Taking Our Cue from the adissue's cover, we herewith slip into the argot of Madison Avenue to sock home our message, Playbillwise. But before we go into our hard-sell, high-impact presentation, permit us to fill you in on the background of our big picture, circulationwise: Latest figures show that Playboy has now reached a single-issue high of 1,410,000 paid copies. And, if we may pause for a word to our sponsors, that figure represents a bonus of more than 150,000 copies above our advertising guarantee.
Playboy, September, 1962, Vol. 9, No. 9, Published monthly by HMH Publishing Company, 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 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, 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; 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.
For a long time now, the publicity-public relations industry has been reviled as a totally dispensable puff dispensary serving no other function than to balloon the corporate image to larger-than-life size. The time has come to set things aright. We have found flackeries to be veritable fountainheads of catholic and cornucopic information. Via publicity releases, for example, we've gleaned the following little-known facts of modern life: The insignia of Air France contains a mythological beast, the hippocampus. U.S. automotive engineers first incorporated four-wheel brakes in their designs in 1923. The International Correspondence Schools' colors are purple and gold. All 1906 Mercedes were painted red. In 1960, the brewing industry produced 94,547,000 barrels of malt beverage, or the equivalent of 30 billion 12-ounce bottles. Dutch New Guinea recently issued a 25-cent stamp bearing the picture of a Volkswagen truck. The brilliant scarlet colors of the British Redcoats and Continental Armies were made from dye extracted from Indian lac; the lac, a tiny parasitic insect found on certain types of plum trees in India, Burma and Siam, is the source of all shellac. The Movieland Wax Museum contains, among other immortals, tallow takeoffs of Jean Harlow, Rudolph Valentino, Charley Chase, Brigitte Bardot, William Farnum, and the ever-popular Tony Perkins. The soot over Chicago rains from the sky at the rate of 71 tons per square mile a month. The gases produced by burning money are nonpoisonous and nontoxic. December 21 is National Flashlight Battery Inspection Day. Ireland has 85 packs of hounds -- divided among two staghound packs, 32 foxhound, 41 harrier packs, and several groups of foot beagles. But the Legion of Merit for the most informative release we've received to date must go to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' public relations staff, which recently issued an eight-page description of the seats to be installed in its Philharmonic Hall. From it, we learned the following: The seats will be 22 inches wide; the backs of the seats will be 19-3/4 inches high from the seat surfaces to the tops of the backs. The height from the floor to the top edges of the seats is 17-1/4 inches; the armrests are 13 inches long. The sliced polyurethane used in the arm padding measures 5/8 inch in thickness on the tops of the armrests; the back cushions (2-1/4 to 2-1/2 inches thick) are to be made of reconstituted foam. The seat cushions vary from 3 to 5 inches. Twenty percent of the underside of each seat will be perforated by six 2-inch holes. An average of 1.6 yards of fluorochemically treated cotton back mohair pile fabric per seat will be used. The back and seat cushion covers can be removed by means of zippers supplied by the Serval Slide Fasteners Co. of Flushing. The letters and numerals identifying the seats are 5/8 inch high, and printed in black on clear plastic circular discs (1-1/2 inches in diameter for seat numerals; 1-13/16 inches for row letters). The same alphabet design will be used on the 1-1/2 by 4-inch bronze-hued metal name plaques to be placed on the backs of seats that have been endowed; endowments for seats run from $1000 to $5000 -- a price per seat we can readily understand in view of the time, effort and salaries that must have gone into preparing the release, and the fact that the seat designs involved Max Abramovitz, architect; Don Wallance, industrial designer; Bolt, Beranek & Newman, the Center's acoustical consultants; the laboratories of Collins & Aikman, which worked six months to develop four special harmonizing shades of gold for the seat covers; American Seating, which manufactured the covers; the aforementioned zipper company; research labs that gave the seat extensive abrasion tests; and the firms of Chermayeff & Geismar Associates and Lustig and Reich, who were graphic consultants on the design of the alphabet and numerals. We can only liken its structural metamorphosis to the manner in which our own comfortable desk chair becomes absolutely uninhabitable whenever we have to plow through the morning's chest-high pile of publicity releases.
Off-Broadway looked very big last season -- if you counted noses onstage instead of out front. A hundred-odd hopefuls -- most of them very odd, indeed -- hustled exuberantly in and gloomily out of the little bandboxes that nestle self-consciously in the side streets of Manhattan. Their misguided ventures folded week after week with the regularity and dramatic interest of sheep jumping a fence in an insomniac's vigil. Still, the season did have its livelier entries -- and those still around we here-with celebrate.
Jules Dassin and Melina Mercouri, director and star of Never on Sunday, have gone to old sources for their new film, Phaedra. The story is out of Euripides by way of Racine, but way out. In the classic, Phaedra falls for her stepson, who isn't having any. Seeking revenge, the spurned lady tells her husband that his son is after her, and all Hellas breaks loose. In the Dassin version, Phaedra (Mercouri), the wife of a rich Greek shipowner, and the youth (Anthony Perkins) have a hectic hassle in the hay, thus lousing up the legend. Death comes to both, but not soon enough to save this hit-and-myth. There are more Attic attitudes struck here than a Grecian could urn; even the dialog is thickly coated with old Greece. As if this weren't enough, Dassin couldn't resist taking pictures of his star from every angle in every sort of dress; we have no wish to malign Melina. but the arty poses would make Harper's bizarre. Dassin himself plays only a bit part, for which one may give thanks. Pert Tony Perkins is not the man to make the Mercouri rise. The one solid acting job is turned in by Raf Vallone, as the husband -- but how thin can you slice Vallone?
Twenty-five years ago, the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union put on a musical revue. Today, Pins and Needles (Columbia), reprised by a small group of talented performers, shows very clearly why it was the surprise hit of its era. Though nothing dates more quickly than a topical revue (sociopolitically, Pins and Needles was topical in the extreme), Harold Rome's words and music hold up neatly. The album is at its best when Barbara Streisand, a comedienne who will be a top name before long, renders Doing the Reactionary and Nobody Makes a Pass at Me; the former fits beautifully into the Age of the Bircher; the latter, a wallflower's lament, is timeless.
"It takes a lot of audacity and belief to make a place like this come true," said singer Bobby Darin in an onstage tribute to his employer during his closing show at Chicago's glittering new Sahara Inn (3939 N. Mannheim). The owner of all that audacity -- and the $7,000,000 Sahara -- is Manny Skar, whose friendship with big-time hoodlums stirred up so much negative publicity in the Chicago press that the Sahara's liquor license was threatened just before opening night. But the really big news for the local populace is that the Sahara's Club Gigi is the first major talent tent to rise in the Windy City since the demise, in 1960, of the Chez Paree (which now houses part of Playboy's burgeoning office force). Lushly decorated, Club Gigi reflects the neo-Vegas atmosphere of the rest of the Sahara, a veritable UN of imported furnishings. Other major attractions: a gold-toned Celebrity Bar stocked with cocktail waitresses out of the Arabian Nights; a sumptuous red-and-gold Sultan's Table dining room with strolling violinists and a 25-foot-tall "arbor tree" complete with artificial grapes and moss; a huge heated swimming pool; and a coffee shop built around a large gold cup. The supper club's 280-seat capacity is small by Vegas-Miami Beach standards -- so small that it seems unlikely to support such high-priced names as Darin, Jack E. Leonard, Vic Damone, Joe E. Lewis, Shecky Greene, Tony Martin and Ella Fitzgerald, all of whom have been booked for the room. Skar is not scared by the problem, however; the payoff, he says, will come from the Sahara's 276 plushly furnished rooms (at $16-$24 per) and from a huge convention hall he plans to add next year. Mirroring Skar's own confidence, brash Bobby Darin was a nifty choice as Club Gigi's opening act. Delivering two weeks of his usual Darin-do to SRO crowds, he made no secret of the fact that his singing voice, never too extensive in range, was suffering from recurrent throat trouble. ("Cancer," he explained cheerfully, after one particularly bad coughing spell.) But his rhythmic body English and shoot-from-the-hip wit were on target all the way. (To the possible annoyance of some of his fans, movie star Darin often came close to doing a parody of singer Darin's cool shoulder-shrugging style.) In the patter department, Darin was at his sharpest during his closing-night show when his successor, rotund Jack E. Leonard, and owner Skar shared a ringside table. Trading zingers with Leonard ("I've always wanted to do a double, Jack, but in your case, it would be a triple"), Darin nearly reduced the acid ad-libber to a malevolent mumbler. On the bill with Darin for the Sahara opening was master mimic George Kirby, who broke up the crowd, the band and Darin himself. With top names, a shiny new supper club and a sun-bright marquee that out-beacons Chicago's nearby O'Hare Airport (which is two minutes away by car), Skar's chic Sahara may well become a Midwestern oasis for the international jet set.
James Baldwin's new novel, Another Country (Dial, $5.95), is serious, painful and full of salty language. Baldwin's intense concern for his characters fires this book and gives it a compelling quality. At first he seems to be mainly interested in Harlem Negroes, particularly the young and the talented who, as represented by Rufus Scott, have been reduced by our society to inarticulate fury. But Baldwin moves on, not only to other Negroes like Rufus' sister, Ida, but to white men and women as well: Vivaldo Moore, who becomes Ida's lover; Eric, an actor, a white Southerner, a homosexual; and Richard and Cass Silenski, a writer in the process of being commercialized and a woman learning to live with a man without integrity. It is, indeed, another country that Baldwin maps out, a country full of fury and torment. The weight of the city is "murderous." "The rain poured down like a wall. It struck the pavements with a vicious sound, and spattered in the swollen gutters with the force of bullets." The fury is in the prose -- and it is in the characters as well. Ida will never let Vivaldo forget that he is white and she is black. "All you white boys make me sick. You want to find out what's happening, baby, all you got to do is pay your dues." Rage is at the very root of their sexual lives. The "happiest" sexuality in the book is that between Eric and Yves, a French boy. And yet, even in the midst of his happiness Eric realizes that on the day Yves no longer needs him, he (Eric) will become again a victim of that army of lonely men who had used him and who had submitted to him; to become "... the receptacle of an anguish which he could scarcely believe was in the world." This book is not a cry of rage; it is the articulation of that rage -- and that is its achievement.
I have been a widower for three years, look back on my marriage as having been a very happy one, and feel the loss of my wife with a sorrow that I believe will always endure. I tell you this so you won't think me heartless or shallow when you read what follows. Although I was happily married, I have come to enjoy my bachelorhood and am not looking for a wife, though I am not in principle averse to remarriage. I find ample feminine companionship, of varying degrees of intimacy, and I think that for me, at this juncture in my life, variety provides the ideal spice for my days and nights. My problem is a couple with whom my late wife and I had been very friendly. They are compulsive matchmakers. I have little in common with them except the past. They invite me to dinner almost weekly, usually with eligible girls. I've yet to meet one there who was not intelligent, warmhearted, cultivated, attentive, pleasant -- and sexually about as interesting as a board fence. I'm no sex fiend, but I must admit that sexually unstimulating girls bore me; for conversation I prefer the company of men. How do I get out of these invitations gracefully and without a residue of hurt feelings? -- W. H., Louisville, Kentucky.
There was in Ancient Rome a woman named Paulina, whose noble ancestry and exemplary life had endowed her with great fame. She was also quite rich. And though she was renowned for her beauty, and lived in that flowering age when women were unashamedly frivolous, she herself followed a life of modesty. She was married to Saturninus, a man herself of excellent character.
Ask yourself: Have you ever heard about someone going to work in a blue funk or leaving a party in a huff? How many women have you known who have driven a hard bargain or gone off in a snit? But has anyone ever Seen these ubiquitous vehicles or any of their outspoken ilk? Not to our knowledge. Not, that is, until we decided to clarify the situation and compile the following catalog of illustrious word-of-mouth machines, those conversational conveyances all of us hitch a ride on now and then.
In the bright little Island world of the Caribbean, where chill winds never blow and ice is the stuff that drinks are made of, November is a month notably fit for the guy who would split from less temperate scenes. Since charting an itinerary through this tropic zone can be a perplexing, though pleasant, problem, your final choice should hinge on which approach you prefer: island hopping by plane or ship, or simply operating in one lush locale.