr. Eliot once T.S.'d, "April is the cruelest month," January must certainly be the kindest, at least to men who like to look at lovely girls. For it is in the first month of each year that the dazzlers of the previous year return to grace our pages with a collective appearance. A more cuddly covey than the girls who won the Playmate mantle in 1959 would, we feel, be hard to imagine, and after you check out the accompanying evidence, we think you'll agree. In a musical comedy they call it a Reprise; in a concert, it's an Encore; the legitimate theatre calls it a Curtain Call; impresarios are fond of calling it a Return Engagement; we call it Playboy's Playmate Review -- and whatever you call it, it's By Popular Demand.
One of the most inadequate definitions in Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged, is: "hang'-o'ver, n. The effect of a period of dissipation after the exhilaration has worn off." The understatement is devastating, for in that one word "effect" is concealed a terrible world of meaning.
When we first tuned readers in on a little game we call Teevee Jeebies last July, it caused no end of favorable comment and chuckles among the many who had suffered through fifth and sixth showings of vintage film fare on television to the point where they could recite the dialog almost before the actors. The idea is to turn down the audio on your set and then supply your own scenario to the stirring scenes that move across the video screen. The more active the imagination, the more the fun, as you'll see in these samples from some typical TV movies.
March Is Moomba Time in Melbourne, Australia. Moomba, in fact, is a splendid term for any young man's vocabulary, because it's a "Let's have fun" directive to the woman of your choice (further interpretation purely up to you and your femme). In Australia in March it serves as the title of a festival that encompasses sports parades, aquatic carnivals, massed bands and wandering minstrels, fireworks and giddy Australian girls. Since March means rock-bottom rates on the luxury cruisers, you can join the Moomba scene -- and sample Tahiti, Fiji, Samoa and New Zealand, too -- for about $20 a day.