The Inside Story Adlai and Horatio A few newspaper guys were sitting around just batting the breeze as newspaper guys will, you know, and we got to talking about Lefty Manole, what had happened to him since he dropped out of baseball. Hawk-Eyed O’Reilly the sports editor said he’d quietly disappeared to his old man’s saw mill in Montgomery, Alabama, after that rhubarb in St. Louis in the spring of 1939. `Remember, he didn’t show up at the ball park and they arrested him on the roof of the hotel wearing a tiger skin and setting up a machine gun to spray the apartment house across the street. His girl had left him and gone over there with a switch hitter from Mobile.” Hawk -Eyed O’Reilly drew deeply on the butt of his cigarette, which he held meticulously between two fingers. “That killed him with the majors right there,” he said. “Aw, now, I don’t think that’s the way it was at all,” said Puffy Murphy, a garrulous secondstring man from the sports staff of an opposition paper. He covered high school football. “As a matter of fact I think Lefty Manole played three seasons with Cleveland after that and then got a bid to go with a St. Paul sporting goods firm where he worked until the spring of ’51, when he was stricken with a near-fatal hemorrhage. The last I heard from him he was a handwriting expert and f or gin g Satchel Paige’s signature on baseballs down in DeLand, Florida. “Incidentally,” said Petrified to heretofore quiet member of our gathering, Petrified Forrest. He is otherwise referred to around the office as So Much Dead Wood but they can’t get rid of him: he has seen so much sports. You would have, too, if you had followed the business since 1909. “Insidentally,” said Petrified to Hawk-Eyed O’Reilly, sometimes called the Dean of Southwest Sports Writers. “That rhubarb you mentioned wasn’t in St. Louis.” He took a long, melancholy drink. “It was Denver. The Post played it on Page 1 the next morning. I wrote the story as a matter of fact.” “You’re right!” said Hawk-Eyed incisively, pursing his thin lips and smiting himself on his razor edged thigh. He looked keenly into the historical mists, making out shapes of events with the uncannyability of a river captain plowing through a Mississippi fog. “A N D IT WASN’T LEFTY MANOLE EITHER!” he said, bolting for the door. “IT WAS BARTOLOMEO FRAZEE!!” H e turned in flight, eyes wild, and yelled, “Al, see if you can get ahold of the foreman and tell him to stop the presses! Tell him I’ll be there in a minute. I’ve called Bart Frazee Lefty Manole all through my reminiscent piece for tomorrow! They’ll ruin the paper!” “The paper was ruined the day they hired you,” said Petrified into his glass, which he was lifting. Winston Bode It is always a delight to sit around with a bunch of veteran newsmen, having some drinks and getting the inside story on events you’ve only heard about vaguely, or read of in sketchy outline. I mean, you get the straight facts from informed individuals who make accuracy and detail their business. The tapestry of human affairs looms suddenly larger and more bizarre than y o u ever dreamed of its being; and of course what makes a session with newspapermen so great is that they have such a vast fund of trade stories to dip into when they exhaust the topics of the day. There’s nothing more enlightening than a good newspaper trade yarn. I never knew, for instance, just to be managing editor of the Maylanche Bulletin Glacier Entreaty \(that was before the Trib bought “Huh! He was Old Man Sidney Roucheaux’s chauffeur during prohibition days, that’s how he got started,” said Al, who makes a great thing of being irreverent. Al wears glasses so thick the boys on the desk call them his “bullet proof” glasses; he’s been around papers a long timea bachelorand was probably one of Old Man Sidney Roucheaux’s best bootleg customers. Al’s still a bachelor, and buys very good “When Old M a n Rocheaux bought the old Star in the old building across the old river,” said Al, “Bulbs used to drive him to work every morning. Bulbs got to going in and sitting in a chair in the old man’s office to wait for him. The help would come in the office to ask the old man something but he would never be there because he would be in the back shop trying to set that type. The old man LOVED to try to set that type! So the help got to asking Bulbs if he’d heard the old man say what he wanted done about this or that, and Bulbs got to passing the word on, if he knew. Or, if he didn’t know, he’d fake it.” Al beamed. “Old Bulbs was a born leader, you know. He could sound so positive! The city editor’d come up and ask if he knew what the old man was planning to do with the story on the municipal reservoir going dry or something, and Bulbs would roll his cigar around to the corner of his mouth and say, ‘Kill it!’ “Then Bulbs got to walking around the office answering questions and chewin’ on that cigar! `Run it!’ he’d say. `Kill it!’ Or, `I’ll check on that.’ and, shoot! The old man had him a managing editor!” “You’re entirely wrong,” said Puffy Murphy. “The fact of the matter is that Old Man Roucheaux bought the paper for his son, Young Man Sidney Roucheaux, who was M.E. until he went into the Navy in 1943” “Oh well!” said Al in quick deference. “I knew it was something like that!” “where he was killed in a destroyer action off New Guinea, after which the old man sold the paper. The confusion around the office came about because Bulbs Malone was always being mistaken for Young Man Sidney Roucheaux. Bulbs looked enough like him to be Old Man Sidney’s son.” “Bulbs Malone WAS the old man’s son!” boomed Petrified Forrest hollowly. I left to buy an early edition off the streets, anxious as I was to see Hawk Eyed O’Reilly’s story on Bart Frazee. However, the printers had put the wrong plate on the press. There was a page of state news where O’Reilly’s column should have been. I walked around a long time, strangely exhilarated by the evening. A PROPHET IN HIS OWN COUNTRY, The Triumphs and and Defeats of Adlai E. Stevenson, By Kenneth S. Davis. Doubleday and Co., Inc., New York, 1957. $5. Davis chose to title this biography from Matthew’s “a prophet is not without honor, save in his own country . ” He might as easily, and even more appropriately, assuming his Stevenson IS Stevenson, have lifted a title from Fortinbras’ speech over the dead Hamlet: “Let four soldiers bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage ; for he was likely, had he been put on, to have prov’d most royally … ” Something of this sort occurred to Davis, he confesses in a preface to this book in which he compares \(as its reader inevitably ing of his bestselling biography of Dwight Eisenhower \(Soldier of Democracy, first issued in 1945, and thoughtfully revised and reissued in the political year of preface, here are studies of parallel lives: A Roman \(Eisenhowthink what Davis has done is write biographies of a Horatio and a Hamlet. When he began the Eisenhower biography, says the preface, it was necessary to write notes for guidance: “It is almost impossible to write a biography of any depth, any significant density, when its subject is a man who has no interior life. And “Eisenhower is a man whose whole mental life is involved in external strategy.” \(In 1952, when Stevenson was saying: `If the pursuit of peace is both old and new, it is also both complicated and simple. It is complicated, for it has to do with people, and nothing in this universe baffles man as much as man himself,’ Eisenhower was announccares about meanings, even historical ones, I am not aware of it. In writing about him, one is impelled to carry meanings to him.” He concluded of Eisenhower, Davis says, that there was probably a kind of creativeness in Eisenhower’s mere mirroring of his times and his place in his times: “But to color such mighty events as these is in itself a creative act,” DAVIS SAYS he found no such Our Critic Prefers Tambr to Sorciere’ AUSTIN Re-issues, second r u n s, and a few first showings make what motion picture news there is in Texas at the moment. It is heartening to report that Federico Fellini’s uneven but compelling film “La Strada,” which I reviewed earlier, has made it to Dallas ; but the news elsewhere is considerably glum. “The Ten Commandments,” that latest edition of the Standard DeMille Revised Version of The Bible, is now descending unto the neighborhoods clothed in the sack cloth of regular prices. John Huston’s erratic “Moulin Rouge” is, for no good reason, cropping up once more. The English have been moved to film the first Frankenstein film in color, and someone has hit upon the idea of shooting a Tarzan epic in Africa; but the filling of these two voids is, somehow, not enough. Should you be planning to go out anyway, avoid at all costs the French film “La Sorciere.” It managed to bewitch a few during its local run but in the end it turned out to be a good deal more ation on W. H. Hudson’s Green Mansions that managed to be comprehensive only when devoting itself to long, lingering views of a magnificent young animal named Marina Vlady. Miss Vlady needed no explanation, though her role was a trifle mystifying. As I got it, she was a Swedish forest sprite named Ina whose Harris Green long association with Nature had enabled her to lay in a stock of woodsy lore that would make Ernest Thompson Seton look like a commuter. One touch of her hand and open wounds heal. A glance from her limpid eyes and horses rear, cars start, and grown men fall down flat. Plainly, no man is a match for Ina. Some French engineer who was in the region blasting out great chunks of the Scandinavian peninsula promptly falls victim to her charm and even proposes. Ina, who had grown rather weary of life in the forest primeval with just her grandmother for corn Well, I need hardly draw you a parallel between “La Sorciere” and the Hudson work after that. I shall only add that, with the emphatic exception of the incredible Miss Vlady, no one obviously had any definite ideas of style or content during the filming of the show. I thought for a while there that we were going to get a fine old triangle affair going since the engineer’s employer, a severely tailored female, appeared to have a few designs upon him, herself; however it, as did the scenes of magic and pathos, stubbornly re fused to jell. Half-baked, in fact, is the best, most considerate evaluation. OH, ANOTHER THING. As “La Sorciere” was filmed in Sweden, it naturally is graced by a filtered shot, made at dusk into the setting sun, of our heroine in the nude clambering out of a lake. This appears to be an inescapable tradition. of practically all these shows. Understand now! I’m not complaining. NOW IF YOU are really interested in an artful, imaginative use of cinematic technique, you can find it in what to some may seem an unlikely spot, in Walt Disney’s “Bambi,” a 1942 product now in rerelease. Those who are put off by Disney’s reputation for being strictly a purveyor of juvenile delights shouldn’t be. While the undeniable asininity of some of his stuff generally re-enforces this view, part of it is a result of the same illogic that has deemed Gulliver’s Travels and Huckle berry Finn kiddie books. Dis counting his so-called “live-action features which have always been feeble, no one in the business brings to bear on the problems raised in making movies so trick than treat. Actually the pany, accepts. Unfortunately, the thing was a rather muddled variI news of her unearthly powers has made her the talk of the village, and the minute she shows up in town one Sunday, practically everyone joins forces in a sincere attempt to stomp the life out of her. They succeed. The last we see of her, she is back in her deciduous surroundings, prone and pummelled, gasping her last while the sub-titles offer one final comment upon the scene: FIN. necessity in Stevenson, no need to take meanings to him; Stevenson did not drift with a destiny he did not understand. Davis says he wrote about Eisenhower a book “imbued with a warm liking for the man personally and with a profound admiration of his career up till then.” He does not say this, in preface or book, of Stevenson. Instead, he poses questions: “… if the ends of liberty are to be served, then surely there is required increasingly a politics that is truly educative, one that sharpens instead of blurring real issues” \(is he saying Eisenhower sense’ to the people.” And “… has Stevenson been an anachronism in American politics, engaged in a forlorn attempt to restore eighteenth century rationalism to the public life of an age that is far ‘beyond’ it? Will his implicit insistence upon the indvidual life … seem absurdly reactonary, at so late a date, to a people absorbed in huge and tightly organized economic endeavors, their leisure increasingly devoted to the pleasures of the senses? Or will he prove a harbinger of the future, anticipating a whole ‘new school’ of politicians who, in the years ahead, will help us create on a worldwide scale such organizations as will maintain individual liberty against the mass pressures of atomic energy, electronic automation, and a standardized communications system?” Unfortunately, the book answers none of these questions and answers no others of more than superficial significance that will occur to the reader. This does not mean that Davis has written an unfair, a slanted, or a distorted biography. He has not. His portrait is vivid, detailed as a blueprint \(although the divorce is documented and put together with careful craftsmanship. The thought occurs that Davis might have written almost exactly this bok as Robert Lewis Taylor some years ago wrote a biography of Winston Churchill, without ever having seen or talked to the subject. This is unfortunate, for Davis and his readers. It is apparent
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