Law and Order at Night

By Dan Wakefield From Between the Lines 1966 Beneath the gold draperies that canopy the long, high-ceilinged stage of the Montgomery, Alabama, City Hall sat the officers of the local White Citizens Council and their honored guests—the top officials of the city,...

A Comedian of Guilt

By Albert Goldman Life Feb. 7, 1969 The publication of a book is not often a major event in American culture. Most of our classics, when they first appeared, met with disappointing receptions, and even the much-ballyhoed best-sellers of recent years have rarely cut a...

The Hollow Clown

By Alfred Bester Show January, 1964 Every show reflects the character and quality of its star. When you enter the Perry Como studio, the atmosphere is warm and friendly, and total strangers will come up and tell you about their kids. The Sid Caesars were kicky and...

Dumb Broad at a Dumb Fight

By Shana Alexander Life June 4, 1965 Although until last week I had never personally attended a prize fight, I knew what I expected to see. The boxers’ glistening, circling bodies and the hoarse roar of the crowd had become familiar to me through years of exposure to...

Wonderdrink—A Slow, Sad Farewell

By Nicholas Pileggi New York/World Journal Tribune March 5, 1967 To many native New Yorkers seltzer is the wonderdrink of the Lower East Side and a source of gastronomic nostalgia comparable only to Marcel Proust’s chocolate madeleine. It is a carbonated gestalt, an...

Down and Out in the Minor Leagues

By J. Anthony Lukas Harper’s June 1968 “Ladies and gentlemen, we regret there will be no national anthem tonight,” the public address system announced to 159 ladies and gentlemen and about 9,841 empty seats in Knoxville’s Billy Meyer (pronounced Billa Maahr) Stadium...

I Was a Champion

By Floyd Patterson The American Weekly May 15, 1960 (as told to W.C. Heinz) For almost a whole year I’ve seen it day and night, maybe a thousand times. Me and Ingemar Johansson boxing and Johansson sticking out that left jab and me ducking under it, and then I’m down...

Norman

By Brock Brower Life September 24, 1965 At this point in his literary career, Norman Mailer really ought—at least as a source of metaphor—to Quit the Ring. He has, as they say, heart, a lot of heart, but even if he’s right—that Papa Hemingway threw him and his entire...

Rock Style: Defying the American Dream

By Sara Davidson Harper’s July, 1969 Electric sound rushes out of the Gray Manse in Lake Mahopac, New York, splitting the still, winter air. On weeknights, carloads of teenagers from sleepy towns in upstate Putnam County follow the road around the lake and park in the...

Jacqueline Susann: The Writing Machine

By Sara Davidson Harper’s October, 1968 White lightning slams across the sky as the Eastern Airlines 8:00 A.M. shuttle takes off from New York to Washington. In a front aisle seat, a tall, slender woman stares straight ahead through a mask of makeup-black penciled...

The Insanity Bit

By Seymour Krim From Views of a Nearsighted Cannoneer, 1961  Until this time of complete blast-off in seemingly every department of human life, the idea of insanity was thought of as the most dreadful thing that could happen to a person. Little was actually known...

The Art of Hanging Out

By Dan Wakefield The New York Times July 21, 1968 Both as a novelist (Run River, 1963) and as a reporter and essayist, Joan Didion is one of the least celebrated and most talented writers of my own generation (“Silent,” B.A.’s circa mid-1950’s). Her first collection...