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October 29, 1965 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1965-10-29

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Amnesiac's Recollections: Anecdotes,
Incidents Galore in Levant's Book

'Story of Football':
Very Timely Volume

Federation Employes in New York Go on Strike

NEW YORK—(JTA)—A strike the offices of seven Federation.
by 250 professional employes of affiliated agencies in New York
Landmark Giant Books published
Federation of Jewish Philan- City in a sympathy protest.
say that Swope was 'a foul by Random House now include a the
thropies completed its second week
Federation officials have empha-
weather Jew'."
very timely volume by Robert in a deadlock between the Federa-
But — wasn't our intellectual Leckie, "The Story of Football." tion and the union over terms of sized that the strike does not in-
volve any of its 116 affiliated
sphere filled with that type of
This splendidly :
a new contract.
agencies and institutions.
"foul weather Jew," and don't illustrated large
An all-night sit-in at the Federa-
they emerge even now, when an book for young
tion's office Oct. 13, which launch-
anti-Semite strikes?
readers offers
ed the strike ,has since been con-
Levant makes much of gefuelte them a complete
tinued on an around - the - clock
fish. He refers to his childhood: view of the
"I studied the Old Testament in game's history,
A union spokesman said that
Hebrew. It shocked me. I don't
talks were held last
mean the sexual part—I didn't
Saturday in the office of the State
understand sex—but the injustice men of the grid-
Board of Mediation but that the
and the violence. Many of its char- iron, descriptions
talks brought no progress. A Fed-
acters had great sexual vitality.
eration spokesman agreed there
By contrast, it's strange that there most noteworthy
were no plans for resumption of
are no sexual instances in the games in the
negotiations but added that "we
New Testament. It's an observa- sport's history.
are ready at all times to negoti-
All of the great
tion that I don't care to finish
ate." He said that the Federation
coaches are in-
or explore."
had offered what it considered an
cluded in the
It might have done him some story, and the
improved contract but that it had
good to explore—and one wonders major heroes of
been rejected.
how much Hebrew he knew, how the game are in-
Members of the striking union
qualified he is to liken the Old cluded in the rec-
picketed a Federation-sponsored
to the New Testament !
ord. Robert Leckie
conference at the Waldorf-As-
But the picture isn't all dark
toria Hotel and members of sev-
One of the best kown men in
and the attitude isn't totally nega- the game was Sid Luckman, des-
en affiliated chapters picketed
tive. Thus, Levant continues to cribed as "the Bears' splendid
make this affirmation after "ex- quarterback," and there is quite
$400,000 For The Aged
posing" the sinfulness of the Old a story about his exploits.
More than $400,000 was allocated
Testament characters:
Then there is the Benny Fried- by the Conference on Jewish
"Due to my mother's constant man story and an account of his Material Claims Against Germany
City Treasurer
reminder, I was slavish in my role on the University of Michigan last year for programs of care for
adherence to Jewish orthodoxy team.
and to its rueful overtones. In
The noted coaches who are a part
1952, after my heart attack, my- of the Leckie story include Michi-
psychoanalyst Dr. Marmor re-
gan's Hurry Up Yost, Walter
lieved me of my enslavement to Camp, Alonzo Stagg, Robert Zupp-
what had become painful ex- ke, Knute Rockne, and many
cursions to memorial services others.
for the dead. I feel I didn't
And the very best players get
betray God, but my mother. God their just due for notable achieve-
will, I am sure, survive my
ments on the gradiron.
defection. Although I have a
Historic cartoons and the photos
violent dichotomy about the of individuals and of teams supple-
0 Wayne County AFL-CIO
religious traditions, I am always ment the fine text.
uplifted and unswerving about
the inspirational and enlight-
ened achievement of Israel." Kosher Meals at Hospital
Another incident from Levant's in Montreal for 1st Time
111 Metropolitan Detroit Labor and Community Association
reminiscenes is worth quoting.
0 Rated "PREFERRED AND WELL QUALIFIED" by Civic Searchlight
ish Community Council reported
Levant recalls:
"When the novel 'Gentleman's that it had arranged to make kos-
0 Trade Union Leadership Council
Agreement' by Laura Hobson was her meals available for the first
0 Northwest Civic Federation
published in 1947, someone asked time to patients at a non-Jewish
George Kaufman whether he had Montreal hospital.
0 Detroit Building and Construction Trades Council
read it. He replied, 'I don't have
Rabbi Isaac Hechtman, JCC
0 Wayne County Democratic Committee and All Detroit Districts:
to pay two-fifty to find out how executive director, said that the
1st, 13th, 14th, 16th, and 17th District Organizations
it feels to be a Jew'."
Jean Talon Hospital had agreed
There are scores upon scores to provide one kosher meat meal
0 Baptist Ministers Conference
of other incidents, anecdotes, daily to all Jewish patients asking
0 Central Citizens Committee
smart sayings, that are worth for it. The meals will be kosher
quoting from the Levant story. packaged frozen diners similar to
0 West Side Council of Clubs
Suffice it to say that "The those available on a number of
1 And Many Other Civic, Labor, Religious, Nationality, Neighborhood,
Memoirs of an Amnesiac" is an commercial airliners. He said the
Block, Education and Professional Organizations
interesting book, well written—in JCC actions committee was ne-
the catchy Levant style—that it gotiating with other Montreal hos-
is a smart story about a great pitals for similar arrangements.
pianist, a man of many foibles,
a clever punster. There is much
"The King (Frederick the Great)
in the book that many will resent. has sent me some of his dirty lin-
It's worth reading nevertheless. en to wash; I will wash yours an-
other time."—Voltaire.

Oscar Levant may be an
amnesiac, but he certainly remem-
bers a lot of things—and he
proves it in "The Memoirs of an
Amnesiac," published by G. P.
Putnam's Sons (200 Madison,
NY 16).
The scores of prominent people
who knew him in his Tin Pan
Alley, Hollywood, "Information
Please" and other activities, un-
doubtedly already
have devoured
his 320-page book tf .
for references to
themselves and
their friends.
These memoirs
are like a history
of a period dur-
ing which he and
his associates
played vital roles
in American life.
There is much
more to these
memoirs. T h e r e
are certain recol-
lections that
throw light on
the actions, the thinking, the inner-
moist feelings of many eminent
Levant didn't react with too
much love to the strict Jewish
religious demands of his home,
but his reminiscenses are filled
with references to Jews, to some
Jewish customs, to his family.
He admonishes his readers very
early in his story that the three
great stresses in his home were
"good education, the strict ad-
herence to an inflexible Jewish
orthodox religion and music."
But he is quick to state that in
studying the piano he never
quite overcame the Czerny rigid
finger method "because the
main characteristic of my youth
was literalness" and he adds:
"I had the same reaction when
I was taught the Old Testa-
ment." One wonders how much
of the Old Testament he was
At any rate, he relates that his
father, who was born in St. Peters-
burg (Leningrad), had a prejudice
against German Jews and when
Oscar's brother Ben married a
German-Jewish girl "he fainted."
It is typically Levantian that he
should state in his memoirs: "The
week that Marilyn Monroe and
Arthur Miller were remarried by
a rabbi I said—in my rambling
stream-of-consciousness manner—
`Now that Marilyn Monroe is
kosher, Arthur Miller can eat
Perhaps the most sensational of
all "anecdotes" in his book is the
`The Cucumber King': Newest
"Joseph Kennedy was warmly
disposed toward me and once Viscount Samuel Narratives
said, 'You know, Oscar, you're
"The Cucumber King and Other
one of the few Jews I like.'
Stories" by Edwin Samuel were
"When I met John Kennedy a published by Abelard-Schuman.
The world of Edwin Samuel is
year before the 1960 Demo-
cratic convention, I quoted his wide and filled with surprises, a
father's remark. The Senator place where people live and things
pushed me away and said, 'I happen. In "The Cucumber King"
he takes the reader on a tour of
don't want to hear that.'
"I don't blame him. It wasn't his world, into the hearts and
very tactful of me. As some minds of high and low.
The author's keen perception of
Senator said at the time: 'John
Kennedy's two greatest political the realities and foibiles of human-
obstacles were his father and ity is evident, as it was in his
his Catholic religion'." previous collections of short
"My Friend Musa , "A
Another reference is to the stories,
Coat of Many Colors " and "" A Cot-
prominent literary critic and au- tape m Galilee".
thor Stephen Spender, of who Le-
Viscount Samuel, C.M.G., served
vant wrote: "Spender has written in the Palestine administration,
a rather shocking, revelatory auto- holding a number of senior posts
biography dealing in some part from 1920 to 1948. He is now prin-
with homosexuality, and I said to cipal of the Institute of Public Ad-
Isherwood, 'I know that Spender ministration in Israel and a lectur-
is half Jewish. Does that account er in the political science depart-
for it?' Christopher said, 'Oh, no. ment of the Hebrew University.
His exhibitionism comes from his He has also written a number of
Gentile parent'."
books and essays on Israel.
Another sensationalism is this
rather uncomplimentary reference U.S. in '66 Tel Aviv Fair
to Herbert Bayard Swope:
"Herbert Swope, who never
mentioned that he was a Jew, U.S. Department of Commerce
finally did when World War II made known that the United States
came along, which had Mr. has decided to participate in the
Justice Felix Frankfurter to 1966 Tel Aviv International Fair
and is planning a pavilion. The fair
will feature exhibits of commerce
and industry.
36—Friday, October 29, 1965








Fl 36



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Some of the Jewish friends working to elect WALTER C. SHAMIE, mayor of Detroit, are:
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Paul Broder
David Kahn
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Charles Levin
Irving Simms
Larry Labell
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• ■•■■.

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