Click here for Part I.

The Elephant and Donkey compete with a far lovelier character for the focus of my November 1968 Playboy's cover.

Here I review all the material not deemed suitable as a Cover story.

skiing: from A to V – I’ve never visited Aspen or Vail – when you suck at skiing and live within driving distance of the Poconos there’s no need to – so I can’t say for certain exactly just how dated Len Deighton’s article on the two Colorado ski resorts may be. Mr. Deighton gets very specific about the names and locations of resorts and restaurants so I’m quite certain a few things may no longer exist, and the reference to the beer limit for individuals “under 21 but over 18” certainly illuminates the age of the article. But it’s a light and easy article, not so long it drags, and I enjoyed reading about the history of Aspen. The Vail section is sort of tacked onto the end so don’t expect a lot of information from it, but if you’re curious about the culture of Colorado’s most famous ski resort I recommend taking a read.

Colorless In Limestone Caverns – Allan Seager’s story is an excellent snapshot of fleeting obsession. Thankfully it is not long enough that the protagonist’s preoccupation drags on the reader as much as it has on his wife. Any longer and I wouldn’t recommend it, but its a diverting experience as it is.

Great Greatcoat – Robert L. Green has dressed his male model in a coat I thought only existed in drawings of Snoopy in Peanuts puzzles and college football paraphernalia. Basically a trench coat made of seal, or beaver, or other furry creature the image on page 113 is the first time I’ve seen such a thing photographed instead of drawn. The picture will engage your eyes for a moment before you realize there isn’t much to look at beyond the absurdity of the thing.

How Does That Make You Feel? – Jeffery Hudson’s fiction piece is a worthy and witty read, but short enough that anything I say will give away more than I’d like to reveal. So read and enjoy. Just watch out for the monologuing.

Like Young – Paige Young is described as “November’s painting Playmate,” and it’s wonderful to get some personal insight into this alluring woman – for example, she likes Henry David Thoreau, enjoys scuba diving, and calls Truman Capote “a hero of mine.” All the images are done well, but the color ones are especially sexy – even the ones Ms. Young is entirely clothed in. And certainly take a moment to appreciate her expression in the centerfold.

Adult Toys – This pictorial isn’t anywhere as dirty as one may assume from the title, and as a frequenter of vintage shops – and a fan of boardgames – I find it amazing to flip through. I’ve drooled over RSVP (a giant vertical version of Scrabble that must be at least 5 feet tall), Regatta (armchair boating), and the pinball machine, amongst others. HO trains, Risk, and the very fun Dogfight are already amongst our collection, and always cool to see listed somewhere. A highly recommended perusal.

The Legacy – There are a few things I could say about Michael Laurence’s fiction piece, but the only one that matters is; it’s boring. The trials and fears of this conniving stock trader are written well, but didn’t need to be written at all.

the Vargas girl – Beautiful as always, I’m a big fan of her vague but lusty quote, which leaves a few ideas in the mind of just what “that” may be…

the bell witch (Ribald Classic) – An interesting and humorous tale, especially when Mr. Bell suddenly starts acting like the witch is a normal part of life. Oh, and so you don’t get confused, apparently “witch” in this case just means “male ghost.” Yeah…helps to know that ahead of time.

Riding With Bonnie & Clyde – W.D. Jones’ memoir is an interesting and very entertaining insight into the real activities of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde – since he traveled with them – and a worthy read.

scrutable japanese fare – Thomas Mario’s explanation of the invading Japanese food styles may seem a little odd to us in the 21st century – it reads less like our sushi-centric thinking and more like Asian fondu. But a cultural introduction has to start somewhere. Saki is also discussed and there are a variety of recipes that look like they could be good…especially if you have that old fondu set still lying around.

On The Scene – Edwin Newman, Flip Wilson, and Leonard Cohen all get nice insightful blurbs. Always fun to see how stars are treated during that “you’ll probably be really big but could still screw it up” time of their lives.

Dear Playboy, Forum, and the rest – The advice and insights are entertaining as always, although I am concerned about the one reply to a letter which said, “Venereal disease is curable and leaves no residual effects when treated promptly and properly.” Um…sure, 1968. Sure.

Single Panel Funnies & Ads – Not many single panel funnies really stood out to me, although Gahan Wilson’s additions to the magazines are always unique, as is Folkes’ “first man to run out of gas.” Regarding ads, there’s a lovely painted rendering of Jane Fonda as Barbarella which is advertising the release of the titular film (lacking any sort of rating indication beyond “for mature audiences”), and a very strange ad for Hathaway shirts. The Hathaway ad has a man standing in front of dual mirrors while he holds a rapier and fencing mask. The ad goes on to describe all the wonders of the shirt…while never explaining why the fencer has an eye-patch. Just seems a little foreboding to me…

THE FINAL VERDICT: Go pick this up as soon as you see it.

Don Rickles’ interview is reason enough on its own to buy this issue. On top of that it contains one of the best Playmate pictorials I’ve seen, and there’s really only one completely dud article in the whole magazine. I don’t have much more to say; I have to recommend a nearly perfect issue.