January is the month we give away thousand-dollar bills in the form of our Best Fiction and Article Bonuses. In 1960, first-rate fiction was written for us by P. G. Wodehouse (who contributed an entire novel), John Collier, Robert Graves, Jerome Weidman, Edward Loomis, Ian Fleming, Shirley Jackson, Leland Webb, John Wallace, Bernard Wolfe, Eugene Ziller, Gerald Kersh, T. K. Brown III, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Ken Purdy, and many others. Though it was difficult choosing among them, the editors strongly and unanimously felt that Ken Purdy should receive the Bonus for his eminently entertaining October story, The Book of Tony. A particularly fine crop of articles, too, filled our pages in 1960: high-calibre work by Al Morgan, John Sack, Richard Gehman, Arthur Knight, Dalton Trumbo. Ralph Ginzburg, Arthur C. Clarke, Herbert Gold, Ben Hecht, Eric Bentley, William Iversen. Charles Beaumont and several other illustrious gentlemen. Again, an embarrassment of riches confronted us; again, the decision of the editors was unanimous: to bestow the laurel on the brow of the man who wrote the passionate and penetrating essay on Chaplin in our March issue: Charles Beaumont.
Playboy, January, 1961, Vol. 8, No. 1, Published Monthly by HMH Publishing Co., Inc., Playboy building, 292 E. Ohio St., Chicago 11, Ill. 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 53 per year for foreign postage. Allow 30 days for new subscriptions and renewals. Change of Address: Send both old and new addresses to playboy, 232 E. Ohio St., Chicago 11, Ill., and allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising director, 720 Fifth Ave., New York 19 N. Y., CI 5-2620. Branch Offices: Chicago, playboy building, 232 E. Ohio St., MI 2-1000; Los Angeles, 2252 W. Deverly Blvd., DU 1-2119, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager: San Francisco, 111 Sutter St., YU 2-7994, Robert E, Stephens, Manager: Southeastern representative, the hal winter company, 7450 Ocean Terr., Miami Beach, FLA., UN 5-2661.
As our contribution to the holiday festivities now in full swing, we pass along the following – a somewhat edited version of a memorandum that a New York exec with a talent for straight-faced spoofery circulated at his office. We have, for discretion's sake, changed the names.
If it's a last-minute gift you're searching for, here are four big books, every one of which is guaranteed to evoke grins of glee. Vanity Fair (Viking, $10) is not the leaden Thackeray novel, but an outsize album of gleanings from the slick pre-New Yorker magazine that flourished between 1914 and 1936. The contributors include Benchley, Huxley, cummings, Eliot, Woollcott, Millay, Molnar, Maugham, Sandburg, Wodehouse, Dorothy, Rothschild before she became Dorothy Parker, and so on. The book's most precious ore, however, is its plentiful photography – youthful portraits of famous faces now dead or blighted by age (Yeats looking exactly like Audie Murphy in pince-nez). The writing, seen through the wrong end of time's terrible telescope, is sometimes disconcerting – for instance, Tom Wolfe's line, "'Yuh hoid what I said, didn't yuh?' the man named Bull said in a heavy menacing tone." On the other hand, the photo captions often provoke sweet sighs of reminiscence or of rue – boyish Robert M. Hutchins being mentioned as "presidential timber" or "Enrico Caruso – a young man who has lately been attracting a good deal of attention as a singer." Cleveland Amory and Frederic Bradlee (nephew of Frank Crowninshield, the magazine's renowned editor) have done the culling and have done it well. In Rome for Ourselves (McGraw-Hill, $15), novelist Aubrey Menen takes us along on his urbane excursions into the myths of the city where he makes his home. He has 151 breath-taking plates to help him and you couldn't ask for a more sophisticated, more knowledgeable, or lovelier tribute to the Eternal City. In 1959, a striking exhibition of photographs at New York's Museum of Modern Art, entitled The Artist in His Studio, sparked excitement in limited circles. Now, Alexander Lieberman's probing pictures of modern masters at home and at work have been combined with a sampling of splendid reproductions and his own sensitive essays to make a distinguished and enlightening art volume. The Artist in His Studio (Viking, $17.50) begins with Cézanne and pays beautiful homage to thirty-nine of the greatest painters, architects and sculptors of the fabulous School of Paris. It took ten years to complete – and fully justifies the time and effort. James Beard's Treasury of Outdoor Cooking (Golden Press, $12.50) is a 282-page trove of recipes involving grilling, skewering, pit roasting and the like. (Nor does Beard neglect outdoor drinking.) The lavish color illustrations alone are enough to awaken the most sated taste buds.
With General della Rovere, Roberto Rossellini makes an impressive bid for re-admission to the circle of the world's leading film directors. In the spate of neo-realismo that came from Italy after World War II, Rossellini's Open City and Paisan were outstanding. Rossellini made these films with the urgency of a man putting hot hands on your shoulders and forcing you to look at the texture of tortured yet hopeful life. But then came fifteen years of inactivity or of pictures better left unmade. Now, with the superb Vittorio de Sica as his star, Rossellini gives us a serious film in which he returns to the war and Genoa under the German occupation. De Sica is a con man and pimp, arrested and brought to a German colonel who is amused by his Falstaffian capacity to lie himself out of tight corners. In return for eventual freedom in Switzerland, De Sica agrees to pose as a captured partisan general and is put into prison so that he can smoke out a partisan leader. The tragic events he witnesses in prison, for some of which he is himself responsible, give the scoundrel a sense of the rottenness of his life. If the film is not as moving as it ought to be, it is because it takes much too long to get to its drama, which begins with the masquerade. Even so, Rossellini has done a remarkable job of creating with gray light and select detail the sense of a withering era.
The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! (Warner Bros.), a second helping of Bob Newhart's own special cup of hemlock, is a rollicking reminder of just how funny this guy is. Playboy took cognizance of Newhart's explosive arrival on the comic scene in last July's Acts and Entertainments. Since that time, Bob has taken blasts at nightclub work (drunks get on his nerves) and discovered many more foibles and follies of Homo sapiens. His observations are, if anything, more pointedly perceptive, his throwaways more casually caustic than ever. Bob describes a fly-by-night flight to Hawaii on the Mrs. Grace C. Ferguson Airline (And Storm Door Co.): you check in at her home and weigh your luggage upstairs in the john. When you climb on board the DC-1, the captain greets you and explains that the line can offer low fares by eliminating frills and extras, such as maintenance, radar and technical instruments, and apologizes for the passengers' having to stand all the way, but points out the overhead hand straps (for first-class fares only). The captain continues, "In case we have an emergency landing, you will receive plenty of warning; the co-pilot becomes hysterical... By the way, have any of you been to Hawaii before? It's sort of liver-shaped, isn't it? Would you mind pointing it out when we get there." An instructor at a bus drivers' school sets up typical situations for the student drivers. An old lady is running for the bus: "You pulled out much too fast, Johnson. She gave up a half-a-block away. Ease out. Fine. Did you all notice how he slammed the door in her face?" A woman with packages starts heading for the back of the bus: "Hit the accelerator, brake, accelerator, brake. Notice how she spun up to the front of the bus?" For homework there's a drill on mispronouncing the names of streets. Newhart's Ledge Psychology routine should create the biggest stir of all. A cop in sports jacket climbs out on a ledge to dissuade a jumper. Idea is to act completely indifferent. "Oh, Hi! Thinking about jumping? First time? Me? I'm on my way to work. You in advertising? Just a lucky guess. Which way'd you come out? There are two ad men on the southeast corner. Didn't get their names. One had the Edsel account. You're drawing a fine crowd for a weekday... Chickening out? You do have a certain responsibility to those people. OK, I'll go in first and then you follow me. Oh by — Now where'd he go?" Bob's dry, soft-sell delivery gives the material an aura of utter reality and extracts maximum mileage from its matter-of-fact insanities.
Tenderloin is a big brash musical hit for no very good reason except size and Cecil Beaton's sets and costumes. Ordinarily, you would expect something a little niftier from the live-wire minds behind Fiorello! – producers Robert E. Griffith and Harold S. Prince, director-writer George Abbott, collaborator Jerome Weidman. But with the exception of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, who have produced a charming score, all of them miss by a mile. The plot, based on the late Samuel Hopkins Adams' total recall about the time when New York below Forty-second Street was a hell hole of harlotry, is both simpering and silly. The crusading Dr. Parkhurst, here disguised as one Dr. Brock of a Madison Avenue church, attacks the whores and the pimps and the dishonest cops and politicians of his parish, and gets framed for his trouble. The book, bluntly, is a bore. As Dr. Brock, Maurice Evans plays leapfrog in a bathing suit, sings a bit, struts like a music-hall minstrel. Surprising antics from a Shakespearean-Shavian thesp, but not immensely interesting. A particular source of annoyance here is that the costumes do no service to the pretty, talented girls involved. Cecil Beaton may be kidding or he may have decided that loose women are ludicrous. Anyway, he's against them, and they look it. At the 46th Street Theatre, 226 West 46th Street, NYC.
I met an attractive young thing at a party and, then and there, requested the pleasure of her company for an evening on the town the following week. She accepted. Seven days later, when I arrived at her apartment at the appointed hour, I discovered her arm in arm with another guy, ready to depart for that night out she'd promised me. When I mumbled my dissatisfaction, she announced that I should have confirmed our date by phone a day or two before the chosen night. Was she kidding? – J. L., Memphis, Tennessee.
In the late summer of the year 18–, a gratifying series of professional successes had brought me to a state of such fatigue that I had begun seriously to contemplate a long rest on the Continent. I had not enjoyed a proper holiday in nearly three years, for, in addition to my regular practise, I had been deeply involved in a program of research, and so rewarding had been my progress in this special work (it concerned the ligaments and muscles, and could, it was my hope, be beneficially applied to certain varieties of paralysis) that I was loth to leave the city for more than a week at a time. Being unmarried, I lacked a solicitous wife who might have expressed concern over my health; thus it was that I had overworked myself to a point that a holiday had become absolutely essential to my well-being; hence, the letter which was put in my hand one morning near the end of that summer was most welcome.
In paris, there was a great gourmet who had Cartier construct a little gold ball which he wore on the other end of his watch chain. He would go to one of the good restaurants, have his plate heaped with caviar, and then drop the golden sphere from a foot above the plate. If it passed through the caviar without effort, he pronounced it first rate. If the ball got stuck in its passage and did not reach the bottom of the plate, he sent the plate and the black stuff back to the kitchen.
For as long as it took the phone to ring three times he considered not answering it. His mother hadn't called for a couple of days and he didn't feel like going through that again. But in the end he decided that it wasn't his mother calling and he picked it up.
America's world of men's attire is pivoting more and more on a London-Rome axis. Time was when the well-dressed American male was swathed from cradle to grave in naught save British-influenced toggery – American fealty to Savile Row was unswerving.
"The country a novelist knows is the country of his heart." On some of the good things in life: "Wine, bread, oil, salt, bed, early mornings, nights, days, the sea, men, women, love, honor, beloved motorcars, bicycles, hills and valleys, the appearance and disappearance of trains on straight and curved tracks, cock grouse drumming on a basswood log, the smell of sweet grass and fresh smoked leather, and Sicily."
There is a bar in San Francisco where all the patrons are given party hats and noisemakers and, at midnight – every single day of every month – they celebrate the dawning of another new year. They shake hands and they kiss each other and they sing songs like Auld Lang Syne. The one thing they don't do is make resolutions. Frequency breeds perspective and they know better; resolutions are like women: many are made but few are kept. And, lik0e the kept woman, the demands of a kept resolution often grow to outweigh its attractions. Making resolutions can be fun, however, so we decided to make a few ourself, and to make it all just that much more enjoyable, we've made them for other people. And to complicate things further, we decided to make our resolutions for last January 1st instead of this. So here they are, some firm resolves a number of famous folk might have made a year ago, but didn't, with varying results.
This being the month when resolutions are made, we thought we'd find a Playmate who's well on the way to fulfilling her own. We landed a beauty in the person of Connie Cooper, a twenty-year-old from Southern California who has resolved to become a real estate broker. Presently working part time for the management of a large Hollywood apartment building, Connie is boning up on her knowledge of leaseholds, freeholds and hereditaments at a nearby junior college. Standing five-feet-five, and weighing 110, Connie's own landscaping is, from north to south, an impressive 37-21-36. As delicate as a cloisonné figurine, her charms are at their best indoors, where her proclivities run to such things as collecting Oriental knick-knacks with which to decorate her mantel, and those big, fuzzy honey-bears with which girls like to strew their beds. When it comes to men, Connie leans toward someone who will share her interest in opera, who can sit by a stereo rig half the night discussing the relative merits of Puccini and Wagner whilst sipping Strega. "The thing I like most about a man is enthusiasm," says Connie – a state of mind she should have no trouble stimulating.
The true high-fidelitarian has been described as a happy crossbreed of perpetual malcontent and eternal optimist – a man never quite satisfied with his sonic lot but always convinced that perfection lies just around the corner. His quest for more life-like sound led him recently to stereo and to a wholesale conversion of apparatus. But it's not in the nature of the high fidelity beast to remain content for long. Today we find him exploring some new refinements–integrated components, phantom channels, ambiophony, tape cartridges, FM multiplex – and avidly eying a parcel (text continued on page 72) of new gear on the audio dealer's shelves. A virtual explosion of new recordings – 4-track and stereo disc – and of new recording companies, whet the appetite.
In show business circles today, two topics often crop up in conversation. One concerns the restrictions currently placed upon comedians – the intricate and frustrating censorship of so-called "controversial" humor that makes use of once-acceptable political, sexual and dialect material. The other concerns modern dramatists' emphasis on the slice-of-life to the point of mundanity and drabness, their invoking of the word "realism" to excuse lurid and violent situations. But these bones of contention are by no means new, for almost a century ago the celebrated playwright and storyteller, Anton Chekhov, spoke of them in these two amusing tales, written in 1884 but not rendered into English until Ann Dunnigan translated them for this first playboy of 1961.
Our July firecracker was Teddi Smith, who turned niftily nautical on board a cabin cruiser and thus enriched the summer scene. Joni Mattis, here in pensive mood, brightened our video screens with scene-stealing appearances on Playboy's Penthouse, and further rewarded a proper and healthy curiosity by affording us a more intimate appraisal in varied and fetching poses as Miss November.
When you first smoke marijuana (the Professor said) there are all sorts of kicks the old teahounds will try to steer you into to heighten your enjoyment. Some of them are pretty much at the physical level, like getting loaded and eating a cheap cafeteria meal to see how much more intensely good it tastes than your sober imagination of a gourmet's feast, or taking a simple amusement-park roller-coaster ride and discovering space flight. Others call on the imagination a little more. There are several pretty obvious ones involving all the most beautiful girls in the world – or if your fellow weedheads are intellectual you may be guided into imagined converse with all the great musicians of the past and all the great artists and writers. Liszt may play your inner piano, Paganini your violin, Poe may tread behind you on a midnight walk reciting his poetry. Some of these kicks can be very simple. My teacher put his hand lightly on my head as I sipped that first drag and he told me to close my eyes and then he said softly, "You're just a little weed growing in the desert and the wind is blowing through you." Of course he meant the marijuana weed – weed itself.
Squaw Valley, California, one of the treasures of the Sierra Nevadas, is a two-mile-long ski center flanked by three snow-clad peaks rising more than eight thousand feet above sea level. The site of the last Winter Olympic Games, Squaw Valley forms an incomparable nature amphitheatre, a superb setting for the winter sportsman. Rivaling in runs and facilities its Continental counterparts – St.-Moritz, Davos, Cortina d'Ampezzo – Squaw Valley attracts skiers – pros and weekenders alike – from Lake Tahoe, just seven miles away, to lands as distant as Norway and Peru. Squaw Valley today (thanks to the legacy of the '60 Olympics) boasts not only superior slopes for all skiers – snow bunnies to experts – but also the man-made aids to the sport left over from the Olympic installations: modern chair lifts, an immense indoor skating arena, three outdoor rinks, dormitories and dining rooms designed for the comfort of competitors and vacationers alike. The luxurious Squaw Valley lodge and inn, crowded to bursting by Olympic spectators and competitors, now serve as centers of conversation and good cheer for the smaller, gayer crowds of recreational skiers.
Fade in on a dark, smoke-swept field. The wind is whistling and occasional bolts of lightning flash in the distance. A symbolic fox on two lean legs suddenly appears, munches on a patch of mandrake, and then vanishes. A vulture swoops low, symbolically flying backwards. She picks a symbolic banana from a tree with her beak, and then flies off again. Cut to a black carriage drawn by two black horses, clattering down a nearby road. Cut to inside the carriage. Bjornstrand, a conjurer with Christlike features, is brooding silently in a corner and sucking on an unlighted pipe. At his side is Katherina, a beautiful blonde actress. At Katherina's left is a grotesque old woman, known affectionately as The Crone. Sitting alone in the seat opposite them is Dr. Svensk, a distinguished-looking octogenarian.
"All kidding aside, Frank, it's nice of you to be here – taking a few hours off from your sex life." When insult artist Don Rickles aimed that shot at Sinatra, the often volatile Frank responded with a laugh instead of a snarl. In fact, Frank very nearly knocked over his drink in uncontrolled mirth, for Rickles has a way of breaking celebrities up while cutting them down – to life size. In the three years since he first opened at Hollywood's Slate Brothers Club, Don has become a headline attraction by bruising and battering the egos of his audiences. He announces from the stage that he believes in the Will Rogers dictum: "Never pick on a little man," then proceeds to compliment the "bigness" of those present by insulting everyone in sight, with special attention given to celebrities. Rickles' diatribe is often outrageous ("Your fly is open, sir. What are you, some kind of sex nut or something?!" Or to a well-established but aging star: "I won't pick on you, miss. You're a has-been."), but incredibly, the high and the mighty of showbiz are more often amused than miffed, have clasped Rickles to their collective bosom, wind up calling their agents instead of their lawyers after such abuse to find a spot for Don in a movie or TV show they are doing. The acting assignments present no serious problem for Rickles, who put in time at the American Academy of Dramatic Art. The dramatic training helps in his nightclub act, too, as Rickles rants and raves at his audiences, beseeches them to follow him blindly in all manner of anti-social activities, for "I am your emperor!" And as the audiences swear allegiance to this sultan of insult, they also have quite a time for themselves, as the pictures on the next two pages indicate.
March, in most of these United States, is a month much given to blustery winds and piercing chill. In short, it is a perfect month to get away from it all on a cruise. The time and tariff need only be limited by one's own tides of fortune.