1. R.I.P. Gore Vidal

    One evening back there in once upon a time (February 7, 1957, to be exact) my first play opened at the Booth Theatre. Traditionally, the playwright was invisible to the audience: one hid out in a nearby bar, listening to the sweet nasalities of Pat Boone’s ‘Love Letters in the Sand’ from a glowing jukebox. But when the curtains fell on this particular night, I went into the crowded lobby to collect someone. Overcoat collar high around my face, I moved invisibly through the crowd, or so I thought. Suddenly, a voice boomed-tolled across the lobby. ‘Gore!' I stopped; everyone stopped. From the cloakroom, a small round figure, rather like a Civil War cannon ball, hurtled toward me and collided. As I looked down into that familiar round face with its snub nose and shining bloodshot eyes, I heard, the entire crowded lobby heard: 'How could you do this? How could you sell out like this? To Broadway! To Commercialism! how could you give up The Novel? Give up the security. The security of knowing every two years, there will be—like clockwork—that five hundred dollar advance!’ Thirty years later, the voice still echoes in my mind, and I think fondly of its owner, our best comic novelist. ‘The field,’ I can hear Dawn Powell snarl, ‘is not exactly overcrowded.’

    —Gore Vidal on Dawn Powell in The Company They Kept, Volume II. Obviously before he started writing for television and Hollywood.

Notes

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