The Big Time

mercury-1950

The American Mercury, December, 1950

After the war, Huie resumed writing for The American Mercury. He operated between New York and Washington. Ruth was with him. Huie became editor of The Mercury in 1951 and did his best to live up to the raucous spirit of its founder, HL Mencken. But the legacy of Huie’s incarnation of The Mercury was as an incubator for the young intellectuals who would build the American conservative movement, including his hire, 26-year-old William F. Buckley, Jr. Some of Huie’s most notable early-fifties Mercury writing includes pieces about the tragedy of Defense Secretary James Forrestal, the vice-presidential run of fellow Hartselle native Senator John Jackson Sparkman and Huie’s 1930’s Christmas posing as a butler in the Bugsy Siegel home. Huie ultimately became publisher but unrelenting money woes ended his run in January 1953.

mamie

The Revolt of Mamie Stover, Duell, Sloan and Pierce, 1951

The Revolt of Mamie Stover, The New American Library (Signet paperback), 1951

The Revolt of Mamie Stover, Signet paperback, 1957 (14th printing)

Throughout his life, Huie never stopped trying for the big score, preferably novel and film. The Revolt of Mamie Stover is Huie’s daring study of a war-profiteering Mississippi beauty. He originally asked Mr. Duell to release it under a pseudonym, but the publisher took advantage of Huie’s growing fame. It was made into a 1955 movie starring Jane Russell. As recently as July, 2006 the Washington Post called this book “smart, provocative and funny”.

longines-jfk_000030

Longines Chronoscope, CBS News, 1952 Huie Interview with Senator John Kennedy (VHS)

In 1951, CBS began national broadcasts of the news interview program Longines Chronoscope. Huie was a Chronoscope “coeditor” during 1951 and 1952. America watched snowy screens as Huie interviewed the likes of John Kennedy, Joseph McCarthy and John Foster Dulles .

cosmo

Cosmopolitan, July, 1951, “The Truman Plan to Make Eisenhower President”

Cosmopolitan, February, 1952 “When Eisenhower Was President”

Cosmopolitan, May, 1952 “Profile of Our Next First Lady”

Coronet, March 1950 “The Case of the Murdered Tourists”

Huie maintained a prodigious output during his New York period. He wrote often for several national venues.

executionslovik

The Execution of Private Eddie Slovik, Duell, Sloan and Pierce, 1954

The Execution of Private Eddie Slovik, Delacorte Press, 1970

The Execution of Private Eddie Slovik, Westholme Publishing, 2005 (currently in print)

In 1949, a Pentagon source revealed to Huie the existence of a European graveyard of unnamed American soldiers. Huie’s probe identified the grave and name of the only American soldier executed for desertion since the Civil War. The story of ne’er-do-well Eddie Slovik is an example of Huie’s masterful reporting and his tendency to anger the mighty. Eisenhower, who authorized the execution, tried to stop the book. Frank Sinatra bought the screen rights but never made a movie. He didn’t want to anger friend John Kennedy. The Department of Defense bought the film rights from Sinatra, and shelved the story. Finally, in 1975, a made-for-TV-movie was produced. It starred Martin Sheen and was the most-watched TV show until Roots.

rubym

The Crime of Ruby McCollum, Jarrolds Publishers, 1957

Ruby McCollum, New American Library (Signet paperback), 1964

The Crime of Ruby McCollum, Arrow Books (UK paperback), 1959

Ebony, November, 1954, “The Strange Case of Ruby McCollum”

In 1954, a black woman shot and killed her white lover, a prominent Live Oak, Florida physician. Zora Neale Hurston, who went on to become a revered black writer, asked Huie to help her tell Ruby McCollum’s sordid tale of passion, greed and little-town political corruption. Huie went to Florida and got himself a passel of trouble and a rollicking story.

Comments are closed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: