As a Springtime Salute to Playboy's 100th issue (and some 78,000,000 individual copies that have been purchased since we began publishing eight-plus years ago), we're celebrating April in Paris, and cordially invite you along. In a tip of the chapeau to that city, the season and our century mark, we've come up with a potpourri of Gallic goodies.
Playboy, April, 1962, Vol. 9, No. 4, 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, $15 for three Years, $12 for two Years, $7 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 II, 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 building, 6560 cass Ave., Tr 5-7250; Southeastern, Florida and Caribbean representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Rd., N.E., Atlanta 5, GA., 233-6729.
In the eight-plus years since Marilyn Monroe adorned the centerfold of our premiere issue, Playboy's Playmate of the Month has become one of the most celebrated -- and imitated -- institutions in publishing. As we unveil our 100th unveiled gatefold girl herein, it is gratifying to report that Playboy has finally made its editorial influence felt in perhaps the most decorous and rarefied realm of magazine journalism: the world of women's fashion. In the January issue of Harper's Bazaar, amidst the usual array of fine-boned females dressed to the teeth and well beyond in the costly creations of haute couture, is an eye-filling full-page photograph by Richard Avedon of Contessa Christina Paolozzi -- one of high fashion's most womanly mannequins -- elegantly accoutered in naught but her birthday suit. For the magazine's stunned readers, this altogether delightful excursion into photographic nudity was their first view of the comely Contessa -- or any other fashion model, we suppose -- wearing nothing more than a Mona Lisa smile. We'd had the pleasure of glimming this same photo before, however, because it was actually shot by Avedon for Playboy and submitted for consideration of the Contessa as a possible Playmate. We think the bare-breasted Contessa would have looked nice in Playboy's pages, but we're really quite pleased to have her wind up in a women's fashion magazine instead. Though far fewer appreciative urban males got the chance to dig her statuesque lines, we can't help enjoying the spectacle of female finger-waggings, tongue-cluckings and head-shakings precipitated by the publication of Harper's Bazaar's first "Playmate of the Month."
If you don't know Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night, perhaps you can endure the film of that name. If you do know it, slender is the likeness and massive is the blight. The characters appear to be the same people they were in the book; Dick Diver is still a psychiatrist, and his wife is still the girl he cured only to have her betray him; but then ginger ale is the same color as champagne and just as bubbly. The picture comes equipped with theme song ("Tender is the night, so-o-o-o-o-o tender is the night"), which is sung under the opening credits to give fair warning of the kind of mind that fashioned this film. There are a few good Twenties touches of Americans trying frantically to capture European high life while ol' man Riviera just keeps rollin' along; but so much of Fitzgerald's poetic delicacy has been destroyed that the movie goes practically Scott-free. Dick Diver, perhaps the most romantic hero of 20th Century American fiction, is played by badly miscast Jason Robards, Jr. The haunted and haunting Nicole, Diver's belle, is attempted by Jennifer Jones, Hollywood's answer to Benzedrine. Jill St. John and Tom Ewell are present and unaccountable. A large V-for-Vulgar to Ivan Moffat, the screenwriter, and Henry King, the director.
Broadway does considerably better by Tennessee Williams -- and vice versa -- than Hollywood this season. In The Night of the Iguana, Williams rejects the crash of violence for a compassionate contemplation of the lonely and the lost. His limbo is a shabby hotel moldering in the umbra of a rain forest on the west coast of Mexico. Its bizarre inhabitants include a defrocked minister given to bouts with the bottle, teenage girls and his battered conscience; a vulgar, predatory, sex-starved widow who is waiting for him to abandon hope of one day regaining his pulpit and settle for her board and bed; and a wise and wistful New England virgin who has wasted her life mothering her senile grandfather of a poet. At the end of the play, the symbolic iguana of the title, which has been imprisoned under the veranda for fattening and the frying pan, is given its symbolic release, but no such miracle can be expected for the human prisoners. Unlike the iguana, the spinster in her wisdom and the preacher in his feeble rebellion are inescapably tethered to their destinies. Only for a moment's meeting and parting can they give each other the tender understanding that allows them to forget their fates. Williams' play is least successful when he introduces peripheral characters, such as a quartet of Nazis, to simulate some spurious activity. But nothing can detract from the combination of perceptive writing and matching performances by director Frank Corsaro's accomplished cast: Bette Davis, triumphant in the end, as the raucous, red-headed widow with her blouse gaping wide to her naked midriff; Patrick O'Neal as the remnant of the renegade who boasts of committing "fornication and heresy in the same week"; and Alan Webb as "the oldest living and practicing poet," who finishes his last poem a breath before his deathline. Outstanding even among these is Margaret Leighton's monumental portrayal of the old maid, one of the most memorable characters Williams has ever fashioned out of hope and despair. Together, Williams and Miss Leighton make a most affecting descent into the spiritual netherworld. At the Royale. 242 West 45th Street.
In what may be the funniest album ever, Mike Nichols & Elaine May Examine Doctors (Mercury), the twosome vivisect the medical profession from psychiatry to psurgery with a black bagful of delightfully unclinical clowning. We offer as infectious specimens their opening A Little More Gauze gambit in which Dr. Nichols forces Nurse May to accept a date with him in the midst of an operation (as Nichols begs May to say yes, she reminds him that the patient's oxygen is failing, to which the good doctor replies: "Don't change the subject"), and Transference (An encouched Nichols mentions what he feels is the strange notion that the analyst is his mother. May, a Yiddish-accented Jungian, replies that it's understandable and that it happens quite frequently, then remarks that Nichols looks peaked and inquires whether he had lunch. When Mike answers peevishly that he had a little chopped liver and a Pepsi-Cola, May singsongs back: "Pepsi-Cola? That's a meal?" After Nichols mentions that he's very nervous and he just doesn't know what to do, and that he's tried everything, May supplies the capper: "Have you tried a little chicken soup?"). The manic pace continues right on through the closing band, which is and unedited taping of Nichols and May breaking up completely as Mike evolves a skit in which he tells his mother that the family will have to make sacrifices because he's decided he wants to study hard and go into medicine -- to become a registered nurse. May supplies a second punch line when she says how happy she and his father will be when they can tell people: "There goes our son -- the nurse." We broke up, too, from start to finish of this slick pitch for sociable medicine. Lenny Bruce -- American (Fantasy) is the unlikely title of a very likely LP. A stiletto-sharp Bruce discourses (in almost antiseptically expurgated fashion, we might add) on a traumatic gig in Lima, Ohio ("The first day you go through the five-and-10; the next day, you walk through the park and look at the cannon. I stayed at the show business hotel; they got a guy there who's the movie projectionist; another guy sells Capezios. I was held over for spite."), runs through a helpful how-to on the right way to relax colored people at parties (High points of Bruce's party conversation:"Joe Louis was certainly a helluva fighter ... That Bojangles sure was some dancer ... You all have a natural sense of rhythm ... Have you had anything to eat? Maybe I can get you some watermelon and fried chicken? ... I'd like to have you over to the house, but I have a sister ... But come on over, anyway -- after dark."), offers a ploy to throw a motel desk clerk off the track ("How much is it by the month?"), and delivers a Mexican-American youngster's brotherhood plea to his ethnically commingled gang ("We all have to stick together -- and beat up the Polacks"). Bruce's tag-off is a beautifully enacted travesty of the Hollywood prison movie that is a comedic classic.
Katherine Anne Porter's Ship of Fools (Atlantic Monthly Press, $5.95) should amply fulfill the expectations of her admirers who have long been awaiting this, her first full-length novel. Miss Porter holds a high place among American writers for her infallible style and for the subtlety and force of her analysis of the drive to death in this century. It is good to report that the style of the author of that small masterpiece, Pale Horse, Pale Rider, is as faultless as ever and even more versatile. Equally important, her treatment of the contemporary conundrum has broadened immeasurably. Out of a cast of 30-odd not-so-odd characters assembled on board a steamer bound for Germany from Mexico, Miss Porter creates an image of Western society: First-class passengers literally look down on those in steerage; gentiles ostracize or patronize Jews: there are national cliques and a pecking order of respectability; the elite sit at the captain's table. But the social hierarchy is undercut as the moral weaknesses common to all the passengers are exposed. The novelist's eye is for the sins committed in the commonplace self-righteous life: sins of indifference, of treachery and betrayal, of self-deception, dishonesty, cowardice, cruelty. No one is exempted, and although Miss Porter can be sympathetic, she is, like Dante, a severe judge. As their little frailties and frictions erupt into shocking violence, everyday folk are gradually shown to be no less deformed than the hunchback, their fellow-passenger and mirror. On carnival night they put on the masks of their souls and are seen frankly to be grotesques. This brilliant novel begins in realism and ends as a persuasive symbol of the moral failure of Western man -- persuasive because it locates his essential weakness in those intimate attitudes and gestures we take most for granted.
I have been squiring an attractive young lady who is feminine in all departments save one: she has a disconcerting habit of coloring her language with blue expressions. The girl works in the publicity department of a Mad Ave firm, where it is considered chic to punctuate one's sentences with salty talk. Now, I am an occasional four-letter man myself -- but only in unmixed company. It really grates me to hear these pungent terms issuing from her pretty lips, especially when there are other couples present. How can I get her to cut the crudities without sounding like some sort of Victorian square?
Perhaps no other medium embodies and reflects an age as does the folk song. It brings home vividly to future generations the vicissitudes, the joys and the tragedies of life in bygone eras. It recently occurred to me that, while our generation is still singing the songs of the American Revolution, the Negro slave, frontier love, and the building of the railroad, posterity might find it difficult living our era vicariously. Not only do most of today's songs not mirror our age, but they have all they can do to retain their popularity tomorrow, let alone a century from now. Which is why I feel that the time has come for today's writers to start penning authentic folk songs of the 1960s for people of future generations to sing and enjoy. To start the ball bouncing, turn the page for my contributions, modestly offered as stimuli to more gifted (if less farseeing) poets.
Martha Hiller Lived in bedford heights, and although her husband Tom made the hour-long train journey into the city every weekday morning, her once-a-month visit required all the frantic preparations of a trek into the African interior. She usually arrived, exhausted, near noon, and after a whirlwind tour of the Fifth Avenue stores, she would meet Wendy Garde in the Hotel Chandler's dining room for lunch. Wendy and her husband Graham still lived in the city, despite the efforts of the Hillers to entice them to greener pastures where their friendship could flourish amid the spreading crabgrass. But Graham was stubborn as pavement; every evening, when Tom left the office of the frozen-food company which employed them both, Graham would grin wickedly and wish Tom a sweatless train trip, free of breakdowns. Then he'd take a cab home.
Although France's new wave of film makers has long since begun to ebb, American moviegoers are currently discovering a similar movement sprouting in this country. Within the past year, there has been a strong sprinkling of offbeat, low-budgeted pictures to spice up the standard fare provided by the major studios. Many more are slated for the near future. Or rather, many more are in production and hopeful of release in the months ahead. For these are the works of independent picture makers who owe neither financial nor artistic allegiance to the Hollywood studios. Indeed, most of them will cheerfully admit that the kind of movie they want to make is something that the studio mentality could never understand. The only hitch is, all the main channels for getting films into the movie houses are firmly controlled by the tentacular distribution arms of those same studios. The road to recognition -- which is what most of these youthful pioneers want more than riches -- is not an easy one.
Among the more mystifying rites practiced by teenagers everywhere is the nonstop, often acrobatic telephonic chatfest. We will be the first to admit that these talkathons can be beguiling as well -- especially if the dispenser of gifted gab is as well-connected as our lovely April Playmate, Roberta Lane. Bobby-soxed Bobbie delights in dialing her confidantes for an exchange of girl-talk about the hopeful male operators who feel, as we, that her pert face, live-wire personality and captivating party lines (34-21-34) are worthy of close attention. Nineteen-year-old Miss April, a nifty queen from Queens, New York, harbors sweet dreams of an acting career in TV; while waiting for the big break she helps to pay her phone bills (last month's local calls: $26.18) with secretarial work in New York City. Accustomed as she is to private speaking, this belle telephoner also takes an active interest in such outdoor pursuits as horseback riding and long walks in the country, and waxes enthusiastic over Scottish bagpipe music, dancing (she's a whiz at modern terpsichore, both interpretive and popular) and attending Broadway shows -- à deux. While she currently is not overly concerned with matrimony, our 5'2" communications expert vows that the guy who eventually gives her a ring will be a warm, fun-loving type who steers clear of white lies and blue language. In the accompanying foldout, Bobbie radiates her own fun-loving warmth as she sits all alone by the telephone, a person-to-person smile on her sunny face, an inviting call in her bright blue eyes. In view of which, we invite you to join us in a ready response to Miss April, our entrancing talk of the town.
Spring will be a little light this year -- and a lot brighter. A burst of color -- in whitened versions of the bold tints which set the tone in leisure wear last year -- will infuse the vernal wardrobe from lids to loafers with a fresh new look of colorful coolness.
There is a striking though clumsy pharase from the autobiography of the 19th Century writer Richard Jefferies that has stuck in my mind for many years: "The unattainable blue of the flower of the sky." Unattainable: that is a word we seldom use these days, now that men have reached the greatest heights and depths of Earth and are preparing to journey far beyond the sky. Yet only a century ago the North and South Poles were utterly unknown, much of Africa was still as mysterious as in the time of King Solomon, and no human being had descended a hundred feet into the sea or risen more than a mile into the air. We have gone so far in so short a time, and will obviously go so much further if our species survives its adolescence, that I should like to pose a question which would have seemed very odd to our ancestors. It is this: "Is there any place which will always remain inaccessible to us, whatever scientific advances the future may bring?"
Playboy's readers and editors were in complete accord last year in their pick of the fetching Playmate pack: all returns called for a return of spectacular Christa Speck as our Playmate of the Year. The winsome Christa first decorated our pages as Miss September, and drew an unprecedented avalanche of approving missives; in December her frolicsome poolside capers were the most popular highlight of the Playmate Holiday House Party. Formerly a model of fiscal fitness as a Los Angeles bank secretary, 20-year-old Christa now draws appreciative interest as a pert Bunny at the Chicago Playboy Club. In gratitude for the accolades of her discerning admirers, our lady bountiful here passes in review the memorable face and figure (38-22-36) that made her the choicest of the choice in 1961.
"In the Reproduction of sound, what really matters is not what oscilloscopes and meters tell you, but what you hear," says Stewart Hegeman, an audacious audio engineer known for his iconoclastic independence which has -- almost as a by-product of his creative, never-mind-the-cost experimentation -- won him industry-wide recognition as the white-maned wonder of the components field. Virtually every one of his theoretical explorations of electronic sound has evolved into a new design snapped up by manufacturers. He has done tuners for Dyna, pre-amps for Lafayette, speakers for Eico. When the trend in hi-fi components stressed compact economy and styling, Harman-Kardon put into production Hegeman's circuitry for a huge, plain, expensive amplifier, the Citation II, and other outsize, high-dollar Citation units, found itself with a line of top-ranked best sellers, and demand outstripping supply. Where other hi-fi concerns employ engineering staffs and stylists, Hegeman -- ever the purist -- works virtually alone to devise superior equipment, with manufacturers impatiently awaiting each new, painstakingly-worked-out Hegeman design. In his rambling Glen Ridge, New Jersey, home-laboratory, the 47-year-old innovator evidences a Rolls-Royce-like concern for his products. Hegeman turned to hi-fi as a career in 1950 after a 15-year stint as a test engineer for Western Electric. As an independent audio consultant, he's explored every area in the realm of sound, from developing Westminster's excellently engineered Lab Series recordings, to creating custom-built tape decks for private customers (on a six-month waiting list). His present major project is the construction of a super stereo amp for his own lab: it will have 11 transistors per channel and a flat response from one to 500,000 cycles ("I want a response that's so wide it offers no restriction to any part of the audio spectrum," he says). A vital part of his life, and one reason for his success, is his deep love of music, a characteristic not shared by many of his fellow audio engineers. "To me," says Hegeman, "music is more than the tones of a signal generator reproduced without measurable distortion."
When Barrel-Bodied, demon-driven comic Jackie Gayle ends his onstage cannonading there are few icons left standing. The Gayle-ic shillelaghs are applied with unrestrained enthusiasm to hero, heroine and hallowed institution alike. With Gayle force, the fast-rising funnyman takes note of Nathan Hale's final speech before he was hanged ("Make it a Windsor knot"); Joan of Arc's last words ("I'm smoking more but enjoying it less"); Ivy League KKKers ("They all wear three-button sheets"): Barry Goldwater ("He sounds like he should be a bandleader; you know -- Barry Goldwater and His Conservatives"); the Denver police scandals ("A woman called the police station to report a suspicious-looking prowl car outside her window"). Gayle, a 34-year-old, born-in-a-trunk type (his father worked at New York's Loew's State Theater; his brother is also a comic), is managed by Lenny Bruce's mother. Sally Marr, who has achieved a modicum of fame in her own right as tutor at L.A.'s Pink Pussycat night club's School of the Striptease. That tabby-tabbed ecdysiastery was just one of the many lower-echelon lubritoriums circuited by Gayle in leaner (financially, that is) years. Today, the galvanic comic is a four-figure-a-week first-stringer in such plush pubberies as San Francisco's Purple Onion, Houston's Tidelands, and the Playboy Clubs' showrooms. In irreverent tribute to Bruce, his idol and benefactor, Jackie the Giant Killer offers this testimonial: "Lenny is the illegitimate son of Nathan Leopold."
On any given list of the best TV shows from the current season, chances are that many, if not most, will have been produced by a tweedy, pipe-smoking ex-ski instructor named Donald Hyatt. As NBC's head of Special Projects, this prolific producer-director has prospered by ignoring every accepted formula for success in a medium which -- despite the goadings of Newton Minow -- retains its resolute lock on the doctrine of the greatest goo for the greatest number. During its eight-year history, his celebrated series of Project 20 documentaries has garnered more critical kudos and major awards than any other public affairs program in television. Yet it draws unprecedented average audiences of 35,000,000 and more with such "noncommercial" presentations as Mark Twain's America, Victory at Sea and The Coming of Christ. "Too many people," explains Hyatt, "draw an iron curtain between informational and entertainment programing. We've tried to blend the best ingredients of both into a new kind of program." With a serene dedication which his rat-racing employers find engagingly mystifying, the 38-year-old producer has done exactly that. Combining the techniques of live TV, video tape and film with an original process of still-picture animation which imbues vintage photographs with lifelike movement, Hyatt and his 20-man staff have quietly amassed laurels and ratings which enable the Sarnoffs, the sponsors, the FCC -- and even the public -- to have their cultural cake and eat it, too. This month's diverse offerings include a romantic look at The Beauty of Woman from Cleopatra to Claudia Cardinale; and on Easter Sunday, He Is Risen, a reverent reconstruction in color of the Resurrection of Christ, seen through the medium of great Renaissance paintings. Hyatt's documentary menu for the fall is a bounteous banquet of Special Projects ranging from an evocative exploration of the nation's musical heritage to an ambitious pictorial history of 18th and 19th Century America. A way out of the vast wasteland would seem to be in sight: attaining new Hyatts.
When Thackeray Penned the line "This Bouillabaisse a noble dish is -- --," he was eulogizing not the original French fish stew from Marseilles but the classic potpourri he had savored in a New Orleans restaurant. Verily, the culinary distance between Southern pecan stuffing and pâté de foie gras is a good deal shorter than the mileage separating Lake Pontchartrain and Lyons would indicate; the best of our Southern cookery and the elite of French cuisine bear too many common familial traits for them to be dismissed as coincidental. Our frame of reference for Dixie cookery does not, of course, include the abominations hatched by those neoned eateries squatting like luminescent toadstools along our Southern highways, where haute cuisine is a plate of eggs fried hard on both sides and butted against an ominous mound of hominy grits. For the best of the Southern table, you must go into such famed corners as the inns of Williamsburg, the Creole caravansaries of New Orleans' trellised French Quarter, and the stately dining patios of Charleston, where Carolinians still follow the royalist custom of eating the main meal at three o'clock in the afternoon.
With the Rarefied Days of June coming into sight again, the best time of the year to start planning a sojourn to the cool countries is upon you. To abet you, we here offer a hinterland hint or two anent top-of-the-world fun in Alaska and Scandinavia.