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Darkness at Noon

Darkness at Noon

Carlisle, Harry 8vo, 313pp; brown cloth. Possibly the only novel by this elusive, English-born writer, based on his experience as a coal miner in western Britain before the World War. After the war, Carlisle emigrated to the U.S. His dust jacket bio reads in part: "Here are some of the things he has done: In England: grocer's boy, moulder's apprentice, coal-mine worker, machinist, waiter, munitions inspector, sailor in the Royal Navy, window-cleaner, boiler attendant. In America: janitor's assistant, stock-room clerk in a publishing house, sailor, economic investigator, accountant, radio sales organizer, manager of a music store, two-dollar-a-night trucker on fruit piers, owner of a bookstore, book reviewer, motion-picture reader, machinist, dishwasher, ghost-writer (scenarios and several novels) . . . . And he is only 33 years old!" Carlisle was an ardent communist, colleague, and, evidently, lover to fellow writer Tillie Olsen, with whom he traveled to the American Writer's Congress in 1935. He was active in the John Reed Club and was ultimately brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee in their pursuit of supposed communists in the film industry. As a member of the LA Committee for Protection of Foreign Born, a front organization, he faced deportation proceedings as a "Communist Alien" under the McCarran act, one of the so-called "Terminal Island Four." A shadowy figure in the film business who left little trace, "Harry Carlisle" appeared as one of the witnesses in Warren Beatty's 1980 film "Reds," about Reed. This copy of his elusive novel shows some additional cinematic pedigree. The author's inscription on the front endpaper marks the intersection of two Hollywood career paths going in distinctly different directions: "To William Wyler, with sincere congratulations for "Hell's Heroes" -- and hoping for mutual respect - Harry Carlisle, April 7, 1931." Hell's Heroes, a western, was Wyler's first sound feature. He would shortly become one of the most honored and critically acclaimed directors in all of American cinema, winner of three Academy Awards for best director and best picture, while directing fourteen actors to Oscar-winning performances. Endsheets faintly offset from dust jacket flaps; tips a bit bumped; fine in a rubbed dust jacket with an L-shaped closed tear to the spine and some edge wear.
    • $625
method-draw-image (23)

Small archive of documents; pertaining to the effort to recall Los Angeles city councilman McClanahan

McClanahan, Meade) Over 30pp, varying formats comprising flyers, leaflets, mimeograph, cards, original pencil notes and sketches and correspondence. In the immediate aftermath of the allied victory in the Second World War, notorious American fascist Gerald L.K. Smith -- the right wing extremist and founder of the America First party, nicknamed "Little Führer" -- having decamped from Detroit, saw fit to try and set up a base of operations in the city of Los Angeles to promote his agenda. He was aided in his effort by sympathetic members of the police force as well by key allies in city government, none more useful than newly elected councilman Meade McClanahan. McClanahan represented the 13th council district, including the neighborhood of Silver Lake. McClanahan seems to have been more than a passive supporter of Smith, although he did not himself so vehemently espouse Smith's antisemitic and white supremacist message. Still, he did help Smith secure a permit to hold a large rally at the Shrine Auditorium, just weeks after the end of the war, an introduced him at the event. Smith's presence in L.A. drew widespread protests -- it marked the beginning of the key alliance between Jewish and African-American civil rights leaders, who were united in their abhorrence of Smith -- as well as to a grass-roots effort to oust McClanahan from office via a recall election. The effort succeeded and McClanahan was recalled and replaced, cutting short his political ambitions (he was defeated in two subsequent elections, one trying to regain his council seat and one for U.S. Congress). This archive includes vintage leaflets, primarily from the recall movement, although also including a striking large newspaper-style flyer opposing the recall; pencil drafts of bullet-points for posters; a sample ballot for the recall election; campaign literature in support of McClanahan's opponent, veteran John Russell Roden; notes and correspondence from a recall organizer. All of the material is richly evocative of the episode, including items of great mid-century graphic appeal. An interesting file offering an excellent glimpse into a little-remembered episode that prefigures certain elements of contemporary American political life. Some tanning to paper edges, occasional folds; fine.
    • $450