Cedar Rapids Gazette, July 26, 1974, Page 9

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette July 26, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - July 26, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Massive Research on O’Neill Is Biographer’s Future By William (.lover NKW YOUK (AF) - If he knew then what he knows now. Louis Sheaffer doubts he’d ever ever have put the pliant drama jigsaw together. “Despair. frustration, panic" are some of the words with which he describes creation of the two-volume life of Eugene O’Neill that recently won the 1974 Pulitzer prize for biography. Sheaffer, who calls himself not an especially good" ex-journalist. spent 17 quietly obsessed years and 90,000 arduously raised dollars compiling the monumental narrative about Americas most famous playwright. When it was over I felt like an orphan," the modest, intense Boswell describes the emotional letdown after his long, dark journey into his hero’s complex psyche. Piled up around him in a book-tumbled bachelor lair, Sheaffer estimates, is "TjO times as much material as wont into” the published HOO,-000-word manuscript. "My collection is my future," he says of plans for possible spinoff works A book of the pictorial material assembled during his hunt for everything about O’Neill is already being discussed with a publisher A paperback edition of the biography is planned by Little Brown in the autumn. “I’d like to branch out and do someone else," he says, "but that would be starting in kindergarten, and I’m a little too old for that class.” Chance Events Two chance events led the 61-year-old writer into O’Neill scholarship. The Brooklyn Eagle, whepe he began as an office boy and wound up as drama critic, went out of business in 1955. Turning to theatrical press agentry, his first jobs happened to be on a revival of O’Neill’s "The Iceman Cometh” and premiere of "Long Day’s Journey Into Night”. The productions helped trigger a widespread surge of interest in the dramatist who had been almost forgotten for a decade. Other plays were dusted off, and a squad of researchers, eager to cash in on the fad, started unearthing the large mass of personal background that no one had bothered to put into a book before the literary giant’s death in 1953. Struck by Sheaffer’s enthusiasm, Boston critic Elliot ‘My collection is my future,” says biographer! Louis Sheaffer shown with! a cabinet full of material on playwright Eugene O’Neill. “MADNESS” Top 40 tunes 5 musicians from Brass Unlimited PRAIRIE MOON BALLROOM Prairiaburg, Iowa Press Up Rules_ Trophy Lounge presen ii “DAYS Friday WH 1 J N.9ht END” 519 H Street S.W. THE HOT SPOT EMERGENCY ROOM 4650 Ut Ave. N.I. Bud-Mich-Oly an Tap I I I I I I I I I I s I I I I I I I I I I I I MEETING PLACE! I I I I I s I B 31 I I I I I I st Appearance "Direct Prom Las Vegas '    8 MISS CHRISTINA MARIE I Dacotah Rock ’n Roll Group! * Sat. July 27 A Coming: Free Wedding Dance DANCE MOR SWISHER Every Sat. 5:30-9 p.m. BEEFEATERS BUFFET $2.96 per parson 10,$ Children un Mar $2.04 Roost Round of Beef, Beef Stroganoff, Salads, Relishes, Desserts Grant Wood Kitchen Se* Our New Ct ach Heritage Display ROOSEVELT MOTOR HOTEL ODAR RAPIDS. IDWA V ADJACENT GUEST PARKING J 45-25-35 10th St Intersection Now OPEN UNIQUE MOTEL Only 2 Minutes Downtown 852 A Ave. NE IMI 365-9061JMbI SERVING NIGHTLY OICE PRIME RIB OF BEEF (JUST A UTTIE BIT BETTER) Appearing At Tho Keyboard MARY PIKE Nightly except Fri. 310 THIRD AVENUE SE, DOWNTOWN TELEPHONE 362 8679 BAR OPEN SUNDAY NOON TO IO P.M. ROOSEVELT! MOTOS HOTEL Convenient parking in our romp DOWNTOWN BEER BUST and Dance Saturday, July 27, 1974 Music By The "Country Caravan C.S.P.S. Hall, I 103 3rd. St. SE Dancing 8:30- 12:30 $2.00 Donation Sponsored By Linn Co. Democratic Club John Butcher, Pres. .rnnii; * v\ & & ,.v AV Norlun suggested that he get into the biographical race. "I thought it would take three, maybe four years,” Sheaffer says. But tracing hundreds of people, straining eyes over faded newspaper files, studying letter and manuscript collections in a half-dozen • university libraries proved to tx* a steadily growing task. There were also efforts by some rivals to block access to sources of information. “I wanted to drop the whole thing the first year,” the voice, husky from too many cigarets, drops to a whisper. Race With Mortality For seven years, however, Sheaffer jxTsisted — "It was basic detective work, with luck and persistence.” An occasional anonymous tip or a faint trial would suddenly open an unsuspected rich source of information. In Buenos Aires he located a man who was O’Neill’s shipmate on early travels. "I was in a race with mortality,” Sheaffer says, "because most who could talk about him were in their 70s or HOs. "You never knew who would be helpful For a long time I felt I was ice skating over his life ” A pivotal    conclusion he reached concerned O’Neill’s ambivalent attitude about his parents,    long    accepted as a profound influence on his work. “When I started I took it for granted, as everyone else had, that his hostility was directed toward    his    father James O’Neill    was    a noted 19th Century bravura actor Then I talked with those who really knew him and realized central hostility was against his mother. “That explained a great deal about his relations toward his own wives. And there was his repudiated Catholicism, which directly related to how he felt about his mother. Legacy Of Guilt “He was a man staggering under a load of guilt all his life. He felt his birth had been responsible for his mother Broadway Stars Laud Policemen J NEW YOKE (AP) - The stars of a half dozen Broadway shows including Her-mione Gingold, Lynn Redgrave and .loan Hackett personally have told New York policemen their work is appreciated. The theater personalities DRAPORT INN On Old Hwy 211 2 MUm South of Kirkwood (ollogo OPEN Every Sunday Serving Food & Drink Live Entertainment Fri. - Sat. - Sunday Bud & The Country Music Masters Bar-B-Q Ribs Fri. A Sat. PHONE 848-4145 stopped by the Midtown North precinct station this week to thank the officers for cleaning up the area and making it safer for theatergoers and workers. RJ’s LOUNG! MARION protean “ALICE RITTER” SINGER & GUITARIST • BLUE GRASS A FOLK ROCK A BLU 9 pm-? “The Good, Bod it Ugly" FRI. and SAT. Meet your friends for Fun, Drinks and Dancing Open 2 p.m. ’til 2 a.m. 1724 16th Avo. SW I I I I I I ALL NIGHT SKATE Sat. July 27 8 P.M. to 6 A.M. Doors locked at Midnight — Parents must pick up children Wed. — Pass Plus Night 6 to 8 and 8 to 10 Pass Plus 50< I st Session Stay 2nd Session Pass Plus 354 with or without Skates CEDAR RAPIDS ROLLER DROME Highway 30 West Rh. 365-0176 becoming a drug addict, and that led to his hostility toward her — because she bequeathed him that lifelong legacy of guilt.” Sheaffer feels that importance of the antimother discovery has been neglected by many reviewers of his work Ile also wishes "more attention were given to the book’s readability then to its scholarship.” lb* takes a newspaperman’s pride in having a lively style. Accumulation of all the background data sent Sheaffer into a tangential maze, struggling to learn how to index and assemble bits in proper relevancy. For seven years he searched, traveled and sorted before putting paper in typewriter Creative anguish set in. "TIK1 danger of writing biography is that you may project yourself onto your subject. "Sometimes I’d rewrite a paragraph 15 or 20 tunes. It’s Uke drilling for oil. You think you’ve got the bit as deep as you can get. Then suddenly, at times, there’s a moment of exhilaration as the drill goes FRI. A SAT. NIGHT MUSIC BY THE STAN-DELL’S OREN 9-2 Don Geater, Bob Tischer FIREPLACE LOUNGE HIAWATHA MR CONOniONED—MB I DO’S & DON’TS A FRI. JULY 26 * St. Pat’s Fairfax Church Benefit DANCE MOR SWISHER I I I I I I II ■ BOMBS, BEltav AB© Ss ©KO® KIM® ®(v>cs. ROOSEVELT motor hotel » Kebobs r DO'S® (-°*VEHlEHT PUKING rn OUK KAM” BAUCH SUPPER CLUB Join Us This Weekend fail Serving Delightful Foods Mon.-Thurs. 5-10 Fri. 5-11, Sat. 5-12 Live Entertainment Every Fri. & Sat. Night Happy Bright and Tony Every Tuesday tx Thursday .95 $2 Plan Your Rehearal Dinner On Highway 21 8 Midway Between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City 857-2641 down further, and you come up with the thought that clarifies.” Six grants from private foundations and the National Fndowment for the Humanities sustained him, plus help from his family in hometown Louisville, Ky., whim funds on hand got perilously low. His Best Took Time "As the years piled up, I became panicky more than once at thought of the great chunk of my life that O’Neill’s life was costing me. But I had to take all the time necessary to do my best.” Sheaffer amiably disputes praise of “O’Neill, Son arid Playwright” and "O’Neill. Son and Artist" as definitive works. He is keenly aware that the dramatist and his last wife, ('arietta Monterey, locked up ZODIAC “NO SAUCE” INN 51854th AVE. MARION TURN RT. AT 50TH ST. NEW HOURS: DAILY 6 p.m.-2 a.m. • dancing nftely • OPEN SUNDAY “THI NIGHTCLUB FOR NON-DRINKERS ALL DRINKS MADE WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS" A FRIDAY * “POCATEE PICKLING CO.” THE FINEST IN BLUE GRASS A COUNTRY MUSIC. A SATURDAY * “DAVE WILLIAMS” THE MELLOW VOICED GUITAR STYLIST in the Yale university library under 25-year embargo a trove of personal documentation. Among the material are diaries O’Neill kept from his Bohemian days in Greenwich Village through two decades of endeavor. The interdict ends in 1978 Will he be there? The pale blue eyes glint with unquenched enthusiasm for further investigation. "I can’t help it,” says Sheaffer. 5550 6th St. SW Cedar Rapids, Iowa Presents FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHT “Cl ^J ho wc ade In our Granada Lounge For Reservations Phone 366-7721 Now Toking Reservations For Your Meetings, Banquets & Holiday Parties The PURPLE Cow’s EVENING SPECIALS Monday - Fried Chicken ej%25 Tuesday-Swiss Steak Wednesday - Fish Fry Thursday — Roast Pork Ii Dressing Dinners include Potato, Salad, Beverage Evening Specials With Our Salad Bar Included *2.75 OR YOU MAY ORDER FROM OUR REGULAR MENU SUNDAY NOON BUFFET In the Granary Room -ll 30 a rn.-2 pm Select from Several Meats $Q25 Delicious Homemade Salads V You'll Find Coo I Refreshments at our DAIRY BAR Cones -Malts - Sundaes - Sandwiches - Carry Out Service THE PURPLE COW Highway 21 8 at North Liberty Phone 626-2253 Only I 2 minutes South of Cedar Rapids Mon.-Thor*. 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 6:30 a.rn.-IO p.m. Sot. 8 a.m.-IO p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Aft.,    Dinner vhi,our WOOD 'N WHEEL GIFT SHOP sirloin'n' 8 Re to YOUR CHOICE OF: • Roast Beef au jus e Fried Chicken • Baked Ham    •    Fish • Mashed Potatoes and Gravy • Buttered Corn or Peas A Carrots • Select Your Favorite Salad from our Salad Bar • Dessert—Ice Cream or Sherbet Served 1:30 a.rn.-3:00 p.m. Rolls, Softer, Coffee or Hot Tea Included With All Meals 2 95 Children under IO, $1.75 Children under 3, Free. (Table Service also available) ☆ One of the delightful dining places in Eastern IowaI Your food is always tasty and satisfying SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL! French Fried Sunday Service BUFFET SERVING 11:30-3:00 Regular Menu 5:00-9:30 FREE BALLOONS FOR THE KIDS DOUBLI-BUBBLE HOUR 4-6:30 Monday thru Friday COCKTAILS AVAILABLE AT YOUR TABLE or In tho LOUNGE 4407 I it Avenue S.E. (next to Target) Phone 393-9727 ;

  • Bob Tischer
  • Buenos Aires
  • Caravan C.S.P.S. Hall
  • Christina Marie
  • Don Geater
  • John Butcher
  • Little Brown
  • Lynn Redgrave

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: July 26, 1974

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