On the Shelf
Except for a jungle-green cover and a story called "Jungle Rot," the Lampoon's February Tropics are hardly worth penetrating. Workhorse President John H. Updike again has filled the magazine with something besides decadent, pasty releases. In an issue practically barren of humor, the laurels for "good job, well done" should go to Updike--by dint of prolificacy.
But what Lampy lacks in humor, he makes up in value judgment. In the "Movie Worsts" section, all selections merit their titles. The choice of Jerry Lewis as the "Worst Comedian of All Time" shows indisputable logic. Undeniable also is the "Most Unattractive Connation" of "She's Working Her Way Through College." The only slight revision I would make is to put "Million Dollar Mermaid" in a class by itself. Buried in the "Ten Worst," the film unjustly loses some of its awfulness.
Updike acts the tropical tone of this issue with a two-stanza poem exalting the benefits of a hot climate. Although engagingly whimsical, it seems a rather mediocre attempt to imitate Ogden Nash. "Lines for Bloodshot Eyes" by H. S. Zeigler makes a neat observation on three-dimensional movies, "A bastard drama--Cinerama."
"Jungle Rot" gives new life to the old satire on safari. Trekking into the heart of the Dark Continent with John E. Hubbard, led by an aged woman in a wheel chair, was ridiculously enjoyable. In an effort to burlesque the "Unforgettable Character" series in the Reader's Digest, T. D. Edwards wrecks a potentially good idea by attempting to hit the "Unforgettable" style, and missing completely. "Alice the Timid Typhoon"--again Updike--is a fable-like story with illustrations. Written in simple, child-like prose, it may conceivably appeal to children.
"Arquango Adventure" by a reactivated, graduated editor, and "Ten Toes" by E. Wentworth deserve mention only because they elaborate, humorlessly, the theme of the issue. "In Corporation Assembled" pokes mordant fun at the efforts of the Corporation to choose a new president. I think Blot and Jester try to warn the reader about the harm of bathing beauty contests at Harvard, but their subtle suggestion is not clear to me.
Cartoon-wise, the Lampoon is generally uninteresting. Updike does seven out of nine with Charles Robinson drawing a couple of blanks. Particularly useless is the full page drawing of man and Sphinx with the caption, "Eh".
Look at the cover of the Tropical Lampoon, thumb through for advertisements, find the proof hacks. And to those who read it, remember, the Lampoon is not strictly a literary organization.