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Ead years from now when it will bring back like a falcon in the sky of memory a whole world that is currently jetting and jazzing its way somewhere or other NewsweekIn his first book. Tom Wolfe burst onto the literary scene in 1965 with the publication of his first book The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby a collection of articles that he had written for Esuire and New York magazine the Sunday supplement of the New York Herald Tribune Surprisingly for a book of collected non fiction it sold extremely well and helped shine a light on the burgeoning genre soon to be called New Journalism Wolfe and other New Journalists of the 1960 s like Gay Talese were using some of the techniues of fiction to write non fiction Wolfe told stories in an interesting way and these new techniues were paired with a flamboyant sometimes over the top writing style full of ellipses exclamation points and sound effects Wolfe defended his uniue writing style in a 1966 interview saying People only write in careful flowing sentences they don t think that way and they don t talk that way Conversations with Tom Wolfe p12 Over the course of The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby you can see Wolfe s style begin to emerge The twenty two pieces in the book were written over a period of just fifteen months a time when Tom Wolfe went from obscure newspaper reporter to the capturer of the American zeitgeist of the 1960 s I ve been a little obsessed with Tom Wolfe over the last few months He s an author I ve always known about and been aware of but until this year I had never actually read any of his work I figured I needed to rectify that so I dug out my copy of Smiling Through the Apocalypse Esuire magazine s history of the 1960 s which included Wolfe s articles The Last American Hero The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby and Las Vegas What Las Vegas Can t Hear You Too Noisy Las Vegas After reading those three articles I was hooked and I knew I had to read of Wolfe The first book of Wolfe s I read was his critiue of modernist architecture From Bauhaus to Our House and next I read his 1976 essay collection Mauve Gloves Madmen Clutter Vine Here s a in depth look at the articles in The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby Las Vegas What Las Vegas Can t Hear You Too Noisy Las Vegas The first article in the book this is a classic look at Las Vegas which at the time Wolfe wrote this article was beginning to emerge as an entertainment mecca out in the vast Nevada desert The Las Vegas that Wolfe describes in 1964 has only gotten bigger noisier and complete in its attempts to win your attention Two of my favorite uotes from the article are Men play the slots too of course but one of the indelible images of Las Vegas is that of the old babes at the row upon row of slot machines There they are at six o clock Sunday morning no less than at three o clock Tuesday afternoon p6 Muzak pervades Las Vegas from the time you walk into the airport upon landing to the last time you leave the casinos It is piped out to the swimming pool It is in the drugstores It is as if there were a communal fear that someone somewhere in Las Vegas was going to be left with a totally vacant minute on his hands p7 Both of these uotes still very accurately describe the Las Vegas of the present Clean Fun at Riverhead is about the birth of the demolition derby and fits in well with Wolfe s other longer and much famous pieces about the burgeoning car culture of the 1960 s the title piece and The Last American Hero about NASCAR driver Junior Johnson I was fascinated by demolition derbies when I was a young boy so I found this piece really interesting The Fifth Beatle is a profile of New York City DJ Murray the K who hung out with the Beatles when they first came to America and was probably the first person to call himself The Fifth Beatle It s an interesting piece about the early days of Beatlemania Fortunately Wolfe doesn t make any editorial comments about the Beatles being a flash in the pan that would seem embarrassing now The Peppermint Lounge Revisited is a study of the types of people who were attending the New York City nightclub which popularized the twist dance craze of the early 1960 s It shows Wolfe s keen eye for social details The First Tycoon of Teen profiles record producer and songwriter and future convicted murderer Phil Spector Dating from late 1964 early 1965 just after the release of his masterpiece You ve Lost That Lovin Feelin it finds Spector at the peak of his fame and influence Wolfe does erroneously state that Spector worked with Elvis Presley The key uote from the article is on page 65 Spector is talking about a man who pushed him at a nightclub and says I mean I ve studied karate for years I could literally kill a guy like that You know Simmer down Phil The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby now this is the STORY The one that launched Wolfe into the stars made him THE writer of his time Although now when you read it it s not really high style Tom Wolfe yet You might read it and wonder where are the ellipseswhere are the exclamation points where s all the Tom Wolfe isms All of those will come later But the piece is written in a witty conversational style that was a breakthrough in Wolfe s writing Kandy Kolored sets up a general pattern that some of Wolfe s most famous articles will follow as Wolfe gives you the inside scoop on some heretofore uncharted subculture that you didn t even know existed Kandy Kolored examines the subculture of car customizing which was becoming very popular among teenagers in the early 1960 s Kandy Kolored was Wolfe s first magazine piece written for Esuire and Wolfe had a rather bad case of writer s block as he was trying to finish the article so his editor Byron Dobell suggested that Wolfe just type up his notes and someone else would work them into an article Wolfe pulled an all nighter pounding out 49 pages on his typewriter and when he showed the notes to Dobell he simply struck Dear Byron and ran Wolfe s notes as the article Wolfe relates this story in the introduction to the book and I didn t realize that the story around the creation of the story is as old as the story itself Wolfe s style in Kandy Kolored is conversational as he throws in asides that he probably figured would be edited out but those asides give the piece its style After years as a newspaper reporter Wolfe had finally found his voice The Marvelous Mouth is a profile of Cassius Clay written when he was in training to fight Sonny Liston Clay s upset victory over Liston made him the heavyweight champion Shortly afterwards Clay announced that he had converted to the Nation of Islam and was changing his name to Muhammad Ali The Marvelous Mouth was written after The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby but was published in Esuire in October of 1963 a month before Kandy Kolored appeared In a 1966 interview with Elaine Dundy for Vogue magazine titled Tom WolfeBut Exactly Yes Wolfe said I missed the important story about him that he was getting involved with the Black Muslims at the time I was seeing him Conversations with Tom Wolfe p11 The Last American Hero is another profile of an athlete NASCAR driver Junior Johnson This is the story where Wolfe s high style is on full virtuosic display The Last American Hero is full of onomatopoeia ellipses exclamation points and digressions about various topics Once again Wolfe takes the reader into subcultures moonshining and NASCAR racing that were not widely known outside of the American South in 1965 The Last American Hero is one of Wolfe s landmark articles It popularized the phrase good old boy and was adapted into a 1973 movie starring Jeff BridgesWolfe tried his hand at the movie star profile in 1963 s Loverboy of the Bourgeoisie about Cary Grant Wolfe is sharp in his writing about Grant who comes off as uite naturally funny and likable But Wolfe is totally off the mark when writing about movies in general Wolfe contrasts Grant to younger male movie stars and he writes One has only to list the male stars of the past 20 years Brando Rock Hudson Kirk Douglas John Wayne Burt Lancaster Robert Mitchum Victor Mature William Holden Frank Sinatra and already the mind is overpowered by an awesome montage of swung fists bent teeth curled lips popping neck veins and gurglings p176 What What is Wolfe talking about Brando s acting style was decidedly different from all of the other actors Wolfe lists so putting him together with the other actors doesn t make a lot of sense Wolfe seems to be criticizing Brando s acting style as critics charged that Brando was all Method mumblings and affectations But does Wolfe seriously think that Burt Lancaster William Holden and Rock Hudson were all popping neck veins and gurglings Then he hasn t seen very many of their movies Wolfe goes on to criticize the actresses of the 1950 s writing As often as not the Brandoesue hero s love partner is some thyroid hoyden as portrayed by Brigitte Bardot Marilyn Monroe Jayne Mansfield Gina Lollobrigida or recently Sue Lyon or Tuesday Weld The upshot has been the era of Rake a Cheek Romance on the screen Man meets woman She rakes his cheek with her fingernails He belts her in the chops They fall in a wallow of passion p176 Again what is Wolfe talking about What movies was he watching Wolfe completely misrepresents the actresses of the 1950 s Bardot Monroe Mansfield and Lollobrigida were all bombshells who were huge sex symbols but they were not at all typical of the Hollywood actresses of that time The male actors that Wolfe mentions weren t often starring with these bombshells they were making movies opposite actresses like Deborah Kerr Eva Marie Saint Jean Simmons Audrey Hepburn Grace Kelly Barbara Stanwyck and Doris Day Bardot never made any significant American movies and Jayne Mansfield was basically a poor man s Marilyn Monroe who made B grade movies Okay so Mansfield did star with Cary Grant in 1957 s Kiss Them For Me but the closest she got to A lister Rock Hudson was starring in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter which used Hudson s name and Tab Hunter s to jokingly create the name of the character that Tony Randall played Wolfe then goes on to lump Marlon Brando James Dean and Rock Hudson together which makes no sense at all Brando and Dean s acting styles were completely different from Rock Hudson s and they were nothing alike as screen types Wolfe also discusses Ingrid Bergman in the context of the American middle class writing There is no telling how many millions of American women of the new era know exactly what Ingrid Bergman meant when she said she loved playing opposite Cary Grant in Notorious I didn t have to take my shoes off in the love scenes p176 7 What Wolfe seems to be saying is that Bergman loved her shoes so much that she was very glad she could keep them on all the time What I think Ingrid Bergman was actually saying is that she was happy she was playing opposite a tall leading man as the 5 9 Bergman wouldn t tower over the 6 2 Grant even in heels Former Confidential magazine publisher Robert Harrison is profiled next in Purveyor of the Public Life It s an interesting look at a man who was down on his heels at the time Wolfe profiled himIf you are really going to appreciate Tom Wolfe I mean really understand him and understand where these early pieces are coming from the one word you need to know simply must know is arteriosclerotic Arteriosclerotic Yes that very word It means a hardening of the arteries and Wolfe uses it in piece after piece in this book to describe people who are old suare rigid Wolfe explained his use of arteriosclerotic in his 1966 Vogue magazine interview Repeating words means that they have become for me inseparable from the meaning I want Eventually I get over them Arteriosclerotic I was obsessed for a while with people s blood vessels getting stiffer and stiffer without them knowing it Conversations with Tom Wolfe p11 The Girl of the Year profiles socialitemodel Baby Jane Holzer who was a New York media celebrity from 1963 1965 Holzer hung out a lot with Andy Warhol and the Rolling Stones and The Girl of the Year follows her to a Rolling Stones concert and to her birthday party The Girl of the Year is a look at fleeting fame and how some people become famous for little or no reason at allA short illustrated section called A Metropolitan Sketchbook is next It s moderately intriguing but I enjoy Wolfe s writing than his drawing The Saturday Route follows rich New Yorkers making the rounds of the art galleries on the Upper East Side The Luther of Columbus Circle profiles millionaire Huntington Hartford who hated abstract art and opened the Gallery of Modern Art in 1964 This piece would have been interesting if Wolfe would have been able to interview Hartford The New Art Gallery Society details a lavish party for the 1964 expansion of the Museum of Modern Art The Secret Vice is all about buttons on men s suits Again Wolfe is bringing you information on something you didn t even know you cared about It s the most John O Hara like piece in the book as Wolfe points out tiny details that are subtle markers of status The Nanny Mafia is about the influence that nannies have over the rich families they work for Again Wolfe is delineating careful gradations of status In his 1966 interview with Vogue magazine Wolfe said Perfect journalism would deal constantly with one subject status And every article written would be devoted to discovering and defining some new status Conversations with Tom Wolfe p9 Putting Daddy On was for me one of the least interesting pieces in the book It s about a father tracking down his son who has dropped out of college to live in the East Village The father drags Wolfe along for the ride A Sunday Kind of Love describes the thrill of lazy Sundays in New York It s a good little piece The Woman Who Has Everything is about the struggles of a young divorcee trying to find love in Manhattan It s well done and it shows what a good reporter Wolfe is Elaine Dundy uizzed Wolfe about his reporting habits in her 1966 interview of him asking him Doesn t the notebook put people off Not at all he claims as we are all victims of what he calls information compulsion ie the desire to unload whatever is currently on our minds Conversations with Tom Wolfe p7 8 The Voices of Village Suare is a short piece about female prisoners yelling out the windows of the Women s House of Detention which overlooked Village Suare in the heart of Greenwich Village Why Doormen Hate Volkswagens is an interesting piece about a doorman who parks cars for his tenants The Big League Complex is right up Wolfe s alley as it is all about status in New York City It s a good piece to end the book withIf you want to know where Tom Wolfe s exciting writing style came from go for a ride in The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby

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The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby

The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby 1965 Wolfe introduces us to the sixties to extravagant new styles of life that had nothing to do with the elite culture of the past. I remember reading this book in 1968 and being electrified by the wonderful descriptive passages that seemed to use a new language of buzz

read & download The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby

An excellent book by a genius said Kurt Vonnegut Jr of this now classic exploration of the 1960s from the founder of new journalismThis is a book that will be a sharp pleasure to rer. Sorry all you Hunter S Thompson fans but Tom Wolfe revolutionized journalism in the Sixties and didn t need biker colors or mescaline to accomplish the task His first book a compilation of articles for Esuire and others is a brilliant assessment of pop culture ie hot rod shows fashion designers Phil Spector etc that captures the times beautifully I also really like his crazy sketches of street life in New York complete with hair style portraits Mad props to Mr Wolfe


10 thoughts on “The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby

  1. says:

    Just heard on the news of the passing of Tom Wolfe a writer who seems to have been around my entire life I first read these great early essays with their over caffeinated headrush prose and their ability to freeze

  2. says:

    This was a fun and interesting read from a 2014 perspective Although if I ever read the word artherosclerotic again I think I'll scream These essaysarticles all came from the early 1960's and they showcase a world I hadn't a clue aboutFor instance the nanny mafia in New York? I wondered is there still a nanny mafia? I googled it yes apparently there is And who is Baby Jane Holzer? Had to do some research and asking around about her I loved

  3. says:

    Sorry all you Hunter S Thompson fans but Tom Wolfe revolutionized journalism in the Sixties and didn't need biker colors or mescaline to accomplish the task His first book a compilation of articles for Esuire and others is a brilliant assessment of pop culture ie hot rod shows fashion designers Phil Spector etc that captures the times beautifully I also really like his crazy sketches of street life in New York complete

  4. says:

    Tom Wolfe burst onto the literary scene in 1965 with the publication of his first book The Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby a collection of articles that he had written for Esuire and New York magazine the Sunday supplement of the New York Herald Tribune Surprisingly for a book of collected non fiction it sold extremely well a

  5. says:

    Tom Wolfe's first published book a collection of articles he wrote for newspapers and magazines I am a fan of his fiction but not so much of this writing The collection does show how he influenced or perhaps even invented the creative non fiction genre It also gives a good cultural overview of the early 1960s in America

  6. says:

    This was my first exposure to Wolfe and though I think I can see the appeal of his writing I have to admit that this book didn't really speak to me the way I hoped it would The writing has a certain beat flair though I'm not certain that Wolfe would appreciate being thrown in with beat writers I finished this

  7. says:

    Another excellent set of essays mostly mini biographies with an eye for issues of class and status Wolfe covers several angles on the upheaval of the 1960s that I'd never heard described demolition derbies the first celebrity DJs London youth fashion pre Nation of Islam Muhammad Ali gossip rags elites and art gallery patronage status and cust

  8. says:

    How much of this fades into cultural referential obscurity and how much remains as a period piece of Deep Truths About the American Condition will continue to clarify with time I suspect The name dropping density shies dangerously close to t

  9. says:

    I remember reading this book in 1968 and being electrified by the wonderful descriptive passages that seemed to use a new language of buzz

  10. says:

    Hot rods wouldn't normally be my thing but I went on a Wolfe binge and snapped them all up Not one of my favourites then even less so now when

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