For Part I click here.

Aino Korva graces the cover of my August 1968 Playboy.

Picking up where we left off last time, let’s get right into the non-cover parts of the issue…

The Young Man Who Read Brilliant Books – Stephen Dixon’s short story is very engrossing for the first two-thirds. But as I read on I began feeling as if it was easing into a very unsatisfying ending, and in my opinion that prediction came true. The story of a young many who gets sucked further into the escalating criminal schemes of a conniving couple is worth a read, but it would be great if it ended as brilliantly as it started.

PLAYMATE – Star-Spangled and Starry-Eyed – Gale Olson, Miss August 1968, is a ray of sunshine on the page and may be one of my favorite Playmates. I don’t agree with all of her politics, but something that especially endeared me to her was her career aspiration; astronaut. It sounds if she could have excelled at it, and perhaps NASA’s TV ratings wouldn’t have waned in later years had Miss Olson been able to see that dream to fruition. Definitely take a moment to stop and meet her.

SUPERSHIRT! – Buy this issue for this page. It has a blacklight-lit photo of a man in a “poofy shirt” being attended to by a woman in blacklight-sensitive Flower Power body paint. The caption goes on to explain how the $25 lace-lined top is all the fashion rage, great for any occasion, and can be worn all year. I’m sure Jerry Sienfeld must have read this issue.

the Vargas Girl – A two-page spread of one of the master artist’s brunettes is worth the cost of the vintage magazine. “Now do you think blondes have more fun, Mr. Edwards?” Amazing.

Clearly Contemporary – Two-page spread of a woman dressed in a cellophane dress reclined in a plastic inflatable lounge chair. Around her a variety of glass, plastic, and otherwise see-through rubber items have been arranged, ranging from a grandfather clock to blow-up throw pillows. I know there are people who have fantasies of a room like this, and the curious will be entertained by reading each item’s price.

Deep Thinkers – Am I a monster for laughing at an opening passage that implies that the Navy was training suicidal dolphins to sink submarines? I’m as happy as anyone that it’s not true, but something about how Fredric C. Appel starts his article on porpoise intelligence that got me chuckling. The article’s more technical portions are still entertaining, filled with such fun facts as how dolphins will have sex for 24 hours straight;

“At oceanariums, it’s quite common for two porpoises to have intercourse during a pool show, […] there are usually a few porpoises hidden in tanks […] These animals are just too randy for popular viewing.”

Exploring a New City – Worldly world travelers will probably find Len Deighton’s article a good read, but I just find it exhausting.

The Trouble with Machines – Ron Goulart’s coy little SciFi romp – where 1976 is still the far future – is a droll but fun story I wish I could love more than I do. Maybe if I read it another day. Featuring an introspective killer “refrigerator” and featuring all the witty banter and little non sequiturs I know I should love, I just don’t.  Actually…the more I write about it and recall what I read the more I smile. So, give it a read, wait an hour, and then pass judgment…like I should have.

blowout – I admit I don’t know exactly what Harvey Kurtzman’s photo parody is parodying. I understand the genre it is poking fun at, but if it is a specific film I’m at a loss. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get a real kick out of it. The subject of the satire – fashion’s manic in-out self-servicing lifestyle – is as true today as it ever was.  Michael Pollard‘s expressions come across clear and hilarious in the panels, and if you don’t like those there may be more bared bosoms across these six pages than in the entire magazine. Absolutely worth picking up.

done with mirrors – This “Ribald Classic” retold by Jonah Craig tells the tale of a knight whose magic mirror assures him that his wife is safe and chaste…by showing just the opposite. A fun light read.

Hang One On – Single page bit about how gawdy chains made you look awesome in 1968. Pass.

On The Scene – Short articles on Moshe Safdie and Roone Arledge are interesting, but it’s Playboy’s spotlight on a young Dustin Hoffman – which quotes the actor’s claims that it’s too early to say he’s in for a successful post-The Graduate film career – is a cool window into the early possibilities of the great actor.

Dear Playboy, Forum, and the rest – Full of golden tidbits if you’re willing to rummage through it all, I feel the one to look for is GIRLS’ HOME COMPANION in Dear Playboy. In it a woman states that while many magazines intended for women in the 60s describe how they should act in their ascribed rolls as mother and/or wife, reading Playboy not only educates her on what a man may expect of a woman  but also provides cultural and social insight not offered in the other magazines. You can be the judge of much of it should be read with a sarcastic bite.

Single Panel Funnies & Ads – The single panels are mostly quality, but I can’t recall one that really stood out. Signs-of-the-times abound throughout all the ads, but be on the lookout for a particularly salacious Vivitar full-page spot.

THE FINAL VERDICT: Pick It Up

While I can’t say that those who opt to buy this issue for the cover stories will be very satisfied, the secondary material more than makes up for it. Miss Olson, a Vargas double-pager, Superhsirt!, blowout, The Antine Bay Magenta, and even The Trouble with Machines are all pieces worth your time and money, and the cover is incredibly iconic and beautiful. Not having a lot of (current) big names plastered across the front will probably mean the issue is at a reasonable price and will be a worthy addition for any casual collector.