Not Long Ago, a thirty-nine-year-old airline executive named Leland Webb quit his job. He had worked for the airline eleven years, had received many promotions and was often assured of what is called A Bright Future. "But," says Webb, "I began to feel constantly out of breath and suffered from a strong desire to be sick all over my Bigelow. On the day before my fortieth birthday, I told my boss I would take my birthday off. He said no. I took my birthday off. Also the next day. And the next. By this time it was a habit and I never went back." What he did do was pack his bags and settle down to live modestly in a remote Florida hamlet. Among his luggage, he had included a small portable typewriter, for he had decided to take a plunge into a long-unrealized dream – the writing of fiction. One of his shorter yarns you read last month, the sardonic Mother's Day. For this June issue of Playboy, he has written a long, absorbing story rich with symbol and aglow with humanity: The Runaways. And, of course, runaway Leland Webb hasn't stopped there – he promises us much more work from his beat-up little portable, because he feels that, having abdicated from the rat race, he's never had it so good.
This magazine's first excursion into the troubled waters of earnest editorializing (The Contaminators, October 1959, a statement on radioactive fallout) met with positive response, for the most part, but a few readers accused us of excess passion. There is a disturbing lack of passion in a letter also concerning radioactive fallout, sent by Major-General Herbert Loper, the Special Atomic Energy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, to Senator Clinton Anderson, the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy. It's partly the official phrasing, of course – "the following is a brief status report outlining the present programs for analyzing and evaluating the radiation hazards resulting from atomic detonations" – and the casual use of jargon, but, these things aside, there is in the letter's lifeless tone something we find almost sinister. "The danger of carbon 14 and cesium 137 has been examined," writes the General, "and the immediate probability of any one individual being affected is about one in 500,000. The risk of damage resulting from the testing of weapons is therefore extremely small." Cesium 137, as everyone now realizes, causes grave genetic disturbances in the reproductive system. Translating this into U.S. population terms (just to smack home the point and not for a moment suggesting that the problem stops at borders), the General is saying (unless our arithmetic is wrong: we're figuring on an 180,000,000 population basis) that, as a result of current atomic fallout, three hundred and sixty people in this country are doomed to have deformed or stillborn children. This seems to us serious in the extreme, a situation about which to be legitimately alarmed and angry. Reading the stale wordage in the General's letter, however, we couldn't help thinking we were looking into the interoffice correspondence of, say, a shoe company. (Memo from the Vice President in Charge of Open-toed Sandals to the Eastern Sales Manager: "The immediate probability of any one pair being defective is one in 500,000.") Discouragingly, the General's thinking seems to us no better than his prose. One sentence, in particular, depressed us more than anything we've read in a long time: "However, the probable casualties attributable to radioisotopes from weapons testings when summed up over the population of thousands of years create a moral issue that could be of considerable propaganda importance." (The italics are ours, part of a matched set we're thinking of pawning in order to raise enough money to build a radiation shelter in the back yard.) Unless, again, we're misreading the General's letter, he seems to be saying that the birth of deformed children is bad public relations. Faced with a grotesque human situation, the General sees a problem in propaganda. A moral issue has indeed been created.
For many years The Steering Wheel Club, in London, and L' Action Automobile, in Paris, have served as the only public retreats for peripatetic sports car buffs. Now America is getting the idea. If you dig the racing scene and find yourself cut off from kindred souls, try the following establishments: The Steering Wheel (1352 North La Salle, Chicago). This is basically a dram shop with the accent on drinks (Aston-Martinis, Porsche Punch, Jaguar Juleps), pizza and conversation, and it takes an experienced navigational rallyist to find the place. But it's worth the effort. The proprietress, petite, twenty-seven-year-old Carol Clausen, will greet you personally and show you to your bucket seat (equipped with safety belt). Bench racing 5 p.m. to 2 A.M. on weekdays, 5 to 3 every Saturday. Closed Sundays. In Milwaukee race drivers Tom Shelbe and Fred Rediske offer a haven called The Grand Prix (144 East Juneau Street). Here the conversation centers on automobiles, but fanaticism is not a requirement. Hours are the same as The Steering Wheel's. Los Angeles, the sports car capital of the U.S., offers another Grand Prix (8204 Beverly Boulevard), this one owned and operated by nationally famed drivers Bob Drake and Mary Davis. The drinks are strong, the food is good, and every Thursday night racing movies are shown. Come as early as 11:30 A.M. and swing till 2 in the morning, every day except Sunday. New York's Le Chanteclair (18 East 49th Street) is the pioneer, and still best of breed. Most patrons are unaware that the genial, gentle host, Rene Dreyfus, was once champion driver of France, or that Le Chanteclair is the unofficial meeting place of racing enthusiasts from all over the world. If you want to talk cars, you're sure to find like-minded companions of either sex; if it's food you're after, the cuisine offers de luxe refueling. Pits open at noon and close at 9:45 P.M.; roped off on Sunday.
The Fugitive Kind, based on Tennessee Williams' play Orpheus Descending, is likely to be one of the really important American films of 1960. For its acting alone, with outstanding performances by Anna Magnani, Marlon Brando, Joanne Woodward, Maureen Stapleton and Victor Jory, it is worth anyone's respectful attention. But it is also a film which, under Sidney Lumet's direction, makes Mr. Williams' points most effectively. The scene is a small town not far from New Orleans into which Brando happens at the age of thirty. A man who plays the guitar and who has played the gigolo, he is determined to "get off the game."Two decent older women look after him – Stapleton (who paints, and is married to the local sheriff), and Magnani (who sings or used to, and who now dreams of opening a wine garden behind the one-room department store of her ailing husband, Jory). Also concerned for his welfare is Joanne Woodward, now the disgrace of the district, but once, in her own words, "a Christ-bitten reformer." The three women and Brando have each suffered deeply due to local provincialism: and each cares too much for life or art or beauty or love or sex or dignity not to have clashed headlong with the local way of life long before the end. There's strong medicine in this one, and superb performances.
The Playboy Jazz All-Stars, Vol.3 (PB 1959) is probably the most impressive jazz release of the year – and to hell with modesty: we mean it. The three-LP set features the wailing of the winners in Playboy's third annual Jazz Poll, and the All-Stars' All-Stars chosen by the musicians themselves. Like the preceding two Playboy packages, it is issued on our own label through the cooperation of the entire recording industry, and never before have so many top jazz musicians been heard on a single venture. Where else can you find, for example, both the Kenton and Basie bands, both the Four Freshmen and the Hi-Lo's? The first track on side one is a funny five-minute intro by Mort Sahl; the closing track on side six is Cy Coleman's performance of Playboy's Theme, the music from Playboy's Penthouse. In between is some rich and varied jazz – chosen for the most part by the musicians themselves specifically for Playboy – including some of the highlights of Playboy's socko Jazz Festival held in Chicago last summer. Down Beat called Ella Fitzgerald's Festival performance "the most electrifying of her career," and the high point of that gig – an incredible romp through How High the Moon – is in this volume. It is probably the best Ella ever released on record. To cite a few other standouts: Miles Davis' classic Four, the Oscar Peterson Trio's bounding The Golden Striker, Paul Desmond's touching Susie, Sonny Rollins' witty Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody, J. J. Johnson's brisk Hello, Young Lovers. Coleman Hawkins' Festival version of Body and Soul and Frank Sinatra's moody There's No You. The three LPs (thirty-two tracks in all) are handsomely boxed with a thirty-two-page booklet of full-color photos, biographies and discographies on all artists. The package awaits you at your favorite record shop or in prompt reply to that check or money order ($16.50 for stereo: $13.50 for mono) you dispatch to the magazine. Come swing with us.
Anthony Perkins sings, and not badly, in Greenwillow. This is a quasi-quaintsy folk fantasy, for which Frank Loesser has written a nice variety of ballads and jaunty ditties (the original-cast album is available: RCA Victor LSO-2001). The rest, an arch attempt at Never-neverland which turns into Dullsville, should be silence. At the Alvin, 250 West 52nd Street, NYC., if you care.
The Kinsey Reports, you may be happy to hear, have been dramatized, fictionalized, and hopped up into a stinger of a novel which, for all its neat contrivances, is a thoroughly readable and convincing tale. The title is The Chapman Report (Simon and Schuster, $4.50), by Irving Wallace. The subject is – you guessed it – sex and surveys. In his apologia, Wallace goes to great lengths to assure us that his book has nothing whatever to do with Kinsey or his staff, that all characters are fictional, that the story is pure invention and nothing else. We look at an endless parade of Simmons acrobatics over the shoulder of Paul Radford, heir apparent to Dr. Chapman and dedicated student of sexual pyrotechnics. Along with the crew, he is examining the mores and frequencies of a group of women in a plush Los Angeles suburb called The Briars. There is Naomi Shields, a nympho who turns out to be an ex-wife of one of the examiners. There is the plain and somewhat mousey housewife, Sarah Goldsmith, ready for her first extramarital affair. There is Teresa Harnish, who likes to look at football players on the beach – and finally tackles one to her shocked dismay. There is also Kathleen Ballard, normal as plankton in an ocean of oddballs, the girl that Paul naturally yearns for and eventually gets. Between times, we see and hear a goodly number of sexual histories that make the Kinsey reports seem as mild as a milk shake. It all adds up to a fast-paced chronicle that tries to prove that sex without affection is No Damn Good. If author Wallace had spilled over into luridness from his taut and readable style, he would have wrecked the mood. But he resists. He has been able to have his cake and eat it – combining a thoroughly respectable literary style with a ticklish subject. It's even money that this will zip up the best-seller list and stay there for a long visit.
The pony came running through the rivermere suburb between two and three in the morning. Andrew Garth woke to the sound of drumming hoofs coming from way over on Canberra Road. He followed the sound with wonder and a mounting dread as the pony turned off Canberra onto Mclver, and when he heard it make another turn onto Cavanagh, he jumped from his bed and ran to the front door. He rushed out on the stoop as the pony turned down Gramercy Lane, his street.
I suspect that no one man in the world has owned and driven as many individual models of one make of motorcar as has Mr. Edward Mayer of London. Mr. Mayer has owned something over one hundred and twenty automobiles of one make: Mercedes-Benz. I think Mr. Mayer's niche in the listings of such curiosa must be secure. The Nizam of Hyderabad, when his holdings of two-and-a-half billion dollars made him very possibly the richest man in the world, owned more than fifty Rolls-Royce automobiles, but he owned them all at one time, and he did not often drive them. Mr. Mayer has owned his cars seriatim, and has driven all of them, and vigorously. There have been men who've owned twenty Bugattis, thirty-one Packards, twenty-six Stutzes, a double gross of steamers, a scuderia of fifteen Bentleys, and so on, but only Mercedes and Mercedes-Benz cars have, to my limited knowledge, gone over the hundred mark in the hands of one man. Since Mercedes cars have always been expensive, Mr. Mayer obviously had the means to buy one hundred and twenty of any make. One may wonder why he chose the make he did.
"Show me the manner in which a people bury their dead and I shall measure with mathematical exactness the degree of civilization attained by these people." The gent who uttered these ringing lines was British Prime Minister Gladstone, and it is a crying shame that we will never have the benefit of his mathematical measurement of the level of civilization of a certain city in the Western portion of the United States, in the sixth decade of the Twentieth Century.
The lobby was roiled with cops, cables and klieg lights. Behind the desk a harried, gray-skinned man perfunctorily took the calls: "Sands Hotel; sorry, nothing at all. Try us next month." A few feet away the fabled casino was smokyhot, jangling and thick with humanity. Outside, a neon blaze took over for the dying green-gold wisps of dusk, and Director Lewis Milestone trained his camera on the marquee billing Red Skelton and Danny Thomas in the Copa Room. A jostling passel of show-wise tourists was held back by cordons of police guards trying to explain that Red and Danny weren't really playing the Sands, but the sign was vital to a scene in a Hollywood movie. It hardly mattered that nobody listened, for by now there were almost no show-biz savants west of Hoboken who didn't know that Frank Sinatra's film, Ocean's Eleven, was being shot in Vegas, with Frank's real-life buddies, as well as himself, in leading roles: Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
This country has got enough real troubles without having to deal with imaginary ones. We are referring specifically to the so-called "Parking Problem" which has been getting the big play lately, especially in the metropolitan newspapers. We have been reading that in one major city alone over eight million dollars is collected annually on parking violations, the reason being, of course, that most of the large cities simply do not have enough legal curb space to accommodate the driver and his auto. The small car trend and the increased number of motor scooters on our streets are attributed in part to the Parking Problem, and the urban driver is supposed to be a hunted man, parking miles from his destination if he can park at all, and paying out hundreds annually in garage fees and parking tickets.
Whether digging clams or chicks this summer, you'll want more than a swim suit to make the best on-the-beach appearance. Sun worshipers, surfboarders or sailors should prepare for their nautical exploits by selecting a versatile, fashionable wardrobe. This year the emphasis is on coordinated tops and trunks; mix them or match them, but choose them wisely. The old, overdesigned look is gone (remember the matching cabaña set?); in its place are beachwear items of good-looking stripes, small paisley prints, and conversation prints that are nearer to a whisper than a shout. For warmth, there's terry cloth (even terry-lined shorts); for the Continental touch, there are smart tops with the Italian collar, slash pockets and all.
Veal has been synonymous with sumptuous supping ever since the Prodigal Son sat down to that feast of Fatted Calf. For veal, of course, is meat from a calf, and a very young calf at that – usually no older than three months. In fact, for cooking purposes, veal and calf mean the same thing.
Hats, in this year of Presidential politics, are most often publicized as objects for throwing into rings, but we thought it only proper that they keep their reputation for ornamenting ladies' heads as well. With this in mind, we accompanied delectable Chicagoan Delores Wells as she inspected several summer chapeaus, to see which would get her straw vote, and to gift her with same. We should have known better: complacent in the knowledge that Playboy was picking up the tab, Delores happily bought all the hats she tried on. We couldn't complain, though, since her next stop was a private beach where she tanned those areas of her epidermis not tannable at public beaches and posed as Playmate, wearing a hat – and nothing else.
Doctor: The employment advisor exchanged his professional calm for unprofessional exasperation. "There must be something you can do, Doctor," he said, "a man of your educational background. The war hasn't made savages out of all of us. If anything, the desire for teachers has increased a thousand times since A-day."
The knit shirt, once in doubtful taste for all save such active sports as golf, tennis or yachting, has suavely moved into every sphere of casual living. Worn winningly with slacks, shorts or swimwear, the knits – no longer seen only in the classic polo cut – have really come into their own this season. Why?
The lights go dim. You and your date settle back, and you light a cigarette for her. The pianist begins to work the ivory, while the drummer fills in with wire brushes; then a girl stands up in the spotlight and sings: "In the still of the night,/As I gaze from my window . . ." Your date turns to look at you, and, before many more bars have tumbled into sound, hands in the dark begin to reach out for each other; a romantic haze, a mist of memory bedded with desire, fills the room and settles around the boy and girl.
A few days ago, by Mistake, I happened to read a column by a television critic. He was complaining that most TV shows are Videotaped now. He missed the "little surprises" that used to crop up in live broadcasts, the "charming touches of spontaneity."
Last Year's Last Playmate turned out to be that twelvemonth's favorite. Ellen Stratton is her name, legal secretary her vocation, and she enhanced the happy holiday air of the December 1959 Playboy by posing prettily in the centerfold with a sprig of mistletoe and little else. Since her appearance here, Ellen has enjoyed another kind of exposure: she was a TV guest on Playboy's Penthouse, and made a number of promotional appearances for Playboy besides. But her sudden movement into the limelight hasn't turned Ellen's head: she's still a secretary in the West Coast law firm where she's worked for the last three years, and her dream of someday being a lady lawyer has come one step closer with her recent enrollment in nighttime law courses. Should she reach her goal, we predict that the courts she works in will enjoy SRO attendance. But whether or not she becomes a modern Portia, Ellen has already been tried and judged a standout among the country's most popular group of girls – Playboy's Playmates.
The colony, in New York, greets its guests with a stunning cosmopolitan-carnival decor. As soon as you enter the fashionable restaurant, you can sense its zestful tempo. The Tent Room, to your left, is a candy-striped paradise, a festive realm of bar and tables, vividly gift-wrapped in a canopy and wallpaper of bold stripes. Artist LeRoy Neiman, whose painting of the Tent Room captures its brilliance, recalls that "loyal Colonists hug the bar at most hours, many reluctant to break off conversation with senior bartender Mario. The atmosphere is convivial and inviting: it's a bright pepper-mintish spot to drink and lunch." If it's dinner you're after – a relaxing, rewarding prelude to an evening in Manhattan – exit the Tent Room (after toasting Mario's art) and slip through the tall glass door into the main dining room. The chandeliers and mirrored walls here lend an incomparable glitter to the room, and a casual parable glitter to the room, and a casual glance reveals the presence of customcrafted champagne buckets and giant hand-carved pepper mills – Colony trademarks. The pace is less vigorous than in the bright Tent Room, but warm spirits prevail. The cuisine is superior and the superb wine and liqueur list will gratify the most exacting taste. The hors d'oeuvre selection includes pâté Maison, Poire Avocado Colony, Imported Fresh Caviar de Beluga and Foie Gras de Strasbourg. The Potage assortment includes a splendid Scotch Broth au Barley and La Soupe à I'Oi-gnon Gratinée. Among the entrees are such Spécialités de la Maison as Sole Anglaise Paiva, Côte de Veau Aplatie and Poulet Grille Diable. The Broccolis Hollandaise or the Carottes Vichy are ideal complements, as is the Romaine Salade. Colony desserts are lovely to look at and delightful to consume; cases in point are the Beignets Soufflés with Sauce Sabayon, the Poire Sicilienne or the artistically formed Petits Fours. The service – from that initial pre-prandial cocktail to the final mellow liqueur – is unobtrusive and inimitably efficient. The waiters and captains are wholly in command, subtle in motion and knowledgeable in culinary conference preparatory to selecting one's repast. In Tent Room gaiety or dining room splendor, the Colony is a judicious blend of elegance, comfort, fun and sophistication.
Once there was a king who vowed he would marry none but the cleverest woman in the realm. He looked far and wide and found none so wise and had all but given up when he saw a beautiful girl watering flowers on a balcony. He drew rein on his horse and said:
Professor Irwin Corey, the most distinguished obscurantist of our time, has been called many things, including the following by Kenneth Tynan: "A cultural clown, a parody of literacy, a travesty of all that our civilization holds dear, and one of the funniest grotesques in America. He is Chaplin's tramp with a college education." Corey has been in nightclub, theatre and television residence as "the world's foremost authority" since 1943, dispensing oratory on the Periclean perimeter and conducting seminars on contemporary calamities, convulsing the country with his trademarks – authoritatively-bellowed sophistry and shabby garb, enlivened by an incredibly mobile face. He has brightened night spots (once spent fifty-five weeks at New York's Blue Angel), Broadway (New Faces of 1943, Flahooley, Happy as Larry, Mrs.McThing) and TV (the Steve Allen and Jack Paar shows, Playboy's Penthouse, Sergeant Bilko). In the accompanying lecture, the good professor once again demonstrates his knack of getting to the heart of all that matters, on a subject that matters to all.
Assert Your Patrician Taste by spending a Roman holiday enhanced by the international flavor of the summer Olympic Games, set for the city of the seven hills from August 25 through September 11. In Rome, you can do as the knowing Americans do: after an afternoon at the games, sample Alfredo's fettuccine or the cappuccino at Donney's on the Via Veneto. Try for one of the top-floor front rooms at the Hassler for the best panoramic view of the old red roofs and three of those seven hills. If you wish, you can make it to the Giochi Olimpici, with confirmed hotel reservations and tickets to key events prearranged for you, on a thirty-nine-day tour that covers European sights for $1300, including air fare from New York.