Fifteen Minutes is Quite Enough

Charles Lindbergh was all over the July 2, 1927 issue of the New Yorker, which reported that Lindy was a better a flier than a writer, and as a celebrity the press had to be inventive with a subject who would rather be alone in a cockpit with a ham sandwich than be feted at countless banquets.

7b096a824e274d6b7b7c5e0f1a3e85e7
July 2, 1927 cover by Victor Bobritsky.

“The Talk of the Town” commented on the display at Putnam Publishing of a few manuscript pages penned by Lindbergh himself for his upcoming book, WE.

A draft of the autobiography had already been ghostwritten by New York Times reporter Carlyle MacDonald, but Lindbergh disliked MacDonald’s “false, fawning tone” and completely rewrote the manuscript himself–in longhand–using MacDonald’s manuscript as a template. Those early results were displayed in Putnam’s 45th Street window to whet the appetites of eager readers:

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-13-58-am

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-14-09-am

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-14-26-am

dustjacket_for_the_book_%22we%22_by_charles_a-_lindbergh_first_edition_published_july_1927
FLYING THE ATLANTIC WAS EASIER…The dust jacket (left) for Charles Lindbergh’s WE. The ghostwritten first draft was disliked by Lindbergh, who in less than three weeks re-wrote the book in longhand. About a week later the book was published (July 27, 1927) and quickly became a bestseller. (Wikipedia)
lindberghs-ticker-tape-parade-1927-science-photo-library
YEAH WHATEVER…Lindbergh appears less than thrilled during his ticker-tape parade in Manhattan on June 13, 1927. (Science Photo Library )

Nonplussed and often annoyed by all of the attention, Lindbergh was less than a colorful subject for the media. Philip Wylie (writing under the pseudonym “Horace Greeley Jr.”) in the New Yorker’s “Press in Review” column observed that reporters, seeking a more conventional image of a sentimental hero, decided to “supply him with emotions” he apparently lacked:

the-press-in-review

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-26-11-am

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-26-24-am

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-26-30-am

Other reporters resorted to treacly tributes…

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-26-38-am

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-2-56-10-pm

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-27-45-am

…and if the subject himself isn’t very interesting, you can always resort to listing quantities of food and drink as a measure of the spectacle…

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-27-57-am

cal_banquet
WHERE’S MY DAMN HAM SAMMICH?…Invitation to the WE banquet at the Hotel Commodore (Wikipedia).

And if the reception at the Hotel Commodore wasn’t to your liking, you could go to the new Roxy Theatre and put in a bid for 300 pounds of home-made candy:

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-28-17-am

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-28-23-am

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-28-57-am

 *  *  *

We’ll give Lindy a break and move on to excerpts from Upton Sinclair’s “How to be Obscene,” in which he tweaks the Boston bluenoses:

how-to-be-obscene

upton-sionclair

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-21-29-am

And then we have this advertisement for the Orthophonic Victrola, promising to bring the clear tones of racism into your home courtesy of the Duncan Sisters:

duncan-sisters

The Duncan Sisters were a vaudeville duo who created their stage identities in the 1923 musical comedy Topsy and Eva, derived from the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The musical was a big hit.

18bcd1e588bb3456db02bd7de94cba31
THAT WAS ENTERTAINMENT…Rosetta (left) and Vivian Duncan as Topsy and Eva. (silenceisplatinum.blogspot.com)
9a89aa65126941d43da14c086ed0f22c
Rosetta and Vivian Duncan in a promo photo. (silenceisplatinum.blogspot.com)

After a brief foray into movies in the early 1930s, the duo mostly entertained at night clubs and for many years continued to perform their Topsy and Eva routine even though appearing in blackface was considered impolite or offensive by later audiences. One of their final performances was on Liberace’s television show in 1956. The act ended in 1959 when Rosetta died in a car accident.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-4-22-32-pm
STILL TOGETHER…Vivian (left) and Rose Duncan on Liberace’s television show in 1956. They performed their Topsy and Eva routine, without the blackface. (YouTube)

 *  *  *

And to close, a cartoon from the July 2 issue, courtesy of Julian de Miskey:

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-11-32-18-am

Next Time: Summer in the City…

21b6fac0e9233b827d578cf6175dd79d

 

 

 

 

 

Published by

David O

I read and write about history from the perspective that history is not some artifact from the past but a living, breathing condition we inhabit every moment of our lives, or as William Faulkner once observed, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." I read original source materials, such as every issue of The New Yorker, not only as a way to understand a time from a particular perspective, but to also use the source as an aggregator of various historic events. I welcome comments, criticisms, corrections and insights as I stumble along through the century.

2 thoughts on “Fifteen Minutes is Quite Enough”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s