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JOE CUMMINGS climbs a tree in a public park and won’t come down until he sees a vision he had the night before: Miss December 1968 was in the top of the tree “in all her centerfold glory.” Through a series of events that allow Joe to stay in the tree so long as he doesn't sue the city, Joe quickly becomes a celebrity. By the fifth day, Joe has made the cover of TIME with a splashy headline that touts him as the “LAST REAL AMERICAN!” The sub-headline reads: “The heart-rending story of a man who had to climb a tree to find his freedom.” By the seventh day, Joe’s simple act has changed the world. Millions of men are climbing trees in search of “St. Cindy,” the elusive “Patron Saint of Virile Young Men.” For the first time in recorded history, the world is without war. With the breadwinner up a tree, Joe's wife Pat discovers corporate America is willing to pay her large amounts of money to tap into Joe’s celebrity status. She becomes his manager and, in time, is striking deals with the best of them. After a few months in the tree, the pressure of sustaining world peace begins to take its toll. Despite an all-out effort, Cynthia Myers cannot be found. Joe wants to come down. Pat won’t let him and threatens to kill him if he tries. When CYNTHIA MYERS is found to be very much alive, the mayor kidnaps her and forces her in the middle of the night to climb to the top of the tree so he can kill them both.
Joe can’t believe his eyes as she rises slowly above the branches, her arms held out to the sides like a supplicating angel. His vision is abruptly interrupted when the mayor appears below her with a gun. Joe jumps the mayor. A fight ensues among the boughs but Joe knows trees and overpowers the mayor. St. Cindy is saved and later receives the Congressional Medal of Honor and her very own postage stamp based on her Playboy centerfold. The postage stamp sells out within hours rasing millions of dollars for her charity. And Joe? Joe comes down from his tree, rejoins his family, and the world goes back to war.
Cynthia Myers has agreed to play herself in the film.* Besides receiving more mail than any other Playmate from soldiers during the Viet Nam war-- which she answered personally-- Ms. Myers also starred in Russ Meyer's legendary "Beyond The Valley of the Dolls," penned by Roger Ebert. Her equally legendary centerfold was a gentle reminder to our soldiers not to give up hope, that something better was waiting for them back home.
By the way, if you were listening to Louis Armstrong while reading this brief synopsis, you were hearing a 1968 hit, the same year Ms. Myers posed in all of her centerfold glory.
*UpDate: I'm shocked and saddened to write that Ms. Myers died Friday, November 4, 2011 at the age of 61. It's hard to believe she's gone. She was only 17-years-old when she posed for Playboy in 1968 but Hef held the pictures for legal reasons until she turned 18 before publishing them. From what I've learned over the years, she was the go-to-Muse for many others and she will not be forgotten. Hopefully she had a happy and fulfilling life.