Eleven, as everyone knows, is a lucky number, and our eleventh year of publication found Dame Fortune smiling broadly. In 1964, playboy became the largest-selling men's magazine of all time; and, indeed, our growth in the last few years has been nothing short of phenomenal. Playboy took six years to reach the million mark in circulation and less than four to double that figure. But that, as they say in vaudeville, was only the beginning. Since early in 1963, an already robust readership has been vaulting upward. In the first six months of 1964, our circulation rose over a half million: in the second half it was well on its way to three million---a nice round number that our sales seers confidently predict we will hit early this year. We must confess we're not certain as to exactly why Playboy has enjoyed this unprecedented increase in popularity---and it is unprecedented in that there has never been such a rapid, unforced circulation rise for such a prestige-priced publication---but we suspect that there are several factors involved. The babies of the War and post-War population explosion have grown into young adults, a group with whom Playboy rates first chair. And we like to think that Playboy itself has grown, too---into a more sophisticated, more entertaining publication than ever before. On this, Playboy's eleventh birthday, we pledge ourself to make it even better in the years ahead.
Playboy. January, 1965, Vol. 12, No 1 Published Monthly by Hmh Publishing Company, Inc., Playboy Building, 232 E. Ohio St., Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: In The U.S., Its Possessions, The Pan American Union And Canada, $20 For Three Years, $15 For Two Years. $8 For One Year Elsewhere Add $4.60 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, Illinois 60611. And Allow 30 Days For Change. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director; Jules Kase, Associate Advertising Manager, 405 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022, Mu 8-3030; Joseph Fall, Advertising Manager; Sherman Keats. Chicago Manager. 155 E. Ohio Street. Chicago, Ill. 60611, Mi 2-1000. Detroit, Joseph Guenther, Manager, 2990 West Grand Boulevard. Tr 5-7250; Los Angeles, Stanley L. Perkins, Manager, 8721 Beverly Boulevard, Ol 2-8790; San Francisco, Robert E. Stephens, Manager 110 Sutter Street, Yu 2-7994; Southeastern Representative, Pirnie & Brown, 3108 Piedmont Road, N.E., Atlanta, Ga. 30305, 233-6729.
We had a visit the other day from a peripatetic, self-made social anthropologist, free-lance-writer friend---Mr. Avery Corman. Manhattanite and frequent contributor to The Realist---who fell by to say hello while we were hard at work on advance schedules for 1965 issues of playboy. "If you're thinking ahead," he said, "you might give some thought to my latest theory concerning The Interpersonal Heterosexual Confrontation and what may become of it in the future." It took but a moment to grasp that he was talking about boys and girls together and---once he'd lapsed into his customary patterns of everyday speech---we found his ideas not only worth repeating here, but possibly pertinent to cogitations on the New Year and what it may portend.
I am a young woman who enjoys life and is not opposed to long-term affairs, or an occasional "roll in the hay," if the man appeals to me. But I do have a question that plagues me to the point of becoming a frustrating problem; How does a woman turn down a proposition from a man and spare his manly pride? I try to explain that the feeling must be mutual, and all men I've met agree that unless the woman enjoys sex, there is no pleasure for either. But some men persist, usually ending up with the accusation: "You're afraid of sex, aren't you?" So can you tell me, how does a woman say no and still keep a friend?---Miss N. H., Berkeley, California.
March is a relaxed and balmy month throughout the Mediterranean, where the restless sense of a new spring wafting on warm sea breezes is all-pervasive. The best way to savor it is on the water. Anything from a sumptuous yacht to a small sailing vessel can be chartered at daily rates running from $50 a day for a boat accommodating four people to $1000 a day for a 138-foot. 12-passenger motor yacht with an 8-man crew. Pick a departure point from any of the main yacht harbors in the area and plan a cruise itinerary including scenic Italian fishing villages, lovely French resorts and historically rich Greek islands.
We were adjusting a clean sheet of paper in our typewriter, preparatory to starting in on this 20th installment of The Playboy Philosophy, when one of the clippings that had been placed on our desk a few minutes earlier caught our attention. "read playboy for student thinking" was the headline on a two-column story, dated October 3, 1964, carrying the by-line of the Religious News Editor of the Houston Chronicle, and we read: "To parents. Sunday-school teachers, clergymen and others who want to speak the same language as college students: In the opinion of a group of clergymen who regularly discuss religious, moral, ethical and philosophical ideas with college students. The Playboy Philosophy is what they're all reading... . Publisher Hugh Hefner, in the opinion of the clergymen, had a defense of his magazine as at least part of his motivation in the rambling, rather disorganized series... . But Hefner, they say, reflects the 'sexual revolution' on the campus well enough for the series, which is available in a bound copy for $1, to provide thoughtful reading for older adults who wonder what's going on in the student mind ..."
I met that woman, that Matilda, during my first autumn of émigré existence in Berlin, in the early twenties of two spans of time, this century and my foul life. Someone had just found me a house tutor's job in a Russian family that had not yet had time to grow poor, and still subsisted on the phantasmata of its old St. Petersburg habits. I had had no previous experience in bringing up children---had not the least idea how to comport myself and what to talk about with them. There were two of them, both boys. In their presence I felt a humiliating constraint.
When Peter Ustinov told us that he would be playing King Fawz., ruler of the mythical, oil-rich desert land of Fawzia, in his latest 20th Century-Fox film, John Goldfarb, Please Come Home, we asked to hear more about it. The good king, Peter explained, true to his counterparts and prototypes, boasts an infinite number of piasters, and a similar supply of wives lovingly living together in that apotheosis of togetherness---the harem. This led us to ponder the fact that, though the harem has long been one of the happier aspects of Arabian life, it has unfortunately been frowned upon by most other cultures. What, we wondered, would history have been like if the seraglio had displaced monogamy as the connubial keystone of civilization? We then asked Peter to lend his talents to an exclusive pictorial depicting a hypothetical chronicle of harems; he readily agreed, and pitched into our parody with the same enthusiasm he devotes to making the ludicrously lecherous potentate in John Goldfarb a characterization of delightfully larger-than-life proportions.
When bingo little's wife, the popular novelist Rosie M. Banks, exerted her pull and secured for Bingo the editorship of Wee Tots, the journal for the nursery and the home, she had said it would be best not to haggle about salary but to take what H. C. Purkiss, its proprietor, offered, and Bingo had done so, glad to have even the smallest bit of loose change to rattle in his pocket. But came a day when he felt he could do with rather more, so he went to Mr. Purkiss and asked for a raise, and Mr. Purkiss stared at him incredulously.
If you should ever stop to think about the number of stories or books you pick up and then just lay down, almost in the same sentence as it were---compared specifically with the number of movies you walk out of during the first five minutes---then you may find yourself locked into an unsentimental comparison of the two as Boss Medium, creativewise. Such comparison is not a comfortable undertaking---due to the tremendous amount of prestige-leverage the written word has going in. Who, after all, would be so crassly unconventional as to compare Antonioni with Proust, Fellini with Shakespeare---or even Richardson with Fielding? The approach to understanding, then, is obviously along lines other than simple hero worship; and the most reassuring, I would suggest, is the purely rational or, for want of a better descriptive, that which is known. What we are dealing with in this area (of art and communication) are the empathic sensory perceptions, and what is known about them, while limited, is quite exact. The primary experience is one which involves all the sensory perceptions, and is for that reason unique. Consider the phenomenon of a person who is crossing the street and is hit by a car. There is but one primary experience, and that is of the person who is actually hit. All other experiences of the same instant in time and space are removed---and in the degree to which they are removed, so is the involvement of the experiencers, their awareness, their perception of the experience itself. If the most "engaging" thing is to be hit by the car oneself, the next is to witness it---to see and hear the impact of metal against flesh, the sounds of pain. Seeing, as they say, is believing. And the involvement is nearly unbearable---compared, that is, with reading about it. If it is to be argued that the accomplished writer has means of conjuring up the right images, even those which outdo reality, consider how much more can be "suggested" through the magic of the camera. Given two creators of equal talent, the difference would be like that of two competing chefs---one using flour and water, the other using sirloin and a dozen spices; it's no trick knowing in front who will come off Top Griddle.
Every four years America renews itself. The President delivers his inaugural and the country and the world wait for him to answer the great collective question: Now will he deliver on his promises? Already stored in the nation's attic are the trappings of last summer's political conventions. To rummage through those faded souvenirs one would think they were left over from an already-forgotten high school football game. But as we take a backward look we reflect that those buttons and bows are not the playthings of an undergraduate cheering section but of its politically minded parents and grandparents gathered together for their unique quadrennial rites.
Unless he chooses to mend his reproductive ways, man is heading for the greatest disaster in his history. Why is it that we---the human species---have not yet become fully alive to this frightening fact? Partly because of the common human tendency to put off facing disagreeable facts until the last possible moment; but largely because people have not learned to think in terms of human processes and trends rather than of material mechanisms and systems. They have not learned to think of man as both a product of and an agent in the over-all process of evolution; and in particular they have not bothered to think quantitatively about this basic process of population growth, and have failed to realize how it is threatening to change the entire quality of human existence for the worse. It is exerting disastrous pressure on all our resources and eroding the bases of civilized existence.
I have a jealous nature, so I don't have any trouble at all hating a great many people every day, especially when I am reminded that they are being mistakenty considered greater than I am, when they get too successful, too rich, too important, too big for their breeches. I see photographs of them on the covers of magazines or on the inside pages, or in newspapers, and dozens of long paragraphs about them, and I flip. What the devil's the matter with this country? Here I am, the greatest, and these second-raters, these counterfeiters, these phonies grab all of the attention, and sometimes all of the girls, too.
We don't know if the original editors of The Oxford English Dictionary ever attended a progressive dinner; but their very first definition of the word progressive is close to target---"characterized by stepping, walking, or otherwise moving onward." For those who may not have yet caught up with this kaleidoscopic form of culinary sport, it's a party in which the hosting chores are divided up---everybody may meet at one house for the hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, travel to another for the guinea hen and champagne, to a third for the crepes and demitasse, to a fourth for the dancing and highballs, and, for the final round, as the rosy-fingered dawn creeps round, gather in a breakfast room for the very comforting stimuli of ice-cold bloody marys and scrambled eggs on toast.
My work in the great books movement since the early 1920s has made me keenly aware that many persons associate the reading of the so-called "classics" with boredom and fatigue. I have suggested previously in these pages (How to Read a Book Superficially, Playboy, December 1963) how a great book may be read with enjoyment and profit, and without suffering undue fatigue or strain. I was speaking then of books that are of permanent worth and which are, on the whole, eminently readable.
Though it's generally sound advice to beware of the designing female, we must admit that January Playmate Sally Duberson is a noteworthy exception to the rule. For designing she will be, in her own guileless way, when she realizes her ambition to become a successful couturière. "My main objective," our chestnut-haired Miss January told us, "is to study fashion designing at the Tobe-Coburn School in New York. The designing bug first bit me while I was still majoring in English at the University of Miami. After ten weeks of an elective course in fashion art, I knew I'd found my forte. So I decided to start working evenings as a Bunny at the Miami Playboy Club and try to kill the two proverbial birds with one stone: finish up my semester at Miami and start earning money for my eventual migration to Manhattan." Currently hutched at the Baltimore Club, where she first caught our appreciative eye at last summer's opening-night festivities, 22-year-old Sally promptly gave in to her wanderlust when we asked her to come to Chicago and have some test shots made as a prospective Playmate. "Of course I was excited about being a Playmate," says 1965's lead-off centerfold charmer, "but I was almost as pleased with the chance to visit Chicago for the first time. I have this uncontrollable urge to see new places and meet new people, which is the real reason I'm taking my good sweet time getting to New York. All my life I've been on the move: I was born in Manhattan, moved to San Diego, went to high school in Cleveland, college in Miami, and right now Baltimore's my home. Psychologists say this kind of rootless existence is bad for young people. Maybe so, but I love it." A devotee of the discothèque, our 5'5" peripatetic Playmate likes her men tall, sensitive and, if possible, light on their feet. "Everyone should dance a little. It's a great way to have fun and keep in shape at the same time." A quick survey of Sally's shape (35-22-34) leads us to agree.
My eyes are worse. My physician is an inch under six feet. There is a gray strip in his hair, one, no more. He has a brown stain on his left cheek. His lamp shades are dark-blue drums. Each has a golden rim. They are identical. There is a deep black burn in his Indian carpet. His staff is bespectacled, to a woman. Through the blinds I hear the birds of his garden. Sometimes his wife appears, in white.
This old Greek reminded me of my Uncle Nick in Brooklyn who'd spent 50 years of his life there after being born in Crete, and wandered down the gray streets of Wolfe Brooklyn, short, in a gray suit, with a gray hat, gray face, going to his various jobs as elevator operator and apartment janitor summer winter and fall, and was a plain old ordinary man talking about politics but with a Greek accent, and when he died it seemed to me Brooklyn hadn't changed and would never change, there would always be a strange sad Greek going down the gray streets. I could picture this man on the beach wandering around the white streets of San Francisco, looking at girls, "wandering around and looking at things as they are" as the Chinese say, "patting his belly," even, as Chuang-tse says. "I like these shells." He showed me a few shells he'd picked. "Make nice ashtray, I have lots ashtrays in my house."
The outrageous and obviously baseless charge that a pun is the lowest form of wit finally has been traced back to its source: a mean, shriveled Egyptian curmudgeon about 3000 B.C. who had no sense of humor whatever and furthermore was hard of hearing. He just sat on a bank of the Nile, glowering, licking his Cheops, and groaning every time his neighbor, a splendid chap named Ramses Cerf IV, let a pun drop.
A quarter of a billion people picked up their receivers, to listen for a few seconds with annoyance or perplexity. Those who had been awakened in the middle of the night assumed that some far-off friend was calling, over the satellite telephone network that had gone into service, with such a blaze of publicity, the day before. But there was no voice on the line; only a sound that to many seemed like the roaring of the sea---to others, like the vibrations of harp strings in the wind. And there were many more, in that moment, who recalled a secret sound of childhood---the noise of blood pulsing through the veins, heard when a shell is cupped over the ear. Whatever it was, it lasted no more than 20 seconds; then it was replaced by the dialing tone.
A young man called Mamoun was stricken with love for a married woman of the name Bahia, which in Arabic means "resplendent beauty." Mamoun knew in his heart that Bahia returned his affection, and sought means to visit her, away from the eyes of her wizened and enfeebled husband. With his friend Abou el Heija. Mamoun went to the place where Bahia and her husband dwelt. Mamoun instructed Abou el Heija: "Enter the court and request hospitality, but take care not to reveal our true intention. Seek out the servant girl of Bahia, and contrive to get alone with her to charge her with the message that I am here and desire her mistress."
I went to spain last summer intending to write a serious piece about the bullfight scene: a sort of pocket form book was what. I had in mind, which would list the top ten matadors, run through their respective qualities and offer a little advice about where and when you might expect to see them at their best.
Years ago I went to Hollywood looking for a job. Actually, I had seen an ad in The New York Times that said, "Boy wanted, part time, to direct Cleopatra." So I went out to the Coast and while I was there, I went to this big party. I took a producer's very unattractive daughter, but I was social climbing. She was a really bad-looking girl. Facially, she resembled Louis Armstrong's voice. And while I was at the party, I met a very big Hollywood producer who spoke to me about a job. At that time, they wanted to make an elaborate Cinemascope musical comedy based on the Dewey decimal system, and they wanted me to punch it up. I had worked as a writer in New York. I had written a TV show called Surprise Divorce. We used to take a happily married couple out of the audience every week and divorce them on television. Anyhow, I got the job.
Soichiro Hondawheel of fortune industrial pundits have long anticipated the new records that would be set when Japan's superb imitative talents were turned to an original creation. But it would have taken uncanny foresight to predict that Soichiro Honda, a poorly educated mechanic with a reputation for youthful profligacy and a string of pre-War business failures, would be the first to turn the trick. This is how a British manufacturer incredulously described a disassembled Honda motorcycle: "It was made like a watch and it wasn't a copy of anything." Indeed, the enormous Honda manufacturing concern, comprising four factories and employing more than 7000 workers, produces a precision mechanism that is setting the pace for the motorcycle industry of the world. In 1961 and 1962, Honda bikes virtually swept all the grand prix contests. (Since then, factory teams have been withdrawn from competition.) Last year, Honda gobbled up 60 percent of motorcycle sales in Japan, 65 percent in the United States, and an incredible 30 percent of the world market. Boss-man Honda, born 59 years ago on the wrong side of the rice paddy, attended school for only eight years before quitting to become a mechanic. At 22, he opened his own garage, but lavished the first year's profits ($80) on fast cars and fast women. Although he held an auto-racing speed record, Honda gave up the sport at 31 after a severe accident smashed his face. Drifting from shop to shop until the War, he opened a piston-ring foundry, which weathered several financial crises, only to be blown to oblivion by Allied bombers. Honda's turning point, after a session at night school helped him rise from mechanic to technician, came in 1948. Putting together a company out of old parts and a meager capitalization of $2777, he ingeniously adapted a storehouse full of War-surplus motors to ordinary bicycles, thus providing cheap transportation for a population that needed it desperately. By 1952, he was able to market his first bona fide motorcycle. The Honda product of today, inexpensive, well designed and simple to operate, has cultivated a new breed of cyclist: gray-flanneled businessmen, pretty girls in pretty sports clothes, clean-cut teenagers---all eschewing the black-leather-jacket image of The Wild One. This year, Honda, not content to rest on his two-wheeled laurels, will enter a recently developed Formula I racing car in the grand prix circuit, and he'll export a perky, chain-driven sports car to the U.S.A. "Women's bodies are beautiful," he says. "I tried to make these cars like that." Honda's inspired inspirations should garner even greater sales and speed records.
Smersh! the very name of this ultrasecret soviet counterspy Apparat strikes terror in the heart of every kulik. Smersh, its octopus arms radiating from the kremlin to the world capitals, reaches a probing feeler for British agent James Bomb, whom Smersh would smash lest he smash smersh, smersh reaches a squirming, red tentacle directly across the path of our little innocent--