Chamblee54

Truman Capote

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on March 29, 2013







Truman Capote was a phenomenon of the TV talk show era. If he hadn’t existed, someone would have had to invent him. He was known as much for his sissy voice as his writing. Becoming famous in the late forties for “Other Voices, Other Rooms”, he worked on a screenplay for “Beat the Devil”. When he met the men accused of killing the Clutter family in Kansas, he impressed one by telling him he worked on a movie with Humphrey Bogart. These chats led to the book “In Cold Blood”, which was probably his biggest triumph. “Breakfast at Tiffanys” became a movie starring Audrey Hepburn.

He was on the Dick Cavett Show the same night as Georgia Governor Lester Maddox. After Maddox got offended and walked off the show, Mr.Capote remembered the time he ate at Maddox’s Pickrick restaurant.
“All I can say is that it wasn’t finger licking good”.
Mr. Capote was the darling of certain New York socialites. They unwisely told him some stories about their lives. In 1975 Esquire magazine published “La Côte Basque 1965”. It was a chapter from “Answered Prayers”, the book he received a large advance for and took his time writing. (It was finally published three years after his death) .The chapter published told some sordid tales about his jet set friends, who immediately ostracized him. It was a stepping stone on his road to ruin.

One chapter of “Answered Prayers” involves a dinner party in New York. Three of the guests were Dorothy Parker, Tallulah Bankhead, and Montgomery Clift. The evening never got past the cocktail hour, much to the distress of the hostess. At one point, Miss Parker was tenderly touching the face of Mr. Clift. She purred “He’s so beautiful,sensitive. So finely made. The most beautiful young man I have ever seen. What a pity he’s a cocksucker. Oh Oh, dear, have I said something wrong. I mean, he is a cocksucker, isn’t he Tallulah? Miss Bankhead replied ” Well d-d-darling, I r-r-really wouldn’t know. He’s never sucked my cock.”

In the spring of 1976, Mr. Capote gave a speech at the University of Georgia. At the time, there was a comic strip called “Don Q”, which has long been forgotten. It showed people in medieval clothes making comments on current affairs. On the day of the speech, the comic featured two characters. One was Richard Nixon. The other was as lisping little man, apparently based on Truman Capote.

The scene that evening was magic. The lecture was given on the steps of Memorial Hall, with the audience in the quadrangle in front of Reed Hall. Mr. Capote’s contract specified a pink spotlight, and a wicker chair behind the podium. Mr. Capote spoke for a while, and read a section out of “A Christmas Memory”. After a break, he returned to answer questions. The questions were written on file cards, and read by a student. The last one, and the one the reader said best typified the attitude of the evening, was “What does Johnny Carson look like in person?”

After this, Mr. Capote asked for questions from the crowd. PG raised my hand, and Mr. Capote pointed to him.
“Mr. Capote, did you see the comic strip Don Q this morning?” “No, what was it about?” ” It was about you, and Richard Nixon” “I don’t know who Don Q is, and I am beginning to not know who Richard Nixon is.”
Mr. Capote went downhill from this point on. He did a series of profiles for “Interview” magazine, which formed the basis of his last book ” Music for Chameleons”. His drinking and drug taking, always a problem, got worse. He became an embarrassment to those who once flocked to his side.

Truman Capote died in 1984.






Whenever you discuss Jack Kerouac, there is a quote by Truman Capote that gets mentioned. “That’s not writing, that’s typing”. PG thought a trip to Google city would help to show a bit of context on that quote. The first page of results, only, rule will be enforced here. The context of the original remains a mystery. ( Hey, maybe someone else made it up, and said that Capote said it. The ladies who lunch are not that clever, but Capote had big ears.)

There is a review of Going Rogue with the title, “That’s not writing, that’s someone else typing”. The nit picker has the audacity to say that the P lady gave a ghostwriter some tapes, and went off to hunt endangered species. A commenter observes “at some point in her book tour, someone will ask her a question that she won’t be able to answer because she won’t be familiar with what’s in her own book.” This post advertises downloading audio books, and copping grant money.

The Chicago Reader advertises teeth whitening chemicals with the post “That’s Not Writing, It’s Typing” It seems that someone is trashing today’s internet generation, with it’s tweets and blogs that say nothing, by comparing them to the product of Jack Kerouac. The money quote: “Kerouac survives because he (allegedly) wrote great works; the insufferable logorrhea the Beats inspired biodegrades in niche bookstores because, sensibly, nobody reads it. The Web makes things worse only in the sense that it democratically preserves the crap alongside the genius. Even more so than libraries!”

You probably know what is coming next. Yes, there is a blog titled That’s Not Writing, That’s Typing . It is written in Australia, and last had a post in 2007. The next to last post was about a trip to Dubai, and has a picture of a large hookah.

The results are a bit better at Writingortyping . It has been updated in 2011, and the lady knows how to write. Here is an example: “Overheard at our house, French steampunk edition… September 30, 2010 By Jill… Me: “So remember that trailer of that French steampunk film I showed you earlier this year?” John: “Yeah – I think so.” Me: “Well, apparently it was only in theatres on limited release and isn’t on DVD in the States at all.” John: “So, New York and L.A. basically.” Me: “Yeah probably.” John: “And Northern Maine.”

There are two sites for Truman Capote quotes They do not provide any more information about this quote, other than to repeat it. Mr. Capote was a clever man, who would be a challenge for Mr. Kerouac in a drinking contest. Mr. Capote also said “Mick Jagger is about as sexy as a pissing toad.” Brainy quotes sells digital speed plans and blackberries. There are links to quotes from “your favorite authors”, including Marilyn Monroe, Buddha, and Muhammad Ali.

The top result for *the phrase* is perhaps the most true to the style of Mr. Kerouac. It was written 27 days before 911 by Jonah Goldberg, of all people. He is trying to make it to a wedding, where he will play the underrated role of groom. He wants to get his dress shoes before he leaves town, because asking for “black loafers” in a Montana truck stop might lead to unexpected adventure. Being a thoughtful conservative, he makes the case that government intervention makes poor people poorer. The piece is written in a deadline driven frenzy, with jokes about black loafers and Truman Capote. The header ad is for Grove City College, and the Wall Street Journal.

This is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress





8 Responses

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  1. Darrell Grizzle said, on March 29, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Thank you for this trip down literary/celebrity memory lane. Truman Capote was a fascinating, talented, and ultimately tragic figure.

    • chamblee54 said, on March 29, 2013 at 8:54 am

      Thanks for stopping by. They don’t make them like that anymore.

  2. […] movie) was on the shelf at the Chamblee library. It is a short little thing, just like the author, Truman Capote. It is a 55 year old book, with the action taking place 70 years ago. It is a fun way to kill time […]

  3. A Summer Memory | Chamblee54 said, on June 13, 2013 at 8:03 am

    […] is hard at work, playing an essential role in the drama to follow. Thirty seven years ago, Truman Capote spoke in Athens GA. Before taking questions, he read “A Christmas Memory.” There was a […]

  4. Aunt Tiny | Chamblee54 said, on December 24, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    […] fishwrapper went to a mobile home in Hudson, FL. He talked to Marie Rudisill, who was best known as Truman Capote’s “Aunt Tiny.” The meeting took place in 1997, and was not what the writer expected. A […]

  5. Fruitcake | Chamblee54 said, on December 27, 2016 at 10:41 am

    […] fishwrapper went to a mobile home in Hudson, FL. He talked to Marie Rudisill, who was best known as Truman Capote’s “Aunt Tiny.” The meeting took place in 1997, and was not what the writer expected. A […]

  6. Truman Capote | Chamblee54 said, on March 30, 2019 at 9:33 am

    […] fishwrapper went to a mobile home in Hudson, FL. He talked to Marie Rudisill, who was best known as Truman Capote’s “Aunt Tiny.” The meeting took place in 1997, and was not what the writer expected. A […]

  7. On The Road Part One | Chamblee54 said, on June 11, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    […] to see the light flashing on the message machine. “Michael Mason died last night.” A quote by Truman Capote comes up, when Jack Kerouac is mentioned. “Thats not writing, thats typing.” PG […]


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