The Challenger and the Muslims

By Dick Schaap The New York Herald Tribune, January 23, 1964 When he was 18 years old, just an amateur fighter with almost no reputation outside his native Louisville, Cassius Marcellus Clay came to New York and, on the corner of 125th St. and Seventh Ave, by the...

Grateful Dead I Have Known

By Ed McClanahan From My Vita, If You Will, 1998 If you’ve got it all together, what’s that all around it? —Inscribed on my bathroom wall by Ken Kesey, who attributed it Brother Dave Gardner A bright Sunday afternoon in August 1971, just one week after Bill Graham...

The Writer as Football Hero

By George Plimpton From Paper Lion, 1966 Jack Benny used to say that when he stood on the stage in white tie and tails for his violin concerts and raised his bow to begin his routine—scraping through “Love in Bloom”—he felt like a great violinist. He reasoned that, if...

The Love Ethic on 125th Street

By Joe Flaherty The Village Voice, April 11, 1968 In times of national tragedy the barometer of the mood of the people can best be researched in saloons and cathedrals. Being more comfortable in the former, Friday afternoon I stopped into a pub in the Wall Street...

The Mongoose

By Jack Murphy The New Yorker, 1961 Archibald Lee Moore, the light-heavyweight boxing champion of the world, is 44 years of age by his own account and 47 by his mother’s. She says that he was born on December 13, 1913, in Benoit, Mississippi, but he insists that the...

Lenny

By Seymour Krim Nugget, June 1963 We come, with mixed feelings, to the Case of Lenny Bruce. You probably have an opinion—who doesn’t?—but sit still long enough to hear ours. First, so that no matter how finky you finally think our stand is, let it be triple-clear that...

The Longest Day of Sugar Ray

By Dave Anderson True, 1964  The great ones never lose their style. Even today Joe DiMaggio swings the bat majestically in the Old Timers games. Sammy Baugh can show a rookie quarterback how to lead a receiver slanting across the middle. Put Eddie Arcaro up on a...

The Gookie

The origins of “The Gookie,” from one of the great showbiz memoirs, Harpo Speaks! The man who first inspired me to become an actor was a guy called Gookie. Gookie had nothing to do with the theatre. He rolled cigars in the window of a cigar store on Lexington Avenue....