By D. Schwarz
Damon Runyon's reputation and value in shaping Amer-ican pop culture through the first 1/2 the 20 th century can hardly ever be exaggerated. In energetic and exuberant chapters that come with a wide ranging view of recent York urban among the area Wars-with an emphasis at the city's colourful nightlife-Schwarz examines almost each aspect of Runyon's occupation, from sports-writer, day-by-day columnist, trial re-porter, and Hollywood determine to the writer of the nonetheless generally learn brief tales that have been the resource of the Broad-way hit men and Dolls. whereas examining Runyon's high-spirited paintings when it comes to ancient contexts, pop culture, and of the altering functionality of the media, Schwarz argues that during his columns and tales Runyon was once an quintessential determine in developing our public photographs of recent York urban tradition, inclu-ding our curiosity within the demimonde and underworld that explains partly the good fortune of The Godfather motion pictures and the Sopranos. As a part of his dialogue of Runyon's paintings and artistry of Runyon's fiction, he skillfully examines the precise language of the Broadway tales often called 'Runyonese' and explains how 'Runyonese' has develop into an adjective describing flamboyant habit.
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Extra resources for Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture
RUNYON’S NEW YORK | 45 Bonnie Menes Kahn has observed, “The great city, the cosmopolitan city . . is one where diversity has created a temporary tolerance, a thriving exchange among strangers. And the project of the place . . ”44 Except for African Americans—a regrettable blind spot—Runyon understood the relationships, including the tensions, between classes and ethnics in New York. He saw New York’s incompleteness and its social and cultural instability, the unmaking of distinctions and customs and fortunes that had recently been made.
49 Such critics were only interested in those who played a role in the evolving teleology of modernist formalism. ”50 Sloan, in particular, used illustration and caricature to give a sense of the modern city; like Runyon, he was attracted to small anecdotes of urban life that revealed how various subcultures lived. George Benjamin Luks (1867–1933) used his skills as an illustrator, developed on the art staff of Philadelphia newspapers, to capture the personalities of his subjects by exaggerating some details at the expense of others; he was interested in the working poor and ethnic 48 | BROADWAY BOOGIE WOOGIE life.
The young went to nightclubs to escape their parents. Prohibition drove night life underground and opened the door to gangsters. Arnold Rothstein, accused fixer of the 1919 World Series and the model of Runyon’s character known as “The Brain,” controlled many nightclubs. Runyon, we recall, enjoyed his friendships with such diverse gangster figures as Capone and Rothstein. Burrows and Wallace remind us that the complicity in New York between politicians and 36 | BROADWAY BOOGIE WOOGIE criminals and police and criminals dated back to the post–Civil War Gilded Age: “Bribery and corruption of law enforcement officers became as commonplace as it was in the mainstream business world.