Sunday, November 22, 1970
N 4 w
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Sunday, November 22, 1970
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
"Oh my God! He isn't going to do that!
OHHHHHH! Oh God! Oh Fellini!"
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
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Continued from Page 8
was unquotable. She had no taste. She didn't
even like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
When she soundly panned Here We Go
'Round the Mulberry Bush, Lopert Pictures
took out a full page ad to defend their pap
as if it were Kane and to attack the critic
who didn't like it. She's reviewed 27 pic-
tures, they whined, and liked only two,
Charlie Bubbles and The Two of Us. What
kind of critic was this anyway? Someone
who was interested in Cuban art and didn't
even like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
What could they do?
The moguls couldn't do anything except
rub their hands ,in exasperation. At least
Crowther they could call a Communist. But
Renata herself was weary, of films and of
deadlines; and after only 14 albeit prece-
dent shattering months, s h e relinquished
her job. It was February 27, 1969. Karl Jas-
pers and Levi Eshkol were dead; Nixon was
in Bonn; an oil slick was in Santa Barbara:
and Vincent Canby was in the Bahamas
at his own risk. The risk? Well, the Times
always long on tradition, has one tradition
of letting people go while they are on vaca-
tion. Canby stayed away from telephones.
defied the tradition and returned, rested,
tanned and promoted.
He seemed the perfect person for the
post, a mix of Crowther's knowledgeability
and Adler's 'now' perceptiveness that had
somehow sneaked past the door. Canby is
45, a smallish, ruddy-faced man w i t h a
toothy grin radiating Irish warmth. Like
most Timesmen, he's an Ivy Leaguer (Dart-
mouth). He's also a veteran of the Philip-
pine invasion and after the war wrote for
several trade papers before rising to the
Times in December of 1965.
"I came from Variety which is like com-
ing out of the whore house and trying to get
into high society," Canby says. "They could-
n't quite believe the fact that I had a fairly
decent background and a college degree and
had worked in Europe. The fact that I was
applying for a job from the newspaper that
had its own language really kind of shook
them up. It turned out that I had been
doing free lance stuff for the Sunday Times
for a couple of years, so I wasn't quite that
much of -a pariah. But it took about s i x
months of interviews off and on before I
"I was hired as what was called a general
cultural news reporter, which meant that I
was in general assignment to cover anything
within the arts - news stories and feature
stories on any of the arts," recalls Canby.
"Any of the critics can
write any way he chooses
so long as the style he
chooses i s t h e Times
"That included doing reviews occasionally. I
did television reviews. I did off-Broadway
second string drama reviews and third and
fourth string film reviews. Bosley was num-
ber one. Howard Thompson and Abe Weiler
came ahead of me, and whatever they didn't
do, I did. At the same time I was doing sort
of feature stories. I was covering night clubs
occasionally, interviewing people like Jack
Benny or sometimes visiting playwrights. I
once even covered a fire in desperation. It
was in August and everybody was on vaca-
tion. So I did just about everything.
"I always really had my mind to be a
full-time critic," Canby says. "I really didn't
allowf iyself to think in those terms until
I had been here a couple of years and did
more and more reviewing and liked it and
thought I was doing fairly well. When Re-
nata came on the paper, I moved up to the
number two spot and worked with her."
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posing as a merchant seaman. I was p
a former shipmate of his who had ju
into drydock and stuffed $1,700 in the
isk heroin traffic
West Side but
f the big racket.
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I felt very little guilt about using Darryl.
Already he was bragging about his amorality.
"I was in Seattle when I shot my f i r s t
nigger," Darryl is telling me. "I was sitting in
the cab of my truck eating lunch and I could
hear the bastard coming across the gravel. He
got about 10 feet away and I could see his hand
in his pocket. I figured he was sure out to stick
me up, I mean, what else would a nigger be
doing in a truckyard. So I slid my .38 across the
seat and shot him right between the eyes from
under my arm. Then I finished my sandwich."
Darryl says he shot another black guy in
Phoenix but failed to kill him.
Darryl paces around the room now, gestur-
ing with his knife and pointedly ignoring me
though his show-and-tell speech is all for my
"Did'cha hear what happened to t h a t
narc that got caught over on 12th Street," he
asks suddenly. "They cut off the tips of his
fingers and made him suck his own blood. Then
they cut out his tongue. Some witness he'll
make in court. He ain't got no fingerprints and
he can't even spit."
Darryl laughs and looks hard at me. He has
told a chilling fantasy for my initiation and he
wants to gauge my reaction. All week I would
go through similar street-psychology tests be-
cause I was a stranger and a suspect in this
sub-culture of paranoia. Even if I wasn't an
undercover police agent, I was still an unproven
cavalier in a world where trust is dispensed at
the end of a gun.
I spent six days trespassing on the streets
and in the houses where junkies live a predator-
ial, but also complex existence. Junkies murder
and steal if they have to, but more often they go
through elaborate gyrations to panhandle a
drunk -in a bar, or defraud the welfare depart-
ment, or hustle a john for a prostitute girlfriend.
Drug stories are a dime a dozen in news-
papers and magazines these days because the
drug scene is a sensational bonanza that sells on
Still I hoped this story would have s o m e
merit, if only to point out the key role heroin
plays in the urban-suburban syndrome. Junkies
account for about half the street crime in cities
like Detroit, according to the police. Street crime
accounts for people leaving the cities to live in
the suburbs. But in a sociological quirk, suburban
kids whose parents have moved to green lawns to
escape the city grime, are now treking back to the
cities on weekends to buy heroin. Some stay to
live and shortly die back on the city streets.
For years the heroin problem has been a black
problem, ignored by the public and tacitly (or
otherwise) accepted by the police. Now that is
Darryl is a business middleman between the
weekend heads from places like Royal Oak and
Southfield and the dealers of the Trumbull-
Darryl had been a dealer before and was anx-
ious to get back into business on a fulltime basis
because he needed money to finance his growing
$40-a-day habit. His finest hour, he told me,
was at the August Goose Lake rock festival where
he made $2,000-in two days of selling quinine and
lactose to unsuspecting or unknowing customers.
When theyr caught the nark,
they cut off the tips of i
fingers. Then they cut out his
At Goose Lake Darryl also met Sue, a 23 year
old ex-beautician whose two Tmonth old baby
had died in March. Sue moved in with Darryl
and Darryl added Sue and her dead baby's name
to a welfare allotment that already included a
fictitious wife and a girl that no longer lived at
Stonehead Manor. In all Darryl was collecting
$830 a month from welfare, almost all of it by
Sue enters the room as Darryl finishes his
speeches. She's still wet from a bath in a com-
munal tub down the hall...
"C'mon let's go to bed, huh," she says,
snuggling up to Darryl who shovesher aside
and eyes me closely as he unravels a foil-
wrapped jackage of "Jones," low-grade heroin.
"You go ahead," he answers Sue. "I'm gonna
have another 'do' first."
He empties the "Jones" into a spoon, drops
in water and heats
burning on a closed
draws the liquid up i
wad of cotton, pulled
keeps under the kit
screens out solid part
needle or the bloodstri
He finds a vein in It
that night, his veins
lapsed from too manv
in his hands hidden
He misses the first
"Dammit. Sue, get o'
takes the needle and i
top of his foot, experi
geyser of blood spur
the dropper's rubber
"Oh, God, that's
a good broad, Site."
She wipeY Up the l
whispers, "C'mon to
sits imn s-ively on hi
television set which i
Robinsn mSvif'. "Xo
snorts Edwar d G. the
over there. ; * wnhin.
familv and I f',n b'iv
"Glad to mpete'
Riehllnnid and I leave
the chair when Sle
erg-s- ntq bed.
I spent the nioht ti
eon pI in Anrartrmlnvt p
It wys d1( dpr-c pt<
th-e wvindowxs rlneP "h
I d'dn't s1PP- mitnh.
the hba11 and in o-trino
Gn shotc: I wvk 1
couch and onto the fin
for mavhe five mnvntPs.
Finally I realifzer
dend vet. so I qot n'-
kitr'hb~n t11VhrCOh ti-i t '
porch. where a hiq h;
over the porch .i ji-a
chester rifle at q nie
He 1lia'orl "Trrti«
off your head?" 'I lua1
that was cut short by.ti
hitting the trash can.
She's meant something
special to you for a long
time. Treat her that way.
Surprise her with a precious
gift from our store.. . soon.
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. . 50c TEA . .. . . . 15c
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