Our june cover borrows a page from a dictionary for its design and includes, therein, several brief definitions of the word playboy – the man, not the magazine – that are partly Webster's and partly our own. When we first began publishing Playboy – the magazine, not the man – the word had lost much of its earlier popularity (garnered during the Twenties) and was actually a term of disrespect. We attempted, therefore, in a subscription pitch published in April 1956, to explain just what we meant by a playboy, and that definition may be worth repeating for our readers now:
General Offices, Playboy Building, 232 E.Ohio street, Chicago 11, Illinois. return post. Age must accompany all manuscripts, drawings and photographs submitted if they are to be returned and no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. Contents copy. Rights (c) 1961 by HMH publishing co., Inc. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any similarity between the people and places in the fiction and semi-fiction in this magazine and any real people and places is purely coincidental. Credits: Cover design by Reid Austin, Bob AMFT, Photo by Mario Casilli; P. 3 Photos by Jerry Yulsman, Lee Nye, Mario Casilli; P. 49-53 Photos by Russell Melcher, Chris KenDall/Dalmas; P. 57-59 Photos by Peter Stevens, Alex Low/Globe; P. 73-75 Photos by Playboy Studio; P. 78 Photos by Larry Moyer; P. 82-83 Photo by Playboy Studio; P. 86 B/W Photo by Ken Veeder P. 93 Photo by Don Bronstein; P. 96 Photo by Marvin Richmond; P. 97 Photo by Pompeo Posar.
Playboy, June, 1961, Vol. 8, No. 6. Published monthly by HMH Publishing Co., Inc., Playboy Building, 232 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 $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 St., Chicago 11, Ill., and allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Howard W. Leader, Advertising Director, 720 fifth ave., New York 19, N. Y., Cl 5-2620; Branch Offices: Chicago, Playboy Building, 232 E, Ohio St., Mi 2-1000; Los Angles, 8721 Beverly BLVD., Ol 2-8790, 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.
Our Research Department, dusty and flushed again from floundering amongst books, clippings and scientific journals, has collected a mass of obscure data relating to the animal kingdom (a monarchy which, for present purposes, includes fish and insects). Fish, for instance, according to a University of Washington psychologist, are superior to many human beings in that they can tell the difference between red and green lights. They can also get seasick and they seem to enjoy being tickled. Just about half of all Portuguese jellyfish are southpaws. The first complete report on the sex life of the pike was written by one Eugene V. Gudger. It is possible for flies and frogs to contract athlete's foot. Paris' Museum of Natural History reports that snails usually have destinations but are so poky they often forget, en route, where the hell they're going. Elephants prefer to pursue their romantic lives under water. If the male beaver doesn't make out with the female beaver he particularly digs, he can literally die of unrequited love. Zoologists still haven't found any sure way of determining the sex of the panda until after death or until one of them has cubs. (The pandas apparently don't have any difficulty.) The bloodhound, avers an English authority, tracks down its prey out of love – he just wants to make friends. Entomologists at Purdue claim that alfalfa blossoms, when set upon by bees, fight back and often clobber the bees with konks on the head. It takes four hours to hard-boil an ostrich egg. "Halibut" means "holy butt" because it first became popular in medieval times as a main dish on meatless religious holidays: the female halibut, by the way, is ten times heavier than the male. Of pigs' tails, 50 percent curl clockwise, 18 2/3 percent curl counterclockwise, 31 1/3 percent curl both ways; but whichever way their tails curl, one out of twenty pigs has stomach ulcers, and they always sleep on their right sides whether they have ulcers or not. Cows don't actually sleep at all – they just sort of drift into comas. A spider's blood pressure is just about the same as yours or ours.
Two important additions to the growing galaxy of MJQ recordings. The Modern Jazz Quartet and Orchestra (Atlantic) and The Modern Jazz Quartet: European Concert (Atlantic), rate almost unqualified raves from this department. The pair dramatically display the split jazz-classic personality of the group – a schizophrenia not as disparate as one might believe after only one listen. The concert, recorded in Scandinavia and the first "live" performance by the group to be transcribed in its entirety to vinyl, is a mellifluous mixture of several jazz and pop standards interspersed with a number of pianist-leader John Lewis' and vibraharpist Milt Jackson's original compositions; all are handled in the taut, tersely understated yet triumphantly inventive style that has made the MJQ the glass of fashion in which so many of today's delineators of well-disciplined jazz search for an image. Jackson, a generally impeccable performer, is in particularly splendid fettle throughout the two-LP album. The second title, a fresh outpouring from The Third Stream, represents a closer approach to the predicted fusion of jazz with the classics. The first side, made up of three short pieces by Frenchman André Hodeir, German Werner Heider, and Lewis, is a prelude to Gunther Schuller's (On the Scene, April 1961) impressive Concertino, a full-scale attack, batonned by Schuller, on the problems intrinsic to the merger of the separates into the whole. It is, we believe, the most successful attempt of its kind to date.
Centrally located in Hollywood and proffering tasty viands and tasteful wee-hour whee, PJ's (8151 Santa Monica) is a saloon-cum-eatery that opened in early February to a public that came to dinner and hasn't left yet. From the main dining room and bar, through the central lobby and on into the rear dispensary, the decor is Refined Rustic that has a roughhewn elegance both cheery and chaste. Up front near the bar and the multitudes, the big attraction is the Joe Castro trio (the leader on piano; Don Prell, bass; Don Joham, drums). Joe's jazz is eminently suited to the hip crowds that are usually sprinkled with a soupcon of showbiz biggies. Castro's piano is funk-laden and fleetly swinging, and the rhythm support by Messrs. Prell and Joham is first-rate. The long bar, caparisoned with a candy-stripe awning, opens at noon but doesn't really rub the sleep out of its eyes until about 10 P.M.; from then on, though, it jumps. With breakfast served from 2 till 4 A.M., the shuttering hour, PJ's is a happy week-long haven for the Night Folk. Facing the bar, booths are sentineled by white globe torch lamps and outfitted with stereophonic headsets hooked to the jukebox for those who don't like their music going in one ear and out the other. The rear dining room serves up songbirds, piping hot and cool. Welda Williams, a striking brunette, held forth while we were there, augmenting her sophisticated torch singing with subtle piano. One of midtown H'wood's liveliest date-bearing oases for tures late dining and/or drinking, PJ's features popular-brand potables for 95 cents, and fare that is appetizing, hearty and, as the wall-inlaid menus reveal, surprisingly inexpensive. Delmonico steak with French fries and cole slaw, morethan-adequate qualitatively and quantitatively, is $2.15. The excellent barbecue ribs are temperately tagged at $3.25; the combination fish platter is sole-satisfying at a niggardly $1.95. For the trencher-man whose approach to the groaning board is basically carnivorous, New York Cut sirloin or filet mignon are available at commensurately cautious prices. The comely young waitresses are uniformed in simple, almost demure, long-sleeved white blouses and black sheath skirts. PJ's popularity has reached the point where firemen visiting Hollywood for the first time are asked, "Been to PJ's yet?" The answer is rapidly becoming "Yes."
Early this year, after six seasons with Count Basie's fine-feathered flock, singer Joe Williams decided to quit the coop and spread his wings for the single route – a move OK'd by the Count, and subse-quently by Dame Fortune. At the Neve, one of San Francisco's more prestigious big-name roosts, we recently perched with a tightly packed covey of like-minded bird-watchers for an unhurried view of Big Joe's first solo flight, and can report with satisfaction that it was high-flying,wide-swinging and decidedly handsome. Backed by trumpeter Harry Edison's or-biting blues-blowers (Jimmy Forrest, tenor; Frank Strazzeri, piano; Tommy Potter, bass; and Clarence Johnson, drums),the virile-voiced vocalist wowed the crowd with a repertoire of specialties ranging from a deep purple My Baby Upsets Me (his own handiwork) to a fleetly flowing River Saint Marie; from a liquidly lyrical Remember to such blues-tinted Basie baubles as Smack Dab in the Middle, Roll 'Em Pete and Alright, OK, You Win. Prepossessingly bedecked in dinner jacket, lace-front shirt and shiny pumps, Joe bopped riffs with the horns, swapped one-liners with the imbibers, cut a syncopated swath through bittersweet treatments of Say It I sn't So, A Man Ain't Supposed to Cry and Lover Come Back to Me, and tagged it with his finger-snapping them, Every Day. Freed from the big-band arrange-ments he termed "a strait-jacket; fine discipline, but tight, man – not much freedom," Joe swings singly with author-ity and personal magnetism.
Burt Lancaster's new film, The Young Savages, is out of West Side Story by Mr. District Attorney. Based on Evan Hunter's novel, A Matter of Conviction, it tells how a New York teen-gang killing is turned into a political stepladder by a district attorney with eyes on the governorship. The assistant D.A. who tries the case (Lancaster) is from a slum neighborhood himself; an old flame of his is the mother of one of the three accused boys; and his wife opposes career-building murder trials. Thus burdened, the movie goes all to plot. But between the cracks in the story you can glimpse some brutally revealing background – the homes, hangouts and hates of the J.D.s. particularly the Puerto Ricans. John Frankenheimer, who directed, is better with such realistic details than he is with the melodrama itself, and photographer Lionel Lindon has sliced the roofs off New York's West Side with a sharp blade to reveal the swarming tenement life within. Dina Merrill is attractive, in a cellophane-wrapped way, as Lancaster's wife. Shelley Winters, the old flame, once again plays a geranium on a fire escape. Lancaster, surely one of the best-intentioned producers in Hollywood, always on the look-out for meaty material, still has a way to go before his acting measures up to his aspirations.
Dore Schary took on a difficult chore when he decided to compress Morris L.West's complex novel The Devil's Advocate to fit the confines of the stage. It is to his considerable credit as producer-director-writer that much of the play succeeds as deeply affecting drama. Advocate is a detective story unfolded on a spiritual and intellectual level rare in the Broadway theatre. Leo Genn is cast as an English priest who realizes almost too late that he has lost contact with both humanity and his own faith. Although he is dying of cancer, he allows the Vatican to send him to an Italian mountain town where, as the Devil's advocate, he is to investigate the villagers' claim that their local martyr, one Giacomo Nerone (Edward Mulhare), is qualified for beatification. Nerone's story is told in expertly interpolated flashbacks. He was a deserter from the British Army who appeared mysteriously in the tiny village during World War II, befriended the starving, leaderless people, performed at least one attested miracle, and was executed by Communist partisans. It is a fascinating assortment of saints and sinners that the Englishman encounters as he resolutely plies his investigation – a nymphomaniac countess (Olive Deering); a homosexual painter (Michael Kane); Nerone's peasant mistress (Tresa Hughes) and their bastard son (Dennis Scroppo); and the lonely, agnostic Jewish doctor (Sam Levene) who acts as the priest's guide along a tortuous trail. Schary's major fault – fortunately not a fatal one – is that he has allowed the multiplicity of characters and divergent motives to distract him occasionally from the driving theme of one man's search for truth, about himself and about another. At the Billy Rose Theatre, 210 West 41st Street.
The drama that Bernard Asbell records in When F.D.R. Died (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, $4) opens in Warm Springs, Georgia, on the morning of April 12, 1945. It ends three days later at a graveside in Hyde Park, New York. In a wellordered series of vignettes, Asbell records the shock waves felt in Washington, London, Moscow, Tokyo as the news of Roosevelt's collapse spreads. The war seems to stop while front-line soldiers and home-front defense workers, who refused to credit the first reports, grieve as they might for a lost father. Characteristically stolid leaders of governments and armies weep most uncharacteristically and then go back to business. A stunned politician from Missouri is sworn in as the new Chief Executive. Although the technique of amassing a volume of details about a single event is currently being run into the ground by authors who know a best-selling gimmick when they see one, reporter-researcher Asbell has put together a moving account of a most memorable few days in the lives of a generation for whom the initials F.D.R. will always be a synonym for President.
I'm fairly hip when it comes to foreign cars, but I veer off the track when I try to make some sense out of the numerical designation foreign manufacturers give their chariots. For instance, MGA 1600, Mercedes-Benz 300SL, Jaguar's Mark IX, 3.8, XK150S, and Renault 4CV seem like total gibberish. Please enlighten me. – R.T., Boston, Massachusetts.
My Third Month in Hollywood was slowed and pleasant; I was still going to the studio but, my script being just about finished, I had nothing to do there. Most of the time I sat at my glass-topped executive desk in my leather and mahogany executive spring-back swivel chair, surrounded by prints of the hunt and the flare-nostriled stallions and setters used by hunters, and read magazine articles about anticholesterol diets and the merits of drinking milk fermented by bacteria of the species Lactobacillus acidophilus. I read, nostrils flaring.
Imagine, if you Can, This Situation: the Mayor of New York bans all traffic from the center of the city, ropes off a two-mile area in the general vicinity of Times Square, erects grandstands on the sidewalks, lines the streets with hay bales, and declares a state holiday, all for the purpose of staging an automobile race. Fantastic? Yes. But that is exactly what happens every year in Monte Carlo with the running of the Grand Prix de Monaco, since 1929 the greatest and most spectacular sporting event on the European calendar. Now that the Mille Miglia and the Carrera Panamericana are no more, this annual Grande Êpreuve is the only existing road race worthy of the name, belonging – with everything else in "the jewelbox of the Mediterranean" – to a more romantic era. The tendency is toward nostalgia. Yet the hard fact is that the speed festival is as good today as it was thirty years ago. The difference is in the cars: they are smaller and they go faster.
For One Exotic Decade in the Eighteenth Century some uncommon rites were conducted at Medmenham (pronounced "Mednam") Abbey on the Thames River thirty-odd miles northwest of London. From 1753 to 1763 the rambling, redroofed Abbey, originally a Cistercian monastery, was used as a week-long retreat several times a year by an order called the Friars of St. Francis.
The S.S. United States – one of the world's most elegant luxury liners – crosses the Atlantic, from New York to Havre and Southampton, in less than five days (and on to Bremerhaven in six). Five city blocks long and twelve stories high, the United States is a sleek superb relaxation coupled with top-notch service (it boasts a staff of eight hundred – one crew member for every two passengers). Its plush parties, formal and informal, are among the cruise highlights for the distinguished men and chic women aboard. Epicurean delights of five continents – and a matchingly splendiferous wine list – make up its menus. Throughout the spacious interior of the ship is an enticing array of recreational facilities for both active and passive sportsmen. It was in this distinctive and fun-filled atmosphere that LeRoy Neiman, on land-and-sea-roving assignment for Playboy, steamed to Europe. A fitting subject for any Man at His Leisure, the United states provided Neiman with abundant inspiration.
Scene: a conference room at the Mc-Dermott-Osterman Advertising Agency. Seated around a small table are Chester Hopkins, director of TV activities for the agency; harvey kingsley, president of Zephyr Cigarettes; Bob wollman, a TV producer; and Jim cowan, a writer.
One of the happiest events that ever occurred in Milwaukee – though it netted no headlines – was the arrival four years ago of Austrian import Heidi Becker. A strudel-sweet sixteen and be-dirndled Tyrolean dreamboat even then, June's gemütlich Playmate has since become very much the sheathed and toreadored All-American girl. Our Wunderkind, who earns her daily bread as a coif stylist, goes effortlessly from curling hair to turning heads, thanks to a pair of flashing green eyes and a fetching fuselage. Heady Heidi digs dancing (of the post-Strauss variety), enjoys skiing in winter (she's been schussing since she was knee-high to a beer stein), savors summertime swimming (she's a crack back-stroker), goes in big for carnivals (carrousels delight her), and has acquired a year-round taste for awesome quantities of pizza (cheese and sausage, hold the anchovies), a proclivity which obviously has had no adverse effects on the tape measure (latest reading: 36-22-34).
"Poor Son of a Bitch," you say. And certainly you're right – by psychiatric social worker standards. By the standards of Norman Vincent Peale and your local police court. By the whole tsk-tsk, there-but-for-the-grace-of-God juice in which our culture is being marinated. But maybe this character who has inspired your condescension is tsk-tsking about you, friend – if he ever bothers to think about you. This patchy citizen without visible or nonvisible means of support, without a friend, man, beast, or flower, to his name, and possibly without a name, who you see scuffing it up and down our hard streets, this passive creature of Salvation Army handout lines – maybe the sight of you in your necktie brings tears to his eyes.
Evidences of America's ascending culinary tastes abound everywhere, but few with the ubiquity or sophistication of the once-plebeian pancake. Just a few generations ago, this now-princely provender was but a stolid staple munched mostly by lumberjacks and grubstakers. And even as recently as the Thirties, the now-familiar crepe suzette was still an exotic and rather wicked delicacy seldom savored save surreptitiously, along with cognac and curacao, behind the bolted doors of sumptuous speakeasies. Today, however, after three decades of marination in world wide gourmandise, our multiplying army of homegrown epicures can circle-tour the entire kingdom of cuisine simply by taxiing from one city neighborhood to another, sampling the local pancake specialties. You may embark on a sensuous so-journ from fragrant Chinese egg rolls to tender Russian blini with caviar and sour cream, from feather-light French crepes to plump Italian cannelloni stuffed with crab meat, from lusty Polish nalesniki to Danish pancake balls as light as a Scandinavian summer breeze, from German apple Pfannkuchen as big as the wheel of a Mercedes to tiny Swedish plattar, darkly resplendent with lingonberry jam.
We live in a time when descriptions of the sex act have come to be expected, even required, in literature which pretends to any seriousness. But this is by no means our worst indignity, for we live also in a time when it is fashionable to deplore such descriptions, to complain that they are banal and ineptly done (this is too often true), or that they bore us (which is, of course, a lie). Primary sex – our own sex life, inadequate, harried or routine – may bore us, but vicarious sex – fantasies, projections, even the most clinical accounts of our imperfect experiences – never! It is vicarious sex, which never flags, falters or fails, that sells toothpaste and nylon stockings, as well as Lolita and Lady Chatterley's Lover, Peyton Place and the obscene newsprint pamphlets bootlegged to adolescents.
Ann Richards, one of vocaldom's most sensuous warblers,has but three things going for her in her drive to become a first-rank jazz nightingale – looks, talent, and the considerably consequential fact that she's the hip helpmeet of one of America's top concertmeisters, Stan Kenton. With Stan (Playboy Poll Bandleader of the Year) as a round-the-clock mentor, the development of Miss Richards from fledgling band chirper to featured vocalist to nightclub and LP star has proceeded prestissimo. Her latest disc,Two Much!(Playboy After Hours, April 1961), etched with spouse Kenton and his band, is the current landmark in a felicitous liaison dating back to 1955 (concluded overleaf) Miss Richards reigns in repose: deploying herself decoratively in several cozy corners, this beautifully blue-eyed brownette engagingly points up the more exotic creature comforts of home and hearth. Homefurnishingswise, Ann is her own most delightful decor.
Women are purposeful in Reno. The lovely blonde critter strolling the lobby of the Hotel Mapes, with a mole on her cheek accented by make-up as if she were Alice Faye miraculously preserved into 1961, did not come all the way to Reno in order to stake out uranium claims. She did not pack her kit bag to examine the Pelicans and fossils of Pyramid Lake, where, during more idyllic days, Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe quietly strolled and waited for legal technicalities to be arranged. Nor is she a cultural anthropologist studying the Paiute Indians or the sheepherding Basques who gather at the Santa Fe Hotel in downtown Reno to eat and drink in French, Spanish and Basque. She may sample all these incidental lures, but primarily she has come to Reno for one of two purposes: either to gamble (and also to find a man) or to shed a man (and also to gamble). When she pauses in her slow amble across the lobby, straightening her stocking – she bends, and harken! – we have time to examine her third finger, left hand.
Formal Approach to a Playboy's Penthouse Pre-show briefing. Playboy EditorPublisher Hugh Hefner goes over last-minute details with Playmate-cover girl Joni Mattis and avant-garde folk singerguitarist Peggy Lord, as he introduces a slick new sartorial slant to formal attire. Host Hefner's Penthousegarb comPrises a Continental black-burgundy tropical worsted dinner jacket dashingly delineated by braided shawl collar and cuffs, with double-piped pockets; it exchanges compliments with tropical worsted trousers, by After Six, $110. Putting up a brave front'twixt lapels is a minutely-tucked Dacron and cotton dress shirt, by Excello, $13. A black satin Pleated cummerbund and tie wrap matters up regally, by After Six, $7.50.
A man old enough to know better took to wife a beautiful damsel of eighteen. He entertained fond hopes of reliving his youth, but the young wife soon relieved him of such illusions. She never welcomed him to bed. Indeed, she always turned her back to him and sighed, "Wrinkles and gray hair were not made for love." Nothing the poor fellow could say or do would kindle her affection or interest her in the pleasures of the marriage couch. The husband therefore was in despair and even contemplated suicide by means of poison.
Dr. Gregory Pincus: A Progestin a Day Keeps the Stork Away
After almost a decade of research and clinical. testing under the supervision of Dr. Gregory Pincus, the fifty-eight-year-old co-director of Massachusetts' Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, a synthetic hormone named progestin has given every evidence of being the most efficient contraceptive ever devised. Among the 838 women volunteers who took the drug faithfully – by tablet for twenty days of the monthly cycle – there was exactly one pregnancy, later believed to have occurred before treatment began. In the thirteen months since it was placed on the market as a prescription birth control pill, these astonishing results have been further substantiated. To millions for whom children are economically, physically or psychologically inadvisable, the pill (trade names: Enovid, Norlutin) promises to become a connubial boon. Paradoxically, and beneficently, when medication is suspended, pregnancy occurs with phenomenal frequency – even among many women previously considered barren. To Dr. Pincus and his collaborators, these potent pellets represent the first really tangible step toward regulation of our proliferating population. Only time will tell whether the other dramatic methods of fertility control now under exploration – including one involving the suppression of male sperm production – will prove to be as wondrously efficacious as progestin. Meanwhile, for the modest premium of 17 1/2 cents a pill, mankind seems to have found history's biggest insurance bargain – and its best hope yet for world-wide, month-long peace of mind.
Dick Gregory: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Lunch Counter
Slim, chain-smoking, Twenty-Eight-Year-old Dick Gregory is the first Negro stand-up comic to ever make it big in night-clubdom, yet early this year when he was signed for a three-week stint as one of a quartet of hip variety acts to open the new Penthouse room in The Playboy Club in Chicago, comedian Gregory was washing cars during the day to augment his salary and was seriously considering getting out of show business altogether. Three weeks after he opened, he was the hottest new comedian on the national scene. Dick Gregory at The Playboy Club proved to be the right man in the right place at the right time; the public, whether to ease a too-long-pent-up feeling of guilt or to affirm a new-found social conscience, was ready to accept fresh and often biting commentary on the problems of integration as seen from the other side of the fence ("Sitting in the back of a bus isn't all bad. Bus runs into something, you never hear about any of the people in the back being hurt." "I got to leave early tonight. It's my turn to go down to Georgia and sit-in at one of those restaurants. Oh, yeah, we take turns. I sat-in six months once at a Southern lunch counter. When they finally served me, they didn't have what I wanted." "My brother is so sure he isn't going to get waited on, he don't even take no money with him. Wouldn't it be funny if they finally up and served him? If they was ready and he wasn't?"). Gregory is often introduced as "the colored Mort Sahl," though he has neither the depth nor the consistency of Mort as yet, and he benignly greets his audience with, "In the Congo they call Sahl the white Dick Gregory"; he is also able to offer some choice Gregorian chants on color-less considerations ("I'm glad that Mr. Kennedy is in. I voted for him. And now that the Democrats is in the White House, I think they ought to repeal the Mann Act, and anything else that discourages travel in this country."). The Chicago press picked up on Gregory almost at once and Time devoted a full page to him; this was followed by three guest shots on Jack Paar's show in quick succession; The Playboy Club held him over for six weeks and signed him up for return engagements later this year and next. Then, to prove it was no fluke, Gregory played to SRO audiences at New York's Blue Angel and San Francisco's hungry i, now thanks audiences profusely for pushing him out of obscurity and "into the eyes of the Internal Revenue department."
Caesar Augustus' favorite month can be equally attractive to contemporary roamin' legions. San Sebastian, for instance, the smartest of Spain's society spas, is at its playtime peak during August's Semana Grande – yacht races, bullfights featuring top matadors, horse racing and pelota (jai alai's sprightly grandfather) matches are very much a mano. San Sebastian has two splendid beaches – La Concha and Ondaretta – and one superb hotel, the Maria Cristina.