Sorry for the lack of updates. Scanning those large-format pages and converting the text is a time consuming process.
In the meantime, the May 2013 Vanity Fair has a piece about Holiday by Michael Callahan.
(As of this writing, the article is not available online.) It is now online, along with a nice gallery of Holiday covers.
To further tide you over until new articles appear in this space, here is a photo of my coffee table. Not sure why that would help, but there you have it.
And if you’re still looking for something to read, there’s always my other site, Carry On.
Or, “How old should a child be before his parents tell him he lives in the valley?”
The cliffdwellers cling precariously to the brush-covered slopes of the Hollywood hills, sharing the common perils of fire and flood. In the late fall, when the humidity drops and a warm wind whips through the canyons, the hills may suddenly explode with flame. In the rainy season, when the naked cliffs crack and slide, the mortgaged wickiups come tumbling down. But the true cliffdweller always returns to his wildlife refuge. He trades in his charred Porsche, patches his pool, rebuilds his house-with-a-view and again settles down to enjoy the comforts of his mountain lair.
He has the best of two urban worlds. He is minutes away from the city’s offices, shops and restaurants, but when his day’s work is done, he comes home to down his tot of gin in a green and private place where ruby-throated hummingbirds flutter in the bottle-brush and quail skitter across his lawn. Mule deer drink from his pool and foxes feed from his garbage pail. His children are turned loose to climb trees, collect snakes and chase rabbits.
JERUSALEM’S UNIQUE ZOO IS A LIVING BIBLICAL BESTIARY
The Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem, a concept inspired by the Prophets, is the only one of its kind in the world—a source of amazement not only to laymen like myself but, in even greater degree, to visiting zoologists and theologians. Here on thirty-two acres of the Holy Land’s rugged brown soil, the beasts and the birds mentioned in the Old Testament have been brought together. On their cages appear the Biblical quotations applicable to each creature. As you glance down from the contemptuous eyes of two splendid ostriches, both towering ten feet high, you read in Hebrew and English: “I am a brother to monsters and a companion to ostriches.” (Job 30:29) And where three of the most beautiful lions ever raised in captivity roar for their food, a placard quotes: “The lion hath roared—who will not fear?”(Amos 3:8)
The first glimpse of the Biblical Zoo may be something of a shock. This is not an exquisitely landscaped zoological garden such as you find in other cities. As you enter its creaking gate, crude paths lie ahead. All about them are massive boulders pockmarked by erosion. And among the rocks are growths of untended underbrush, clumps of twisted trees.
Yet this very crudeness is deliberately preserved because it establishes a proper mood for the zoo. Surely this is the way the Holy Land must have looked when some of these animals roamed its ancient hills, when some of these brilliantly plumed birds flew screaming from tree to tree. As you pass, they still scream at you—parrots and peacocks, magpies and ravens, just as they screamed at men in the years of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Today, they screech at more than 120,000 visitors a year.
[Note: This is the very first article from the very first Holiday.]
THE WIND RACED from a bank of surly clouds and poured through the slot in the sea that forms the North End inlet at Atlantic City, New Jersey. It tossed spindrift at a group of huddled gulls which stood, back to the surf, plotting a long trip elsewhere. It fingered hair and ruffled skirts and gobbled up noise to whirl it away across bay and salt meadow. Now and then it blew a sprinkling of rain over the crowd gathered in Clam Stadium.
Mr. Israel Weintraub, 300 pounds of jitney driver, leaned back in his contest chair, dabbed at his mouth with something less than Chesterfieldian grace, and explained his success in the clam derby.
“I am prob’ly the best clam eater in the world,” he said, “an’ t’ be honest, I hate ‘em. I win because I am such a good chili sauce and horse-radish man. If they ever limit them items, I quit winnin’ eatin’ contests here. My record is one hun’erd and forty-six clams in twenty minutes. This year it’s good I ain’t hungry because I only need one hun’erd and twenty to win.”
Mr. Weintraub posed with a hot dog and a bottle of pop, carefully ate away their property value, and blandly reflected on the joys of fame.
“I hear a threat about some guy from New York,” he remarked. “Comes from Fulton Fish Market, and is supposed to eat three hun’erd today. He don’t worry me none. He don’t show up. Them threats never do.”
When I was a boy of ten in Decatur, Illinois, my mother gave me twenty cents every morning—half of it for carfare to school, the remaining dime for my lunch. I could have spent that dime on candy or ice cream, but I can’t recall that I ever did, because it was at this magic and benign moment in time that I discovered chili.
Day after day I went to Chili Bill’s joint a couple of blocks from the school, sat at a scrubbed wooden counter, and for ten cents got a bowl of steaming chili, six soda crackers and a glass of milk. That was livin’!
I have been a chili man ever since those days. Nay, I have been the chili man. Without chili I believe I would wither and die. I stand without a peer as a maker of chili, and as a judge of chili made by other people. No living man, and let us not even think of woman in this connection, no living man, I repeat, can put together a pot of chili as ambrosial, as delicately and zestfully flavorful, as the chili I make. This fact is so stern, so granitic, that it belongs in the encyclopedias, as well as in all standard histories of civilization.
From my diary: Gritti Palace Hotel, Venice, October 26, 1948: “Lettuce leaves jostling in the wakes of boats on the Grand Canal…. The two bells of the Campanile are an octave apart … We lunched at Harry’s Bar, chic people and a triumphant fish soup.”
March 18, 1949: “Met Papa at Harry’s and many friends there—Count Carlo di Robilant and his wife Caroline, the Tripcovitches, Princess Aspasia of Greece with whom, Papa said, he’s had an afternoon of good, solid drink and talk while I was away, Baron Nanyuki Franchetti, Prince Tassilo Fürstenberg, a couple of Windisch-Graetzes and other once-Austrians, Howard, the Duke of Norfolk’s younger brother and his pretty wife, Countess Lili Volpi and that enduring, endearing old Countess Amelia de Reali. We lunched in a haze of affection and felicity with the di Robilants, the green tagliarini divine; paused on the way home as usual to inspect the jewelry in Codognato’s window.”
December 5, 1967: “Lunched with Cipriani and his lovely and elegant dark-eyed Giulia (wife) and his sister, Gabriella, my old friend, in the peace and sunshine of the upstairs room at Harry’s. He was in his usual fine spirits, with his cool, clear blue eyes unchanged, observing everything. I had scampi, fresh and sweet with a whisper of garlic. He had garnished hamburger, maybe not quite as good as my Wild West Hamburger, I surmised.”
DEAR BRUCE, IS NOT IN OUR STARS,
BUT IN OURSELVES
IS CALIFORNIA’S CANONIZATION OF LENNY BRUCE A SYMPTOM OF OUR NEW SELF-CRITICISM?
“He used to say he was being crucified, and . . . I’d say, ‘Hey, man, but don’t forget the resurrection.’” — Mort Sahl, 1966.
Two years after the death of Leonard Alfred Schneider, naked and alone on a bathroom floor in Hollywood, a hypodermic needle in his right arm, the Lenny Bruce cult continues to flourish, especially among the young who never saw the prophet, never heard his voice or touched the hem of his garment. They know only his records and his writings, neither of which do justice to the man or his message.
In tribute here is the poignant conclusion to Ray Bradbury’s 1965 “Machine-Tooled Happyland“:
No beatniks here. No Cool people with Cool faces pretending not to care, thus swindling themselves out of life or any chance for life.
Disneyland causes you to care all over again. You feel it is that first day in the spring of that special year when you discovered you were really alive. You return to those morns in childhood when you woke and lay in bed and thought, eyes shut, “Yes, sir, the guys will be here any sec. A pebble will tap the window, a dirt clod will horse-thump the roof, a yell will shake the treehouse slats.”
And then you woke fully and the rock did bang the roof and the yell shook the sky and your tennis shoes picked you up and ran you out of the house into living.
Disneyland is all that. I’m heading there now. Race you?
Nearly half a century later Bradbury remembered his joyous Holiday piece with matched enthusiasm. The following recently appeared on the Ray Bradbury forum:
I discovered this a few weeks ago…and read it to Mr B as part of my regular readings to him. He was so excited to hear it, and laughed at several parts of the essay, nodding his head and saying, “yes – I remember!”
Quinn’s Bar, on the waterfront in Papeete, Tahiti, is said by those having authority in such fields to be the worst bar in the world, and I think this is very likely true. There may be worse bars in certain respects elsewhere, but for overall lack of refinement Quinn’s has a distinction that is pretty nearly unique. I’ve met travelers who have ventured into dives on the waterfront of Marseilles, in the Wanchai district of Hong Kong and on the back streets of Juarez, but who acknowledge that they had never tasted the full extravagance of descent until they entered Quinn’s.