The Nine distinguished churchmen who participate in this month's Playboy Panel on Religion and the New Morality, we discovered soon after undertaking the project, are very much in demand. Quite apart from their ecclesiastical functions, most of them are bound to itineraries for lectures and other public appearances that might well make the average show-business personality travel-weary. But once we had searched the nine out and pinned them down for several hours of frank discussion on matters sexual, ethical and theological, they became so absorbed in the creation of a polished and meaningful discussion that their initial remarks were amplified and reworked several times in conferences, correspondence and long-distance phone calls. Bishop James A. Pike, for example, put the final touches on his contribution to the Panel while he and a Playboy editor were fogbound at the Green Bay, Wisconsin, airport. And Rabbi Richard L. Rubenstein stopped by our offices for a full working day just before proceeding up Lake Michigan to Winnetka for his wedding.
Playboy, June, 1967, VOL. 14, No, 6, published monthly by HMH Publishing Co., Inc., Playboy Building, 919 N. Michigan Ave., 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, Playboy Building, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60611, and allow 30 days for change. Advertising: Howard W. Lederer, Advertising Director; Jules Kase, Associate Advertising Manager, 405 Park Ave., New York, New York 10022, MU 8-3030; Sherman Keats, Chicago Manager, 919 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois 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 Rd., N.E., Atlanta, GA. 30305, 233-6729.
If you haven't been paying too much attention to the movie fan magazines, you may be unaware that they specialize in the sensational cover headline that more often than not heralds some innocuous piece of fan-mag fluff on the inside. A random sampling of some recent screen books yielded up the following gems in the headline writer's art. "How Bobby Kennedy's wife really gets along with Jackie!" (The gist of the piece is that she gets along just fine.) "What Lynda hides from Luci about her love for George Hamilton!" (Well, it seems that Lynda worries that George will be drafted, go to Vietnam and become a casualty—and she can't bring herself to tell her sister about it.) "Barbara Eden: My Husband's other woman came along on our Honeymoon!" (While she and husband Michael Ansara were off on their honeymoon, he spent a few moments thinking about that other woman—his mother.) Lately, we've begun to feel altruistic concern for our fellow toilers in the publishing vineyard, fearing that the Photoplay and Modern Screen regulars, inured to the disappointments that await within, may turn their reading attentions elsewhere. Happily, we think we've come up with a solution to what is obviously a mounting problem. The idea is to carry the disparity between the cover headline and the story to its illogical extreme and make a grand guess-what-the-piece-is-really-about game out of the whole business. Human curiosity being what it is, we believe we're offering, gratis, a circulation builder that can't miss. And now let's run some examples on the projector and see how they focus:
There is an indubitable fascination—and yet something terribly tiresome—about William Manchester's The Death of a President (Harper & Row). Partly it is the fault of the press agentry, which asks us to bow to the sheer vastness of the enterprise: two years of indefatigable research, more than 1000 interviews, 45 volumes of shorthand notes, tapes, documents, photographs, etc., etc. Somehow this enormous collection of facts and not-quite-facts is automatically supposed to produce a great book. It hasn't. Partly, too, it is that we have sat through so many bruising preliminary bouts—Manchester sued, Manchester condensed, Manchester rebuked, rebutted and reviled—that the main event was bound to be something of an anticlimax. But headlines and hassles aside, the book must be judged on its own lack of merits. Its tone is one of dizzying omniscience, as if Manchester were writing Victorian fiction rather than contemporary history. He tells us, for example, that on the eve of the assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald went mad because his wife scorned his amorous overtures. That is not history; it is psychospeculation. Again, he states that the two Secret Service men riding with the President in Dallas "were in a position to take evasive action after the first shot, but for five terrible seconds, they were immobilized." A damning charge, which makes scapegoats of two men in a scarcely credible situation. The book is full of smug judgments of people's behavior: Kennedy's bereaved staff was rude to Lyndon Johnson; Johnson exploited Jackie; Marina bullied Oswald; J. Edgar Hoover behaved heartlessly to Bobby Kennedy. Many of the details are interesting in themselves, but many are not; piled on top of one another, they totter on the brink of massive trivialization. The tragedy is too often diminished to a kind of morbid gossip; the memory of that awful time is blurred. The point was better made by Jackie. "I want them to see the horror of it," she said in Dallas, explaining why she refused to change her blood-soaked clothes. And when she debarked in Washington, still wearing the bloody suit, 80,000,000 TV viewers did see the horror of it and knew, finally, that her husband had been murdered. That is precisely what this book allows us to forget. With all of his honest and emotionally involved labors, Manchester has somehow managed to smother the horror of the event.
A Countess from Hong Kong, as nearly all the world knows, is based on a notion Charles Chaplin began toying with during a trip to Shanghai in 1931. From that tiny souvenir, alas, the master spirit of screen comedy has produced a timeworn shipboard romance of no distinction whatever. Between stock shots of the cerulean-blue sea, we fully expected Madeleine Carroll and Lee Bowman to show up on the promenade deck, she a lovely stowaway who has to get to America, he the son of the richest oilman anywhere. Instead, Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando play the couple sharing the stateroom and the man's pajamas—otherwise the plot remains true to period. Though Chaplin himself appears briefly and impishly as a seasick steward, his performance as author-director maroons the principals with vintage smart talk, delivered while they are skittering off to the bathroom, answering inconvenient taps at the cabin door or deciding who will sleep on the sofa. Isolated bits of business show Chaplinesque flair, once when the screen develops a subtle, rhythmic pitch and roll that make even greensickly gags acceptable, again when Sydney Chaplin (playing Brando's friend) brings off some deft mechanical foolery about sneaking Scotch from a drunk at the bar. As for Sophia and Marlon, despite their widely publicized joy at being the divinities chosen to adorn the first Chaplin film in nearly a decade, both look resigned to a tiresome cruise that sounded much better in the brochure.
Robert Anderson is a gentleman playwright, but good manners don't mean beans at the box office. Not since Tea and Sympathy has he had a Broadway hit. This time he decided to confound the pigeonholers and write offbeat, and a little offcolor—dirty enough to wow the suburbanites, but not too crude for the prudes. The result, four one-act sex comedies, collected as You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running, is, as Anderson intended—commercial. Much of it is fun, but it is also slight, superficial and single-minded in its concern with the mechanical aspects of sex. Each play sounds the same one note—how foolish grownups are about sex—but only the first two do it with clear comic strokes. In the third play, a married couple clashes, humorously, on the sex education of their offspring (the wife wants to outfit their daughter for contraception, the husband is an old-fashioned moralist), but suddenly turns serious and sappy. The last play, about a senile pair's confusion of affairs and marriages (they no longer remember who did what with whom), is simply bad burlesque. In the first work, an Andersonlike playwright (George Grizzard) decides to divest his latest hero of all his clothes on stage so that the audience can identify him. His producer is dubious, calls in a waiting actor to prove that no one would play him. The actor, in Martin Balsam's superbly comic performance, turns out to be superpliant. In the second play, Balsam goes shopping for twin beds with his over-the-pill wife (Eileen Heckart). He wants to keep the old double. She wants solitary reclinement. While she hunts for headboards offstage, he encounters a blonde divorcée (Melinda Dillon) trying out the bedding department's sample double. As she flirts with him, he spies, probably for the first time in his life, the joys of infidelity. The moment is magnificent, and so is Balsam. All the actors are funny, and the direction by Alan Schneider is pleasantly understaged. But it is Balsam who finds acres of comedy between the lines. An earnest Everyman with a doughy face and a look of abject humility, he is the great American schnook. When he is on stage, he makes the evening seem consequential. At the Ambassador, 215 West 49th Street.
Carmen McRae gets nothing but better. Her latest LP, In Person / San Francisco (Mainstream), is a beauty. Backed by a trio—pianist Norman Simmons, bassist Victor Sproles (who is only sensational) and drummer Stewart Martin—Miss McRae waxes eloquently lyrical on the likes of What Kind of Fool Am I?, A Foggy Day, This Is All I Ask and It Never Entered My Mind.
I am stationed with the Navy in the Philippines and have set up housekeeping with a girl here (a very common practice and one in which I see no harm at all). I have written to my girlfriend back home in East Peoria, Illinois, suggesting that we do the same when I get back. She is completely against the idea, even though she has no objections to sleeping with me belore marriage. Should I make an issue of her refusal?—D. C., FPO San Francisco, California.
If you plan to visit Europe this summer, consider the freewheeling freedom and convenience offered by an auto tour. A well-recommended starting point would be Frankfurt, central to both West Germany and western Europe, where several auto-rental agencies—among them Hertz and Avis—can be found. Or if you're thinking about buying a foreign car, Germany's auto manufacturers offer substantial discounts to visiting Americans; you can arrange to pick up a car in Frankfurt. A sampling of German makes and prices for the tourist (and some comparative U. S. costs) reveals that the more you spend, the more you save, even after duty and shipping costs of between $300 and $400: Volkswagen 113—$1454 ($1810, U.S.); Porsche 911S—$6110 ($7400, U. S.); Mercedes Benz 250 SE convertible—$6905 ($9711, U.S.). Nemet Auto International of Jamaica, New York, will attend to all arrangements before your departure.
I Spotted The Corpse the 1356th time period out. It was floating alone in the indifferent blackness of space ten billion miles from nowhere, the small jets attached to its space suit empty of fuel and the oxygen tank a depleted, echoing canister of aluminum. There was nothing else within immediate range, which meant that the body had drifted in the silent dark for thousands of time periods, the air in its suit gradually seeping out through a hundred microscopic pinholes and the cold seeping in, turning the man inside into a frozen, desiccated mummy.
Kenneth Stuart arrived at the cemetery on a mellow November afternoon that would soon darken. He left the taxi and walked through an open double gate of black iron suspended upon columns of granite. Beyond the gate he came upon a granite chapel of unsteepled, dollhouse Gothic, as available as any telephone booth to anybody with the price. He looked here and there across the landscape. The cemetery rose before him in a series of hills. Stone and iron defined its purpose. The oaks were almost bare, but the firs and the magnolias were green. Kenneth was bareheaded, and he held his face up to the sky. Beneath his left arm he carried a long white box, tied with a gold string. He kept his hands in the pockets of his topcoat.
Shortly after the United States entered World War Two, I tried to obtain a commission in the U.S. Navy. On February 20, 1942, I had an interview in Washington, D. C., with Colonel Frank Knox, who was then the Secretary of the Navy.
Does violence have a climate? I am not talking only of the "long hot summers" of 1965 and 1966, when violence crackled in almost every major ghetto from Harlem to Watts: It is less a physical than a social and moral climate I have in mind. I am asking about the line that can be drawn from hate and frustration to mass death.
if you followed Joey Gibson, our peppy June Playmate, around her home town of Santa Monica one weekend morning, more than likely the trip would be a California kook's tour. First, a stop at her neighborhood grocery for a quart of carrot juice and a half pound of sunflower seeds. Then to a stationer's for a notebook—where Joey impulsively purchases a pink paper dress. Miss June, a 21-year-old blonde beauty, next takes time out for book browsing, leafing intently through Euell Gibbons' Stalking the Healthful Herbs. Walking briskly back to her pad, she practices what she preaches about the benefits of exercise. At her apartment, Joey quickly changes into her tennis togs; and as she awaits a midmorning date who'll escort her to the courts in Rustic Canyon, she downs the carrot juice, hardly touches her coffee. "If I want to exercise outdoors and it's raining," she says, "I'll put on a bikini and run around the block a couple of times." Finally, a sports car's klaxon calls to her—and another day in Joey's life has been suitably launched. "I am," says Joey Gibson, "my own woman. I lead my life according to no social standards other than my own." Joey's standards are predicated with one goal in mind: the pursuit of intelligent pleasure. And she finds it in her own eclectic bag—music, reading, exercise, relaxation. "It's important to learn to relax," she says. "When I arrive home from work, I'll put on a James Brown record, start gyrating all over the apartment, and in 15 minutes I'm more relaxed than most people are four hours after they're home from work." For the past year, our June Playmate has been secretary to Dr. Emmanuel Kruger of the Hypnosis Society of America. "When I was graduated from Santa Monica City College," she says, "even though I was a psychology major, I had no idea I'd be working in medical hypnosis." Joey underwent hypnosis as both job prerequisite and perquisite, is impressed with the short time span required for hypnotic cure to take effect—30 sessions clear up most difficulties. "In psychotherapy," she points out, "patients' problems are cured by going after the causes—usually stemming from childhood incidents. In hypnosis, the doctor goes after the symptoms."
The young wife was in the bedroom toweling off from her morning shower when she heard the back door slam. Thinking it was her husband, she called out, "I'm in here, darling. I've been waiting for you."
Most Magazine advertising departments distribute "profiles" of their subscribers for the guidance of space-age space buyers. For example, the National Review subscriber, it says in the April 6, 1965 issue, is 40.3 years old, makes $13,129.77 a year, is 72 percent married and has 1.5 children. However, making exactly the right amount of money and having exactly the right number of legs under the table—or missing from under the table—is not the whole story. The drink-stained back issues on your coffee table tell us not only how much you drink (or how much you spill) and how much money you make but what you are likely to be doing with your money as well. And what you think, and what you do for recreation—what, in fact, you are.
Since 1959, when Russ Meyer's mini-budgeted The Immoral Mr. Teas made its unblushing bow on American screens—and walked off with better than a $1,000,000 gross—the "nudies" have had an impact far in excess of their numbers, their cost or their quality. Not only was many a failing art house saved from extinction by switching from foreign films to domestic flesh, but Hollywood itself, despite the strictures of its own Production Code, soon began cautiously to insert seminude scenes into its glossy "A" features. Meyer, a veteran glamor and figure photographer, has stated that he "showered the screen with nudity" in Mr. Teas. Within three years, his shower had turned into a flood; by 1963, thanks jointly to the unanticipated success of his picture and to the even less anticipated leniency of the local censors, Meyer was able to count 150 imitations of his girl-studded gold mine—seven of which were his own. Singlehanded, he had touched off a whole "nude wave" of moviemaking.
As Al Dooley Entered past the display of Tapered Surf Boy Sport Shirts, with rawhide tie fronts and side zippers in blue ("will evoke compliments"), he overheard a conversation between a Polk Street slicker and a Haight Street hippie. It was a fine sunny morning in the cool, blue and white and gray city, San Francisco. He noticed two, not one, but two pregnant women picking out tight-crotch clothes with their husbands. One of the pregnant women also had a child in a carriage alongside her confused husband.
Ribald Classic: How the Sultan Made Peace in His Harem
Need I Begin my story by explaining to you who Achmet Hodja was? His fame, whether as wise man or as simpleton, has spread throughout the lands inhabited by the faithful, all the way from Bokhara to Fes, from Sarajevo to Timbuktu. Recently, I have been told that some of the less ignorant among the infidels have already published learned dissertations on his divinely inspired blend of sense and folly, in the distant and benighted universities of Uppsala, Chicago and Johannesburg. Let it therefore suffice that I remind you that Allah, in His infinite wisdom, had also seen lit to endow Achmet Hodja with physical gifts of such magnificent proportions and remarkable endurance as to be able to satisfy the lusts of the most wanton of women. But these gifts were seemingly an afterthought to compensate for the disabilities of a man otherwise hunchbacked, crooklegged, prematurely bald, hooknosed, clubfooted, gat-toothed and pock-marked.
Today's Do-it-himself Gourmet who finds his taste buds set atingle by even the prospect of a spit-roasting feast is in good company. For over seven centuries, professional roasters have been saying that ovens are perfectly fine for bread or brioche, for gratins and cassoulets, but not for roasts. Ever since the French Guild of Goose Roasters was founded in 1248, rôtis-seurs have used anything from larks to whole lamb to demonstrate that meat, to be perfectly roasted, must meet with a direct flame; that to be beautifully browned, it must turn crisp in the free dry air (not the wet atmosphere that builds up in an oven); and that to conserve its naturally luscious flavor, it must be basted continuously with its own crackling fat and juices. In fact, the Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a distinguished organization of 7000 professional and amateur chefs with chapters all over the world, dedicates itself at innumerable Homeric feasts to spreading the philosophy of the turnspit.
Ten Years Ago, Shel Silverstein, our bawdy bard of the satiric sketchbook, portrayed for Playboy a London that was venerated and venerable. England's capital has since become the West's prime example of urbane renewal; today, titled nobility is bypassed in favor of a closely knit coterie of miniskirted mannequins, pop-music groups, fashion photographers, dress designers and disco-technicians. Shel's second sortie into Londontown finds him caught up in the storied city's new-found spirit. In a word: Modness.