Showman (1937)

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SHOWMAN ment I stood him his living expenses. Besides board and lodging, oil for his mustache, which was the pride of his heart, and shaving soap was all he needed. He did shave, you see. But he never bathed. Literally never. He wouldn't even let anybody give him an alcohol rub. I've never seen his equal as a publicity gag when he was properly handled. When I brought him back to New York from Washington, I started building him up with as much care as if he'd been a presidential candidate. To replace his ragged clothes I took him to a theatrical costumer's and laid in the fanciest Turkish costume money could buy— red turban, baggy green pants, gold-laced jacket, fez and all the rest of it. When he got them on— and did he love them!— he looked like the piece de resistance of a Shriners' parade. Then I turned him loose on Broadway. He processioned uptown, with every loafer on Manhattan Island falling into step beside him and behind him, his chest swelling another half inch every hundred yards. This, you could see he was telling himself, was something like it at last. Finally, I made him stop off in a restaurant with a big plate-glass window in the front, sit down at a table reserved for him right where the crowd could see every move he made— and start eating. He killed six steaks in rapid succession, interspersed with bushels of vegetables and whole loaves of bread, washed down by a couple of quarts of milk and followed by four different desserts. I had some of the steaks brought on 215