What Makes Sammy Run?

“They looked at each other until they weren't acquaintances any longer": First Edition of What Makes Sammy Run; Inscribed by Budd Schulberg in the year of publication

What Makes Sammy Run?



Item Number: 89545

New York: Random House, 1941.

First edition of what many consider one of the most important novels on Hollywood and the film industry. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper in the year of publication, “To Julian Johnson with respect and fond regards, Budd. March 29, 1941.” The recipient Julian Johnson was the head story editor for 20th Century Fox studios in the 1930s. Fine in a near fine first issue dust jacket with the rear panel with the blurbs by F. Scott Fitzgerald and John O’Hara. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. A nice association.

What Makes Sammy Run?, published in 1941, is narrated by Al Manheim, a New York newspaper columnist who eventually ends up in Hollywood trying to write movies. He first meets Sammy -- the infamous Sammy Glick -- when the young man shows up at his newspaper as a copy boy. Al follows Sammy's meteoric rise, which is fueled by his unstoppable ambition as well as the kind of manipulative behavior that takes Al's breath away. Al is a nice guy, as even Sammy recognizes, and we all know what happens to them; Sammy, on the other hand, is always focused on knowing the right guy to schmooze, the right gossip columnist to tip and the right shoes to wear to get ahead. Although What Makes Sammy Run was never made into a film — it reached Broadway as a musical in the 1960s, and Schulberg himself directed a 1959 TV adaptation — works as varied as “The Player” and “Sweet Smell of Success” owe a debt to Schulberg’s tale. His novel “The Disenchanted,” another bitter tale of Hollywood, also cast a long shadow over the public’s perception of the fate of such literary figures as F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner and the time they spent in Los Angeles as screenwriters.

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