Budd SchulbergI was lucky enough to get to know the author Budd Schulberg. His book, The Disenchanted, which I read at age fourteen, had a giant influence on me. He was also the screenwriter of On the Waterfront. When I entertained in Westhampton Beach, he lived in neighboring Quiogue, and he came in for dinner and sat by the piano and asked me for tunes from Paramount pictures of the 1930’s. His father ran that studio, so he knew them all. The Richard Whiting tunes (My Ideal, Good Ship Lollipop, Hooray for Hollywood) the Sam Coslow tunes (My Old Flame, Mr. Paganini) the Gordon-Revel tunes (Love Thy Neighbor, Stay as Sweet as You Are). DisenchantedWe developed quite a bond over this music, and from time to time we found ourselves sharing the jitney ride out to the Hamptons. He knew I was interested in the musical theater. And he loved to tell stories, as writers do. “You know, I was an assistant to John O’Hara on Pal Joey.” “Really? I didn’t know that.” The musical was based on O’Hara’s stories. “Yeah, I was just a kid, maybe twenty-two, and I was there as a sort of gopher for John. But my real job, it developed, was trying to keep Larry Hart in line.” “Oh, Lord.’ Larry (Lorenz) Hart was famous for slipping out of rehearsals and getting lost for three days. “Yeah. And Dick Rodgers would say to me, “’Budd, you search every bar in this town and don’t you come home until you find him.’” And I’d go, with the stage manager, on a hunt through New Haven, hitting every bar where Larry liked to hang out, until I found him. And he wouldn’t come home. He’d actually clamp his hands around the bar stool to prevent my moving him. Eventually, I had to pick him up and literally carry him into the taxi. He was only five feet, you know, not very heavy, and I was a big guy.”

Bud Schulberg & John Meyer