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November 22, 1970 - Image 12

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-11-22
Note:
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Page Four

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Sunday, November 22, 1970

Sunday, November 22, 1970

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

.

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Deafing

jujnk
a hea

in

is

not

fithj

Detroit
illving
Or, how
i nfiltrated
a heroin ring
By HOWARD KOHN
I arrived at Stonehead Manor on a cold Mon-
day night, with the wind swirling the trash and
dust from the gutters in front of a grotesque
green house on Lincoln Street, heart of Detroit's
tough west side.
My partner was freelance writer Dave Rich-
mond, a reformed alcoholic who got caught fly-
ing supplies to Castro in 1958 and spent 17
months in federal prison with Rudolph Abel as
cellmate.
I was working undercover with Richmond to
report firsthand on the lives and lifestyles of
heroin addicts and dealers.
We walked past the broken springbed couch
on the cement front porch, kicked aside an old
wine bottle and knocked harshly on the locked
door. It is always locked, ever since May -
when a college-educated father walked through
the door in the early morning darkness and shot
to death his daughter and the three boys she was
visiting.
Pete, the building manaeLer, let us in. Pete is a
college graduate and former teaching fellow
in chemistry. He used to manufacture LSD in
his room, using part of a Kodak-5 color process-
ing kit, before he became hooked on heroin. Still
he sometimes likes to Let snaced out on speed
before he shoots his heroin. He is six feet tall
and weighs less than 100 pounds and is one of
the more bizarre junkies at Stonehead Manor, a
house nicknamed by Junkies because it is one
of their favorite hangouts.
We went un the splintered wooden stairs and
Dave knocked on Apartment Four. Darrel an-
swered, a knife clenched in his hand.
"He's cool," Dave said, pointing to me. Darryl
recognized Dave and relaxed but he didn't put
the knife away.
Inside the one-room apartment, which rents
for $70 a month, was a washtub of rancid wine,
a homemade saki that Darryl gave us to drink.
We sat down at the kitchen table, cluttered
with syringes and needles and spoons. Wallpaper
peeled from the walls and the kitchen pines leak-
ed to a sodden floor. But an American flag hung
from the stoved-up fireplace and the bed covers
were pulled down crisply and cleanly - military-
style.
Darryl ,said he was an ex-Army commando
who knew judo and knife-throwing. He flung his
knife past my head into the door to prove
his point. He also said he rode with the Los
Angeles Hells Angels and drove trucks to get to
Detroit two years ago.
Darryl, I decided, was going to be my friend,
the guy I would con to get close to the dealers.
I would trick him, if my plan succeeded, by tell-
ing him I could bankroll him in a smalltime deal-
ership with money I supposedly had saved up
from my work on the lake freighters. Richmond,
who hadlived at Stonehead Manor for six weeks

After Adler's departure and Canby's pro-
motion, the number two spot was open. Log-
ic seemed to dictate that Thompson-and
Weiler would each move up a notch in the
hierarchy while the Times found itself a
new fourth string reviewer. But the Times
operates on its own inscrutable illnic. So
it hired Roger Greenspun for the second ton
post and left Thompson and Weilpr in their
pigeon-holes. Where Weiler is the c+Pgrivino
nresence. a throwhqeV to the old d Ts. and
Canby is the modern iournalist, Greenuin
is the sneoialigt. He is well oroornedd. rrk
complexioned, weavrs expensive double-
breasted suits. and ijist a few veArs book
had been nimincr for a life in academi-- ,e
was graduated from ve. taught. at Con-
ra-+ir~+',it nollo'ea fr r w , took his nre-
limc inT no'lish hut inst- e' l(dn't hrinq' him-
self to complete hia discertation.
"So I c'nvP un ever-thino and movei to
New York." Greencnun savs. "and worked
for a time in a movie theater called the
Charles Thenter. xwhieh at that time was
runninco underronrid mn-ies. inee then it's
descended to nothino. Then I was out of
work for a lnng time and had od iohs. I
worked Ps an ene-elonadia editor heeauqe
that wa the only nlaen T connd o'et rork T
started little maooarrAne with Jim Stokler
l11lld MMTiP Goer. W- ran for oniv three is-
sves. but it was a very o o d magnzine. I
wrote a. little bit for the Voice. And the Now
VYrk Free Press was being started by R. uv
I had done one niece for, and I wrote for it
for the +ime it lasted. which was iust over- a
year. But that gave me a body of weekly re-
views, and it was from those that I was real-
ly hired here.
"The Times editors literally did take me
off the streets," Greenspun marvels. "I was
out of work. They like to feel that everybody
they hire is in tremendous demand from five
hundred places. Hiring me was a bold move.
I'm not entirely sure it's a move they would
make today.
"I was actually hired as a reporter,"
Greenspun laughs. "But they became com-

pletely aware that I couldn't report on a
goddamn thing; and all I could do was write
movie criticism. In a move they are probably
still regretting, they said. 'OK. Just write
movie criticism, but we can't change your
title.' "
Once hired, a Times reviewer becomes
one of the select, subject to a swirl of pres-
sures by the public, the industry, and even
fellow practitioners of the craft. Canby has
always shunned the role of tastemaker, and
as a result the Times influence is de-
clining and industry arm-twisting is abat-
ing. But film peddlers occasionally still ap-
ply pressure.
"Every now and then film companies
will try to bring you in on the conspiracy,"
says Canby. "I've avoided that sort of thing.
I had a call today from some lawyer who
wants me to take a look at a film Elaine
May has made for Paramount, called A New
Leaf. Apparently there was some antagon-
ism between Elaine May and Paramount,
she is suing them for something, and he
asked me to take a look at the movie. I
wouldn't do it; I don't think it's a critic's
function. They tried to do the same thing
with Medium Cool. Haskell Wexler thought
that Paramount was out to screw his movie,
and one of his press representatives in New
York asked me to start writing articles de-
manding that Paramount release it. It turn-
ed out that Paramount- wasn't doing any-
thing to the movie."
Most distributors are loathe to raise the
hackles of the Times' powerful critic (one
reviewer calls it "luxurious independence").
So their coercion takes less direct forms.
"There are evidences of letter-writing cam-
paigns from time to time," Canby claims. "I
think right now there is one going on about
my review - maybe I'm getting paranoid as
everybody does eventually - of I Never Sang
for My Father. I've gotten several letters,
very strange letters and most of them are
sent to the editor, pointing out the fact that
I've hated all Columbia films for the last six
's/Yi com t use'skt,' you
caO't use 'screw'... the
I I I
last word ound token
gut r ry copy was 'lou-
sy.r
months, and they list the titles. It seems to
me very curious that general readers would
know that I've given bad reviews to six Co-
lllmhia films."
Often the fiercest pressure comes from
other film critics .Twice this year, with Fel-
lini Satyricon and Catch-22, top-critic Can-
by has eschewed the pleasure of company
and stood alone - but even then, in partial
reaction to his friends. "In the c a s e of
Catch-22 I think I reacted to a certain ex-
tent against what I knew the prevailing
opinion was. I didn't like it because of that,
but you are drawn sometimes to defend a
movie that you know will be generally blast-
ed by the other critics," Canby says.
"A more dramatic example of that sort of
thing is the first time I saw Satyricon. It
was a cold night, and it was at the Plaza
Theater. Everybody arrived wearing 18
sweaters and coats and overshoes and ev-
Continued on Page 22

I, jkie

-JAMES

A i1

In 1949, when
had his choice of car
or the Studebaker, two h
It turns out they were
Because today therec
or Stuc
But there are quite c
three and a h
Seldom has
Howard Cooper
2575 So. State St., Ann Arb<
Open Mon. & Thurss. tiIl 9 P.A
Fr-

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