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Beautiful Terror

“Fame is a calamity.”

—Turkish Proverb

The face is familiar, but not the gray hair.  To some few, it may be so from Our Gang shorts from the late 30’s and early 40’s, known by the moniker of Mickey Gubitosi.  To others, it is the face of Bobby Blake of “Red Ryder” westerns and Humoresque (1947) and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).  To many, it is Robert Blake of Baretta on 70’s television, in some episodes of which he disguised himself as a swishy character singing “Strangers in the Night”; but to most, it is familiar as that of the haunted killer Perry Smith, the lead in Richard Brooks’ film In Cold Blood (1967), the role of a lifetime.  If I am at all informed, Robert Blake’s alibi for the alleged murder of his wife is that he could not have shot her because he had to go back into the restaurant to get his gun.  Perhaps the author of In Cold Blood, with his celebrated powers of empathy, could have understood that one; which thought brings us to the matters at hand, for Truman Capote does come to mind these days, and for more reasons than those associated with Robert Blake.  And the face of Capote, also, was a much-photographed face.

The dreary publishing scene is so lacking in spark that...

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