Memories I Should Have Had

Part 9

New York: The Little Bar at Sardi’s/The Blue Ribbon/Greenwich Village

17 September

“Life” goes to Sardi’s…

I’m meeting Billy Rose at Sardi’s to talk about his plans for the Ziegfeld Theater and some kind of book for a new Aquacade. …

Memories I Should Have Had

Part 8

New York: Sardi’s/St. James Theatre

21 May

Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner in the original production of “The King and I.” Lawrence was fatally ill throughout the run, though even Rodgers & Hammerstein and her doctors didn’t realize it.

Lunch with Katharine Cornell and Guthrie McClintic. Vincent Sardi buzzes around the table supervising the waiter making the eponymous salad for Kit. Sardi is distracted and the waiter serves it. Kit takes one bite and stage-whispers…

Memories I Should Have Had

Part Seven

New York, Midtown

10 November

Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green remaking Broadway.

Oscar Levant is in town for the Jack Paar Show. He’s in a bad way. Even for him. Fortunately, I round up Betty Comden and Adolph Green for moral support. …

Part 6

“Luscious” Lucius Beebe, columnist, bon vivant, historian, dandy deluxe. “Renaissance man” is an inadequate description.

New York/Leningrad

4-6 September

I’m having too many drinks with Lucius Beebe at El Morocco. He introduces me to a classmate of his who once helped him try to take the shoes off John Harvard. I ask Lucius, if he means the statue in Harvard Yard. Beebe’s pal…

Memories I Should Have Had

Part Five

Oona O’Neill, Carol Marcus, and Gloria Vanderbilt, Manhattan’s “trio” of glamour girls. Among the men in their love lives: Charlie Chaplin, J.D.Salinger, William Saroyan, Leopold Stokowski, and Walter Matthau. Carol Marcus inspired Truman Capote’s Holly Golightly.

29 May

New York, Lower East Side

Out on the town with George Jean Nathan, Julie Haydon, William Saroyan, Carol Marcus and the Broadway columnist, Louis Sobol. We end up at The Old Roumanian. Nathan tells me that if I don’t fall in…

Part Four

One of the original Washington pundits, Joseph Alsop coined the phrase, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” Unfortunately, he said it about Viet Nam.

7 March

Washington, D.C.

Joe Alsop calls me at the Hay-Adams, where I’m staying, and asks me if I’ll drive a cherry tree over to Arlington National Cemetery where Stewart, his brother, will plant it by William Howard Taft’s grave. …

Memories I Should Have Had

Part Three

Toots Shor’s the original New York sports bar. Jackie Gleason’s HQ. Joe DiMaggio’s tab is still open. Marianne Moore and Muhammad Ali collaborate on a poem. Mostly a male preserve though — note the woman in the upper right corner being ignored: Marilyn Monroe

10 October

New York, Toots Shor’s, Hotel Elysée

Walking down 51st St. past midnight, after a long dinner at Toots Shor’s with Joe DiMaggio, Marianne Moore, and Jackie Gleason, who passes out midway through, with his head on my shoulder.

A cab pulls…

Part Two

1 June

Blue Harbour, Jamaica

Noël Coward invites me to his place in Jamaica. In his invitation he reminds me of a “morbidly delightful conversation” we’d had the night we snuck out of Somerset Maugham’s villa with Jean Marais to hit the St. Tropez waterfront.

I barely remember…

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