Arthur C. Clarke is an amiable, pleasantly schizoid Englishman: one side of him writes strictly factual articles and books on astrophysics, missiles and rocketry; the other side writes flamboyantly imaginative science-fiction about the shape of things to come. For this May Playboy, Clarke has succeeded in merging his two professional personalities by writing I Remember Babylon, a unique, disturbing piece in which fact and fiction are inextricably mingled. It is told in the first person singular by a man named Arthur C. Clarke. It takes place in Ceylon, where Clarke lives. In the piece, a married couple named Mike and Liz make an appearance – you can see the actual Mike and Liz (their real names) in the company of author Clarke on this page, in a photo that shows them downing drinks at Mount Lavinia, where part of I Remember Babylon takes place. We call Clarke's piece "fiction," though it may be only a matter of time – and a short time, at that – before it becomes disastrous fact.
There's a theatre in Hollywood called The Silent Movie where, for a mere 60¢, you can take a seat, fasten your safety belt, and be instantaneously catapulted forty years into the past. While the film societies offer art, this establishment specializes in entertainment. The Battleship Potemkin loses out in favor of a Wallace Beery-Raymond Hatton opus called We're in the Navy Now. The popular pictures of this era recapture the past with a thoroughness surpassing Proust. In the very silence of its movies, one hears the real voice of the Roaring Twenties – as Clara Bow shimmies atop a table and Harold Lloyd teeters atop a skyscraper. Once again Chaplin twirls his cane, Valentino flares his nostrils, Von Stroheim nibbles at the pinkies of Mae Busch, and Doug Fairbanks displays the deftness that made D'Artagnan the greatest swordsman in all Beverly Hills. In this vanished world Felix the Cat is king of animated cartoons – who ever heard of Mickey Mouse? The bill changes weekly and includes a complete selection of short subjects featuring Mabel Normand, Buster Keaton, Ben Turpin, Lupino Lane and the rest of the Keystone, Christie and Educational stars. It is not unusual to see, amongst one's fellow-passengers, aged versions of the very figures that flicker across the screen, for. quite a number of silent movie stars are silent movie fans. We don't pretend to know what today's Hop-along Cassidy thought as he watched youthful Bill Boyd in The Volga Boatman, but we came away from that performance with a lasting impression which was not due to the hard seat alone. There are certain therapeutic benefits to time-traveling. Ignoring those who will accuse us of a desire to return to the womb, we unashamedly admit we love the warm darkness of The Silent Movie where we can seek the security of a bygone era in which Pearl White is certain to be rescued from the railroad track, Tom Mix will beat the living daylights out of Noah Beery, and everything turns out all right in the last reel. How about more such movie houses all over the country? Or a nationwide TV series of full-length (not clips of) silents?
Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali has held a nutty position in the world of art for over twenty-five years. Though critics and colleagues have often ignored him as a serious painter, he has been granted more attention from the press than any other living artist. In The Case of Salvador Dali (Little, Brown, $6.50), Fleur Cowles, founder of that chic and now defunct magazine, Flair, divides her study into three sections: the man, the genius and the screwball. While taking in her stride the head-scratching antics of her old friend Dali – his compulsion as a child to toss himself down staircases, his chewing the wood and glass of a china cabinet, his use of fish glue as a hair dressing – she accepts their paranoiac implications, and documents her diagnosis with excerpts from Freud. But in Dali's canvases, that world of rubbery watches, phallic crutches and limpid fried eggs, Fleur Cowles finds a mystic statement that is both dazzling and profound. The paintings, the lady claims, reflect Dali's whopping intellect, a greatness of mind that never fails to astonish her when she is in his company. Let the conflict rage, says the author, "the unlimited pleasure we have every day from his paintings more than offsets the criticism we hear of him." Complete with letters, a glossary of Dalian lingo and thirty-three pages of photographs, The Case offers a multifaceted and entertaining view of its subject and his work.
It doesn't seem like fifteen years since Mel Tormé was heading his Mel-Tones vocal group on radio's Fitch Bandwagon ("Laugh awhile, let a song be your style, use . . ."). Nor have we forgotten the sound of that same group with the Artie Shaw band in the late Forties. Tormé obviously hasn't either. In Back in Town – Mel Tormé with the Mel-Tones (Verve 2120), the sounds are as refreshing as ever – from a delicate Baubles, Bangles and Beads to the glowing Shawera arrangement of What Is This Thing Called Love? to a flowing blues medley. Marty Paich's hip arrangements and the neat solos of reed man Art Pepper and trumpeter Jack Sheldon are in keeping with the modern pace Tormé sets throughout. Musicological note: the group's slick Don't Dream of Anybody but Me may sound familiar. It should. It's Neal Hefti's Lil' Darlin' – a Basie stand-by – with lyrics.
Toys in the Attic arrived on Broadway just in time to save a sorry season from comparative disaster. Lillian Hellman's first play in almost nine years is the thoughtful work of an old pro. Her dialog is as accurate as radar, and her feeling for character is still as sharp as a surgeon's knife. There is also the matter of creating excitement on stage, of involving a well-fed and secure audience with the chancy people behind the footlights, and this Miss Hellman also ably accomplishes with the assistance of dynamic director Arthur (The Miracle Worker, Two for the Seesaw) Penn. The frustrated New Orleans spinsters of Toys are the Berniers sisters, Carrie (Maureen Stapleton) and Anna (Anne Revere), who love their no-good brother Julian (Jason Robards, Jr.) after their respective fashions. Carrie is smug and sweet and unknowingly incestuous; Anna is the calm observer who keeps things to herself. One day foolish, feckless Julian comes home from Chicago with a child bride (Rochelle Oliver), a parcel of presents and a pocketful of money. The effect is disastrous. This is a family that cannot stand or understand success from the idolized male they wanted to keep in a state of perpetual infancy. Julian's comeuppance, when he's robbed and horribly mutilated, puts the drab New Orleans house irrevocably back where it was in the beginning. Miss Hellman manages to out-Faulkner Tennessee Williams, out-Williams Truman Capote, and occasionally out-Hellman Hellman. Like: Julian's mother-in-law (Irene Worth) is a wealthy, tight-lipped woman with a Negro lover (Percy Rodriguez); Julian's child bride is a frightening case of nymphomania with a touch of imbecility. And so on. At the Hudson Theatre, West 44th Street, NYC.
Those sated with Japanese exoticism in films should find Ikiru fascinating. This most recent work to appear here by the director of Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa, is, in addition to many other things, a story of life in Japan today. Ikiru ("To Live," as the distributor has it, or "Living") is the story of the last six months of a dying bureaucrat. If that sounds dull, Mr. Kurosawa has some surprises. Not the least of them is the wildly unorthodox and successful treatment of the last third of the picture. By this point the hero is already dead, after having survived: the casual and cutting ingratitude of his only son, for whose benefit he thought he was living; a doomed but touching romance with a young woman; and an awareness of the waste that has been his life. Suddenly we are at his wake. There, as the talk and the sake flow, we gradually discover in a series of flashbacks (each told from the viewpoint of the various and mostly unsympathetic mourners) the hero's last and perhaps only real accomplishment: the construction of a tiny park where once there had been a swamp. The heroism of this tiny conquest of the System, petty officialdom, indifference, what you will, is made infinitely more tragic and relevant for its being told by complacent careerists, fools and scoundrels. A film of caring, of commitment.
I don't have much to Recommend me but Good Looks, Smart ways, and a Resistant Heart. But my Looks are not so good as all that (Two-Colored Eyes), my ways are Smart Enough only to get me in Trouble (Afterthoughts, Nostalgia, Fits of Temper), and my Heart Turns out to be Sentimental Just When I think I have things all Under Control. You have to be a Genius to get along my Wasting, Spoiling way in the World, and I'm not a Genius. I'm of the Species Makeius Outium. Sometimes I do; always I don't. "Complex?" says Max, my Agent, "why, Luckarooney, you're Practically Russian." He calls me Luckarooney because my name is Lucky. He calls me complex because my life is complicated.
The problem, a typical one, was to turn a man inside out. Gordon Hughes, grand master of an art lost to us now, considered and rejected the obvious solutions. It had to be authentic, not merely convincing. Of course, it was a good bet that most people did not know what a man being turned inside out sounded like, but the wonder and the challenge of it was that they knew what a man being turned inside out did not sound like. Hughes and his fellow alchemists realized this odd fact. By the tedious process of trial and error they found that in order to express the whole they would have to separate the parts, as follows: (1) Flesh: a rubbery, snapping effect; (2) Bones: a grinding, crunching effect; and (3) Blood and Guts: a squishing effect. Thus categorized, the job became a matter of routine. For the first part of the problem, Flesh, they used a length of inner (continued on page 50) Requiem for Radio (continued from page 33) tube. A technician grasped the bottom of this device with his left hand, inserted his right arm into the tube, grasped the top section firmly, and yanked. Effect: a rubbery, snapping sound. For Blood and Guts, a tub of warm cooked spaghetti and two bathroom plungers sufficed. Problem Number Two, Bones, was somewhat more difficult. Various types of woods were tried, but with signal lack of success. Soda crackers crunched well enough, yet there was a certain feeling of depth still missing. One of the earnest artisans sardonically offered to sacrifice his left leg, but the gesture was refused on the grounds that the effect, though genuine, might, as was so often the case with "actual" noises, sound spurious; besides, it allowed no chance for rehearsal. Finally someone put a Lifesaver between his teeth, motioned for silence, stood close to the mike, and proceeded to grind the candy slowly into powder.
"Variety's the Very Spice of life," wrote William Cowper, and, counterclockwise, spices can be the very life of cooking, in the infinite variety they provide. This fact, while mouthwatering, is hardly news, since men have been setting sail since Columbus' time, and before, in hopes of returning laden with precious condiments. What is new is that more spices, and more different spices, are being used now than ever before.
Yesterday Evening, Zoe and I were sitting in the living room, when the telephone rang. Without a thought on my mind, I picked up the receiver and said, in tenor, as follows: "This is a recorded announcement. Do you suffer from coughs, colds, tightness around the chest? Then try Hydoplexideem. It contains gustodex, pyroflavin and rich nodules of flicomycin. Now for the time. It is exactly nine-forty-seven." There was a long silence and a million miles away I heard someone hang up.
Long hampered by sports jackets seemingly created for every activity but his, the sports-car buff can now take heart, for our fashion department has designed a jacket to conform to his specific needs. Take note. The shorter length and deep-cut side flaps contained by concealed closures enable you to enter and exit with ease and to ride in comfort. When the situation calls for it, you can crouch over the steering wheel with no strain, thanks to expanding half bellows in the shoulders. Your gloves are instantly accessible in two deep-slashed inside pockets, while your smokes are a snap to reach in the raised breast pocket. As your roadster picks up speed, you can fasten the swivel tab collar closing and draw the wrist straps against the wind. And when you leave your car (carrying an extra key in the small emergency key pocket, of course), you've got a fashionable, virile and distinctly sporty coat. The basic silhouette is Ivy; the cut is three-button and natural-shoulder; the fabric is imported Scotch Ballantyne of Peebles wool in a muted plaid combination of brown, olive and gray with rich brown suede trim on buttons, breast pocket, buckle cuffs, side pocket welts and wind tab collar closure. Now being made by Stanley Blacker, about $75.
Ginger young is a Red-Haired, green-eyed, grandly structured (36-23-36) girl, whose shapely legs are carrying her up the ladder of success as an actress. She has appeared on the Jerry Lewis Show, the Steve Allen Show, a Ford Spectacular and Murder, Inc., among other TV entertainments, and was seen (via special film clip) in the posh stage musical Pink Jungle, which did not reach Broadway because the star (another Ginger named Rogers) took exception to Agnes Moorehead's out-of-town rave notices. Our Ginger is also becoming known for an unappeasable appetite: the poor girl is addicted to mountainous hot fudge sundaes, and woe awaits the soda jerk who dares to serve her a portion she considers too small. We fear we now may have a small addiction of our own; having met young Ginger, what worries us is that, find countless lovelies in the future though we will, now and then we may miss Miss May.
In the Beginning was the Word, and words have been swinging around the clock ever since. There is the Word To The Wise, there is the Good Word (as in What's The?), there are the ominous words of We Had Words, there is The Last Word, for which the fair sex is notorious, and now there is Word Play, a jolly way of making words self-descriptive that is certain to tug your lips into a smile – take our Word for it.
In France, by the bright blue mediterranean, lies the little town of Cannes. Generally it slumbers under the warm sun and garners its income from fish and tourists. Then, for two wild weeks in early May, it becomes the cinema capital of the world, and drawn to its mile-long strip of land called the Croisette are the top brass of international moviedom and just about every stunning, fun-loving girl on the Continent. At that time, if you can make it, it's definitely the place to be.
My Name is Arthur C. Clarke, and I wish I had no connection with the whole sordid business, but as the moral – repeat, moral – integrity of the United States is involved, I must first establish my credentials. Only thus will you understand how, with the aid of the late Dr. Alfred Kinsey, I have unwittingly triggered an avalanche that may sweep away much of western civilization.
From left to right, and right for a Sunday brunch in the city, the olive imported silk pongee miniature glen plaid suit boasts a three-button natural-shoulder jacket with lap seam trim, flap pockets and center vent; trousers are slim with plain front, by Cricketeer, $70. The brown and black wool and mohair miniature-check suit features a threebutton jacket with flap pockets and center vent, by J & F, $55. Chalk-striped black wool worsted and mohair suit with shawlcollared natural-shoulder jacket features short, cutaway, hidden-button fly front, hacking welt pockets and short side vents, lined in antique blue, by Andrew Pallack, $95. Black cord-striped wool worsted and mohair suit sports one-pleat trousers and a two-button jacket with semi-peak lapels, hacking welt pockets, short cutaway front and center vent, by Don Richards, $55.
We address ourselves today to the most vexing problem of the peripatetic city dweller: how shall he transport himself, or himself and his date, or himself and his date and a brace of friends, in today's jackstraw tangle of traffic? Supposing he wants to pick up his girl who lives uptown, take her downtown to a friend's pad for a drink, then, with friend, go to pick up his date just on the edge of the suburbs; then, four now, to dinner and a show, and afterward, a club on the other side of town for a nightcap. Bus? Subway? Are you out of your mind? Taxis? Fine, but an evening for four people, if they happen to live in neighborhoods distant from one another, will seriously erode a $20 note.
Once Long Ago, a certain vizier was given three wishes by a genie. Excited beyond measure at his good fortune, he hurried home to inform his wife and to enlist her help in formulating the wishes. "You are always wanting things," he told her. "Now help me to decide what we ought to wish for."
All will be cool at this summer's Newport Jazz Festival, with a swinging coterie of musicians – big bands, combos and singers – set to wail in afternoon and evening concerts during the June 30-July 4 weekend at Newport, R.I. The dandiest blowing will take place on the Freebody Park stage, but there'll undoubtedly be spirited after-hours sessions at the Hotel Viking (Festival headquarters) and various local mansions. Write speedily for ducats.