Film, Television, Radio & Theater

Axelrod, George, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (Random House, 1st ed., 1st printing, 1956). LOC 56-6818. George Axelrod (1922-2003) had the gift. He started in radio, then moved into TV, producing program scripts and gags for Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. His 1952 play, “The Seven Year Itch”, ran for three years and was a blockbuster hit film with Marilyn Monroe. Axelrod followed that with “Rock Hunter” about a fan magazine writer who sells his soul to the Devil (in the person of a literary agent; Axelrod wrote the dedication, “Ten percent of this play is dedicated to Irving Lazar,” his own agent) in return for success as a playwright. The show ran for over a year and was adapted into a much-altered movie in which bombshell actress Jayne Mansfield was the only thing left from the original. Axelrod went on to do successful adaptations for The Manchurian Candidate, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, and other films). Hardcover, 145 pp, 8.25” x 5.75”, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition. HBB price: $50.102180.jpg

Boleslavsky, Richard, Acting: The First Six Lessons (Theater Arts/Routledge, 1933, 1949, text reset 2003, 1st printing). A Polish actor, Boleslavsky was a Tsarist cavalry officer in World War I. Trained in Moscow under Stanislavsky, he made his way to America in the 1920s and made his name teaching Stanislavski's method; among his students were Less Strasberg and Stella Adler, who carried on with considerable success teaching “Method Acting.” Though he directed a few Hollywood films in the 1930s, his sudden death, at 48, in 1937, cut short his career’s potential. This book is considered his monument. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition. 7.75” x 5.25”, 138 pp. HBB price: $40.


Doob, Leonard W., ed., “Ezra Pound Speaking”: Radio Speeches of World War II (Greenwood Press, Contributions in American Studies, #37, 1st ed., 1st printing, 1978). ISBN 0-313-20057-2. The foreword says, “The best reason for publishing Ezra Pound’s Italian broadcasts may be the simplest. Thousands of people have heard about them, scores have been affected by them, yet but a handful has ever heard or read them. Here they are.” Since his death in 1972, Ezra Pound has slipped into history’s embrace and people do not much know the influence he possessed before World War II, or the controversy he caused after it. Far from the sunny, affably clueless radio postcards of P.G. Wodehouse, Pound had an agenda and he was determined to push it. Fascist radio was all too happy to help. This book is a singular contribution to the history of the war era and understanding the life of Ezra Pound. Hardcover, no dustjacket as issued, Green boards, fine condition. Octavo, 465 pp. HBB price: $125.

Eliot, T.S., Murder in the Cathedral (Harcourt, Brace & Co, 1st ed. 1935). Cloth boards; near-fine book with very good unclipped dust jacket. Octavo, 86 pp. Dramatization of the murder of Thomas a Becket in 1170. HBB price: $250.
Griffin, Kathy, Official Book Club Selection (Ballantine Books, 1st ed., 1st printing, 2009). ISBN 978-0-345-51851-4. As new, with unclipped dust jacket, autographed on title page. Hardcover, 357 pp. HBB price: $50.20150420_093043.jpg

Grizzle, Ralph, Remembering Charles Kuralt (Kenilworth Media, 1st ed., 2000). ISBN 0-9679096-0-0. Oral historian and Our State contributing editor Grizzle assembled this collection of reminiscences by friends of the veteran CBS journalist (1934-1997). Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition. Inscribed, “To Brother Fred, Happy Birthday and hope you enjoy! With warmest regards, Ralph Grizzle,” on the half title. HBB price: $20.


Jarry, Alfred, King Turd (Boar’s Head Press, 1st Am. ed., 1953). Hardcover, octavo, 189 pp., unclipped dust jacket. Jarry (1873-1907) was a prodigy and a parody all at once. At fifteen he wrote and performed the first iteration of King Turd (Ubu Roi, in French- often the preferred title in English, as nobody knows what it means) as a vicious parody of a hated schoolmaster.

At 20, Jarry’s parents died. They left him a small inheritance, which he blew through on alcohol and absinthe. Drafted at 21, his appearance in an oversized uniform (he was five feet tall and the Army had none that small) provoked such merriment and indiscipline he was barred from all drills and parades. He was drummed out for medical reasons and made his way to Paris, where he fell in with the bohemian class, who knew an original when they saw one.

king turd.jpg

Jarry became a whirlwind of ink and drink, cranking out articles, novels and plays. Dusting off his schoolboy play, he recast it as a loose parody of Macbeth in five acts, and called it King Turd. The story of a man who becomes king of Poland on the strength of his limitless vileness, it seemed sure never to see a stage.

This, of course, meant one became available almost immediately. Auralien-Marie Lugne-Poe took on the production at his Theatre de l’Oeuvre. Paul Walsh of Yale’s Drama School explains:

“Something remarkable happened on December 10, 1896. Something that changed theater forever. On that day a diminutive young man of 23 named Alfred Jarry stood before the gathered audience at the Théâtre de l’Oeuvre in Paris and introduced his new play. The expectant audience was mixed of friends and foes, enthusiastic supporters and suspicious critics. They had come to see a new play by a writer of promise. What they got instead was a riotous parody, a malicious mockery, a scabrous affront, a puerile attack on literature, on drama, on theater and on themselves. As the first word of the play was pronounced from the stage, the theater erupted in pandemonium: a riot perhaps, or perhaps a demonstration that testified to the belligerent daring of Jarry’s Ubu Roi. Friends celebrated, foes fumed, and the bad-boy avant-garde was born. It took nearly fifteen minutes before the play could continue. People stormed the exits, fist fights broke out, and Jarry’s supporters shouted: “You wouldn’t understand Shakespeare either!” (always a useful retort during any kind of brawl).

One can, perhaps, expect such reactions when the first word spoken in a play is a bellowed, “Shit!” In any event, the dress rehearsal riot and the opening night were the only performances in Jarry’s lifetime, and the scandal pretty much ensured the two following Ubu plays, Ubu Cuckolded and Ubu In Chains, waited many years indeed for productions.

Famous overnight, Jarry doubled down on his drinking, and got new digs the likes of which were not to be seen again until the office in Being John Malkovich:

Jarry moved into a flat which the landlord had created through the unusual expedient of subdividing a larger flat by means of a horizontal rather than a vertical partition. The diminutive Jarry could just manage to stand up in the place, but guests had to bend or crouch.

Already a pioneer of surrealism, dadaism, postmodernism, absurdist theater and futurism, Jarry concocted a philosophy all his own, called “pataphysics”, which anticipated Douglas Adams Maximum Improbability Drive by 75 years, and died of drink, drugs and TB at 34.

The trouble with a succes de scandale- think the premiere of Stravinsky’s Firebird in 1913, or any concert tour of Madonna’s in the last century- is that it’s hard to top, or even fully appreciate after the event. In this edition of all three Ubu plays, translator G. Legman complained that the trouble with most translations was they tried to cram in as much scatology and general vulgarism as possible to try and recreate the sense of shock Jerry caused that December night in 1896. It was hard to do in 1953, and even harder 60 years later, but Ubu is still a play with which to be reckoned, and is performed around the world to this day.

Our first American edition is in good condition. The dust jacket has a few nicks and chips. The jacket seems to have been designed- with a black-blocked yellow title on a yellow background- to stand out on a bookshelf (one bookseller on describes it as “the title unscathed and boldly visible from even a far-away shelf. It'd make a pointed gift, if one were so inclined.

Let King Turd stand out on yours. HBB price: $75.

Kanin, Garson, Remembering Mr. Maugham (Athenaeum, 1st ed., 1966). LOC 66-23574. The celebrated American playwright/director’s memories of British writer W. Somerset Maugham. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, clear Brodart cover, good condition, inscribed to film producer Robert Evans. Evans produced “Harold and Maude” and “Rosemary’s Baby,” both star vehicles for Kanin’s wife, actress Ruth Gordon. Foreword by Noel Coward. HBB price: $200.

Marshall, Garry, Wake Me When It’s Funny: How to Break Into Show Business And Stay There (Adams Publishing, 1995, 1st ed., 1st printing). ISBN 1-55850-526-1. Actor, writer and director, Marshall created 14 hit TV shows and directed major movies over a 35-year career he revisits in this memoir written with his daughter, Lori. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, good condition, extensive underlining by previous owner (but at least the lines are straight). Autographed by both authors. HBB price: $20.fullsizerender_2__1_2.jpg

Poole, Gary, Radio Comedy Diary: A Researcher’s Guide to the Actual Jokes and Quotes of the Top Comedy Programs of 1947-1950 (McFarland & Co., 2002). Teenager Gary Poole filled eleven spiral notebooks with gags and bits of business he heard on the radio; half a century later, he published this valuable- and funny- treasure trove of fragments of the long-lost scripts of American radio comedy. A boon for wireless enthusiasts and scholars alike. Octavo, 212 pp. Softcover, very good condition. HBB price: $25.$_35.JPG

Rathbone, Basil, In and Out of Character (Doubleday, 1st ed. 1st printing, 1962). LOC 62-15316. Memoirs by the man who will, to some, always be the definitive Sherlock Holmes on film. Entertaining tale of a long career on stage and screen. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket, very good condition. Octavo, 278 pp. HBB price: $50.

Sayles, John, Thinking in Pictures: The Making of the Movie ‘Matewan’ (Houghton Mifflin, softcover, 1st printing, 1987). ISBN 0-395-45399-2. Fascinating, step-by-step discussion of how to make a movie, by the famous “non studio” director of Return of the Secaucus Seven and Brother From Another Planet. Includes the working script for Matewan, a story about a coal miner’s strike. A few marginal notes/underlinings by a previous owner. HBB price: $15.Thinking-in-Pictures-book.jpg

Shute, Nevil, Vinland the Good (William Morrow, 1st ed., 1946). The famed Australian author of On The Beach turns his hand to drama with this modern retelling of Eric the Red, Leif Ericsson and the exploration of America in the form of a movie script. Hardcover, unclipped dust jacket with some wear and tear about the edges. The book itself in very good condition. Very rare. HBB price: $95.

Teichmann Howard, and Kaufman, George S., The Solid Gold Cadillac (Random House, stated 1st ed., 1st printing, 1954). LOC 54-8795. Oh, to have been at the Belasco, Broadway, the night of November 5, 1954. At 67, in her the last Broadway role of a career that started in 1908, Josephine Hull (1887-1957)- she of You Can’t Take It With You, Arsenic and Old Lace, and, immortally, Harvey- walked on the stage as Laura Partridge, the “actress” who took over the General Products Corporation of America. While Judy Holliday made the role her own in the charming 1956 film, anyone who has seen Hull on film can hear her voice in see her quirky, sparrow-like moves reading the script in this hardcover volume. Our copy is marked for performance by the late “Queen of Charlotte Theater,” Gladys Lavitan (1916-2014), whose career lasted 79 years. Unclipped dust jacket with some wear about the edges. Nice association copy. HBB price: $39.95.20150503_181930.jpg

White, Vanna, Vanna Speaks (Warner Books, 1st ed., 1st printing, May, 1987). ISBN 0-446-51366-0. So ubiquitous was Vanna White in American popular culture after Wheel of Fortune began in 1983, there was a bestseller called Vanna Karenina. The Oregonian newspaper did a front page redesign featuring a column running down the left side: an index to the interior. At the top of the column was a daily celebrity photo, and the first was...Vanna White. Around Portland that space in the paper became known as “the Vanna Box,” irrespective of who appeared in it. Here the turner of letters turns woman of letters. Hardcover, unclipped dustjacket, as new condition overall. Inscribed on the half title page. HBB price: $35.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We enjoy hearing from visitors! Please leave your questions, thoughts, wish lists, or whatever else is on your mind.