It started with a 10 page feature article in the Jan. 2007 Vanity Fair called "The Esquire Decade," which was about how Esquire Magazine, under my father's editorship in the 60s, became one of the greatest magazines ever published. Having once been the magazine publishing Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck and Salinger in the 30s, Dad's years in the 60s published Mailer, Talese, Roth, Vidal, Wolfe and numerous others. The writing and graphic talent within its pages was unsurpassed; complemented by riveting and daring covers that became iconic enough to be featured as an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art two years ago. Although Dad had been gone for 18 years, the Vanity Fair tribute made me completely rethink my childhood. Perhaps I had underestimated his impact on culture. I had understood him to be a good editor, but I never realized how good, or what it was he exactly did. Armed with a camera and his roladex, I started calling up writers, editors, photographers and anyone else who had worked with him in the same sexy decade as the Mad Men TV show. The response was extraordinary. Here are just a few of the willing participants:
"Editor Uncut" establishes what Esquire Magazinebecame in the Sixties - a blossoming forum of ironic, satirical journalism that interpreted a turbulent decade. Although Its 3-6 months lead time hampered coverage of time sensitive historical events, it forced the editorial to go to the margins of a story, creating alternative subjects by unlikely authors. It was non-fiction reinvented. The pages became the place where big talent flourished because of the unprecedented freedom Dad permitted his contributors to explore. It was the dawn of what would be known as The New Journalism.
After two years, I have edited a rough cut of these compelling interviews telling details about the various groundbreaking assignments commissioned by Dad. This material is intercut with photo animated scans from the magazine's pages and archival footage and photographs. There are a few more interviews I would like to get including Phillip Roth (Esq writer), Hugh Hefner (A contemporary), Albert Brooks (Esq writer), Lee Eisenberg (Esq editor), Walter Friedenberg (Journalist and Dad's college buddy), Gloria Steinem (a babysitter and Esq writer), Michael Herr (covered Viet Nam for Esq), Irving Schild (Esq photographer), Nat Hentoff (Esq writer), George Frazier IV (Esq editor), Tom Morgan (Esq writer), Gene Lichtenstein (Esq editor), Gordon Lish (Esq editor) , William Calley (Esq subject), Garry Wills (Esq writer), Ray Smart (son of Esq owner), Ben Pesta (Esq editor), Connie Wood (Dad's secretary), and David O'brasky (Esq advtg sales). If your name is on this list, please send me a note when the interview would be convenient.
This money will be used toward festival licensing of archival footage, photographs and music. Clearance of copyrighted material can be REALLLLY expensive, so with this much lesser classification of license, the film will be possible for competing and being noticed in festivals around the world. My goal has been intentionally set low to be assured of not losing your valuable and considerate pledges. In advance, thank you for your participation.
Here are the rest of the cast so far (included in the cast, but not pictured here are also Lee Eisenberg, Gordon Lish and Burt Silverman):
- (30 days)