WE hate the word “image,” as bandied about in the gobbledegook of publicists, motivationists, etc., but there’s no doubt that the “image” of Esquire, whether we like the word or not, is undergoing, and has undergone, a drastic change, into something new and strange.
Congratulations and thanks for the best and most appropriate and timely article ever! I’m referring to A New God for the Space Age (November 1958) by Ben Hecht, of course. M. M. SCHNEIDER Huntington, L.I., N.Y. I must say that Mr. Hecht led me by the nose until I arrived at the end of his thesis.
MY pet reform for the British cinema—just for the moment, anyway—is that all concerned should vow never again to mention the name of Dickens. The actual Dickens films made after the war were impressive enough in parts, but only in those parts where the people stopped trying to look like Cruikshank illustrations or stamping and bawling like oldstyle character actors.
FOR me, the sweetest, surest escape from the day’s heavy crop of slings and arrows is in reading about murder. Murder is my true love, murder is my darling; if not all the world to me, it is at least an appreciable chunk. This does not mean, I promise you, that I go about parched and panting for a draught of fresh blood, or that I ever took any personal part in a killing.
IN Italy the gourmet on wheels begins to work in earnest for his title. Having learned in France to punctuate his tour with memorable meals, he will look in vain for an equivalent to the incorruptible Guide Michelin and, after a few false starts, usually begins longing for the pizza back in Sioux Falls.
HOMEWORK is an important part of a travel writer’s job, whether he’s writing a book or a magazine column, and reading the mail is the most important part of that homework. There’s no truth to the story that one of our colleagues was crushed and smothered to death when a pile of publicity releases on his desk fell over on him as he bent down to tie a shoelace, but maybe you’ll find it interesting to visually eavesdrop over our shoulder as we open the mail of a Monday in late fall, when things are going real good in travel.
TRAVELERS who have been to Beauvais, an industrial town in the northwest corner of France, will not soon forget the cathedral, a great apse, torso of what would have been-if completed-the largest and most spectacularly soaring of Gothic churches.
ESQUIRE has always regarded the lively arts as its special province; in fact, we selected it for the over-all title of one of the first departments we instituted in our second issue back in January, 1934. In the third issue we had a special article on what has become the liveliest of all the arts: jazz.
An insight into the violent hatred and blind worship of Roosevelt
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
<p>THROUGH his handling of government and his handling of Congress, through his speeches and his press conferences, through his style and manner as a public figure, Franklin Delano Roosevelt projected what a more public-relations-conscious age would call his image upon the country.</p>
Personal reflections on the tensions of confronting speed, by one of the fastest drivers in the world
THIS is the race itself, where all the excitement that went before— everything that’s gone before, the years that have gone before, the experience and the work—all come into being. During the night that has gone before, you have tried—subconsciously more than consciously—not to think of the race, tried to relax so that you can sleep properly and not worry about gear ratios and so on, because all this should have been tended to before.
Being a sampler of Sahl-searching digs that dig, if you dig...
NOT long ago, Mort Sahl free-associated for us on some specific generalities we’d cooked up. The humorous and serious results that we distilled are faithfully reproduced here. For all those who believe that nonsense makes sense makes Sahl (a piece of sahlogistic reasoning if ever we saw one!) we present the essence of Sahlism.
...before the last cork is popped, the last bit of glitter tossed, this page comes as a timely reminder that the drink of drinks for the festive season is... what else?... champagne. The different toasts to our ladies fair may vary, but the nature of the “bubbly” with which they are washed down is a constant.
Thanks to a network of cog railway cable cars and lifts, built over the magic mountains of Davos, you can ski, over runs of varying difficulty, to towns ten to fourteen miles away. Many people ski down and return by train, which often takes longer than the downhill run itself.
For chalet comfort by the fireside, teamed with rum, hot and buttered... the light, bright touch: turtle-necked pullover, knit of cotton... cotton chino slacks venture a scarlet flannel lining... an after-Christie zip-up—black brushed-leather boot—has fluffy pile lining, crepe sole... and last, but not least, a bouclé-knit mohair cardigan to chase the last chill....
Esquire’s fashion coups from European capitals... impeccably correct in London’s West End, the shapelier bowler (now more popular than ever) would make an equal “good show” on New York’s East Side... the soft felt hat, newly contoured:
In a park in late summer, see the botanic variety of love
THIS is a play that has come out of my own fantasies about characters I have noticed on summer strolls through Central Park, people who seem to live in the park during permissible weather, people who seem reduced to the pursuit of the most basic human needs.
John Hammond would be unbearable if he weren't so likable, say jazzmen
ARDENT, articulate fans can sometimes be an annoyance to jazz musicians. The fact that they assume that their enthusiasm automatically gives them an entree is frequently exasperating and embarrassing. Jazz artists rank such fans just below a bad lip and just above alimony.
Esquire's Side Trip No.9: Peru: Lima to Cusco and Machu Picchu
PRACTICALLY every American living in Peru, you’ll find when you go down there, is an amateur archaeologist. And the only people who aren’t amateur archaeologists, it seems, are the professional ones. You’re in Lima, let’s say, and you run into Ted Pelikan, local representative of Pan American.
The Unco-ordinated Generation completes a bombing raid
CECE was so hung her tongue clave to the roof of her mouth. She groaned. This roused Sandy and Paula who were nearly as hung. She had never been as bombed as last night, the Costume Ball in Cabin Class. Wearing the bikini she had bought in Cannes, holding high the clothesline to which were pinned damp nylon pants and a bra, she had pelvised down the stairway to flash bulbs and cheers as “Miss Drip Dry of 1958” and won first prize, a bottle of champagne she had promised The Group to uncork today.
IT was indeed a pleasant evening, and I thought I’d go for a walk in Central Park. It would be good for my liver, which I had had with onions for supper, and I also wanted to think about a fat lady I had seen in a circus. Central Park is right outside my window and walking there is the cheapest and cleanest pleasure New York offers me.
Upstaging the fair and feverish Sallie Blair— perhaps the most provocative chanteuse fatale to emerge in the vanguard of a new and highlycharged tradition: jazz singing that’s at least as important as a feast for the eye as to the ear. Bistro addicts from New York’s Café Society Downtown to Hollywood’s Mocambo have beatifically suffered more than one third degree burns from unshielded exposure to sultry Sallie’s unique form of radiation.
Evidence aplenty that now, as never before, the whole world is swinging
JOHN CLELLON HOLMES
STOP for a moment, and listen.... No matter where you are in America, chances are good that you’ll hear music : a radio muffled through the walls, a jukebox responding to a dime, somebody whistling down the street. Listen a little closer, and chances are equally good that somewhere behind the crooner, or the vocal group, or the dance band, you’ll hear—faintly or full-blown—echoes of American jazz.
Manners and morals at Minton's, 1941: the setting for a revolution
<p><i>That which we do is what we are. That which we remember is, more often
than not, that which we would liked to have been; or that which we hope to be.
Thus our memory and our identity are ever at odds; our history ever a tall tale
told by inattentive idealists.</i>
The bastions are crumbling, the audience is listening; whither jazz?
<p><span><em>I</em></span><i>f it can be determined at all, the future of jazz lies within the
province of the musician. Esquire tape-recorded the speculations of eight men
who, by their contributions to music, have the right to say. The following is
the essence of their remarks on new directions in jazz.</i>
You may or may not be on the Van Cliburn band wagon. You may think that the fair-haired boy is a pianistic genius who abundantly earned his Soviet victory or that he was the lucky beneficiary of some red-hot propaganda shenanigans. You may think that the unprecedented hullabaloo is the route to sustained stardom or the speedway to oblivion.
I wonder if it matters—you might or might not recognize his name, even if it were to be set down. Yet it would hardly be possible to have lived in America during the past thirty years without having sung, or danced to, or heard some of his songs. At one time, the first three on The Hit Parade were his.
I have just read with interest and appreciation the excellent anniversary number of Esquire. I particularly enjoyed the honor of being mentioned personally in the amusing little piece contributed by my good friend Ted Cott. The thought occurred to me that you might like to hear my version of the story told by Cott.
IT is regrettable that of all the music played at Minton’s in the formative stage of modern jazz (described by Ralph Ellison in The Golden Age: Time Past, page 107), we have remaining only a single record, and not a very good one, entitled The Harlem Jazz Scene—1941 (Esoteric 548).
Sooner or later the prettiest girl in school must graduate
PROBABLY it never would have occurred to her if she hadn’t been listening to Harvey Howlett. Morning after morning his voice came at her over the kitchen radio, syrupy and cocksure: “You could be lovely. ... You could be loved again.... You could make that wonderful adventure into the past and recapture the wonder of being wanted again...."
THERE was this bar in Alexandria, Louisiana,” Smitty said, “that we used to go into all the time when I was stationed at Livingston. Had mirrors all over. Even on the ceiling. You could sit on your chair and if a broad had a low-cut dress on you could just look up at the ceiling and get a terrific view right down into the valley of decision.
Welcome Nineteen Hundred and Fifty Nine. Our only resolution is not to make any. We’re banking on great things happening during the next three-hundred and sixty-five days and have all good intentions of doing our bit to make it bright & prosperous.