Rabbit-Bedecked Sharon Christie, out front on our cover, heralds not only Brush-On Fashions-- a splashy spoof of the body-painting fad by our West Coast lensman Mario Casilli--but also the rest of an issue replete with first-run literary and pictorial features. "Though photographing girls is still fun--even after eight years--it's also work," says Mario. "But decorating them is all fun." In the same sybaritic vein, The Bizarre Beauties of "Barbarella" surveys in ten color pages the wildly plumed birds in Roger Vadim's film version of the popular, satirically erotic French comic strip.
Playboy, March, 1968, Vol, 15, No. 3. 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 the Danish are from Denmark," a whimsical friend asked us on the back of a postcard not long ago, "Why aren't the Spanish from Spenmark?" Why not, indeed, we asked ourself, depositing the missive in our oiled-walnut circular file and hoping that the subject was closed. No such luck: Two days later came another card, reading, "If the Cubans live in Cuba, why don't the Germans live in Germa?" And then a third: "If the people of England are the English, why don't the people of New Zealand call themselves the New Zealish?" And a fourth: "If a Belgian is from Belgium, why isn't a Hawaiian from Hawaiium?" And yet a fifth: "Since France is the home of the French, it stands to reason that Greece should be the home of the Greech." We're waiting for our next note--from Japal or Portugan.
Meyer Levin has had an instructive literary career. He has become an expert in the fine art of the comeback. After a strong beginning a generation ago with The Old Bunch, a landmark novel in the Depression mode of Chicago realism, he suffered the doldrums until writing his autobiography, In Search, which no major American publisher would print. Nevertheless, this history of a self in quest of meaning found a new audience for Levin. Then came his great popular success, Compulsion--book and play and movie about the Loeb-Leopold murder--and plenty of money. But Levin is a writer not content with a pop samash. He went on to write other novels, and criticism and plays and filmscripts--none of which earned him further fame or fortune. And now, astonishingly, he reappears as the youngest of the black humorists with Gore and Lgor (Simon & Schuster), a fantastic riblad tale of the meeting in Israel of a Dylanesque American folk-rock singer and an Evtushenkoesque Soviet poet amid much travail, many guitars strummed and myriad ladies mounted. Author of This Stinking, Stinking World, Gore Taylor finds a friend and companion in the Soviet home wrecker Igor, who has celebrated publicly his erotic gifts with a French movie actress and exhibitionist called Mimette. The plot tells us mostly that poets are in trouble everywhere. A bit obvious? Yes. The book is a mélange of burlesque and social satire, but Levin has managed to combine his native storyteller's gift and an unexpected happy foolery with a soupçon of narrow-eyed moral intensity. It works. He will surprise those who think they know him already. A vital pensée and a spiritual pastime of a book.
In Cold Blood, transferred to the screen by writer-director Richard Brooks, has a lot going for it. Even those familiar with Truman Capote's best seller will find dreadful fascination in Brooks' deadly real location sites: This is the same road the killers traveled, the same hardware store where they bought the rope for trussing their intended victims, the same Holcomb, Kansas, farmhouse occupied by the unsuspecting family of Herbert Clutter until the fateful night of November 14, 1959. Throughout the film, the inventive black-and-white photography of Conrad Hall eases the viewer into the shoes of a horrified eyewitness. It was shrewd, too, finding two relative newcomers (Robert Blake and Scott Wilson) who not only resemble the murderers Perry Smith and Richard Hickock but have the talent to make criminal pathology thrum with life. Brooks sticks closely to Capote's quasi-cinematic shifts of scene, so that the big jolts--the actual slaughter and the ultimate execution by hanging of Perry and Dick--come late. This tandem climax registers powerfully, yet the drama as a whole fails to persuade us that pictures are more eloquent than words. The movie takes time to dawdle with sentimentality, as in a series of flashbacks to the killers' disadvantaged boyhoods and again in some kernels of moral philosophy about crime and punishment, mouthed by a thoughtful writer who shows up looking like no one in particular. In Cold Blood still stings, but what's missing here is Capote's cool. (See this month's Playboy Interview with Capote on Page 51.)
Of the three entries in the Doctor Dolittle LP derby that have recently fallen within earshot, the one by Bobby Darin (Atlantic) is an also-ran. Darin adds little to the Leslie Bricusse score in either imagination or sensitivity. Bricusse's old writing buddy, Anthony Newley, who has a major role in the film, comes through in much more captivating fashion, translating the tunes--whether sentimental or sprightly--into a fine Victor recording. But win money is garnered by Sammy Davis Jr., whose Reprise LP is a triumph. Part of the credit has to go to arranger-conductor Marty Paich; his charts are right in the Davis groove. From the rollicking My Friend the Doctor to the tender When I Look in Your Eyes, Sammy offers the musical keys to the Bricusse animal kingdom. We recommend that you dig Doctor Dolittle by Mr. Do Much.
As a satirical musical about the stock market, How now, Dow Jones is standard & Poor. Max Shulman's book settles for the easy name-drop as if the mere mention of "Federal Reserve Bank" were enough to send an audience into hysterics. Not only are there a Mr. Dow and a Mr. Jones on stage but also a Mr. Irving and a Mr. Trust. "All my money is in the Market," goes one big joke--"on margin!" Socko! Actually, lyricist Carolyn Leigh dreamed the whole thing up. Why not a musical about the stock market? she thought. But then her power of invention flagged. In a low-cut musical, her lyrics are the lowest cut of all. Elmer Bernstein's score registers highest; the tunes have a nice beer-and-pretzels, Dolly/Mameish sort of roll that keeps one beating time--and also remembering other songs, other shows. What saves Dow Jones, at least for an act, are the three likable leads. The heroine, who fakes the Dow Jones average in order to win a man waiting for an upturn, is Miss-America-pretty Marlyn Mason. The hero, a wall street fizz who turns into a whiz, is charmingly played by Anthony Roberts, a droll young man who can toss off self-deprecations like woody Allen but is still boyishly handsome enough to deserve the girl. The comedy showstopper is throaty Brenda Vaccaro, who doesn't let the smallness or the distastefulness of her role throw her. She plays a stock-exchange guide who falls for a randy, rich old wall street walrus (Hiram Sherman) and accepts his proposition, even though it slipped his mind. It keeps slipping his mind and she keeps waiting to be kept. (This is not only a show for the tired businessman, it is partially about him.) In the course of her new career, Miss Vaccaro gets pinched on her bottom several times, and the pinch lines are orchestrated by that broad old theater hand George Abbott. The producer is David Merrick. A definite downturn. At the Lunt-Fontanne, 205 West 46th Street.
Ireland's colorful customs, roisterous life style and tragic historic traditions have endowed the island with a mystique all its own. But beyond the Irishman's often fanciful folkways looms his love for the land itself, a land spectacularly green and unforgettably luxuriant.
The good books says "Go down to the sea in ships ...." So do the Cruise -- Ship Companies. And so we find our Annie and her Roommate Ruthie enjoying a leisurely ocean voyage on a typical luxury liner, sharing memorable, intimate experiences with a rich assortment of passengers -- -- watching the endless rolling of the vast pulsing ocean for five days as they ponder basic questions of life, such as "why didn't we take a plane?"
U.S. Senator Charles Percy speaks out on Vietnam and The Right to Dissent, Crime and Urban Decay, The G.O.P.'S chances against L.B.J. and his own presidential Possibilities, in an Exclusive Playboy Interview