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Monthly Archives: December 2012

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BGS 2012: Gold Rush

Bronx Banter turned ten in November and to celebrate I thought it’d be cool to reprint a few classic articles. I figured we’d run five pieces but one thing led to another and now we’ve got a series cooking with three feature stories each week. The idea is to present great magazine and newspaper writing that you can’t find on-line.

In case you’ve missed any of them, here’s a complete listing of what we’ve got so far. And we’re going to keep this moving in 2013. Already, we’ve got gems lined up from the likes of Richard Price, Jack Mann, Larry Merchant, Richard Hoffer, Diane K. Shah, Tom Junod, Rich Cohen, John Schulian, Paul Solotaroff, Leigh Montville, Dan Jenkins, Gary Cartwright, Tom Boswell, Pat Jordan, Ira Berkow, and Tony Kornheiser.

The Banter Gold Standard:

“The End of Lenny Bruce” by Dick Schaap

“The Strange and Mysterious Death of Mrs. Jerry Lee Lewis” by Richard Ben Cramer

“Furry’s Blues” by Stanley Booth

The Boxing Gym”

“The Impression”

“Seven Scenes from the life of a Quiet Champion”
by Pete Dexter

“The Best-Kept Secret in American Journalism is Murray Kempton” by David Owen

Jimmy Cannon and Murray Kempton on Don Larsen and Sal Maglie

“The Life and Loves of the Real McCoy” by John Lardner

“L.T. and the Home Team” by John Ed Bradley

“Sympathy for the Devi”l by Joe Flaherty

“North Hollywood Forty” by Peter Gent

“The Clear Line” by Luc Sante

“Thieves of Time” by Charlie Pierce

“The Killing of Gus Hasford” by Grover Lewis:

“Brownsville Bum” by W.C. Heinz

“Quitting the Paper” by Paul Hemphill

And while you are digging through the archives, check out this compilation of previous Banter Reprints:

Richard Ben Cramer

The Ballad of Johnny France

Serious Business (Yankee Stadium)


Pete Dexter

Dying for Art’s Sake (LeRoy Neiman)

No Trespassing (Jim Brown)

The Apprenticeship of Randall Cobb (Tex Cobb)

Two for Toozday (John Matuszak)

LeeRoy, He Ain’t Here No More (LeeRoy Yarbrough)

The Old Man and the River (Norman Maclean)


W.C. Heinz

One Throw (Short Story)

The Happiest Hooligan of them All (Pepper Martin)

Death of a Racehorse

Speaking of Sports (Howard Cosell)

Maybe Tomorrow, Maybe the Next Day (Jeremy Vernon)


Pat Jordan

Trouble in Paradise (Steve and Cyndy Garvey)

Breaking the Wall (Burt Reynolds)

Bad (Rorion Gracie)

The Curious Childhood of an 11-Year Old Beauty Queen

The Horse Lovers (TV movie of the week)

Inside Marilyn Chambers

A Different Drummer

Running Cars

The Haircut

Dad’s Last Visit


George Kimball

Opening Day at Fenway Park

Fighting and Drinking with the Rats at Yankee Stadium


Carlo Rotella

Bedtime Story (Marvin Hagler)


John Schulian

One Night Only (Levon Helm)

My Ears are Bent (Joseph Mitchell)

No Regrets: A Hard-Boiled Life (James Crumley)

The Professional (George Kimball)

Jack Mann (An Appreciation by John Schulian, Tom Callahan, and Dave McKenna)

Bet a Million (Vic Ziegel)


Robert Ward

Reggie Jackson in No-Man’s Land 

[Photo Via: Ari Takes Pictures]

New York Minute

Miss Subways on NPR. Listen.

Beat of the Day

The lovely Lee Wiley.

[Photo Via: DreamShots]

Oh, You’re a Good One

Charles Durning, an accomplished stage actor who later became famous for his character work in the movies, died on Monday. He was 89.

Here’s Robert Berkvist in the New York Times:

Then came World War II, and he enlisted in the Army. His combat experiences were harrowing. He was in the first wave of troops to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day and his unit’s lone survivor of a machine-gun ambush. In Belgium he was stabbed in hand-to-hand combat with a German soldier, whom he bludgeoned to death with a rock. Fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, he and the rest of his company were captured and forced to march through a pine forest at Malmedy, the scene of an infamous massacre in which the Germans opened fire on almost 90 prisoners. Mr. Durning was among the few to escape.

By the war’s end he had been awarded a Silver Star for valor and three Purple Hearts, having suffered gunshot and shrapnel wounds as well. He spent months in hospitals and was treated for psychological trauma.

After the war, still mentally troubled, Mr. Durning “dropped into a void for almost a decade” before deciding to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, he told Parade magazine in 1993. The school dismissed him within a year. “They basically said you have no talent and you couldn’t even buy a dime’s worth of it if it was for sale,” he told The Times in 1997.

Durning was a familiar face on TV and in the movies when I was growing up–he was always there in something worth watching. And even when the movie was lousy he was always worth watching. I recognized his face on the jacket cover of my father’s copy of That Championship Season and of course knew him well from The Sting, Dog Day Afternoon, The Muppet Movie, Tootsie, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Sharky’s Machine, True Confessions, To Be or Not to Be, and Death of a Salesman.

He was one of the great ones. And he is already missed.

Million Dollar Movie

Over at Black Book, check out this interview with Amour director Michael Haneke.

Taster’s Cherce

Food 52’s got seven winter cocktails.

Still Funny

Bert Lahr. A very funny fellow.

Morning Art

“Lemon Halves” By Jeremy Galton (2012)

Deck Us All with Boston Charlie

Merry Christmas.

You’re All Right, Jack

Jack Klugman, Rest in Peace.

A Christmas Carol

Campbell Playhouse, 1939.

Orson Welles narrates “A Christmas Carol.” Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge.

Take Five

Ah, next couple days will be light around these parts. I’ll have a Christmas classic for you later on. In the meantime:

Hey, at least it’s better than this shit. My wife won’t stop singing this one.

Merry Everything n Stuff.

[Photo Via: Touchn2btouched]

Sundazed Soul

“Knockin’ A Jug” Louis

[Photo Via: The Minimalisto]

Go West, You Dudes

Raul Ibanez to the Mariners and, as expected, Nick Swisher to the Indians.

That is all.

P as in Pneumonia


There is a long article on Mike Nichols and Elaine May in the Judd Apatow-edited comedy issue of Vanity Fair. The writer, Sam Kashner, intrudes on the story too much for my taste and I think his cop-out at the end of the piece is inexcusable (even if it is tactful). You’ve got two of the sharpest, funniest people around, you can’t cop out, man. Ask the damn question.

Still, the piece provides a detailed look at the short but dazzling career of Nichols and May.

The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek

The latest from John Branch:

he snow burst through the trees with no warning but a last-second whoosh of sound, a two-story wall of white and Chris Rudolph’s piercing cry: “Avalanche! Elyse!”

The very thing the 16 skiers and snowboarders had sought — fresh, soft snow — instantly became the enemy. Somewhere above, a pristine meadow cracked in the shape of a lightning bolt, slicing a slab nearly 200 feet across and 3 feet deep. Gravity did the rest.

Snow shattered and spilled down the slope. Within seconds, the avalanche was the size of more than a thousand cars barreling down the mountain and weighed millions of pounds. Moving about 7o miles per hour, it crashed through the sturdy old-growth trees, snapping their limbs and shredding bark from their trunks.

The avalanche, in Washington’s Cascades in February, slid past some trees and rocks, like ocean swells around a ship’s prow. Others it captured and added to its violent load.

Somewhere inside, it also carried people. How many, no one knew.

[Photo Via: Mr Freakz]

New York Minute

You know what’s better than leaving town for the holidays?

Staying put.

[Photo Credit:  Luke Bhothipiti]

Beat of the Day


[Photo Credit: Jojanne]

Morning Art

“Tribune De Lausanne,” by Herbert Leupin (1955)

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver