Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso’s 1989 interview/ conversation continues from here. This segment begins with some mutual observations on each others looks, before getting down to some choice movie-gossip, movie-memories, name-dropping ( Corso: “We’re not name-droppers, but we met those fuckers, right?”..”When we drop names, Allen, they bounce..”)
AG Yeah, (so) that’s the first time (you’ve grown a beard)
GC: First time. So the idea… You’re talking here of a chin
AG: My lines are a little longer
GC: Oh yeah and you shave it on the side, see, yours is neater. So it shows that you’re neater than me because I’ve lived and got fuck all. I’ve been shaving all my…
AG: No, no, this is more classical what you’ve got.
GC: You’ve got a bigger brow so it’s better, you’ve got to show full face, I’ve got a little brow. I have all this hair.
AG: I know that makes you younger
GC: No, it makes me have a thicker a nose and beady eyes. That’s all they see the eyes and nose and a (big) nose
AG: You look like a rich Hollywood actor..
GC: Yes I do, and..
AG: ..that is on location
GC: Is that like Geppetto?
AG: No, more like that – a rich Hollywood actor on location in a character role
GC: Ha ha ha!
GC: Did you ever check out, speaking of actors, John Huston?
AG: African Queen?, no.
GC: Red Badge of Courage.
AG: How was that?
GC: She got him just right.. He seemed like a fine man Remember when we met him?
GC: We met him just when he was going to do The African Queen.
AG Rue de Ségur? (L’avenue de Ségur)
GC: Oh no, (The) Roots of Heaven. He had finished African Queen already, but we saw it . We saw him in 19..
AG: On Rue de Ségur was that? ..or..
GC: Yeah. Remember, we were playing (the) pinball machine with Tristan Tzara
GC: He had come in with some other people and our friend BJ, (the big motorcycle guy that became an actor after a while – that Beeson Carroll, he became an actor on tv, and all that shit), went up to him and said, “One day you’re going to direct me”, and all that shit, right?
GC: He got to dig us, and I said “Ah..
AG: What, was Beeson there when we met him?
AG: or did we bring him? bring him to the..boat later. I think it was just you and I…
GC: Brought him to the boat later. We met. I remember because when he said to John Huston, “You’re going to be my director”, Yes
AG: I’m afraid that’s that’s. That was..
GC: Before the boat !
AG: Before the boat, ok,
GC: So I just thought..
GC: I got it. I got the story, Allen
AG: Ok, ok
GC: I’m playing pinball with Tristan Tzara, right?, so, and at the end of the game.. So, at the end of the game.. You and I were watching Tzara play pinball, and I went over and got John Huston and said, “You wanna meet a great poet? You know who that is there?” – And he says “Yes I know, I’ve got paintings “ – and he sure has, right, he has the Impressionists and what-not – so Tristan’s hanging with them, all the while, (and he hadn’t met Tristan Tzara). So Tristan kept on nudging me, and so, he said, “I don’t have to talk to those people, lets play pinball”. Isn’t that beautiful? – “I don’t have to talk to those people, lets play pinball”. Then it was the Bonaparte bar it was upstairs where, what’s his face, Jean Paul Sartre – Sartre lived upstairs. And it was a little bar, it wasn’t like a Paris dancing place.
AG: Café Bonaparte
GC: Café Bonaparte on the Rue…Rue Bonaparte
AG: Yeah, right off the..
GC: the Deux Magots
AG: Place Saint-Michel
GC: St Germain.
AG: St Germain Right across from that church of St Germain
GC: Yeah, and the Deux Magots.
AG: And behind the Deux Magot
GC: Yeah behind the Deux Magot. Right now, dig, then he invited us to the Baton Rouge
AG: So this would be 1957-58.. 1958?
GC: Right . He invited us to…
AG; 1958?, Yes.
GC: They finished making a movie called Roots of Heaven, I think around 58
AG: Would this be your first trip to Paris or your second?
GC: That was my second trip to Paris
AG: So that would be after Naked Lunch came out
GC: 58. We met them in 57 and 58, Allen. Anyway, lets forget the dates, lets talk about the details alright? –
GC: See we lucked out, we had met John Huston, John Huston was amazed to meet us on the boat (he didn’t invite us to the boat parties).
AG: I see
GC: It was Art Buchwald invited us. He did an interview with us
AG: Oh I thought it was Huston. Because we spent.. See, when we were talking with Huston, my whole purpose was to try and get him to make a movie of Naked Lunch.That was what we were interested in. We talked to him about Burroughs
GC: There you go, there you go. He should have grabbed it right then and there
AG: Yes but that was what was interesting
AG: And that was very early. Alright, so we started telling him about Burroughs and about Naked Lunch..
GC: Now on the boat there was Daryl Zanuck
AG: ..now he was very intelligent. What else did we talk about at the bar
GC: Yeah, let me tell you, I liked the guy, I liked the guy..
AG: Well we spent quite a bit of time with him. It was about two hours..
GC: Because if you read this biography of, yeah, biography by this lady Ross [sic], he comes out as a very sharp man the rest sound like assholes but he comes out smart. He was wearing his African clothes. He had his secretary always with him, a very tall, imposing man,
AG: I didn’t know he had a secretary..
GC: Yeah and we hand him the books, he was then looking in to an African window, a sort of African display.
GC: Yeah yeah yeah , right… But he didn’t – or did he? because I know Art Buchwald did, invite me and you and all that. We went. We brought Beeson Carroll. We brought Beeson Carroll and who else? – Peter
AG: Was Peter with us?
GC: Yes. Now Beeson Carroll fucked up. He grabbed Errol Flynn’s beard. No, Errol Flynn, grabbed his beard, Beeson Carroll’s beard, you know why? Beeson Carroll went up there – you said Roots of Heaven, right? – on this boat where everybody’s celebrating
AG: on the Seine
GC: on the Seine
AG: Who was the lady there?
GC: Juliette Gréco, who was after Darryl Zanuck, or he was after her, whatever, they were a pair
AG: And wasn’t Katherine Hepburn..?
GC: Katherine Hepburn, no, no, that’s definitely African Queen…they didn’t have Katherine Hepburn, man.
AG: But they were coming off The African Queen, weren’t they?
AG: I see
GC: there was Errol Flynn, who was in the movie, believe me, the lead.
GC Darryl Zanuck had nothing to do with The African Queen
AG: Ok Ok
GC: Spiegel – Sam Spiegel had that
GC: So we had all these intrigues going . Now, Flynn, at this time, had this eighteen-year-old girl named Beverly..something… blonde , eighteen- year-old, she delivered the newspapers, He’s got this young chick, right?, ok?. And I loved Errol Flynn, man, as a kid, and all that, and… He had read the Buchwald column and knew that we were poets and he loved us. He said, “Oh leave them, they’re poets, they’re fine” (because the trouble-spot was Beeson). Carroll Beeson, the bearded guy, went up to Errol Flynn and said “Hey man, I hear somebody broke a popper under your nose when you were flying in an aeroplane, how was it like?”” – Flynn turned red, grrrrr! , and grabbed Beeson’s beard! (Flynn was protected by five black guys who were in the movie Roots of Heaven – they played the black chieftains, right?, but they come from Los Angeles these blacks, they were like the strong overlords, right? So what we did was they stop the boat. You got off, Peter and him. Once they got off, Buchwald and John Huston..
AG: I don’t remember Peter being there. I remember getting off with BJ and ..
AG: .walking him home
GC: No you didn’t do that, but what you did when they let you off, you knelt down, on the pier..
GC: …on the pier, and started praying for us! (and Buchwald said ,”Look what they’re doing, praying for us?” – Everyone was amazed! Now I started crying because I think “My friends, I can’t leave my friends, this ain’t right, get me off the boat!” So they stopped and let me off. But I cursed you guys for ruining my fuckin’ night.
AG Me? I didn’t do a thing!
GC: Well you left me, you left the boat, you left me – and Beeson, I cursed him, that fucker!
AG: No, they went to kick him off the boat..
GC: I know.
AG: ..and I felt so bad about him screwing up.
GC: You’re a good man, Al, and I’m a good man, but when I heard they’d pulled you off too, and they were laughing, and…
AG: I probably shouldn’t have gotten off, I should have left him to his own…
GC: Yeah, let him off, man. See, I was having a good time, talking to John Huston..
AG: But you did stay on the boat?
GC: I left right after that. But let me tell you what happened with John Huston, alright?. I said “Man, how come..” – I said “Man” – “Man, how come there’s always a gun in your movies?”
GC: Oh, he got pissed – “Don’t call me “Man””
GC: Yes, “Don’t call me “Man” (he said that). Then I talked about the atom bomb before Zanuck. Now, he didn’t have to hear about the atom bomb because he had all his money on The Route to Heaven, He was worried about that. He didn’t think a fuck about the atom bomb – and with Juliette Gréco on top of it..
AG: What did you tell Zanuck?
GC: He laughed.. He laughted. (“The) atom bomb? – I got this girl I’ve gone crazy over, I got this woman I put all this money on..” What does he want to know about the atom bomb ?!
AG: Is that what he said?
GC:Yes (laughing) Zanuck – You would think that he’s a Jew and he ain’t. You know that? (Besides) all of those moguls, the only non-Jew – It shows you how people get prejudiced and stupid, they make a mistake. You can tell they’re thinking, “Look, it’s typical”, right? – No way. – Yeah, Juliette Gréco just put him down all the time, that’s all.
GC: Oh yeah – She was down on him. Anyway that was all one splurge in Paris at a time, with names.
AG: But that one splurge, with names..
GC: When we drop names Allen, they bounce, right? We’re not name droppers in other words, but we met those fuckers, right? So what about the other ones we met at the same time … Michaux when we had that peeing thing..
to be continued