That embattled and unhappy medium, television, is the subject this month of our fourth Playboy Panel, a symposium of eight of the medium's most prestigious practitioners, disciples and dissenters -- producer David Susskind, impresario Mark Goodson, director John Frankenheimer, critics John Crosby and Gilbert Seldes, satirist Stan Freberg, scriptor-director-producer Rod Serling and network nabob Mike Dann. They generate both heat and light as they debate the extent and limits of TV's Problems and Prospects, then suggest escape routes from what FCC Chairman Newton Minow has dubbed "the vast wasteland." In a lighter look at the little screen, Shel Silverstein's newest attack on video schmerz, The Return of Teevee Jeebies, should prove a panacea for the most jaded eyeballs.
Playboy, November, 1961, Vol. 8, No. 11, Published monthly by HMH Publishing Co., Inc., Playboy Building, 232 E. Ohio St., Chicago 11, 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 address to Playboy, 232 E. Ohio St., Chicago 11, Illinois, and allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Howard W Lederer, Advertising Director, Jules Kase, Eastern Advertising Manager, 720 fifth Ave., N.Y. 19, N.Y. CL 5-2620; Branch Offices: Chicago, Playboy Building, 232 E. Ohio St., MI 2-1000, Joe Fall, Midwestern Advertising Manager; Los Angeles, 8721 Beverly Blvd., OL 2-8790, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager; San Francisco, 111 Sutter St., YU 2-7994, Robert E. Stephens, Manager; Florida and Caribbean Representative, the Hal Winter Company, 7450 Ocean Terr., Miami Beach, Fla., UN 5-2661; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 1722 Rhodes-Haverty Bldg., Atlanta 3, GA., JA 2-8113.
Having nothing better to do, apparently, a novelist friend recently wrote us that he had conceived a foolproof formula for literary success which he believed would revolutionize not only his own less-than-Promethean career, but also the entire world of publishing and belles-lettres. more and better prurience, perhaps? A revival of mid-Victorian ethical values? No. After observing the swift circulation of a Herbert Gold novel among the patrons of a neighborhood booke nooke, he decided that the volume's popularity was helped along by a felicitous euphony of title and author: Therefore Be Bold by Herbert Gold. Which of John O'Hara's books, he continued rhetorically, was most rewarding both to readers and writer? Answer: Appointment in Samarra. Q.E.D., said he, proceeding to theorize that Robert Frost would be knee-deep in royalties today if only he had had the perspicacity to title his last volume Paradise Lost and that The Sound and the Fury would have fared even better in bookstores and on Broadway had the author been Allen Drury. Extrapolating further to support his poetic premise, he cited such works as: The African Queen by Fulton Sheen; Beau Geste by Nathanael West; Catcher in the Rye by Christopher Fry; Pollyanna by Santayana; Sister Carrie by James M. Barrie; Vanity Fair by Bugs Baer; Tristram Shandy by Mohandas Gandhi; and Leave It to Jane by Mickey Spillane. "Only one detail remains to be ironed out," our friend concluded, "before I announce my plan to a waiting world: I haven't been able to come up with a title to rhyme with my own name. Any suggestions? Best regards, William Makepeace Orange."
P. G. Wodehouse's new novel, Service with a Smile (Simon & Schuster, $3.75), is very much like all the other Wodehouse novels, and that's jolly news. Once again we are blithely off to Blandings Castle with a lot of England's nuttier nobility, giving Wodehouse ample opportunity to prove he is still handy with his dukes. The plot is, as usual, a completely logical series of mild insanities. The deux ex Debrett's is that benevolently busy earl, Uncle Fred, known to his few enemies as Lord Ickenham, the hectic hero of some of the funniest stories ever understated in the English language, and who is not, by gad!, finished yet. Uncle Fred, whose particular wicket is other people's romantic troubles, gets himself invited to Blandings, fief of Lord Emsworth, in order to introduce there incognito the swain of an American heiress. Emsworth's spinster sister, the girl's guardian, has sworn that never the swain shall meet. But the spinster has reckoned, as millions could have told her, without Uncle F. She has also reckoned without Lord Emsworth's passion for his prize sow, Empress of Blandings. This lard of the manor skips nimbly through some complicated twists of the tale, and she hogs a good deal of the show. That all will end well goes without saying. What is worth saying is that all goes well with the good old Wodehouseian pace, pezazz, and blend of terseness and round rhetoric.
When Joey Bishop played the Empire Room in Chicago recently, peninsulas of hastily assembled tables stocked with Toledo schoolmarms and South Bend hardware salesmen snaked right out on stage, endangering Bishop's life, limb and delivery. It must be said that he took the hazardous working conditions with deadpan equanimity. From his opener, a reference to the long-green limitations of his Jack Paar stint ("It's a real pleasure to be working for more than $320") to his sign-off 45 minutes later, he had the audience neatly tucked into the handkerchief pocket of his Continental tux. Bishop is at his best -- which is very good, indeed -- when he can ricochet ripostes off a straight man, be he waiter ("The maître de looks like he fell off a Polish wedding cake"), male customer ("You fellas who came stag don't have to worry -- the band mixes") or female customer ("You see those eight ladies settling up their tab. One just asked who the hell ordered tax."). Bishop is a quiet comic; he doesn't have to shout his audience into submission. He talked matter-of-factly about his boyhood ("I was poor when I was a kid. When it snowed, I didn't have a sled; I went downhill on my cousin -- and she wasn't bad. My folks used to play games with me. I would come home from school and find they'd moved."), or his golf ("The other day I missed a hole in one by four strokes. My handicap is an honest caddie."). Occasionally Bishop would surreptitiously slip into a visual routine -- while the band played When My Baby Smiles at Me, he donned a top hat and announced: "I'd like to give you my impression of someone you've all loved for many years: 'Fourscore and seven years ago ...' " Bishop crammed an immense amount of material into his three-quarter-hour bit; it made for a most Joeyful evening.
Jilly's (256 West 52nd, New York), an average-sized boite (capacity: downward of 200 people, wall to wall), is intro'd by a huge, police-precinctlike white globe (appended high over a step-down, double-door entry) on which the establishment's moniker is etched in black. The globe decor carries over into the bar, with pawn shop clusters of three illuming the mahogany-stained paneled walls. The early bright we sailed into the place (named after owner Jilly Rizzo), we were quickly taken in tow by maitre de Bill Rockwell and navigated into the main ménage. Service, entertainment, edibles and potables all proved highly palatable. A grand-piano bar vibrates constantly with high-grade, low-key pianist-vocalist plus bass duos, to the apparent delight of the dozen or so bar-based patrons who usually rim the Steinway. Closing is 3 A.M. for entertainment (Jilly's is open 4 to 4, except Sundays when it shutters at 3, and Wednesdays and Saturdays when it opens at 1) which, on our last sojourn, traded capable hands between Mickey Dean (billed as "The Piano Wizzard" -- spelled inexplicably with two zs) and bassist Carl Pruitt, and Val Anthony coupled with Sandy Masters. Friday and Saturday, management tacks on an easily liquidated $3 beverages-only minimum. Dinner offerings, along with "Appetizers and Goodies," are mostly from behind the Bamboo Curtain. There's a choice of Steak Kew, Butterfly Shrimp, Lobster Song, Moo Goo Guy Pan and an item tagged Chow York Song, moderately priced between $3 and $3.50; more Occidental and a good deal turdier is the Stateside-style steak. Oriental appetizers sufficient to lessen any 90-proof impact are on tap from $1.50 to $2.75. After-theater specialties are Jilly's Pickin's (egg roll, baby ribs and pork slices) and Jilly's Pinks (small hunks of steak on toast). Last, but certainly not least, the club attracts after-show performers who are not averse on occasion to extemporizing for the hippies. A recent assemblage included Jane Harvey, Vic Damone and Frankie Avalon; another census of showbiz celebs numbered Erroll Garner, Woody Herman and Joe Williams.
The joys of Ezz-thetics (Riverside) by the George Russell Sextet are so manifold it would be almost presumptuous of us to label it as simply a fine recording; it is much more than that. It is an LP filled with heady, provocative arrangements, fluent and cerebral solo work and an internal rapport that indicates a deep mutual respect of talent. But primarily it possesses an exhilarating freshness -- a happy refusal to tread timeworn musical paths of least resistance without resorting to cacophonic anarchy. The most Pleasant surprise of the set is the work of trombonist Dave Baker, whose robust blowing is deceptively simple-seeming. No less prestigious are the efforts of Eric Dolphy on alto sax and bass clarinet and Don Ellis on trumpet. Dolphy's careening solo on Round Midnight is awesome in its hell-for-leather inventive exploration. The whole, of course, is a reflection of pianist-arranger-leader Russell's tastefully transcribed musical musings. We feel that it is in the probings of such as Russell -- neither the regression of soul nor the stream-of-con-sciousness twitchings of an Ornette Coleman -- that jazz's New Wave will be found.
Summer and Smoke is Tennessee Williams' thirteen-year-old opus about a vested virgin and a tomcat on a hot tin roof. Set in a Delta town circa 1916, it really takes place in Williams' private province where gonads gambol, hormones moan and life is simple because you define happiness by what happened last night. Alma, a minister's daughter, lives next door to John, a wild young doctor who tries to give her some of his own medicines. She declines, then goes into decline. The doc's debauchery brings about his father's murder, which brings about his own reform. By the time Alma comes around to John's horizontal view of things, he is upright and betrothed to a village maiden; so Alma goes off to get a bang out of life with a visiting drummer. Williams delivers his now familiar message in prose that strains to be poetically symbolic. It strains the audience, too. Geraldine Page's fluty voice and mouth-twistings, which unfortunately remind us of Zasu Pitts, get in the way of her considerable intelligence and talent. Laurence Harvey, who once found room at the top, continues his descent to the bottom; as John, he adds another still life to his growing gallery. English director Peter Glenville does for this Southern epic what English director Tony Richardson did for Sanctuary (Playboy After Hours, May 1961): nothing.
A good friend of mine has been dating a sensational chick rather steadily the last few months, although they are by no means seeing each other exclusively. I wouldn't mind in the least dating her myself, but am not exactly sure what is protocol in this case. Do I have to ask his permission; if I get the green light from the girl, will that suffice; or should I wait until the two go their separate ways? -- R. N., Washington, D.C.
Arrogance is the Word. As soon as this Jonathan Silk walked in my office, dressed in mustard corduroy pants his knees were winning their battle against and a mouse-colored sweater the moths had been having seven-course feasts off of, hair like a hen's roost in canyon winds, stubble on his chin worse than bread mold, I could see there was a big percentage of arrogance to his make-up.
Continental has for more than 30 years been a classifier indicating a desirable, sought-after automobile. Rolls-Royce used to make a Continental, a special high-speed grand touring car. When the postwar Bentley Continental came out in the 1950s it was priced at $26,000 and Messrs. Rolls-Royce urged, indeed ordered, dealers to restrict its sale to highspeed drivers of demonstrable competence. But it is of the Lincoln Continental that most Americans think when they hear the term; not the $10,000 Mark II of 1955, but the prewar model, the Continental that Edsel Ford originally designed for himself and his sons alone to have.
Madame Tussaud's wax museum is a venerable institution located in London, just off Holmes' Baker Street, close by Regent's Park. Within it are reproductions in wax of over 400 famous people. Those who worry about such things regard inclusion among this waxen number as the ultimate in status symbols. Eligibility requirements are restrictive-- it helps, for example, if one is an English king or queen, or a leading member of the Conservative or Liberal parties, or the head of a major government, or a reasonably famous military leader, or an athletic hero, or an entertainment notable, or a successful explorer. There is, however, a simpler means of qualification: one is given serious consideration if one has committed a particularly foul murder, or dispatched several of one's fellows in an especially ingenious manner. This is, I think, a nicely democratic touch.
When Raymond Terris was thirteen years old he began to grow -- shooting upward like a rangy weed. He had always been a strong, handsome child with a big frame, taller than his age average, but otherwise not out of the ordinary. Both his parents were of middling size and his mother was on the short side. Alex Terris, his father, was rather proud at first when thirteen-year-old Raymond outgrew him, and used to say that Ray must be a throwback to his great-grandfather, the pioneer, who had been a kind of Paul Bunyan of the plains.
When Anita Ekberg, she of the flowing flaxen mane and the overflowing Nordic frame, set the tone for Federico Fellini's esoteric epic La Dolce Vita with a gown-popping Roman rock-'n'-roll fertility rite, she might have been starring in a rerun of This is Your Life. It was a stroke of pure artistic and financial genius worthy of the Medicis that had Fellini cast La Ekberg as the child-of-nature American movie star who soaks up Rome's high-level hanky-panky. Several scenes in La Dolce Vita come off like newsreel clips of past Ekbergian revelries.
"Every man that wylle come to knyghthode hym behoveth to lerne in his yougthe to kerve at the table." Even in 1484, it would seem, when William Caxton thus admonished the armored playboys of his day in a definitive book of Chyvalry, the art of kervynge was already esteemed as one of the fundamental social graces appurtenant to cultivated manhood. A lethal-looking girdle dagger, equally effective for meals or mayhem, was regarded as an indispensable wardrobe accessory by the gay blades of the age. Ornate carving knives -- inlaid with ivory, brass, mahogany or staghorn; etched with pictorial reminders of the hunt -- not (text continued on page 91) to mention such events as the Fall of Man; and worn at the waist in sturdy leather sheaths embossed with the family coats of arms -- were considered potent status symbols of the nobility.
The well-known adage that in Hollywood the improbable is a strong possibility was never more agreeably demonstrated than by our discovery there of November Playmate Dianne Danford. We found her merrily potting clay pigeons at a skeet range. Dianne -- a 23-year-old, emerald-eyed, honey-tressed, fresh-visaged fair belle to arms -- gets herself to a gunnery for sweet sessions of not-so-silent skeet shooting whenever she can break away from her workaday chores modeling the latest in bathing regalia, for which her 5'7", 120-lb. frame is perfectly suited. Living with her mother, father and brother close by Hollywood's celluloid dream factories, Dianne presents a pretty paradox -- she couldn't care less about getting her face and form before a movie camera. Her main ambition is to middle-aisle it with a Prince Charming who is tall, considerate and, Dianne candidly admits, rich. Happily engauged in perfecting her already delightful form, our deadeye chick, who shucked Chicago's intemperate temperatures three years ago for California's more salubrious shores, proves a quick draw for masculine admirers (she scores 36-22-35). There is more to DD's life than the shell game, however; although she sheepishly confesses an inordinate appreciation of Fabian records, she also digs such divertisements as painting, water skiing and lazily lolling about the hearth. Apropos the latter, a flip of the page will give your eyes cause for Thanksgiving -- our gamin gamestress keeping her powder dry atop a tiger pelt, a timeless enigma in her mischievous eyes: who is the hunter, and who the hunted?
Not long ago the publishers E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc., signed a contract with the firm of Lancelot Leopard, Ltd., for publication this month of a book entitled Little Me, a wildly satiric spoof of recent as-told-to Hollywood autobiographies. Since Little Me, is that rarest of literary properties, an almost sure-fire best seller, the transaction aroused a sense of deep satisfaction in Edward Everett Tanner III, creator and chief stockholder in Lancelot Leopard. When Playboy's companion publication Show Business Illustrated bought Little Me for prepublication serialization, Patrick Dennis, author of the lively spoof, found further cause for rejoicing. And when Feuer and Martin, producers of such hit shows as Guys and Dolls, Silk Stockings and The Boy Friend, forthwith announced purchase of the book as a vehicle for a Broadway musical comedy in which Sid Caesar would undertake to play no less than seven different parts, a happy, spectral cheer was evoked from Virginia Rowans, author of the novels Oh, What a Wonderful Wedding, The House Party, The Loving Couple and Love and Mrs. Sargent, a recent product of Lancelot Leopard, Ltd.
The arrogance went first. The clanging of the death-cell door drove it out of Finlay the first day. Then he turned sullen, uncooperative, his young face taking on the protective coloration of the cement block that lined his prison. He wouldn't eat, talk, or see the chaplain. He snarled at his own lawyer, muttered at the guards, and kept his own company. A week before the scheduled execution, he began to cry in his sleep. He was 21 years old, and with the aid of an accomplice, had mercilessly beaten and slain an aged storekeeper.
For More than half a Millennium, ever since Marco Polo returned from the kingdoms of the East with tales of a wondrous land called Cipango, the mystique of Japan has held a uniquely seductive allure for Occidental man. Over the years, he has cast many a yearning glance toward this storied archipelago, his Western psyche tranquilized with visions of pagodaed hills, of picturesque paper houses, of blossoming cherry trees, of lotus-soft women with musical voices and complaisant ways. Today this siren song has lost none of its allure, but the tempo has begun to quicken: mingling with the languid largo of the samisen are the insistent rhythms of a rock-'n'-roll guitar. The cadence is that of change, of growth, of uncontainable energy. It is the upbeat pulse of Tokyo, the biggest, busiest, brassiest city in the modern world -- an amalgam of prosperously coexisting anachronisms which threatens to pre-empt (text continued on page 111)Paris as the mecca for males in pursuit of pleasure.
Basically, There Are two ways to make money in business. One is to get a good idea and exploit it. The other is to steal a good idea and exploit it. And since the demand for good ideas always exceeds the supply, idea stealing is one of the most important, if least advertised, activities in the world of business. Swaddled in secrecy, shrouded in hypocrisy, idea snatching today is as prevalent as the padded swindle sheet. The nation's biggest corporations practice it cheerfully. Professional spies do a thriving business in the executive suite. And thousands of Americans who would shudder at swiping a nickel newspaper from an unguarded kiosk are busily raping the files of their bosses for private gain.
Herewith a hand-picked early crop of handsomely crafted Yuletide largesse. 1. Reversible black-to-tan calf belt with brass buckle, by Knize, $9.50; Scottish cashmere and wool muffler reverses to check-patterned silk, by Knize, $25. 2. Ice-O-Matic portable electric coarse-to-fine ice crusher, by Rival, $29.95. 3. Siamese teak and cane ice bucket, by Dansk, $30. 4. Imported chrome liquor flask in black leather jacket, with two push-out cups, by Swank, $10. 5. Silicone-treated oven and barbeque mitts with washable corduroy slip covers, by Pretty-mits, the pair $4. 6. Model 53.22-caliber center-fire magnum revolver with 6-inch blue-finish barrel, by Smith & Wesson, $110. 7. Pewter coffeepot, sugar bowl and creamer, with leather-wrapped handles, by America House, Ltd., $80. 8. Copper chafing dish-saucepan-double boiler, with removable cover and teak handle, has porcelain liner, brass burner, stand and trim, by Dansk, $82.80. 9. Two-way Pocket Talkie, by Ross Laboratories, $124.50; oneway Pocket Pager, by Ross Laboratories, $64.50. 10. Stainless-cased, 25-jewel deep-sea diver's watch, by Rolex, $165. 11. Meerschaum pipe with amber stem, in case, by Pioneer Pipe, $30. 12. Acqua di Parma Italian cologne, 8 ounces, by Battaglia, $10. 13. Cut-crystal ice bucket with chrome trim, tongs, by Baccarat, $90. 14. Two-way X-10 speaker system in oiled walnut cabinets, by Jensen, each $29.75. 15. Bottle-shaped Italian brass cocktail shaker, by Swank, $9. 16. Model 88E 8-mm movie camera, electric eye sets exposure automatically, by Ricoh, $64.95.
For many years now I have been a crossword puzzle fanatic, and I doubt if anyone can match my zeal for the wonderful world of the three-toed sloth. However, the other night I awoke from a deep slumber with a troublesome thought on my mind. Namely, the only times I had been making use of the hundreds of truly beautiful words that I had learned while doing crossword puzzles, was when I was doing other crossword puzzles.
It's Teevee Jeebies time again, fellows -- that pause in the day's labors when we roll out a batch of wee-hour flicks that keep the country's cathode tubes ho-humming. Then we affix our own screwball subtitling. It's a game any number can play: next time you're being etherized by the not-so-magic box, all you have to do is douse the audio and dub in your own outrageous dialog (the further out the better), just as we've done below and on the following pages.
When I was a kid I never could understand it when my father shut himself off in the Bedroom and played solitaire. My mother' always say -- "Father -- Some father -- I'm both Mother and Father to these Kids.
For Travelers seeking a variety of vistas during January's snow-buffeted days, we herewith commend the merits of a European sojourn combining' ski-doings with pleasurable après-ski touring. One recently conceived plan enables you to jet from New York to Munich, where a freshly minted Mercedes will be placed at your disposal for $126 per fortnight, and this rental fee can be applied against future purchase of the car. Under this attractive arrangement you may first motor to the snow business resort of your choice -- the wind-sculpted slopes above Austria's St. Anton, say, or the French Val-d'Isère, where helicopters waft you to pristine alpine trails -- and then, sated with schussing, be free to wheel your way to less frosty, equally diverting Continental byways.