Aino Korva graces the cover of my August 1968 Playboy.

 Playboy is not a short magazine, and a busy week has forced me to split this review into two entries, which I think is a good idea anyway as this article was getting very long. Please enjoy Part I! ~ Dan Standing

 Cover Stories:

An Interview with Yale’s Antidraft Chaplain William Sloane Coffin

“The churches and synagogues will have to get rid of their irrelevant righteousness. They’ve been been concerned about free love – and yet indifferent about free hate. They must rearrange their priorities.” ~ Chaplain Willian Sloane Coffin

If you’re looking for a great bit of insight into the transitional period of the Vietnam War, when talks of a resolution to the war could have also led to an escalation of violence both home and abroad, then sink your teeth into this interview. Coffin is smart, insightful, and makes many comments which could be just as applicable today as they were in 1968.

There are certainly plenty of fun and interesting tidbits to take away from the article. In the upcoming trial wherein Coffin was charged with “conspiring to counsel young men to violate the draft laws” he is actually a codefendant with Dr. Spock. He tells stories about how visiting Soviet citizens watched “CBS, NBC, ABC… [and] …listened to endless radio broadcasts” and said that “…their monotony is absolutely breathtaking,” asking Coffin, “So how do you do it? How do you achieve such a high degree of thought control without resorting to terror?” One of my favorite moments is when Coffin observes that if one is willing to accept the consequences of breaking a law “…you are, in fact, supporting and not subverting the legal order.”

The interview is peppered across 14 pages in the issue, and I could spend this entire entry pulling political, historical, philosophical quotes that I found very interesting. It’s a thickly packed bit of writing, one I may not have read in its entirety myself if not for this review, but if a philosophical insight into the Vietnam war era interests you there will be plenty of great things to get out of reading what Mr. Coffin has to say. If you’re less inclined about dedicating your Playboy reading time to such heavy topics you probably won’t get past the introduction, let alone the first page of actual interview. Don’t be too upset with yourelf, no one will blame you. But if you’re willing to stick it out the reading is quite interesting.

Eight Pages of Detroit Dream Cars

“Although Detroit continues to investigate alternative means of powering its vehicles – rotary piston, gas-turbine, electric and even steam engines are being weighed as means of propulsion for the car of the future – it’s obvious that what could wind up under the hood doesn’t fascinate the show going public nearly as much as a way-out auto body.”

Who killed the steam-powered car?  Other than that quote, and our ability to wonder how Detroit may have saved itself with naught but the power of heated water, the only other bit mildly interesting in the text of the article is some savvy explanations of how certain floor model vehicles get their names by cannibalizing the success of the tripped out “dream cars.”

Otherwise there are nine images of various dream cars, such as the Charger III, Bearcat, and “Firebird of Tomorrow,” photographed in odd dream-like settings and styles. I’m not much of a car man, but you HAVE to check out the Century Cruiser; this Batmobile-esqe vehicle has the most SciFi-like photo, which is very fitting since it “…was conceived as the type of vehicle that would utilize the computer-programmed automatic superhighways of the future by means of an electric guidance system. While the car is under computer guidance, its occupants can make use of its TV, game table, or refrigerator.”

Sad thing is, not even the TV would work now…but thanks for looking out for tomorrow’s needs, Buick, even if it was down the entirely wrong path…

Carroll Baker in Her Steamiest Movie Sequence Yet

Do you know how long it took me to realize that line was a pun? This two-page spread is little more than a plot summary, some brief-yet-catty Hollywood commentary, and seven black-and-white shots of Ms. Baker and her on-screen husband Jean Sorel nude, soapy, and pressed together in a running shower. If you don’t remember the Italian-French film Honeymoon you’re not alone – it was renamed The Sweet Body of Deborah at some point.

Yeah, that totally rings a bell.

Anyway, the text explains that the film features Ms. Baker performing “aquabats” while everything leads up to “…a neat plot reversal that makes her wish she had brought something more lethal into the shower than a bar of soap and a giggle.”  Clearly it was Ms. Baker’s film career that got such an uninteresting article, in my opinion, listed on the cover as an excuse to get her name up front. The photos are classy, and both thespians are easy on the eyes, but if you’re not reading Playboy for the articles you’ll find practically no explicit nudity here.

Material by Ken W. Purdy, Joseph Wechsberg, William Iverson, and Shel Silverstein

Purdy’s THE ANTINE BAY MAGENTA packs a lot of character and human study into one page, and worth the short read even if you end up not liking it. Let me sum up Wechsberg’s ten page BANKING BY THE NUMBERS for you; the Swiss have banks and they are very secretive. While the article provides an immense amount of detail and information, I’d only reccomend it if you are really interested in the history of Swiss Banking beyond what you can get from American crime drama or Wikipedia. Iverson’s THE GUTSMUT GAME is a very entertaining extrapolation on American sensibilities. “Gutsmut” refers to the ever increasingly detailed surgery-themed text and photography used in magazines, specifically TIME, that pull in readers for its sensationalism and inherent salaciousness. It’s an interesting question about nudity in popular media; is showing a nude woman ravaged by pain and disease and cut up and dissected for surgery really better than showing a live vibrant woman who’s proud of her body? Why do people seem to repulse at both? I reccomend the read, but be warned; some of the text is NOT for the squeamish. If that leaves a bad image in your head go read MORE SILVERSTEIN AMONG THE HIPPIES, a very entertaining insight into life in Hashbury.

Check back next week for Part II, containing reviews of the non-cover story text and pictoral portions of the issue, and my favorite bit about the Playmate.