Cover Girl Ardie Scott, a frequent guest on Playboy's Penthouse, phones in the word that the Ides of March, to say nothing of the Calends and Nones, hold naught but good tidings for our readers. Riding high on the goodly tide is the second Playboy Panel: the first in the November issue, you may recall, turned the problem of narcotics and the jazz musician over to a discussion group that included Stan Kenton, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Shelly Manne, Cannonball Adderley, jazz critic Nat Hentoff, Maxwell T. Cohen, attorney and legal expert on narcotics addiction, and Dr. Charles Winick, Secretary to the National Advisory Council on Narcotics and Director of Research of the Narcotics Addiction Research Project. Our second Panel tackles a considerably lighter, but no less interesting, subject in Hip Comics and the New Humor, with panelists as qualified to discuss their subject as were the first: on hand are, in alphabetical order, Steve Allen, Lenny Bruce, Bill Dana, Jules Feiffer, Mike Nichols, Mort Sahl and Jonathan Winters – a healthy cross section of the new school of cultivated funnymen – and we think you'll find fascinating their views of themselves and each other, their humor, its origins, its social – or asocial – content, its form and, especially, its emergence and powerful appeal in the U.S. today.
Playboy, March, 1961, Vol. B. No. 3. Published Monthly by hmh Publishing Co., Inc., Playboy Building, 232 E. Ohio Street, Chicago 11, Illinois Second Class Postage Paid at Chicago, Illinois. 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 to Playboy, 232 E. Ohio Street, Chicago 11, Illinois, And allow 30 days for Change. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director, 720 fifth avenue, New York 19, N. Y., CI 5-2620; Branch Officers: Chicago, Playboy Building, 232 E. Ohio Street, MI 21000: Los Angeles, 2252 W. Beverly Boulevard, DU 1-2119, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager: San Francisco, 111 Sutter Street, Yu 2-7994, Robert E. Stephens, Manager: Southeastern Representative, the Hal Winter Company, 7450 Ocean Terrace, Miami Beach, Florida, UN 5-2661.
Ironic events have been taking place around us, portents, we like to think, of more amiable times. We learn, for instance, that toll booths on one of those stupefying New Jersey turnpikes, recently operated upon so that they might dispense toll cards without human assistance, are now being staffed again with real people, because the machines couldn't handle this simple job. Meanwhile, in a large New York office building, whose owners have spent heaven-knows-how-many thousands of dollars to make their elevators self-service, flesh-and-blood operators have been brought back to push the buttons for the five p.m. crowds. The un-operated elevators did not react well to rush-hour tensions. Frequently they did not react at all. Sometimes their doors would not open. Sometimes they would not shut. Sometimes they would open and shut and open and shut, but the elevator would not budge. Often people on the seventh floor could only get to the lobby by first going up to the tenth floor. At the outset, office workers, imbued with American reverence for technical accomplishment, blamed the machines' antics on themselves; one commuter, in particular, took to stepping gallantly out of stalled elevators with some remark about reducing the load – thereby insuring that he would miss the 5:21 to Hartsdale. But after several instances of secretaries, imprisoned behind the closed doors of a motionless cab, emitting those little squeals that precede panic while executives made weak jokes about their hospitalization coverage, blame was laid where it belonged – squarely on the machines. We are not prepared to argue that automatic facilities are by nature inefficient. No doubt laundromats, automats, parkomats and most of the other o-mats that have done away with people and their vagaries get the clothes washed, the food served, the cars parked, etc., perfectly well. And we have no intention of defending featherbedding on the railroads. Nevertheless, we cannot help but feel a little twinge of delight whenever a machine is called on the carpet, and man comes back into the picture. If we have to pay tolls to travel in New Jersey (if we have to travel in New Jersey), we like to have our I.B.M. cards handed to us by a fellow creature, to feel his brief touch, and maybe even hear him mumble, "Take it." And if we have to ride to the seventeenth floor to get to work – an odd ascent to make every day when you stop to think about it – we like having a man there with us to say, "Watch your step, buddy," and tell us what he thinks about the Chicago White Sox or Khrushchev.
With his fifth novel, Peter De Vries pulls out of the slump of preciosity created by his fourth, The Tents of Wickedness (Playboy After Hours, August 1959). In Through the fields of Clover (Little, Brown, $3.95) De Vries serves up a nourishing broth, which comes to a bubbling boil in a small New England town peopled by hypercivilized eccentrics with goofy names – Wetwilliam, Glimmergarden, Chaucer (he's a TV writer), Nat Bundle, Bill Prufrock and Cotton Marvel (he's writing a Gorkyesque play called The Seven Who Stank). The whole is liberally peppered with puns and witty cracks. ("On her wedding night she had been forced to commit an unnatural act: sexual intercourse.") Prominent among the assorted oddballs are: TV comic Harry Mercury, the image of Phil Silvers; a pompous Civil Libertiesnik who, rushing to defend a persecuted merchant named Aronson from anti-Semitism, is crestfallen to discover that the man is not a Jew at all but a Swede; and an ex-Southern boy who deplores the South but retains a hominy-thick accent ("Tom said something about it last week." "Tom who?" "Tom Magazine."). There is a phony feud between two TV comedians which never gets off the ground because they become angry with each other. ("It stands to reason you can't have a feud with a goddamn sorehead.") There are even young lovers, and a higher sensual humidity than in previous De Vries books – often cooled suddenly by a burst of humor: "He rolled the tips of her breasts in his teeth. 'Jujubes,' he said . . . She was disgusted. She bore him two children, and a good deal of resentment." Bright, light reading, all of it.
Despite the combined efforts of Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner and Moss Hart, despite the sumptuous costumes of the late Adrian and his successor Tony Duquette, despite the most eye-whacking sets that Oliver Smith ever designed – full of pavilions and palaces, gardens terraced and enchanted – camelot won't do. Lerner has produced a pretentious and meandering adaptation of The Once and Future King, T. H. White's imaginative novel based on the Arthurian cycle; the Round Table has never been so square. The evening starts off pleasantly enough, as bashful King Arthur (Richard Burton) courts his Guenevere (Julie Andrews) with I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight. And she replies in all musical modesty with The Simple Joys of Maidenhood. But the score is not up to the best Lerner-Loewe, and the result doesn't live up to the myth by a mile. No fault of the cast, we hasten to add. Burton is probably the best actor who has ever pretended to sing his way through a musical. Julie Andrews, of course, would be a fine fair lady in any century. Robert Goulet as a lacklustre, lovelorn Lancelot, and Roddy McDowall as Arthur's bad bastard son Mordred, battle with the dreadful dragon of a plot like the valiant knights they are – but, alas, everybody is vanquished. At the Majestic, 44th Street, West of Broadway, NYC.
Frank D'Rone's recent stint at Chicago's Mister Kelly's proved a remarkably effective exercise in verbal economy. D'Rone, a supersonic young man about to orbit into the Big Time, sang and accompanied himself on the guitar – period. No jokes, no table banter, no song introductions. The tunes, and D'Rone's forthright handling of them, spoke eloquently enough, with one song flowing into another as smoothly and felicitously as twelve-year-old Scotch into an eight-ounce tumbler. D'Rone's delivery, both visually and vocally, is completely devoid of mannerisms, but this is not to imply that he lacks style. Far from it. He had the packed house in his pocket right from the opener – a quick-tempo'd Just One of Those Things – on through an encore-ending reprise of his bestseller, After the Ball. And there were equally attractive goodies strewn along the way, including a superb run-through of Joey, Frank Loesser's hits-you-right-here folk ballad from The Most Happy Fella. Sharp of feature and soft of voice, D'Rone has the ability to belt without blasting, and the heartier items on the agenda were delivered forcefully without shattering any of the glassware. To give his vocal cords a respite, ex-full-time guitarist D'Rone performed Malagueña with admirable proficiency. Never-theless, we were happy to hear him climb back on the vocal wagon, especially since his post-guitar solo segment contained a leisurely-paced and tenderly-treated That's All, which ranked, we thought, with Nat Cole's classic handling of the Alan Brandt-Bob Haymes standard. For an at-home sampling of Frank's finely-wrought wares, we recommend the LP titled After the Ball (Mercury).
We whisked briskly across the Delaware River from Philly to visit the brand-new Latin Casino theatre-restaurant on the Jersey side, directly across from the Garden State Park race track on Route 70 in Merchantville, and found it immediately apparent why this three-million-dollar palace has engendered a whole new lexicon of showbiz superlatives. It's the most (you fill in the blank), from the time you walk into the spacious lobby (with two cloakrooms, so those arriving for the late show are not forced to swim upstream like salmon against those leaving from the early show) until you are seated before the stage's great, golden curtain in the main dining room where the capacity at the white-clothed tables is no less than 1500 at any one time. (The night we were there, all tables were full.) Diners are ramped upward in seven levels from the stage, so if you're ensconced at a rear table you still have a fine view of the stage, which could easily hold a big Broadway musical plus the Army-Navy football game. For those of us who sardined into the old, walk-down Philadelphia Latin, the present establishment's proportions seem breath-taking. The same owners, Dave Dushoff and Dallas Gerson, are responsible for this metamorphosis. The decor pitches for elegance with charcoal walls relieved by golden embellishments and bright clusters of crystal. This suburban supper-show Valhalla also has banquet rooms, reached by a golden-railed stairway which climbs over a fountain, and a cozy (for the Latin Casino) room equipped with two bars and wandering minstrels to add to the intimate mood. In spite of the plush surroundings, Messrs. D & G have managed to retain their old six-dollar minimum, and that gives you show, dinner and drink. We were there for the Holiday in Japan shindig which made a big splash at Las Vegas. Top headliners star in the stage bills – Tony Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte, Milton Berle, Bobby Darin, Eydie Gormé, Steve Lawrence and like such. It's a seven-day-a-week operation, two shows nightly – and no Pennsylvania Saturday midnight curfew or Sunday Blue Laws to wet-blanket weekend festivities. Show times: Monday through Friday, 8:30 and 11:30 p.m. Saturday, 8:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Sunday, 6 and 10 p.m. The menu offers a complete Polynesian dinner at $5.50. If you're not interested in the fried rice department, there's a diverse list of seafood, poultry dishes and prime beef.
The reason we look with doubting eye on LPs that purport to pioneer the emancipation of jazz from familiar molds is simply that the overwhelming majority of them strike us as pretentious and irrationally unmusical or, at best, worthy striving that doesn't make it. When we see on liner notes that so-and-so "studied at Juilliard, digs Bach, Bartók and Hindemith," etc., we can feel our eyebrow lifting cynically, try as we do to preserve an open ear for new sounds. We indulge in this long preamble to a record review because we're certain so many share our feelings – and it is to these we want to say: forget past pain, skip the liner notes on the Dave Brubeck Quartet's Time Out (Columbia) and listen. Then listen again, this time reading the intelligently explicatory notes on each of the seven bands. The set puts back the thrill of discovery in jazz listening; it soars and it swings, it is rhythmically a break-through (a heady foretaste of which fans heard at Playboy's jazz festival, when the Brubeck group rocked the house). Once you've sampled its improbably rhythms in counterpoint and alternation – for instance, 9/8 against 4/4 – and such jazz rarities as ten-bar phrasing, a lot of what you've liked a lot will seem a bit pallid. But the over-all, the operative comment that's the key to this LP's success is still: "It swings."
What's Pepe about? Well, there's this little Mexican ranch foreman, Pepe, who calls a prize stallion his "son" (lots of jokes about that), and when the horse is bought by a has-been movie director, the foreman trails along to a run-down Hollywood chateau and sleeps on the billiard table with him – the horse, that is; and when Edward G. Robinson, played by Edward G. Robinson, refuses to finance the director's comeback, Pepe follows his drunken boss to Las Vegas and wins a quarter-million for him at the tables; and then everybody goes to Acapulco to make a movie, and there are fiestas and winsome Mexican tots and teary church scens and a half-dozen tuneless songs and a dream sequence and a bullfight, all in color. The whole incessantly heart-warming nightmare was cooked up to put over Cantinflas, the Mexican movie comedian, with American audiences (his only previous English-speaking appearance was in Around the World in 80 Days). Thirty-five guest stars, including Hedda Hopper, are scattered through Pepe, which shamelessly (and unsuccessfully) apes Around the World's successful employment of the bigname-dropping technique. All contribute generously to the tedium. Cantinflas, although gifted as these things go, is not up to keeping this unwieldy vehicle on the move. Shirley Jones and Dan Dailey, in the romantic leads, are licked by the lines; and George Sidney proves he has an eagle eye for every directorial cliché since Vitaphone. It runs three and a quarter hours.
I'm planning to throw a large dinner party in my apartment. My girlfriend wants to act as hostess but she's afraid that it will give the impression we're living together and I'm afraid it might give her the notion she's just a license fee away from becoming a bride. Is there a rule governing this? – N. K., Charlotte, North Carolina.
I like Ruben. He is a nice guy. He doesn't lock my door at night. He closes it, naturally, so that none of the doctors nor any of the other nurses will notice that it isn't locked when they are walking past, but he doesn't lock it. (An unlocked door gives me a delicately delightful sense of insecurity.) And this is the kind of thing a man appreciates here. As I recall, most of the white-coated boys in the private sanitarium were good guys like Ruben; but here in this malfunded state-supported institution, a male nurse with a high I.Q. is a rare exception.
Years ago I was looking at three cars in the Ferrari pits at Sebring. It had rained in the afternoon and the Florida sun, dropping to the rim of the great plain, shone red in the black pools of water on the circuit. There were only a few cars running in practice, howling separately in the distance, out of sight most of the time. The blood-red Ferrari cars would go a few laps as soon as the mechanics finished with them. These were stark, open two-seaters. Their paint was flat and crude. The bucket seats were upholstered in wide-wale corduroy. Everything else in the cars except the wood-rimmed steering wheels was bare unpainted metal, much of it roughly finished. Heavy weld-seams joined the thin tubes of the frames. Shiny streaks here and there showed where oil had been mopped up. A man next to me turned, remembering the old pilots' gag: "You wouldn't send the kid up in that!" he said. A small, dark, red-eyed mechanic got into one of the cars. An ignition key looped in a piece of sisal wrapping twine stuck out of the dashboard. He leaned on it with the heel of his hand and a bare-metal clanging and clattering began. You wanted to move away before the thing exploded. It fired suddenly, all of a piece, and pumped out a gout of blue smoke that drifted low over the wet grass of the infield. The mechanic sat there with his foot on it for five minutes. There was somebody in each of the other cars, and they were running, too. Juan Manuel Fangio materialized, pear-shaped in a rain jacket. He looked sleepy, he looked bored, he looked indifferent, until one noticed the incessant flickering of his eyes. The mechanic yelled something into his ear. Fangio let him see a sad smile, he shrugged massively. He got into the automobile, stared briefly at the instruments and then he went away and the other two, Eugenio Castelotti and Luigi Musso, howled after him, down the straight and under the bridge and around the corner out of sight. We could hear them through the esses and into the Warehouse road and then not again until they showed up on the back straight, the three of them in echelon astern, the howling of the engines squeezed down by distance to a thin buzz, their progress across the horizon apparently so leisurely that you wondered why this should be called racing. They were running around 140 mph. They went down through the gears for the hairpin turn, a 180-degree reversal, the rear wheels spinning or trying to, and then suddenly they were in the hole (continued on page 52)
Of all the criminals i have known, Milt Feasely, long, long dead, remains my favorite. In the days when I was a newspaper reporter in Chicago, knowing criminals was part of the job. The more you knew and the better you knew them, the more valuable you were to your city editor. For in that happy time, before the prospect of planetary destruction pre-empted the front pages, criminals were our most vital news source.
Squids lay them. Auks lay them. Titwillows, tinamous and teals lay them. Even Broadway shows on Boston tryouts, all too often, lay them. But mainly chickens, by the millions, lay them. Since the first pecking order was established in the jungles of prehistoric India, the lowly chicken egg – unborn progeny of the most ridiculous of barnyard creatures – has become man's most prodigal delicacy. As eggs go, it is a rather prosaic creation – lacking the monumentality of the ostrich egg, the diminutiveness of the butterfly egg, the toughness of the flamingo egg, the fragility of the hummingbird egg, the rarity of the platypus egg, the proliferation of the frog egg, the resplendence of the pheasant egg, the status of the Beluga sturgeon egg, the academic interest of the Tyrannosaurus egg, even the practical value of the nest egg. And yet it has decorated the lacquered dinner tables of Ming China, the marble cenacula of Periclean Rome, the damask tablecloths of Louis xiv France and the wicker picnic baskets of Twentieth Century America. It has been fried in skillets with hickory-smoked ham, shirred in earthenware ramekins with toasted bread crumbs and melted Swiss cheese, scrambled in chafing dishes with tomatoes and chili peppers, beaten gently into plump and feathery omelets blazing with curacao. Even more exotically, it has been thrown at vaudeville actors, rolled on the White House lawn, painted for Easter, spiked for eggnog, chug-a-lugged with chocolate malteds. It has even been immortalized by Humpty Dumpty.
As a Recruit in the Army I was thrown together in friendship with a fellow named Eddie Szemplenski; half a year later at another base I became buddies with a soldier named John J. Wodarski. Edward Szemplenski was a hulking, rough-looking drugstore cowboy from Hamtramck, Michigan, the place the men who make the automobiles come from. I had hardly heard of it before I met him; before long, I was to hear enough from him to fill a couple of novels. Johnny Wodarski was a shorter, chestier, far more handsome laughing boy from Paterson, New Jersey, a famous hard-boiled town that in those days meant nothing more to me than that it was across the river from my own New York. Wodarski had a white-gold shock of hair which inevitably gained for him, wherever he went, the nickname Whitey. There was a typically scrappy St. Louis Cardinal third baseman of that era named Whitey Kurowski. I always associated the two of them.
The explosively direct canvases of abstract-expressionist Willem de Kooning, which blaze in searing slashes of color from the walls of the world's top museums and art collectors (at prices currently in five figures) give little indication of the months of trial, error, scraping, scrapping and repainting he demands of himself before he considers a painting completed. De Kooning, a Dutch-born Greenwich Villager, who has influenced more of his fellow artists than any other painter in the past decade, has evolved a method of keeping oils wet for long periods, a technique which gives his canvases a spontaneous, smeary look although weeks may have passed between brush strokes. Volatile, one-time house painter de Kooning first threw the usually well-insulated art world on its haunches in 1953 with The Women, an eye-popping exhibition of femicide (Woman I became the most widely reproduced art work of the 1950s). "We are not yet living in a world where everything is self-evident," he says, and paints things as he sees them.
Today, as in ancient Roman days, the things which are Caesar's are rapidly being rendered unto Caesar. Chic, prestigious hotels across the Western Hemisphere are being added to the corporate holdings of thirty-seven-year-old, exbellhop Cesar Balsa as though part of a rigged game of Monopoly. His recent acquisition of New York's St. Regis (five million clams for a two-hundred-year lease) was historic, for it meant that Cesar had crossed the Rio Grande into the plush hunting grounds of the U.S.A. Till then, his National Hotel empire had been "confined" to owning or leasing nine hotels, two restaurants and a couple of nightclubs in Mexico City and Acapulco. Now, with the St. Regis in his pocket and Chicago's swank Ambassadors being negotiated for as we go to press, sleekly dark-haired, sartorially conservative Balsa is eying other lucrative properties. A canny combination of Frank Merriwell and Hernando Cortez, Balsa was a Barcelona bellhop at twelve, manager of Madrid's Palace Hotel before he was twenty-one. He went to Mexico in 1948 (on his honeymoon) and it wasn't long before he opened the Focolare, one of Mexico's most popular bistros. An interim accolade to the Balsa touch was supplied by a Mexico City newspaperman who, when asked what he knew about Conrad Hilton, promptly replied: "Hilton? He is the gringo Cesar Balsa."
When a new patient wanders into the office and stretches out to stutter forth a compendious ticker-tape of free-association, it is up to the psychiatrist immediately beyond, behind and above, to decide at just which points of the anatomy the client is in touch with the couch.
Our raven-tressed, delightfully-undressed Miss March, born and bountifully bred in Oklahoma, is part Choctaw, once lived on a Navaho and Hopi reservation in Arizona. Curvaceous Tonya Crews could hardly be expected to hide her assets (37-22-36) under a Navaho blanket, however, and it wasn't very long before she cut out and started to carve a career for herself as a dance teacher in Hollywood. Tonya is currently deep in the choreographic intricacies of a jazz dance concert which our enterprising maiden intends also to produce and appear in. After all that jazz, she has big eyes to open her own dance studio. If and when she does, we, and our two left feet, will apply for lifetime membership. When she's not atwirl, Tonya gets her kicks from strumming a bass guitar, harbors a secret ambition to be a mathematician. With her figure, that just doesn't figure.
The gentleman's shoe wardrobe for the modern city scene should be as foot-loose and freewheeling as the multifarious milieus in which he earns his bread and lives his good life. Indoors or out, upstairs or down,on or off the treadmill, shoes long ago happily overstepped the stodgy functionality of simple protection from sharp stones and cold winds. Figuratively, it's been a short walk from the mastodon buskins of neolithic cave-dwellers to the pigskin mukluks of Venice West cellar-dwellers. But for all except beachcombers, beats, aborigines and Huck Finns, the pleasant occasion of assembling a comfortable, handsome, polished and versatile wardrobe of contemporary shoes is socially and esthetically important – and a helluva lot of fun to boot. For the metropolitan male who wants to step high, wide and handsomely, we recommend eleven pairs of shoes to get him off to a smart start – these in addition to his collection of participant sport shoes such as tennis and sailing shoes, ski boots, etc. If this seems a bit much, consider the high price of impropriety. In an environment both complex and subtle, the hip citizen (concluded on page 125) Urbanity Afoot (continued from page 76) must have enough pairs to support – not sabotage – his social footing.
It is Fashionable, in Our Present Intellectual Climate, to denigrate, pooh-pooh and otherwise put down anything that has a purely visceral appeal. We are grown sophisticated – willing to chuckle but afraid to laugh. For when we laugh, we lose control: off guard and helpless, bellies aching, eyes full of tears, we step back a million years, naked and mole-blind, to join our forefathers in their caves. This, apparently, is a bad scene. It is not enough to be human any more. In this age of super-weapons and super-gadgets, we must be super-humans, and that means no weaknesses. Yet it is all a vast and silly deceit, and there is no greater proof of this than the fact that comic strips are still being enjoyed.
Daydreaming about Tahiti is a universal pastime and now all of a sudden, thanks to jet air travel, one can make the dream come true and go to this heretofore inaccessible place in about twenty-four hours.
When oscar wilde, upon espying a skull doing paperweight service on a friend's desk, said "Death is so Gothic; life is so Greek"; when Noel Coward tossed off "Women should be struck regularly, like gongs"; when Leo Durocher – we'd better get a Real He-Man in here quick – said "Nice guys don't win ball games" or whatever that was; they did more than go down in history as snappy conversationalists. They made life tough for mortals less gifted than they. Mortals like me. The French have a phrase for it: Il a l'esprit de l'escalier. This, literally translated, means "He has the spirit of the stairs," but a more idiomatic rendering would be "He never has a ready answer," the implication presumably being that he always thinks up those salty comebacks when he's walking down the stairs on the way home.
As Playboy Apprised its readers in November's The Immoral Mr. Teas, the censorial climate on these shores has tempered considerably. Knowing a cue when they see one, a number of lightly capitalized cinematic entrepreneurs have recognized the box-office potential of low-budget "art" productions that focus their lenses on sex and skin. The S producers have no corner on the bare essentials, however. Hollywood stars and studios of major stature have come around to the realization that a soupçon of sex and a nude or near-nude vignette are not going to hurt receipts one whit. Stratospherically budgeted epics such as Spartacus have taken out extra investment insurance in the thinly veiled form feminine, and screen luminaries of the calibre and calibrations of a Jean Simmons, Janet Leigh or Debra Paget have happily lent their talents to the cause. The pleasures of the flesh are by no means the raison d'être for the big-budgeted opuses, but they are proving to be the epidermal cake-frosting which producers are adding more and more frequently. In most of the minimum-cost "art" flicks, the approach is baldly sex-oriented: plot lines are ephemeral, talent obscure, and photographic quality is on the Baby Brownie level, but there is meticulous attention paid to the wholesale uncoverage of delightfully endowed females. The viewing public, meanwhile, sits in pleasant contemplation, delighted by what the cast-off clothing reveals.
Ernie's, in San Francisco, is a sumptuous restaurant out of the crystal-and-velvet Victorian age. From the Gibson Girl prints adorning the walls to the gaslight fixtures glowing softly, Ernie's is a luxurious reminder of Nineteenth Century grandeur. The three dining rooms, two downstairs and one upstairs, are plushly upholstered. Much of their warmth – as LeRoy Neiman's painting indicates – stems from the deep, textured red that adorns walls and tufted chairs, and dominates the rooms. A massive mahogany bar just beyond the main entrance, and a small vintage replica upstairs, are elegant complements to the air of luxurious ease. The main-floor bar is a creation of rare beauty; according to artist Neiman, it is a stunning introduction to Ernie's. "Once you pass through the single, inconspicuous door into this connoisseur's world, you're immediately struck by the enormous, regal bar. It is amazingly large and its already commanding presence is enhanced by row after row of bottles lining its rear wall," Neiman recalls. But it is the food – even more memorable than the decor – that keeps diners lingering longer at Ernie's than at most restaurants. Served expertly by waiters of Continental discretion, the food is the heart of Ernie's allure, in the opinion of hosts Victor and Roland Gotti. A glance at the menu reveals its auspicious nature; a sampling from it confirms the Gottis' judgment. Among the choice hors d'oeuvres are Iced Cracked Crab with Sauce Mayonnaise and Imported Italian Polli Peperoncini. After French Onion Soup or Tortellini alla Romana, you may select from a list of entrees that includes Filets of Sole Normande and Chicken Sauté Sec with Mushrooms and Fine Herbs or delight in one of the Specialitá della Casa – Tenderloin of Beef En Brochette, with Sauce Chasseur (and Risotto of Wild Rice) or Roast Boned Royal Squab, Montmorency, for example. The more-than-ample wine list enables you to match one of your favorites to each course. For dessert, Zabaione al Marsala is perfect for two. And after-dinner liqueur, from Ernie's treasured stock, brings the meal to a leisurely close. Strolling through the parlor-like premises for a final savoring of the comforts of the Gay Nineties, before returning to modern San Francisco, you are reminded anew that this is one of the world's elite epicurean retreats
Once upon a time, a farmer's wife was having an affair with a young lawyer who was her husband's companion and confidant. The farmer, of course, suspected nothing, and all would have gone well but for the wife's appetite.
It's been a full four months since our last serving of Teevee Jeebies – too long a lapse for fans, if we read our mail aright. Here, then, is another batch of outrageously lively – and unlikely – lines to enliven the hoary late-night TV flicks we've all grown to abhor. The next time the picture begins to pall, try the game yourself. Douse the volume on your set, refill your brandy snifter, and write your own punch lines, just as we've done here.