Joseph Wechsberg's article about Rafael Druian, on page 257 of this issue, is to our knowledge the first article in an American magazine of general distribution to deal with the subject of the concertmaster as an institution. Central as the symphony is to the cultural life of every community of any size, most people simply take it for granted that it has always existed in its present form, and if they identify any one man with it, that man is the conductor.
on the phone, under the impression he's to be inter viewed. Martin Balsam promises me an experience of unprecedented boredom. “It could put you to sleep,” he says. “Once a guy from Time sat listening to the details of my early life in the Bronx, and the pencil dropped from his fingers.”
If it weren’t for the fact that many of my friends have gotten it all frayed and dirty by running their hot, jealous hands down the table of contents and then tearing madly through it before rushing out to get a copy of their own, I would keep my copy of your superb fortieth-anniversary issue forever.
Travelers wishing to flee the season of the outstretched palms at home are faced with a number of problems. Most a number of problems. Most of those handy-dandy one-week winter packages that briefly restore Europe to bargain status are suspended over the Christmas-New Year holidays.
posted like a wafer in the sky above South Florida, an unblinking sun disrupts football thoughts. Like most people raised in the North, I associate football with barren hillsides after frost and just before the snows. Football in New England finishes at dusk, as the day darkens and winds gust down the mountains.
Remember those signs on movie-house marquees that screamed, "Stop Pay TV!"? There may still be a few of them around, but, in reality, the bat tle is over, and, of course, the TV people have won. What events led to the successful emergence of a nationwide cable-television system that will soon offer even the hinterlands a wide choice of top-flight movies, pos sibly even including the likes of Last Tango in Paris, rock concerts, sport ing events, Broadway plays, ballet, opera and educational classes for credit on a per-program pay basis? In the Fifties, pay TV seemed bound for oblivion.
This year is the hundredth birthday of Sergei Rachmani noff, and before it ends RCA will reissue some fourteen discs of his extraordinary pianism. Among them will be his recordings of Schu mann's Carnavai and Chopin's Sona ta in B-Flat Minor, which have been almost continuously in print for more than a generation, and just about define the limits of the possible in performing these pieces (especial ly the stunningly impetuous Carnaval).
One hears frequently of the advantages of investing in mutual funds because by do ing so the small investor ob tains diversification and professional money management. He does indeed obtain diversification far greater than he may achieve with his own funds.
Modern audiences are accus tomed to doing without the "distraction" of real horses in their operas, and a very good thing, asserts Professor Ronald E. Mitchell in his otherwise ingratiating recent book, Opera, Dead or Alive. Today, says this longtime theatre director, we “associate the presence of animals with tasteless and spectacular productions of Aida and Carmen.”
A reasonable regard for Truth in Packaging compels us to make explicit at least somewhere in this magazine what it is that Carol Burnett is doing on this month’s Esquire cover in the company of two of her chiefest assistants, Harvey Korman and Lyle Waggoner. Some months ago the editors of Esquire, after thinking and thinking on what, if any, American subject might support enough discussion to fill a larger-than-usual issue for Christmas of 1973, were suspended midway in the process of decision as between and among a whole issue on Crime, a whole issue on Sex, and a whole issue on Salvation : three areas in which, as editors can see no less clearly than anybody else, interest and activity in this country have been booming for some time now.
Esquire asked the presidents of four leading department stores to select the most exciting Christmas gifts they have to offer this year. If you can’t find the things you want here, don’t call us, call them.
Two solidly established genres of film as well as fiction, themost-unforgettable-character-Iever-met story and the gloryand-agony-of-school-days tale, are welded together into The Paper Chase. The movie is based on a novel by John Jay Osborn Jr., a kind of second-best seller Osborn wrote as a student at Harvard Law School.
I found Barton Whaley's Code word Barbarossa (M.I.T. Press, $10) quite fascinating. It is a careful, detailed account of various clandestine Intelligence activities going on during the eleven-month period before Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s code name for his attack on the U.S.S.R., on June 22, 1941.
After President Truman’s funeral in Independence last year, I felt the urge to go back to his “big town,” his Kansas City, where he once stood behind the counter of his haberdashery, where he served as Presiding Judge of Jackson County, where he made the eleventh floor of the Muehlebach Hotel his mid-America White House, where he ate his ham sandwiches and hamburgers, drank his glasses of milk and sipped his bourbon—but the latter never in the presence of a woman (not even of Bess or Margaret).
Next month, Esquire takes pride in publishing some plain talk from Harry Truman. His words are lessons in history, common sense, and good old-fashioned humanity. They are the result of exclusive, unpublished interviews with Merle Miller, and come forward at a time when America needs them very, very much.
<p>Only yesterday, in the 1950's, The Perfect Crime still had the wife smashing her hus band's skull in with a frozen leg of lamb, which vital piece of evidence, roasted pink-to-medium shortly thereafter and garnished with parsley and green mint sauce and laid out on a Spode platter, vanishes mouthful by mouthful down the gullet of the famous but famished chief of detectives who thanks the now fabulously wealthy widow for the hospitality of her table, inasmuch as he has not had a bite all day. . . . How cool ! How clever ! The grand hoodwink! Scoring big and leaving not a single trace!—that was the idea.</p>
"Tis the season to be mugged, shot, stabbed or beaten
<p>December is the most violent month, the time of murder, robbery, assault, suicide, and Christ mas. While most of the world is gathering its breath to sing, there is also a growing darkness, until on the night before Christmas husbands and wives make war on each other, as on no other night of the year.</p>
Today, in the land of the free and the home of the frightened, more and more folks are discovering there’s nothing like a nice, beefy bodyguard to ease the worry of being mugged, robbed, raped, murdered and generally put upon. The bodyguard business is booming.
Every time Joseph Magliaro reaches for the towel on his bathroom door he is standing on the spot where the Boston Strangler left the body of his first victim. What’s it like to live where one of America’s most notorious murders was committed? “Kind of weird,” says eighteen-year-old Joseph.
Only a mother could love a mugger. The rest of us are dismayed by urban crime, but the only escape seems to involve leaving urban life behind. If you’re not ready to do that (and who is?), the next best thing may be to find safer urbs to live in. The question is, of course, how? David Franke, coauthor of Safe Places, set out to find the ten most crime-free cities in America.
A Benevolent and Protective Order gets it together in the South Bronx
De Tocqueville observed that one of the distinguishing features of American democracy was that political tensions are alleviated by widespread participation in a wide range of voluntary associations. This remark is, of course, no longer true, but what remains true is that we are still a nation of joiners.
Sergeant Joe Wambaugh is very rich, writes best sellers, knows Truman Capote, and can throw you in jail. Now how does that make you feel, crumbum?
Steven V. Roberts
<p>The Other Ball is just another bar jammed between a gas station and a fast-food joint on one of those broad, bleak avenues that stretch across the Los Anifeles basin for miles. but never seem to begin or end anywhere. I walked in late one afternoon out of a bright sun and could hardly see in the sudden darkness.</p>
Attention! If You Have Information Concerning Most Wanted Fugitives...
... you're one step ahead of the Bureau. Oops, they fust got one!
<p>If there should come another crop of kidnapping, killing subhumans such as those the G-men have mowed down in their harvesting, Edgar J. Hoover, chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, hopes that the flattering title of “public enemies” will not be conferred upon them.</p>
Here's the scene: You're sitting on the other side of this bright light. your palms sweating. trying to identify a bunch of mugs in a police lineup. The cop in the back of the room tells you that you're looking at Murph the Surf, Charlie Starkweather, Richard Speck, Charles Whitman, and Dean Corll.
In the literature of crime, the greatest absurdity is not death, but power
There was a time before the Flood-even before the Fall-when I consumed the common garden variety of crime and detection fiction. I gobbled up even the most banal of the mystery genre—the kind of contrivance set in an English manor house or at a theatre festival, where a man I cared nothing about had to die in unlikely ways, by outlandish weapons, so that his death could be unraveled by the fake ingenuity of some homemade maiden-aunt sleuth, or a self-important French bore, or an English aristocrat-amateur snob who just happened providentially to be on his vacation when and where the first corpse was discovered.
The above is a reproduction of a New York Daily News headline. It appeared thus, with the exclamation point falling away. It is also the title of this screenplay
<p><em><i>Judd Gray and Ruth Snyder killed Albert Snyder, spouse of Ruth Snyder. They did this on Sunday, March 20, 1927, after a Snyder family outing. They used one pair of rubber overshoes, one pair of rubber gloves, one length of picture wire, wire cutters, gauze bandage, chloroform, a sash weight. They were arrested, indicted, tried, convicted, sentenced, and executed at Sing Sing prison. </i></em><em></em></p>
<p>Such heaving! Such groaning! Such peeling squealing biting sticking ramming jamming gobble licking nuzzling guzzling coconut ilia rut-boar grunting skotophilia lapping gashing crinkly chasms prescribed therapeutic spasms—if there is any justice up in Heaven.</p>
In the beginning was the sexual revolution. But that was some time back. For instance,
<p>Christie is tall, slender, with sparkling eyes and perfect teeth and light brown hair that falls lightly onto her shoulders. She would be an ideal choice for a <i>Playboy </i>centerfold, but there is little chance she would ever apply and still less that she would be chosen.</p>
An apology for the life of Joe H. Klein Jr., of Austin, Texas
I’ve been in the coin-machine business all my life. Started back in the Thirties. At that time I had a confectionery business over in Taylor, Texas, and that was when beer came in. The beer places and taverns just popped up overnight, thousands of ’em.
<p>Ralph Nader was furious. He had just shuttled into New York, schlepped through ridiculous crosstown traffic and arrived an hour late for a private West Side gathering of concerned citizens. Since he had to fly back to Washington the same evening, he hurriedly launched into the matter at hand-a New York road company for the famed Nader's Raiders.</p>
When sex came out of the bedroom a lot of other things moved in, expanding the functions and activities of this once private chamber. Eight prominent Americans tell you what’s happening in theirs these days.
“It’s like a subway station, this room,” says Breslin. “It starts at six a.m. when our youngest kid turns on TV cartoons; sometimes at four a.m. he lets us know what a terrific test pattern we’re missing. I wrote my new book, World Without End, Amen, in another place but it was typed here.
Notes on the eternal problem of fornication with students
The girl comes into my office at the end of my office hours. A while ago as I passed back and forth through the corridor I saw her waiting among half a dozen others who have some requirement for my time today. I couldn't begin to guess what shyness made her wait until last for her turn.
<p>EDITOR'S NOTE: America was watching the Hardy movies, and loving them. Andy Hardy, Judge Hardy, and Mother were showing us the kind of America we wanted to see. The year was 1938, and the Hays Office, a censorship board under the rule of Joseph Breen, was perfecting our vision, with Hollywood's willing consent.</p>
<p>Every Saturday night heads from all over San Francisco came to the dance hall and began ricocheting off the walls in their sarapes and mandala beads and Indian headbands. One geezer wore only black friction tape wrapped about his head and face and torso and arms and legs until he looked like Spiderman and he carried a sign saying "You're in the Pepsi Generation and I'm a Pimply Freak."</p>
<p>“God is a living doll.” —Jane Russell Us Big Girls Have Special Problems. Jane Russell was in New York to appear in a new television commercial for Playtex bras, a product she has represented commercially for two years. I had a five o'clock appointment with her and her manager, Kevin Pines, at the Alrae Hotel on East Sixty-fourth Street where they occupied a $105-a-day suite with a full terrace overlooking the traffic on Madison Avenue.</p>
It is all a field of vipers, but memory knows the redeeming path
Robert Penn Warren
Arid that country and high, anger of sun on the mountains, but One little patch of cool lawn: Trucks Had brought in rich loam. Stonework Held it in place like a shelf, at one side backed By the length of the house-porch, at one end By rock-fall. Above that, the mesquite, wolf-waiting.
I know you're used to thinking of me as the World's Oldest Living Fiction Editor of Esquire (WOLFEE), running on tediously up front each month about how vital and important contemporary American fiction is. So you're tending to forget that I'm also the Last Moral Man in New York (now in either Connecticut or Florida), running on tediously at dinner parties about the disgraceful licentiousness that abounds in our dissolute era and the deplorable erosion of America’s traditional moral values and so on, could we please have the decanter down this end of the table, I’m not talking just about Watergate and Deep Throat, but everything.
High & Dry Thank you for Siddeley Puma’s New Directions in Pyramidology (July). Many of us have long shared with the ancients some knowledge of the powers of this remarkable polyhedronpreservation of organic substances, sharpening of razor blades, location of astronomical north, transmutation of metals, etc.
Too MUCH ATTENTION has been given lately to the therapeutic practices of my distinguished fellow American, plump, grandfatherly Dr. Robert W. Zaslow, of San Jose State College. Though I have not personally observed Dr. Zaslow in action, I've read as much as I want to know about him and his so-called Z-Therapy.
“Heaven is a joke and all jokes are welcome in Heaven. The customary greeting is a firm electric-buzzer handshake accompanied by a squirt from a lapel flower. An 800-pound gorilla sits anywhere he wants in Heaven.When professional comedians die they go directly to Hell.
It bathes feet, brushes teeth, shampoos hair, sprays pests, cleans linens— and gets the Word out
James Simon Kunen
<p>There was a time when a girl I knew and I were tripping around in the woods. The sun was going down. We came upon an enormous boulder, and found ourselves climbing atop it, as though instinctively seeking a high, safe place to spend the night. We huddled together on that point of rock, and laughed at how, as we perceived it, our realm had been reduced to a rock point.</p>
“The devil has a thousand advocates today, and has good cause to be embarrassed by them .."
There have been times when it seemed impossible to make a movie without a priest. C. B. De Mille thought it up—a God's Advocate to take the curse off Claudette Colbert’s thighs. Bing Crosby tinkled bells at us, as Father O’Malley, with the blessing of staff censors.
So very long ago, in the Spring of 1970, Cambodian soldiers went to war in white tennis shoes, waving from the Pepsi-Cola trucks that took them to the front, as if they were schoolboys being driven to the seaside. In those days they did not know very much at all.
<p>On a Sunday late last January, the sky was overcast and the temperature hovered in the thirties. Along the riverbanks little patches of snow and ice, remnants of a recent storm, snuggled in shady spots to survive. The river was up. It usually was in January.</p>
<p>Louis Kelso is a member of Toyland. Richard Nixon is a member of Cave Man's. Only Pink separates Toyland from Cave Man's camping site in the Bohemian Grove, where in the Russian River country of Sonoma County, California, the bankers, corporation lawyers, politicians and way-up-on-top business executives catch fish and nature walk in an environment kept unsoiled and private by millions of exclusive dollars.</p>
Don’t worry! God was here, and he left Erich von Däniken to tell about it
On the corner of Telegraph and Bancroft, where the hearts and minds of the counterculture hang out, amid guitar players, chamber musicians, exotic food vendors and unicycle riders, a broccoli-faced Midwesterner named Hubert runs his daily evangelist operation.
Elsewhere in this magazine, the top executives of four of our poshest and best-informed department stores offer their selections for Christmas giving. That’s fair enough; now, on these pages, the editors themselves try to solve the same problem with sheer, unadulterated good taste.
When Music shall untune the sky, Rafael Druian will promptly tell the oboist to sound the A
<p>The concertmaster is always seen, rarely heard, and never appreciated in America’s concert halls. People know much, perhaps too much, about glamorous conductors, prominent virtuosos, celebrated prima donnas. Once in a while they even talk about an orchestra— because it is so good or has suddenly become so bad.</p>
Wearing evening clothes with the proper worldly aplomb comes naturally if you’re Prince Alexis Obolensky, seen above in a velvet evening suit ($275), velvet bow tie and silk shirt by Dunhill Tailors. Van Cleef & Arpeis studs ($225).