This is the month we announce the recipients of our $1000 bonuses for Best Fiction and Best Article of the past year. During 1961, our prodigal harvest of fiction was sown by such craftsmen as Ray Bradbury, T. K. Brown III, Anatole Broyard, Herbert Gold, Harvey Jacobs, Ray Russell, Henry Slesar and Bernard Wolfe, among many others. An embarrassment of riches, but the editors finally gave the nod -- and the simoleons -- to Harvey Jacobs for his wittily wistful and frenetic September farce, The Lion's Share. Close runners-up were Bernard Wolfe, for Come On Out, Daddy (February) and Ray Russell for Sardonicus (January). Our feast of nonfiction last year was no less meaty: among the memorable contributors were Ludwig Bemelmans, Allen Churchill, Arthur C. Clarke, Leslie Fiedler, Richard Gehman, J. Paul Getty, Ben Hecht, John Keats, Murray Kempton, Al Morgan, Robert Paul Smith, Alec Waugh and the multidexterous Ken W. Purdy, who copped 1960's Best Fiction Bonus for The Book of Tony. Again, a rich lode. The winner: Ken W. Purdy, for his spellbinding, penetrating analysis of Hypnosis in our February issue. Making the choice difficult were runners-up Leslie Fiedler, for The Literati of the Four-Letter Word (June) and Arthur C. Clarke for Machina ex Deux (July).
Playboy, January, 1962, Vol. 9, No. 1, Published monthly by HMH Publishing Co., Inc., Playboy Building, 232 E. Ohio St., 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 St., Chicago 11, Illinois, and Allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director, Jules Kase, Eastern Advertising Manager, 720 Fifth Ave., New York 19, New York, CI 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; Detroit, 705 Stephenson Bldg., 6560 Cass Ave., TR 5-7250; Florida and Caribbean Representative, The Hal Winter Company, 7450 Ocean Terr., Miami Beach, Florida, UN 5-2661; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 1722 Rhodes-Haverty Bldg., Atlanta 3, Georgia, JA 2-8113.
Last-minute gift notions for the man who doesn't believe it's only the thought that counts: the smart new "Universal Coffeematic, rendered in 14-carat gold, studded with 400 diamonds and rubies," and priced (presumably to discourage window-shoppers) at an even $50,000 by Lambert Brothers Jewelers of Manhattan; and, for disposing of the grounds, "a gold-plated garbage can filled with imported caviar -- not FHA approved, low bank rates; please, no trade-ins," by Anderson's of Minnesota, just $12,125.49 (marked down from $12,126).
Gift books to delight the eye (hand-somely bound, handsomely four-color) as well as the gray matter are available in profusion this holiday season, and a culling of the crop includes The Horizon Book of the Renaissance (Doubleday, $17.50), by the editors of that estimable magazine. It is a beautifully definitive word-and-picture portrait of the age from its dawn to its spread from Italy to the rest of the Continent, with 480 illustrations (160 in color) of the greatest in Renaissance art, artifacts and architecture. Boat buffs, both power and sail, will cotton to The Ship (Doubleday, $14.95) by Born Landstrom, a thoroughly informative and authoritative look-see at how man got about from place to place over the briny, from floating logs to nuclear subs; 810 illustrations, most of them in color, help you get your feet wet. There's no color as such in The American Theater (George Braziller, $9.95), but it's still one of the most colorful gift books you can give, being a collection of Al Hirschfeld's caricaturistic impressions of theatrical biggies (on both sides of the footlights) from the Twenties on up to late in 1961. For gourmet friends who know their way around a kitchen, our nod goes to Larousse Gastronomique (Crown, $20), Prosper Montagné's epic encyclopedia of food, wine and cookery that has been as much of a staple as garlic among the great chefs of the world since it was originally published in 1938. This is the first English translation, and if you find a little too much cross-referencing and a little too much useless exotica, that's the price you have to pay for comprehensiveness. One thousand illustrations of good eating, many of them in color, are lagniappe. Hunters and naturalists on your list will dig The Big Game Animals of North America (Dutton, $10), by Jack O'Connor, Gun Editor of Outdoor Life, and George Goodwin, Associate Curator of Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History. It's a felicitous collaborations: O'Connor makes with the hunting yarns and the close squeaks he's had with beasties, and Goodwin follows through with their natural history, including habits, enemies and mating info. Both men know what they're talking about, and the book moves as swiftly as a spooked White Tail. Twenty full-color reproductions and 150 black-and-white illustrations make it pretty as well as entertaining and informative. Along with this brief sampling of sumptuously out-sized holiday gift books, we'd like to report on that perennial phenomenon which is on the increase in publishing circles along about Christmas: the scissors-and-pastepot, synthetically conceived jumbo volumes put together in a thrice, usually in poor-quality black and white on cheap stock and exorbitantly jacked up in price with the come-on of a color cover. All they deserve in the way of review is the lumping of two old saws: "Caveat emptor" and "You can't judge a book by its cover."
Town Without Pity is film without point. It's the story of the trial of four GIs in occupied Germany for the brutal rape of a 16-year-old girl. It could have been a drama of: (1) the psychological tensions of occupation; (2) small-town chicken-yard morality that pecks at a girl once she has "fallen"; (3) legal process and the death penalty; (4) the delicate relationship between a father and a daughter. It is none of these. Producer-director Gottfried Reinhardt's presentation of all the provocative questions is strictly half-asked. He doesn't even dally with ideas as Stanley Kramer, that lily of the dally, might have done. There's plenty of new-style realism in photography and dialog, which comes off sillier than old-style movie glamor when it's applied to a script that avoids facing issues realistically. The profile of Kirk Douglas, jaw muscles tense, sails like a Coast Guard ice cutter through the role of defense counsel. Ingrid van Bergen makes a peach of a tart, and Christine Kaufmann, the rapee, displays lots of everything but talent.
I Remember Tommy ... (Reprise) is Frank Sinatra at his impeccable best -- sure-voiced, sensitive and dynamic -- as he reprises the 20-year-old Dorsey-Sinatra songbag. Sy Oliver, the third member of that epoch-making triumvirate, supplies precisely the right scoring, sentimental yet contemporary, as Sinatra strides briskly through such Dorseyana as The One I Love and Without a Song, or tenderly refurbishes one of our balladic favorites, Polka Dots and Moonbeams. Also on board are near-perfect renderings of I'm Getting Sentimental Over You, Imagination, There Are Such Things, It's Always You, East of the Sun and It Started All Over Again. Like they say, run, don't walk ...
Big Business never had it so good, and we are not referring to the long line of customers outside the 46th Street Theater, where industry's earth-shakers are taking a lethal ribbing and loving it. Using Shepherd Mead's title, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and the tactics advanced in his primer on self-promotion (originally serialized in playboy), author-director Abe Burrows and composer-lyricist Frank Loesser have polished up a jet-paced musical of originality, irreverence and wicked fun. Finch, the subversive hero, is an ambitious window washer armed with a paperback guide to glory that makes Machiavelli look like a moralist; his single track from washrags to riches is strewn with the shattered egos of the unfortunate rivals who get in his way. There is something about the unregenerate Finch that only ingenue Bonnie Scott could love, but there is everything about Robert Morse, actor, that causes an audience to applaud his skulduggery. The little man with the face of a hypocritical cherub is completely disarming when he phonies up a college background to sing Grand Old Ivy with a foredoomed Rudy Vallee, who amiably caricatures the fuzzy-minded president of World Wide Wickets Co., Inc. And Morse is little short of perfect as he delivers a heartfelt I Believe in You to his reflection in a bathroom mirror. In a showful of Frank Loesser showstoppers, the up-and-coming exec's ode is the distilled essence of this satiric romp. At the 46th Street Theater, 226 West 46th St.
[Q] My problem involves dancing. I would like to become a first-rate swinger on the dance floor; however, the lonely-heartish atmosphere and the high cost of lessons leave me less than enthusiastic about dance studios. Could you give a Frustrated social hoofer a tip or two? -- W. M., Cadillac, Michigan.
The Rounded Stones of the Beach warmed in the rising sun. At the water's edge they were dark and wet, laced with green. The spiny odor of salt water and seaweed rose in the hot air. The sea was blue and flat. Half a mile out, a catamaran scudded down the wind under a tea-brown sail, a water bug running. Behind it, pasted to the horizon like a child's paper cutout, a steamer sat under a purple thread of smoke.
When people come up to me -- and I have witnesses to testify that this has happened -- and say, "Tell me, Mr. Wodehouse, what are your literary methods?" I generally give one of my light, musical laughs and reply, "Oh, I just sit down at the typewriter and curse a bit." But actually the thing goes deeper than that, and if posterity is to get straight on this very important point, I shall have to add a few details.
Acquiring Fine Art used to be an avocation for the very, very rich. Morgan, Frick, Mellon -- these were the Croesuses of American Collecting in pre-income tax days. They, or their agents, laid siege to churches and palaces; with checkbooks for battering rams they smashed the barriers of protocol and national pride to acquire the masterpieces that now grace the collections of our museums. But for numerous and complex social, financial and legal reasons, this golden age of connoisseurship has died out, and the cultural buying spree of the few has spread to the many. Works of art, or commodities aspiring to that distinction, can now be purchased almost anywhere -- and on the installment plan on occasion. They can be bought not just at galleries, museums, auctions and artists' studios, but at coffeehouses and delicatessens, at sidewalk exhibitions, in theater lobbies and even off the walls of friends' living rooms. If more people are getting the works instead of works of art, that is simply the offspring of over-production coupled with amateurs' ignorance.
On a Day Neither Too Mellow nor too tart, too hot nor too cold, the ancient tin lizzie came over the desert hill traveling at commotion speed. The vibration of the various armored parts of the car caused road-runners to spurt up in floury bursts of dust. Gila monsters, lazy displays of Indian jewelry, took themselves out of the way. Like an infestation, the Ford clamored and dinned away into the deeps of the wilderness.
André Previn, versatile and prolific man of modern music, skoals his impending concert tour of Russia with a brandy alexander. Previn's particular potable, like Gaul, is divided into three parts -- equal quantities of brandy, crème de cacao and cream -- vigorously agitated with ice in shaker, then strained into frosty cocktail glass.
Being old hands at looking long and far for prospective Playmates to grace our gatefold, we're always gratified when we uncover a comely young miss close to home. Our January jeune file, Merle Pertile, projected prettily on more than a score of Playboy's Penthouse television shows originating in Chicago before she left the Windy City for the Pacific Coast -- specifically, Hollywood and the acting scene. Twenty-year-old Merle's professional pursuits have since borne further fruit with appearances on 77 Sunset Strip and The Tab Hunter Show, plus a hotboxful of mannequin chores ranging from fashion modeling to illuminating industrial films for outboard motors and auto mufflers. Her particular outboard assets (38-22-34) can hardly be muffled the way they're arranged on her 5'5", 112-pound frame. Since Merle, an enthusiastic outdoor-sports buff and California native (she was born in Whittier), returned to the West with her mother, she has replaced her Midwest-nurtured iceskating addiction with a consuming passion for skindiving. Much pleasured by such plebeian delights as nutburgers, she is conversely bugged by buglike compact cars, finds Cadillac and Continental convertibles (top down) much less claustrophobic. Titian-tressed Merle has her big blue eyes firmly focused on a film career, is busy studying acting in the hope of breaking the Hollywood sound-stage barrier. If and when Merle does soar to moviedom's heights, we'd like to think that Playboy's Penthouse provided her with a launching pad to success.
Some years ago, she told me the story. And he told it to me the other night. I was surprised to find both virtually identical. In neither case was the account volunteered, but it came in answer to an indiscreet question.
Let there be lightweights: that's the inside word on outerwear. The unexcelled comfort of the newly launched line of topcoasts, many in fabrics as light as suiting cloths -- airy tweeds, sleek sharkskins, rugged coverts, silk, wool and man-made blends -- proves that man can not only survive but thrive in a state of sartorial weightlessness from early fall through late spring. Lighter in tone as well as avoirdupois, the new coats for business and casel wear have abandoned the austerity of charcoal shades in favor of warmly muted medium grays, olives, browns and tans. (Black, of course, remains first choice for evening and formal excursions.) Patterns for business and casual wear include a wide selection of tastefully subdued herringbones, checks, plaids and overplaids. In style, the choice is choice indeed, ranging from split and full raglans to trim semifitted chesterfields, from the straight-hanging box profile to the modified Continental silhouette. The new topcoats are shorter and trimmer looking than in seasons past -- most are about knee level -- offering the active male a new freedom of movement and a jaunty look of updated traditionalism. These words to the weather-wise should be sufficient; now give the once-over -- lightly -- to our handsome coaterie of bantamweights. Far left: our man keeps smartly warm in lightweight single-breasted wool herringbone topcoat with weltedged shawl collar, 3/4 Continental cuffs, hacking flap pockets, center vent, by Barry Walt, $135; felt hat with offbeat British brim-roll sides, downturned front, narrow brim, center crease, by Thomas Begg, $15; coordinated gloves with imported buffed calfskin backs, triple-pointed, hand-stitched capeskin palms, notched wrists, by Countess Mara, $15.50. Left: our guy sets out for exurban weekend in tailored informality of warm but weightless imported cheviot fitted chesterfield coat with hacking pockets, hooked center vent, notched lapels, outside breast pocket, full lining, by Duncan Reed, $75; felt hat with narrow brim, center crease, wide band, by Knox, $20; whip-stitched pigskin gloves with elastic side walls, by American Astral, $6. Right: Met-bound metropolite is lightly, rightly garbed in sumptuous imported black cashmere topcoat with velvet collar and cuffs, white satin lining, rounded notch lapels, hacking flap pockets, centervent, by Malcolm Kenneth, $210; white crepe muffler with black and white hand-knotted fringe, by A. Sulka and Co., $20; capeskin formal gloves with snap closures, by A. Sulka and Co., $8.50; elegant gros-grain collapsible silk opera hat, by Churchill, $35.
Do you ever think, when you are mulling resolutions for the coming year, how the tide of history might have changed if, just a year ago, some famous folk had made a few unusual New Year's resolutions and stuck by them? Just for the fun of it, and with the help of hindsight, we've made them for them and here they are: the resolutions some famous people might have made a year ago -- but didn't.
Among the joys of January is the annual opportunity it affords us to cast a backward glance at the past dozen Playmates who glamorously filled our monthly gatefolds. Our leading lady on page 91 is November's Dianne Danford, a sharp-eyed, eye-filling filly whom we photographed getting her kicks from the kick of a skeet gun. Clay-pigeon-and button-popping Dianne's 36-22-35 calibrations represented a clarion call to arms. Right: not the least of the factors contributing to August's warmish days was the heat generated by fiery tressed Los Angeles angel Karen Thompson, a lass who had previously piqued readers' curiosity as a mannequin modeling fashions in undue anonymity for Playboy advertiser Margie Douglas. As our August offering, Karen revealed her name and figure. Miss Thompson, who had previously enhanced several TV private-eye and adventure series, made Playboy's wide-screen center-fold an eye-opening adventure in itself.
For 27 years, Henry Miller's famed "Tropic of Cancer," an autobiographical ramble through the purlieus of la vie bohème of Paris in the Twenties, was legally unobtainable in the United States, although it enjoyed a large clandestine circulation here as well as abroad. First published in 1934 by the Obelisk Press in Paris, the allegedly obscene book finally achieved U.S. publication last June after the Department of Justice, the Post Office and -- somewhat tardily -- the U.S. Customs reluctantly withdrew all complaints. When the American edition appeared, that backbone of book-banning, Boston, quickly picked up the challenge and prohibited the sale of the Grove Press unexpurgated edition in Massachusetts. All summer long, against a background of nationwide sniping by police and other culturally discerning local culture groups, the publisher and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts maneuvered their forces for the major engagement in court last September. At the height of the battle, the issue much in doubt, author Miller shouted his defiance in this manifesto.
The French Riviera, that sun-splashed strip of coast which curls along southern France from Marseilles to Menton, is an international playground of sophisticated informality. Christened the Côte d'Azur, this sliver of Provence has long attracted vacationers to its beneficent beaches, its superb climate and the luxury of its cosmopolitan resorts. Joining these carefree fun worshipers recently was impressionist LeRoy Neiman, Playboy's roving ambassador of the palette on assignment in Europe.
On the logical assumption that two sicknesses ought to be more devastating than one, a bright new brace of sicknik comics, Jack Burns and George Carlin, have been convulsing audiences in such plush pubs as the Playboy Clubs, the hungry i, Houston's Tidelands and St. Louis' Crystal Palace. The duo's sicker-than-thou approach leaves no socioeconomic turn unstoned as they take dead aim at the Peace Corps, Jackie Kennedy, the John Birch Society, David Susskind and sundry other cows, sacred and profane. Carlin, for an added fillip, does some pinpoint miming of a trio of the duo's heroes -- Bruce, Sahl and Berman -- and rates a broad Harvard A for his imitation of John F. Kennedy. The pair first joined forces in Fort Worth not too many moons ago, moved on to KDAY in Hollywood where they were a deejay-comedy team known as the Wright Brothers, doing off-air stints at such beat coffeehouses as Cosmo Alley. Lenny Bruce dug them there and got them an agent. An engagement at Chicago's Cloister was caught by playboy Editor-Publisher Hefner, who booked them into the Chicago Playboy Club -- and the boys suddenly found themselves in the big time. Among their most keenly honed scalpel jobs is their vivisection of the fatuous TV fare beamed at the kiddies, which goes like this:
During the reign of Francis I, a nobleman by the name of Artus went off to do battle in the Italian wars, leaving behind him his young and beauteous wife. He comported himself so magnificently in combat that he was knighted on the field and later returned proudly and with due pomp to his village. Arriving home, Milord Artus found his wife, unaware of his return, dancing about with a group of young fops and frisking from fellow to fellow -- in short, leading the joyous life. Milord Artus did not take kindly to this behavior and considered how he might discover what further had taken place during his absence.
There are a dandy number of choice locales where -- in March -- you may escape the drear tag end of winter, in surroundings both stimulating and unique. For example, a jaunt to the Canary Islands will prove amply rewarding, not only for the customary island attractions of a prodingal sun and uncluttered beaches, but for the Canaries' own un publicized natural beauty. On Lanzarote you can journey into the volcanic interior on the back of a camel, passing through the black-loamed vineyards surrounding Fire Mountain to the iridescent blue-green underground pools in the Cuevas de los Verdes and the Jameo del Agua, and thence to the black volcanic beach of El Golfo, an otherworldly lagoon in an extinct crater.