Runyon, Damon

1937 uncommon TLS from the colorful Hearst sportswriter and short story author to Hearst's chief assistant and personal secretary

Price: $250.00

Description:
(1880–1946) Kansas-born newspaperman-short story writer famed for stories celebrating New York City's Broadway in the Prohibition era. To New Yorkers of his generation, a "Damon Runyon character" evoked a distinct social type from Brooklyn or the midtown underworld. His plots were like O. Henry's, neatly constructed with professionally wrought endings, their distinction lay in the manner of their telling, the author inventing a peculiar argot for his characters. "Runyonesque" refers to this type of character and to the situations and dialog that Runyon depicted. He spun humorous and sentimental tales of gamblers, hustlers, actors, and gangsters with colorful monikers such as "Nathan Detroit", "Benny Southstreet", "Big Julie", "Harry the Horse", "Good Time Charley", etc. His distinct vernacular style, "Runyonese", mixes formal speech and colorful slang, almost always in present tense, rarely in the future tense, and always devoid of contractions. Twenty of his stories became motion pictures, esp. "Guys and Dolls", also a 1950 Broadway hit. Damon Runyon Theatre aired on CBS-TV 1955-56. "Guys and Dolls" is based on 2 of his stories. The musical also borrows characters and story elements from other Runyon stories, notably "Pick The Winner". The film "Little Miss Marker" and its two remakes, "Sorrowful Jones" and the 1980 "Little Miss Marker" grew from his short story of the same name. Runyon was also a well-known newspaper reporter, covering sports and general news for decades for various publications and syndicates owned by Wm. Randolph Hearst. he grew up in Pueblo, Colorado where he went no further than 4th grade. In the Spanish-American War he wrote for the Manila Freedom and Soldier's Letter. On returning home he worked for a newspaper, one in Denver, then went to New York in 1910 and became a sports writer for the New York American. He was the Hearst newspapers' baseball columnist for many years, from 1911, and his knack for spotting the eccentric and the unusual, on the field or in the stands, revolutionized the way baseball was covered. He was inducted into the writers' wing (J. G. Taylor Spink Award) of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967. He contributed sports poems to the American on boxing and baseball themes, and wrote numerous short stories and essays. Gambling, particularly on craps or horse races, was a common theme of Runyon's works, and he was a notorious gambler himself. After he died from throat cancer in late 1946, his body was cremated and his ashes illegally scattered from an airplane over Broadway by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker. Friend and fellow journalist Walter Winchell appealed for contributions to help fight cancer, later establishing the Damon Runyon Cancer Memorial Fund to support research into causes and prevention of cancer. The first-ever telethon, hosted by Milton Berle in 1949, raised funds for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. One block of West 45th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues) in Manhattan is named Runyon's Way. Uncommon TLS signed "Damon" in dark pencil, on 8 x 5 blue-imprinted "Las Melabuccas /Hibiscus Is." (Miami, Florida) onionskin letterhead, April 11 1937, to "My dear Colonel" (Joseph Willicombe, William Randolph Hearst's personal assistant and secretary). Runyon asks Willicombe to "give the enclosed to the Chief...just some more junk on those prospects." Runyon understands Mrs. Brisbane sold her Miami home the other day: "They were asking around forty G's and if they got that they did swell" as the house is old and in a deteriorating section, "though he spent some little dough on it." While not wishing to burden Willicombe, Runyon feels "it may give the chief a better line on these fellows than any word-of-mouth recommendation." He closes calling "Joe" his "old podner." JOSEPH WILLICOMBE (1873-1948) Private secretary and chief personal assistant to William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), American publisher and political figure, who built the country’s largest chain of newspapers. He was known as "the Colonel" in recognition of his distinguished military service during WW I. His father and 2 uncles emigrated to the US from Wales in the 1860s. "The Chief" was Hearst's nickname. PHOEBE CARY BRISBANE (1890–1967), widow of Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936), one of the best known 20th century American newspaper editors as well as a successful real estate investor. Hired away from Pulitzer by Wm. Randolph Hearst, he became editor of the New York Journal and Hearst's close friend. In 1897, he became editor of the Evening Journal, flagship of the Hearst chain, and through it gained influence unmatched by any American editor. He remained part of the Hearst media empire until his death in 1936, noted for his editorial column "Today." At his death, he was considered the "virtual executive director" of the Hearst news and media empire. With Hearst, he formed Hearst-Brisbane Properties, investing heavily in New York real estate. Brisbane was married to with whom he had six children.

Condition: Very good, mail folds
Type:Letter






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