Simon and Garfinkel

Harold Gary in the musical Oklahoma
Harold Garfinkel, er…. I mean Gary

Then there was Harold Gary – real name Harold Garfinkel. Art Garfunkel was his nephew so it should have been Simon and Garfinkel. Harold was an excellent character-actor who first appeared on Broadway in the 1920s. (Remember the wealthy heroin dealer in The French Connection who looked like a Jewish orangutan? That was Harold.) We shared a dressing room and since we were both sports-fans, we became fast friends. And, since I was a theater buff, I was a perfect audience for his showbiz war stories. Harold claimed to have fucked every woman in show business and to have told every man in show business to go fuck himself

I’d be doing my pre-show warm-ups while Harold reclined pasha-like on the union- mandated cot and cast his pearls-of-wisdom my way – 

  • “Stop with the stretching already. The best warm-up for a show is a good bowel movement just before curtain.  
  • “So, I gave Jayne Mansfield a dozen chicks for Easter, all different colors – red, blue, purple – but she rolled over on top of them while she was sleeping and killed ’em all. She was too upset to fuck so I took her bowling instead.
  • “Mae West’s sister used to give blowjobs in the basement of the Brill Building.
  • “So, I’m sitting in the steam room with little Larry Hart. Ya know – Rodgers & Hart? He was almost a midget. Who comes in but Joe Louis and I’m tellin’ ya his prick reaches down to his knees. And, Larry Hart sez to him – ‘Joe, that thing’s bigger than I am. Aren’t you afraid it’ll turn on ya?’
  • “Joe Louis told me that Sonja Henie was the best pussy he ever had next to Fanny Brice. 
  • “So, I walks up to Mike Todd an’ I sez to him – Mike, that’s the kind of guy I am and if you don’t like it step outside.
  • “1929, I was in the original Diamond Lil with Clark Gable. No one knew who he was. I take him down to Coney Island one day – we swim, we box, we play handball, we ride bikes, we play basketball, we play tennis. On the way home on the subway he sez to me, ‘Harold,’ he sez, ‘I feel like I’ve spent a month in the country.’ I sez to him – Clark, I do this ev’y day. 
  • “’Nother time, I’m down Coney and I’m swimmin’ way out. I was very ath-a-letic, see. A guy swims up and sez, ‘You mind if I swim along with ya?’ I sez, Fine. When we get back to the beach he sticks out his mitt and sez, ‘I’m Roy Cohn.’ I sez – Why didn’t you tell me out there, I woulda drowned ya, ya bastard. 
  • “Ya know my brother Sid Gary was the tenor on the Bing Crosby radio show.
  • “You ever hear of Harry Greb the boxer with one glass eye. Forget about these faggot boxers today. Harry Greb… 
  • “I ever tell you about the time I fucked Helen Twelvetrees?” 
Helen Twelvetrees
The beautiful Helen Twelvetrees. Hmmmnnn… maybe in Harold’s dreams
Boy Outa Brooklyn a murder-memoir by Jack Antonio
Image: the smiling face of Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn
Available as a paperback and eBook
And as an eBook here

Menu for a Starving Actor

The Mayor of New York City - John Lindsay
The Republican JFK

AIDS does not get my friend, Carrie. No, this young actress is murdered in 1973 while AIDS is waiting in the wings. She is slain in the city of Taxi Driver,The Panic in Needle Park, The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 and The French Connection. Handsome John Lindsay is Mayor. He is called the Republican Kennedy. In 1966, he wins office with the slogan, “Everyone else looks tired but he looks fresh.” But, by 1973, Handsome John has wilted along with the confidence of the ’60s. His color has faded along with the Peter Max posters in the Upper East Side and the Hippie murals in the Lower East Side. Rob and I share an apartment there on St. Mark’s Place. Two actors. One struggling. One not. Rob is not only “not” but “hot.” I have to endure the sheer joy of taking phone messages for him – “Rob, Sam Shepard asked if you’d read his play and Sidney Lumet phoned again. Oh, Mike Nichols wants to take you to lunch.”  

Vintage Florida post card
Brought to you by the Sunshine State
Chamber of Commerce

While Rob is lunching at Lutèce, I’m living on a buck-a-day meal money. Desperate for food, my antennae pick up a radio commercial that promises free dinner at Luchow’s German restaurant in return for listening to a sales pitch. The pitch will be for a property scam in Florida – Rancho Refritos Estates. Selling land in Florida is the oldest racket in America, second only to alternative medicine. (David Mamet’s brilliant play Glenngarry Glenn Ross is about Florida land-swindles.)

Movie poster for Glenngary Glen Ross by David Mamet
They’d try to sell ice to an Eskimo. And, do it.

Boy Outa Brooklyn a murder memoir by Jack Antonio
Image: The smiling face of Steeplechase Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn
Available as a paperback and eBook
And as an eBook here