“A Boy Grew In Brooklyn” by Arthur Miller — March 1955

Holiday magazine, March 1955

Nobody can know Brooklyn, because Brooklyn is the world, and besides it is filled with cemeteries, and who can say he knows those people? But even aside from the cemeteries it is impossible to say that one knows Brooklyn. Three blocks from my present house live two hundred Mohawk Indians. A few blocks from them are a group of Arabs living in tenements in one of which is published an Arabic newspaper. When I lived on Schermerhorn Street I used to sit and watch the Moslems holding services in a tenement back yard outside my window, and they had a real Moorish garden, symmetrically planted with curving lines of white stones laid out in the earth, and they would sit in white robes—twenty or thirty of them, eating at a long table, and served by their women who wore the flowing purple and rose togas of the East. All these people, plus the Germans, Swedes, Jews, Italians, Lebanese, Irish, Hungarians and more, created the legend of Brooklyn’s patriotism, and it has often seemed to me that their having been thrown together in such abrupt proximity is what gave the place such a Balkanized need to proclaim its never-achieved oneness.

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“BLEECKER STREET: BOHEMIA’S BAROMETER” By Michael Herr — December 1965

December 1965

The quicksilver of Greenwich Village flows, dips to revolting depths and rises to stark heights along this aging thoroughfare

Michael Herr, a free-lance writer and a resident of Greenwich Village, makes his first appearance in Holiday with this article.

One noontime last spring a photographer, two assistants, a lady editor and a fashion model turned up at the corner of Bleecker and Leroy Streets, in Greenwich Village. This is a tenement block and a market district, the nucleus of what is left of the old Bleecker Street community. At this time of day, when Our Lady of Pompei School lets out for lunch, the streets are packed with tough, bright, well-behaved kids whose tumult fills Leroy Street, spilling onto Bleecker. They wear blue blazers with gold-stitched crests on the pockets. The model was dressed in leather, something from one of the fall collections with a wicked, constricting cut to it. Continue reading

“A Good Life in the Hollywood Hills” by John Weaver – April 1970

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.

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“OPENING 100 CLAMS” by Carl L. Biemiller – March 1946

[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.”

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“NOBODY KNOWS MORE ABOUT CHILI THAN I DO” by H. Allen Smith – August 1967

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.

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“THE CANONIZATION OF LENNY BRUCE” by John Weaver – November 1968

THE FAULT,
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.

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Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

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!”

“IN DEFENSE OF BROOKLYN” by Murray Goodwin – November 1946

[Note: If it can be proven that the following editor’s note isn’t the greatest editor’s note of all time I will gladly eat not just my own hat but any additional hat presented to me.]

EDITORS’ NOTE!

ONE DAY not long ago, an arrow sped through an open window of the HOLIDAY editorial rooms, bedded itself in a desk top, and stood there quivering before the startled eyes of the editor. Attached to it was a letter, a letter born of a Brooklynite’s bitter hurt at the story Manhattan Holiday, in the October issue of HOLIDAY, and the snubbing it contained of the writer’s beloved borough. We had of course known all our lives of the feud that existed between Brooklyn and Manhattan, warmest rivals among the five sister boroughs of Greater New York. We know how Manhattanites tend to ignore Brooklyn, and snub it, and how Brooklynites grow sullen and hurt under such cavalier treatment. Knowing this, we have made it a firm part of HOLIDAY editorial policy never to say anything against Brooklyn, just as we never say anything against MOTHER, or FREE ENTERPRISE. We do not believe our article insulted Brooklyn, but perhaps we did somewhat neglect her. In fairness, therefore, we are printing hurt Brooklyn Citizen Goodwin’s letter. Further, we have even made the courageous editorial decision to show actual pictures of Brooklyn.

The Editor,
HOLIDAY Magazine.

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“WEIRD WORLD OF THE MODEL” by Alfred Bester – May 1961

[Note: The two women profiled here are now in their 80’s—and still modeling, half a century after this article was written. Presumably they now make more than $60 an hour.]

How true is the popular picture of the model as skinny, conceited, overpaid and undersexed? Two of the top come clean about the glamour profession

You are in the giant studio of one of the world’s foremost fashion photographers. It is eleven in the morning, and since nine the studio has been preparing one fashion photograph. The model has arrived in make-up, done her hair and submitted to a complete blue-white body wash because this will be a color shot. She has been walking around for an hour, wearing nothing but a balloon chemise, drying herself in the air.

Now the sitting begins. The model puts on a high-fashion dress and takes her position on the set. The photographer stacks records on the hi-fi and driving jazz blasts through the studio. A giant electric fan is turned on, and its gale whips the model’s dress. Its roar is added to the clamor of music, and everybody has to shout.

Plate after plate is slammed into the camera. At each exposure, the strobe lights explode with a shattering WHAM! The model melts smoothly from pose to pose, experimenting with arms, hands, legs, feet, body, head—always careful to adjust the dress and display it at its best.

The photographer never stops directing, praising, singing with the music: “Arm a little higher, darling. That’s it! Beautiful! Hold it!” WHAM! “You look lovely. One more.” WHAM ! “Perfect!” WHAM! Left leg back. Hold the hem higher. Lovely!” WHAM! “One more!” WHAM! “What’d you just do with your head? No, the other way. That’s it! Beautiful!” WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!

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“KENTUCKY” by A.B. Guthrie, Jr. – March 1951

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Way West” brings you the saga of a great state, homeland of bluegrass, bourbon, and beautiful women

The typical Kentuckian is a goateed colonel with a thirst.

He is a barefoot mountain boy with an itchy finger on a flintlock. He’s the owner of a mortgaged plantation and a Thoroughbred foal with the look of eagles in its eyes.

He’s a backwoods demagogue who can’t spell demagogue. He’s a Southern gentleman.

He’s a private enterpriser, a dealer in corn squeezin’s, and no revenooer better show his nose.

He’s Abner, Devil Anse Hatfield, the Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, Private Tussie, Happy Chandler, and Gracious Living by Ancestry out of Bluegrass by Or Virginny.

He is all these things, and so, of course, he’s none of them. Kentucky?

Its a heaven of a place (or, to give proper order to an old com­parison, heaven is a Kaintuck of a place).

It’s a brier patch.

It’s Dark and Bloody Ground.

It’s bluegrass and juleps and women fair beyond the fortune of any other realm, not excepting the Egyptian.

It is eroded and sequestered hillsides; it is coal mines in the moun­tains; it is race tracks in the great meadow.

It’s all these and none of them, typically, either.

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