“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, Summer, 1920, Windsor, Vermont; Westport, Connecticut; and New York City, New York

For the first time since he moved from the advertising department, at New York publisher Charles Scribner’s & Sons, up to the editorial department six years ago, Maxwell Perkins, 35, feels as though he is entitled to a vacation.

He is back in Windsor, Vermont, where he had spent most of his summers while growing up. It’s peaceful. And quiet. And brings back good memories.

Windsor VT Old So Church

The Old South Church in Windsor, Vermont

However, as usual, he worries about his writers. Particularly his new discovery F. Scott Fitzgerald, 23, whose debut novel, This Side of Paradise, is earning Perkins this welcome rest.

Max decides he’d better send Scott his summer address, just in case he needs to be in touch:

Maxwell Perkins

Windsor, Vermont.”

Down south in Westport, Connecticut, Scott and his new bride, Zelda, about to turn 20, are spending most of their summer supporting the local bootlegger.

Working on short stories as well as his second novel, Scott flirts with Eugenia Bankhead, 19, sister of stage and screen actress Tallulah, 18, both old schoolmates of Zelda.

Zelda fights back by chatting up Smart Set co-editor George Jean Nathan, 37.

So many drunk drivers are racing up and down the road between parties in Westport and New York, the local police have given up trying to stop them.

Fitzs house in Westport

The Fitzgeralds’ rented house in Westport, Connecticut

Riding through midtown Manhattan one day in a taxi, Scott starts sobbing. He knows that he has gotten everything he ever wanted. And life will never be this good again.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Perkins’ relationships with Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

This fall I will be talking about writers’ salons before and after the Great War in Ireland, England, France and America in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

My presentation, “Such Friends”:  Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, is available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre. The program begins at the 11 minute mark, and my presentation at 16 minutes.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

At the 49th Street Theatre, mid-town Manhattan, April 30th, 1922…

…writer Robert Benchley, 32, is relieved.

He’s just come off stage after performing his one-man skit, “The Treasurer’s Report,” in his friends’ one-off revue, No Sirree! That went well, he thinks.

Preceding Benchley on stage was a chorus line of short women, including Tallulah Bankhead, 20, and Helen Hayes, 21, dancing around his friend, 6 feet 8 inches tall Robert Sherwood, just turned 26, singing “The Everlastin’ Ingenue Blues,” written by their drinking buddy and former co-worker when they all worked at Vanity Fair, Dorothy Parker, 28.

We’ve got the blues, we’ve got the blues,

We believe we said before we’ve got the blues.

We are little flappers, never growing up,

And we’ve all of us been flapping since Belasco was a pup.

We’ve got the blues, we mean the blues,

You’re the first to hear the devastating news.

We’d like to take a crack at playing Lady Macbeth,

But we’ll whisper girlish nothings with our dying breath.

As far as we’re concerned, there is no sting in death

We’ve got those everlasting ingénue blues.”

The show is for an invited audience and going well, but thank God they decided to do it as a joke for just one night. They named it after one of the hottest revues currently on Broadway, La Chauve-Souris.

Expected to contribute something, Benchley had finished off writing his part in the taxi on the way over. He thought it was pretty funny; the audience liked it. Right now, he’s just really glad he won’t have to do it again.

Bench Treas Report

Robert Benchley filmed doing The Treasurer’s Report

Here is a link to the short film, The Treasurer’s Report, for Fox Movietone (1928): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edlpn3CnqaQ

In the film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994), there is a scene showing parts of No Sirree!, including a short piece of “The Everlastin’ Ingenue Blues”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMX6BubBwmM

Again this year, we’ll be telling stories about these groups of ‘such friends,’ during and after their times together.

Manager as Muse explores Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ work with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe and is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

To walk with me and the ‘Such Friends’ through Bloomsbury, download the Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group audio walking tour from VoiceMap. Look for our upcoming walking tour about the Paris ‘such friends.’