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By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Mike Wallace Interviews… Rod Serling, Frost/Nixon, Ayn Rand, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jean Seberg, Dali…

And also Frank Lloyd Wright, Salvador Dali, Jean Seberg, Aldous Huxley and Ben Hecht (transcript only). (And many more from the Harry Ransom Collection at University of Texas Austin.)

With Mr. Hecht:

WALLACE: When you say – you talk about almost as good as keeping you young body – do you mind very much growing old Ben?

HECHT: It’s horrid – sorry to say everybody grows old and you’ll answer that question yourself some day. But we already experienced….

WALLACE: We’ve interviewed other older people… Older than you … Eleanor Roosevelt, Frank Lloyd Wright…. They don’t seem to mind the passage of the years because all of their adult lives, they have been engaged in meaningful work – work which they still do. It … could it be that you engaged in mostly carefree, adolescent work … like writing for Hollywood still … and therefore old age comes as something of a menace to you?

HECHT: No … I haven’t engaged in meaningless work… I’ve written about eight books in the last eight years which I personally like very much … and people who say they don’t mind growing old are just telling sad little lies to you… everybody minds growing old … and when I look back, I don’t only see my youth, as better, my bankbook was better, everything about me was better, and work was easier … you ask any prizefighter whether he minds growing old, … everybody loses the punch sort of, and the people who thin they’re doing important work … Mrs. Roosevelt has been repeating herself like some parrot with three clichés – for the past fifteen years. I don’t’ regard anything she’s been doing as important. I don’t know who else you mentioned, but …..

WALLACE: Frank Lloyd Wright.

HECHT: Frank Lloyd Wright.

WALLACE: No parrot he.

HECHT: No, Frank Lloyd Wright stopped working about twenty years ago. I don’t think he’s drawn a picture in twenty years. He’s been exercising charm and civilization.

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“I wanted to make you love a murderer. There’s no way of redeeming him. He’s a drunk and a killer. He killed at least seven people (that we know of). But there were reasons he was a bad guy. He was surrounded by evil in those days. A lot of people were killed building modern Florida—modern everywhere. Watson had plenty of opportunities to see how rough those guys were playing and he thought he could do it too. At least he rationalized it that way. He had the devil beaten out of him and became a very dangerous guy. And he couldn’t handle his liquor, which is one of the worst aspects of him. And he went crazy. Understanding how that happened is useful, I think. There’s no reason any one of us couldn’t be Edgar Watson.”
~ Peter Mathiessen On Writing “Killing Mister Watson”

 

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