Commander Ian Fleming--tall, charming, Continental-suited, profoundly British, profoundly sophisticated, radiating his Eton and Sandhurst background--dropped by the Playboy Building and was properly impressed by the smart decor and the uncommon beauty of the receptionists and secretaries. "I'm doing a piece for The London Times on The Wicked Cities," he told us. "I don't suppose you could introduce me to any of the Mafia chaps?" We would have liked to, but we lead a cloistered life, so instead we cabbed him around to lamp the Biograph Theatre where John Dillinger was apprehended, to the site of the flower shop where Dion O'Banion got his, and to other historic Chicago landmarks. Then we arranged to pick him up at his hotel, the Ambassador, for dinner at eight. Fleming--creator of James Bond, the secret agent of those healthily-selling novels, Doctor No, Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Goldfinger (Playboy After Hours, October 1959) and others--had written a James Bond novelette for us just before this Chicago visit. There had been an exchange of transatlantic correspondence, friendly but reserved, in the course of which he had said, "I'm sure James Bond, if he were an actual person, would be a registered reader of Playboy." At dinner that evening, Fleming dropped the names of Maugham, Coward, Churchill, Whitehead, Hitchcock, deprecated the prevalence of the tomato in American cuisine, praised (and drank) American beer, reminded us he had served with British Naval Intelligence during World War II, is now Foreign Manager of The London Sunday Times, is married to the former Lady Rothermere. "My wife gives me absolute hell over the kind of books I write," he said as he tucked into a plate of frog's legs, "but I find them an awful lot of fun." We do, too, and we recommend you tuck into this issue's James Bond adventure right away. It's called The Hildebrand Rarity and is illustrated with high imagination by a young newcomer to these pages, Allan Phillips.
We can't vouch for the truth of this--it's a little too perfect to be Life Unadorned--but the raconteur from whom we heard it swears it happened. The police of a major American city, it seems, have responded to a recent gangland slaying by searching out and apprehending the violators of obscure, long-ignored, microscopically minor city ordinances. One of the younger police detectives recently scored a criminological triumph when he discovered that a delivery boy for a delicatessan carried a supply of tobacco, sans license, around on his motor bike for the convenience of his customers. A plot was laid to trap this public enemy, but a sympathetic cop passed the word along and the delivery boy hustled down to City Hall and got himself a tobacco license. Next day, the young detective hailed the boy making his rounds. "How about a pack of cigarettes?" asked the gumshoe.
Sunlight on Gleaming Metal, the throaty high-revving cry of powerful engines, the bright sea of spectators straining forward at the drop of the starter's flag, the lifting haze of bluegray exhaust as fender-less projectilelike cars bullet for the first turn, the snaking impassive length of dark macadam ahead, waiting to be conquered by the helmeted men of speed. This is the sport of Formula One road racing as it is practiced in Europe, a colorful, swift, savage--and sometimes deadly--game played for rich stakes by seasoned professionals.
If the cuisine of the United States is literally a melting pot of European recipes, then, by comparison, the cuisine of Polynesia is a maelstrom of memorable menus, including in its vortex plump New Zealand clams, hot Calcutta curries, beef on a bamboo stick, honeyed Cantonese duck, sukiyaki, mammoth Samoan crabs, candied banana-tree flowers and toasted coconut chips. Even food that's familiar to us, like fresh salmon, is treated in a way that triumphantly outwits traditional recipes: Hawaiian chefs massage raw salmon under water, tear it into shreds, pickle it with lime juice, flavor it with tomatoes and raw onions, and finally sprinkle it with red salt. You won't find red salt in your neighborhood shop, and you'll want to use your electric blender or chopper for shredding the fish, but the idea of pickling or "cooking" fish with lime juice is something you must try; the happy practice has traveled all the way to Sweden, where it's now used regularly in smorgasbord. Since Chinese settlers are found in most Pacific islands, should you travel there you can expect to encounter all the quickly turned specialties with semi-cooked vegetables that you find in stateside Chinese restamants. You'll be served a gossamer egg loo yung which takes only a few minutes on the fire. On the same menu there will appear a soup from the stock called o-miso. This is not a dish we recommend you add to your repertoire, since you prepare an authentic o-miso by cooking and pureeing soy beans, salting them, flavoring them with a seasoning known as kozi, and then waiting up to a month for the flavoring to develop. And if you think that's laborious, be apprised that, until modern chemical processing took over, o-miso took a full three years to reach a necessary maturity.
When i was in grade school back in Charleston, West Virginia, we never heard of Dr. Freud or words like "hostile" or "insecure." But we were still aware of different personality types, and we could define them merely by saying: "So-and-so is a jerk" or "So-and-so is swell" or "So-and-so is a keen first baseman."
Each Weekend This Winter, in a dozen cities across the country, several million viewers were invited to a sophisticated soiree in the swank surroundings of Playboy's Penthouse. A late-night television show, hosted by Editor-Publisher Hugh M. Hefner, our Penthouse offered the same masculine and urbane view of the world as Playboy magazine itself -- there was adult conversation with writers, philosophers and show business personalities -- there was hip and inside humor, the sort not often found on TV -- there was good music, folk, singing and jazz -- and, of course, there was a bevy of beautiful women, including a number of Playboy's own Playmates. What appeared to be a handsome bachelor apartment was actually an elaborate set in a TV studio of WBKB in Chicago, complete with wood-burning fireplace, fish tank and an electronic entertainment wall that included stereo hi-fi, panels that hid both television and a movie screen, and a revolving bookcase that turned into a bar. Playboy's Theme, music written especially for the show by Cy (Witchcraft) Coleman, was recorded with Cy playing piano against a full forty-piece string orchestra and became a popular jukebox hit. The very idea of a television show produced by Playboy prompted controversy in some quarters, but this is exactly the kind of fresh and offbeat programing that TV needs, and The New York Times called it "an informal ninety minutes of smooth, low-key entertainment that gives the late viewer an opportunity to see something other than old movies." Playboy produced its TV Penthouse as a thirteen-week promotion for the magazine, but we are so pleased with the response that we may bring the show back nationally in the fall.
Homo Sapiens, someone has said, is the animal that asks Why. Like, Newton gets clobbered on the head and asks, "Why does the apple fall?" But this is a pretty crummy definition, if you ask me. It leaves out of account all the times when Man doesn't ask Why. Apples were falling for a long time before Newton; and, if anybody asked Why, the best answer he got was, "Because they do, stupid," or, "Oh, go away and leave me alone." Man may ask Why now and then, but it takes him a long time to get around to it.
The Bills are bogus, but the money clips are real: smart, slim adjuvants for neatly toting your legal tender. Lootwise, your bills are casier to get at in a money clip, and you can reserve your harder-to-reach wallet for such important documents as your driver's license and credit cards.
When We See a damsel delightful as Sally Sarell professionally putting camel's hair to canvas, we are minded of Omar's lines, "I wonder often what the Vintners buy/One half so precious as the stuff they sell," for what can Sally create, one half so good to look upon as herself? A girl of parts (all of them lovely), Sally counts painting as the most fulfilling of many divergent interests, among which are writing, flying, knitting and judo. Our gal Sal does most of these things in the Beat Belt, Greenwich Village, though she says she's no beatnik. She is, in any event, an inviting individualist and, we trust you'll agree, a memorable Miss March.
The Hospital Waiting Room was an island of inefficiency in the long echoing and white-painted and silenced stretches of the hospital. In the waiting room there were ashtrays and crackling wicker furniture and uneven brown wooden benches and clearly unswept corners; the business of the hospital did not go on with the intruders waiting restlessly, and with every bed in every wing of the hospital filled, it was perfectly all right with the hospital administration to see the wicker chairs and wooden benches in the waiting room empty and wasting space. Katherine Ashton, who had not wanted to come anywhere near the hospital, who had wanted to stay at home in the apartment on this dark Sunday afternoon, who had wanted to cry a little in private and then dine later in some small unobtrusive restaurant -- perhaps the one where they did sweetbreads so nicely -- and linger over a melancholy brandy; Katherine Ashton came into the waiting room behind her husband, saying, "I wish we hadn't come. I tell you I hate hospitals and death scenes and anyway how does anyone know he's going to die today?"
Smack Dab in the Middle of the Nevada Desert, surrounded by towering peaks and other natural wonders to warm the heart of a Sunday-supplement picture editor, lies the unique hamlet of Las Vegas, a frantic cluster of pleasure domes toward which no visitor has ever been known to respond with indifference. Those who dig the place speak glowingly of its incredibly lavish big-name entertainment, its Lucullan accommodations, its round-the-clock gambling, its frankly sybaritic joyousness, and even its sparkling dry climate. There is, they claim, a quality of giddy excitement about a place where all who visit are bent on fun and frolic -- and on spending their hard-won or easily-come-by bankrolls like Monopoly money. No other place, the faithful will tell you, offers so much action, of every kind, at every hour.
Though Dug by Ducks and folks on the farm, rain is disdained by most people. So people counter with the raincoat. But comes the revolution (see this and the following two pages), and no longer is rain the sole raison d'être for the raincoat. In fact, no longer is the raincoat strictly a rain coat.
A Certain Nobleman had a beautiful and chaste wife. He, wishing to travel to Rome to visit the shrines, decided not to place any bounds or checks upon his wife except her own will, trusting in her excellent and proven good habits. And indeed, after he had departed, the woman lived in a very creditable way. But one day, when she had to leave the house for a little while, she was seen by a young man who fell madly in love with her. Having contrived to meet her, he subsequently tried to win her affection with jewels, but she always refused to listen to his amorous requests until at last the poor fellow fell ill of unrequited passion.
High on the List of America's Pet Hates is a man who, over a thirty-year period, gave this nation -- and every other nation in the world -- a gift valuable beyond price and beyond estimation, the most desirable and most difficult to receive: the imperishable gift of joy.
The Buds are Darling and the darlings are budding in May in Europe. You can cruise across the Atlantic on a mammoth luxury ship or a yacht-styled liner with a limited passenger list, using the increasingly popular one-way voyage plan (so you're not tied to a return date) at spring bargain rates. For confirmed air travelers, the most economical way to wing it is to gather a convivial group and charter your own plane. Whatever you do, make your travel reservations right now. Once you're abroad you can follow a flexible path, motoring your way from dock or airport to any points on the Continent in a brand-new rented car (if it performs admirably, buy it and take it home with you). See Europe the casual way, staying at smaller, more typical country hotels near the big cities, eating en route at charming wayside inns or picnic-style with some savory cheese, fresh bread and an ample supply of wine.
The Movies--A Penetrating Article on Hollywood's Academy Awards by Academy Award Winner Dalton Trumbo; Tips and Techniques on Filming Home Movies by Playboy's Picture Editor Vincent T. Tajiri; A Comprehensive Essay on the Experimental Film by "Saturday Review" Screen Critic Arthur Knight; Bold Photos of the New Argentine Film Sensation Isabel Sarlis