The 1968 Exhibit: CAVALIER, and "Fritz the Cat," August 1968

Cavalier: *A "hipper" Playboy?

Cavalier magazine began publication in 1952--a year before the first issue of*Playboy, to which it is usually compared. By the 1960s, it was striving to be a hipper Playboy, something for the college guys, or the "lads" as they might be called cavalier-68today. *Like Playboy,*Cavalier is still being published, though to judge by its website, it's a lot raunchier today, more like plain old porn. But in the 1960s, there are serious articles, some of them by famous writers (in this issue, Leonard Feather writes about jazz); smutty cartoons, many of them with topical references to hippies and LSD; fashion spreads with pouty (male) models; advice columns (here the lads learn about making a proper cocktail); fiction; and profiles of up-and-coming "cavaliers" (in this issue, it's artist Jamie Wyeth, at the time 21 years old). * And, oh, almost forgot: * there are photo spreads of bare-breasted women. *Everything--the articles, the fiction, the cartoon, the naked women-- was down a notch or two from Playboy in terms of finish and quality. *(Did Playboy ever carry ads for life-size, inflatable "Instant Party Dolls"? I don't know.)

What if JFK had lived?

Two interesting things about this particular issue: *a feature "If JFK Had Lived," with illustrations and retouched photographs and a text speculating on JFK's future after he survives the 1963 assassination "attempt" in Dallas. He is re-elected in 1964, and in January 1969 turns over the White House to his successor, Robert McNamara. *(Not a chance.) The magazine's summer 1968 deadlines seem to have missed the big Kennedy news, since in the "news stories," Bobby Kennedy is still living when JFK dies in June 2000. * (RFK had become Secretary of State under McNamara.) *Along with his brother, President Ted Kennedy, JFK celebrates the demolition of the Berlin Wall in 1980 (the prediction misses by 9 years), and JFK remarries in 1989, four years after the death of his first wife Jackie in a plane crash.

The Adventures of Fritz the Cat


The second feature of note is a three-page spread, the black-and-white comic strip, "The Adventures of Fritz," by Robert*Crumb. *"Fritz the Cat" was one of the first "head" comic strips, written by and for people who were stoned. *(Crumb had, in fact, been experimenting with LSD just before publishing this series in Cavalier in 1968. ) *Fritz is described in the strip as a "sophisticated, up-to-the-minute young feline college student" -- just like the typical Cavalier reader, in other words.