Runyon, Damon

1944 uncommon TLS from the Hearst's sportswriter and short story author to Hearst's chief assistant- personal secretary on the throat cancer that would kill him in 2 years and covering the 1944 conventions

Price: $225.00

Description:
(1880–1946) Kansas-born newspaperman-short story writer famed for stories celebrating NYC'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, Runyon inventing a peculiar argot for his characters. "Runyonesque" refers to this type of character and to the situations and dialog that he 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, always devoid of contractions. 20 of his stories became films, "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 2 remakes, "Sorrowful Jones" and the 1980 "Little Miss Marker" grew from his short story of the same name. He was also a well-known newspaper reporter, covering sports and general news for decades for varied publications and syndicates owned by Wm. Randolph Hearst. He grew up in Colorado and got no further than 4th grade. In the Spanish-American War he wrote for the Manila Freedom and Soldier's Letter. Coming 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. The Hearst newspapers' baseball columnist for many years from 1911, 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, 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 cancer research. 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 is named Runyon's Way. Self-typed uncommon TLS "Damon" on 7 x 6 Sherry-Netherland (Hotel) New York onionskin airmail letterhead opened to 12 x 6, both sides, June 19 1944, to "My dear Colonel (Joseph Willicombe, Hearst's personal assistant-secretary). Runyon thanks Willicombe for a note and thanks "the Chief" (Hearst) for an article in Time (magazine's) Medicine Department. He sends (not here) a letter to Hearst asking Willicombe to hand it to him at his convenience. He then states: "[Walter] Winchell was about 95 per cent right about me. The operation on my throat, a close call, at that, was highly successful. it was the removal of the larynx and left me slightly speechless, but that is a mere detail. I can still whisper as good as when I lest California, and am learning to talk out big by a new methodss [sic] employed in such cases." He was told he looks better and he feels better than in the past 20 years, breathes better and lost a lot of minor ills. He praises his doctors, and was awake during the operation, given a local anesthetic. Runyon is convalescing at the Sherry-Netherland apartment of friend Nate Blumberg, president of Universal Pictures "and the mob finds it handy for calls." Runyon plans to go to the Republican Convention then back to California then back to Chicago for the Democratic Convention, opining: I think Dewey is a cinch for the Republican nomination, though I believe Bricker would make a better candidate and Eric Johnson [?] would sweep the country." He closes by asking Willicombe to "give my warmest regards to the Chief and Marion and with many of the same to you." Typed on 1st & 4th pages opened, then 3rd & close on 4th page on verso. 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.

Condition: Very good, slight ink blot from folding letter, folds , some see-thru from heavy typing on light onionskin
Type:Letter






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