A classic work on Broadway sharpers, grifters, and con men by the late, great New Yorker journalist A. J. Liebling.
Often referred to as “Liebling lowlife pieces,” the essays in The Telephone Booth Indian boisterously celebrate raffishness. A. J. Liebling appreciated a good scam and knew how to cultivate the scammers. Telephone Booth Indians (entrepreneurs so impecunious that they conduct business from telephone booths in the lobbies of New York City office buildings) and a host of other petty nomads of Broadway—with names like Marty the Clutch and Count de Pennies—are the protagonists in this incomparable Liebling work. In The Telephone Booth Indian , Liebling proves just why he was the go-to man on New York lowlife and con culture; this is the master at the top of his form, uncovering scam after scam and writing about them with the wit and charisma that established him as one of the greatest journalists of his generation and one of New York’s finest cultural chroniclers.
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|Title of eBook: The Telephone Booth Indian|
|Release Date: 12-10-2008|
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The Telephone Booth Indian
* Masters of the Midway *
One of the most distinctive periodicals published in the land of the Telephone Booth Indians is called the Greater Show World, a trade paper for outdoor showmen. It is edited in one room in the Gaiety Building, which is not a fictional edifice, by a man named Johnny J. Kline who has five typewriters in his office and usually has a sheet of copy paper in each of them. When he sits at one typewriter he is editor-in-chief, at another he is business manager, and at a third a gossip columnist. He writes under different by-lines as two other reporters at the remaining typewriters. The magazine which he gets out all by himself every month is just as big as the New Yorker, he reminds me whenever I see him, and he says he wonders what the hell the New Yorker staff does for a living. Since the advertising and editorial departments of the Greater Show World are lodged in adjacent wrinkles of the same brain lobe, they sometimes get telescoped, and the result is a spontaneous eulogy for an advertiser. Through the years a pair of showmen named Lew Dufour and Joe Rogers have drawn more eulogies and paid for more ads than almost anybody else. The pair never got a chance to work near Telephone Booth Indian territory until Grover Whalen opened his World of Tomorrow over in Flushing Meadows in 1939. When that happened they showed they knew how to get a dollar.
Among the shows on the World's Fair midway presented by the firm of Dufour & Rogers, one, "We Humans," illustrated the grand strategy of evolution in a somewhat macabre fashion. A reverent, three-dimensional presentation of Da Vinci's "Last Supper," with life-sized models of the ap