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Old August 30th 11, 08:09 AM posted to rec.arts.movies.current-films,soc.culture.usa,rec.arts.movies.past-films,rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chess.politics
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Default Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

http://www.amazon.com/dp/4871876225
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...SBN=4871876225

Tobacco Road
by Erskine Caldwell
Introduction by Sam Sloan

Lov Bensey married Pearl the daughter of Jeeter Lester when she was
twelve years old. Now, after eight months of marriage, he has come to
ask Jeeter for help. His wife Pearl, now 13, still has not slept with
him. She sleeps on the floor next to his bed. She is not leaving him
but at the same time she is not speaking to him and does not even have
sex with him. He has tried to tie her to the bed so as to have sex
with her, but every time he does that she runs away.

So, he has come to ask her father, Jeeter, for help. Perhaps if they
both tie her to the bed together so that she will provide the benefits
that God intended, she will like it and there will be no problems
after that.

Turns out that Jeeter Lester had the same problem with his wife, Ada.
She also married him at an early age and it was one year before she
finally had sex with Jeeter. But, having finally started, there was no
stopping. They now have 17 children and have been together for 40
years, basically happily married.

However, of their 17 children, almost all of them are gone. Mostly,
the children said they were going for a walk and never came back. They
went to work in the cotton mills in the big city of Augusta, Georgia.

Now there are only three children left, Pearl, aged 13, Dude, aged 16,
and Ellie May aged 18.

Actually, Pearl is not the real daughter of Jeeter Lester. Her real
father is a man who came, spent one night there, left the following
day saying that he would return and never came back. Later we find out
that Dude is not the natural son of Jeeter either.

They do not even know the name of the real father of Pearl, but he
left behind one thing: Pearl Lester has beautiful, long yellow curls
hanging down her back and pale blue eyes that none of the other
Lesters have. Pearl is a great beauty and this is the reason that Lov
Bensey has married her. This is also the reason that he feels
frustrated by the fact that she will not sleep in his bed.

“The truth was, Pearl has far more sense than any of the Lesters; and
that, like her hair and eyes, had been inherited from her father. The
man who was her father had passed through the country one day and had
never been seen since. He had told Ada that he had come from Carolina
and was on his way to Texas, and that she was all she knew about
him.” (page 40)

Jeeter suggests a solution. Why not divorce Pearl and marry his other
remaining daughter, Ellie May.

Ellie May has a fine figure and would be a beautiful and desirable
woman except for one thing: She has a physical deformity: A cleft
palate, a harelip. This deformity makes her extremely ugly and nobody
will marry her, so she stays at home, longing for a husband, and
especially for Lov.

So, Jeeter Lester proposes that Lov Bensey divorce Pearl and let Ellie
May come to live with him. Ellie May would like that very much, and
she has a body that any man would desire, were it not for her ugly
face.

The problem the Jeeters face is they are all starving. As the author
Erskine Cladwell explained in a subsequent introduction to this book,
when either tobacco or cotton is planted year after year on the same
land, the land eventually falls fallow and will not produce crops any
more. The Jeeters have been farming this land for generations. It was
once the most productive land in the area. That is the reason the
place is called “Tobacco Road”. But now it is hard to get either
tobacco or cotton to grow there, so the Jeeters are starving.

This explains why Pearl Lester does not leave her husband Lov, even
though she does not want to sleep with him, and also helps explain why
Ellie May is anxious to move in with Lov. Lov has a regular job
shoveling coal at the coal chute and always has food in his house.

So begins “Tobacco Road” by Erskine Caldwell. Nowadays it seems like
this story must be a spoof or a parody. It seems difficult to believe
that there was ever anybody as ignorant as these Lesters, none of whom
can read, write or even sign their own names. Yet, I know for a fact
that such people existed because I grew up with them. I grew up on
Trent's Ferry Road in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of
Virginia and the old Caldwell Farm was right across the street from
where I lived. I went to school with two Caldwells. There were many
families in my neighborhood just like these Lesters. Hard to believe
but true, the home the Lesters live in is far better than the homes of
many of the people I knew.

When Tobacco Road came out, it created a sensation and was to be
regarded as a literary masterpiece. It was made into a hugely
successful Broadway Play and broke all records for length of run in
the history of American theater. The play ran on Broadway for a total
of 3,182 performances, becoming the longest-running play in history at
the time, and has since been revived twice.

Then it was made into a movie, directed by John Ford.

Although the movie follows the book closely, there are some
differences. The Lester children are older in the movie. In the book
Dude is 16 and Ellie May is 18; in the movie 20 an 23. This looses
some of the impact because when when Sister Bessie Rice, a woman
almost 40 and a new widow, arrives on the scene, she decides to marry
Dude, who is only 16.

Another difference between the book and the movie is that the horribly
ugly Ellie May is played in the movie by Gene Tierney, a woman of
fabulous beauty. She was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood
and the star of the movie “Laura”.

This is explained by the fact that Gene Tierney had not been
“discovered” yet. Tobacco Road was made in 1941. “Laura”, the movie
that made her a star, was not made until 1944. Her co-star in Laura
was Dana Andrews, who played Captain Tim Harmon in the movie “Tobacco
Road”.

There is a mantra in Hollywood that a movie must have a happy ending,
and thus the movie version of “Tobacco Road” ends happily. Not so the
book version, but you will have to read the book to find out. Mr.
Caldwell described Darryl Zanuck's 1941 movie version as ''one of the
most conspicuous failures in cinematic history'' because of its
falsified happy ending.

Erskine Caldwell was born Dec. 17, 1903, on what he described as ''an
isolated farm deep in the piney-woods country of the red clay hills of
Coweta County, in middle Georgia.'' He traveled the region's many
tobacco roads with his clergyman father, during which he observed the
habits and speech patterns that he would later incorporate into his
writing. He died on April 11, 1987.

Caldwell wrote 55 books, including 27 novels, dozens of short stories
and a number of prose collections, but he is remembered primarily for
two of them, “Tobacco Road” and “God's Little Acre”.

On December 1, 1982, The New York Times wrote:

“FIFTY years ago they emerged from the backwoods of Georgia, shiftless
and uneducated poor whites bearing such unfamiliar names as Jeeter,
Ellie May, Sister Bessie, Ty Ty and Darling Jill. Underfed and
oversexed, their public passions, petty jealousies and frequent fits
of anger stunned an American public that had barely been aware of
their existence. Today, long after the conditions that spawned them
have largely disappeared, their names remain etched in the American
consciousness. For they are characters from ''Tobacco Road'' and
''God's Little Acre,'' Erskine Caldwell's novels of deprivation and
depravity in the Deep South. Praised for calling attention to
deplorable conditions in the rural South and damned for having
exaggerated those conditions, the books were widely commented upon but
rarely ignored. Together they have sold more than 17 million copies,
making them two of the biggest sellers of all time. Moreover, an
adaptation of ''Tobacco Road'' ran for a record seven-and-a-half
consecutive years on Broadway, and the movie version still turns up on
television.”

Sam Sloan
San Rafael California
August 29, 2011
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Old August 30th 11, 10:42 AM posted to rec.arts.movies.current-films,soc.culture.usa,rec.arts.movies.past-films,rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chess.politics
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Default Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

On Aug 30, 2:09*pm, samsloan wrote:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/4871876225h...SBN=4871876225

Moreover, an
adaptation of ''Tobacco Road'' ran for a record seven-and-a-half
consecutive years on Broadway, and the movie version still turns up on
television.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * Sam Sloan
* * * * * * * * * * * * San Rafael California
* * * * * * * * * * * * August 29, 2011


Were these characters black? I know about the blond girl but that's
why I ask: perhaps the mother had sex with a white man and that's why
she (the pretty blond) stands out.

RL
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Old August 30th 11, 12:50 PM posted to rec.arts.movies.current-films,soc.culture.usa,rec.arts.movies.past-films,rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chess.politics
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Default Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

On Aug 30, 2:42*am, raylopez99 wrote:
On Aug 30, 2:09*pm, samsloan wrote:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/4871876225h...andnoble.com/b...

Moreover, an
adaptation of ''Tobacco Road'' ran for a record seven-and-a-half
consecutive years on Broadway, and the movie version still turns up on
television.”


* * * * * * * * * * * * Sam Sloan
* * * * * * * * * * * * San Rafael California
* * * * * * * * * * * * August 29, 2011


Were these characters black? *I know about the blond girl but that's
why I ask: *perhaps the mother had sex with a white man and that's why
she (the pretty blond) stands out.

RL


No. None of the characters are Black. However, this raises an
interesting question. It seems odd that some other unknown men were
the father of at least two of the children, Pearl and Dude, yet this
is mentioned casually as though it is not any big deal. Plus in the
movie version Ada the mother says that she has had "17 or 18" children
she does not know which as though she cannot even remember how many
children she has had. Here is what the original back cover blurb says
about this race question:

TOBACCO ROAD

The new, original and important talent of Erskine Caldwell has created
an authentic picture of a family of poor whites in a forsaken part of
Georgia that is absolutely breath-taking.
The story of the disintegration of old man Jeeter and his family, of
their dehumanization, is so appalling that the reader is spellbound
and has to read on.
This novel is not only the recital of a tale so stark as to excite
hypnotic power. It is, most definitely, not a “shocker”. It is a piece
of genuine literature. The characters are vivid, accurate. The writing
is frequently Rabelaisian. There is humor and Pathos in this tragedy.
Old man Jeeter's destiny - that of the white man, deteriorated by a
climate inexorably adverse, finally extinguished by a distant
industrialism of which he is not even aware - touches the universal.


ERSKINE CALDWELL'S AMERICA

Erskine Caldwell's widely discussed novels of the back roods of
American life are now available in complete, unabridged, low-priced
editions for only o fraction of their original cost. Combining stark
realism with lusty humor, these are frank, moving stories by an
original and exciting American story teller. Each of these novels has
awakened a controversy that will be waged for years to come. Each
belongs in your permanent library of really important books.

TOBACCO ROAD

The complete and unabridged edition of the candid novel about poor
white farmers in Georgia. Millions applauded the record-breaking
Broadway ploy based on this sensation-making book. "A good many people
will be shocked, but it is a story of force and beauty."-N. Y. Post

GOD'S LITTLE ACRE

The much discussed story of a Georgia dirt former and his three
gorgeous uninhibited daughters. Here is the entire, uncut book that
the N. Y. Society for the Suppression of Vice tried to ban.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/4871876225
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...SBN=4871876225

Tobacco Road
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Old August 30th 11, 03:50 PM posted to rec.arts.movies.current-films,soc.culture.usa,rec.arts.movies.past-films,rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chess.politics
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Default Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell



"samsloan" schrieb im Newsbeitrag
...
http://www.amazon.com/dp/4871876225
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...SBN=4871876225

Tobacco Road
by Erskine Caldwell
Introduction by Sam Sloan


Copyright Renewal Record:
Title Tobacco road
Author CALDWELL, ERSKINE
Registration Date 11Feb32
Renewal Date 8Jun59
Registration Number A47857
Renewal Id R237808
Renewing Entity Erskine Caldwell (A)
Old Class Code


Will enter public domain 11 Feb 2027


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Old August 30th 11, 06:35 PM posted to rec.arts.movies.current-films,rec.arts.movies.past-films,rec.games.chess.politics
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Default Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

On Aug 30, 3:09 am, samsloan wrote:
Introduction by Sam Sloan

Lov Bensey married Pearl the daughter of Jeeter Lester when she was
twelve years old. Now, after eight months of marriage, he has come to
ask Jeeter for help. His wife Pearl, now 13, still has not slept with
him. She sleeps on the floor next to his bed. She is not leaving him
but at the same time she is not speaking to him and does not even have
sex with him. He has tried to tie her to the bed so as to have sex
with her, but every time he does that she runs away.


Oh, I get it. 12-yr-old Pearl, now presumably thirteen for same as
Wiona in The Killer's Great Balls of Fire, is sort of backwards for
being tied to a bed, even, for sex, which "somehow" tickles in her
"flights of fancy";- since she's tied to the bed, psychologically
she's then undergoing, in the clinical interpretation, alternative
repression manifestations symbolically suggestive of sex by auto-
locution of running, for her pumping, creamy thighs no doubt to
suffice as sorts lend frenzied friction. Sort of best to think of in
Irish terminology, if I may, backwards, where monks forbid the evil
Druid spirits from entering the tribal girls private places by making
them dance, at highmoon, midnight, with their hands tied to their
sides. Jeester is of course like Baby Doll's husband, which needn't
be a bother, since everybody expects that of a sidekick for antagonism
to broaden heroic proportions -- either of Catholic honor or a Soviet
Medal of Merit awarded women with 17 urchins dedicated in camaraderie
to industrial revolution of 'baccy, sugar, and chocolatte -- none of
whom should find beauty especially a further impediment in the broader
scheme of Platonic societies, where only beautiful is actually
auctioned on the block reserved from usual 7 mules needed to purchased
sundry "spittin' buckers."

Ah, yes. Now see this story, I know well, that Caldwell's skirting
beneath;- its Zola's miners, which sorely taxed an initial French
reception for publishing Germinal, so constructing social
constrictions to presage, if I might mildly interject, Marxist
sentiments;- as well as D. H. Lawrence, who, in his essays, to include
tunnel- just not pit-miners, avoids entirely any tawdry affects
largely by distinction and vantage for the British epitome of Oxford
training, over-qualifying if not inventing actual reportage, whilst
ruminating and living abroad, on the greater Continent, in sake of
what once tradition accounted by journals;- do mind, however, I
honestly couldn't say I could without profundity dispense with either,
if strictly speaking in a magnanimous sense.



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Default Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

On Aug 30, 11:50*pm, samsloan wrote:


I have a theory that Ellie May may in part be the basis for the Al
Capp Lil' Abner character Moonbeam McSwine, a girl of fabulous beauty
who is always seen wallowing in the mud with the pigs.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/4871876225h...SBN=4871876225

Sam Sloan


Well Sam inspired by your post I went ahead and ordered a copy from
Amazon. Not your copy (I got "page not found" from Amazon) but a
legitimate publisher's copy. And I think that though there are
elements of parody in the book, clearly IMO it's also based on fact:
I know of southern families that had over a dozen kids, so 17 or 18 is
not out of the question. Even in Virginia, much less the Deep South.

RL
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Default Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

On Aug 30, 1:35 pm, Flasherly wrote:

- as well as D. H. Lawrence, who, should be Orwell.


--
To imagine a future is to imagine a boot in your face. -GO [attrib.]
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Default Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

(Sounds like there's an echo in here. )
I don't think the novel could get filmed faithfully even today. The
scene of a brother watching his sister masturbating in the middle of
the road is not likely to get an R. The movie was based on the
liberally adopted Broadway play, which was more along the lines of
those funny hillbillies.

The ethos at Fox at that time is well summarized by an excerpt from a
contemporary memo by one of Zanuck's yes men:

"We must not let ourselves be bound by the contents of the book—but
simply retain the spirit of the book. We must concentrate our drama,
tighten what plot we have and make it more forceful—so that we build
and build to a big sustaining sock climax where we let everything go
with a bang. So long as we capture the general line, the characters,
the period—we can and should forget the book. Mr. Zanuck could not be
emphatic enough in bringing home the fact that we are in the business
to Give A Show—that our first job is to Make Entertainment."

You'll find that he

"A Reaffirmation of American Ideals: Drums Along the Mohawk" in
"American History/American Film: Interpreting the Hollywood Image",
O’Connor, John E. and Jackson, Martin A. eds. New York: Contiuum,
1988

It's the story of how a dark and gritty realistic novel about the
American Revolution was converted into a vehicle for Claudette
Colbert.
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Old August 31st 11, 05:28 AM posted to rec.arts.movies.current-films,soc.culture.usa,rec.arts.movies.past-films,rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chess.politics
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Default Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell


For what its worth.....William Faulkner considered Erskine Caldwell
the best
southern writer of his generation.
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Old August 31st 11, 06:15 AM posted to rec.arts.movies.current-films,soc.culture.usa,rec.arts.movies.past-films,rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chess.politics
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Default Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell

On Aug 31, 11:28*am, makento wrote:
For what its worth.....William Faulkner considered Erskine Caldwell
the best
southern writer of his generation.


Well he could not nominate himself, and Hemingway was not southern, so
it makes sense.

RL
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