Friday, May 09, 2008
Novelist Warren Adler Comes Home Again with FUNNY BOYS
In a recent article in the Jewish Journal, Dr. Morton Teicher reviews Warren Adler's new novel Funny Boys: "The tumler, to follow Adler's usage, is a comic, singer, clown, actor, jokester, master of ceremonies, noise-maker, prankster, fun-generator, and over-all buffoon. Many of those who filled these roles in the Catskills went on to great fame – Danny Kaye, Sid Caesar, Joey Bishop, Buddy Hackett, Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Red Buttons, and Jackie Mason, to name just a few. Adler's tumler is Mickey Fine, a young man who is an aspiring comedian. He works in his father's ladies underwear store in Brooklyn and attends CCNY at night. For several summers, he has been a bus boy, a waiter and a "substitute tumler." As the story opens in the 1930s, he is hired to work as the tumler at Gorlick's Greenhouse, a Catskill Mountains resort near Fallsburg, which has a special clientele of Jewish and Italian gangsters who come for the weekends. During the week, their wives, children, and girl friends are in the hotel. The reality base for the story is reflected in the authentic names of these mobsters – Kid Twist Reles, Albert Anastasia, Pittsburg Phil Strauss, Louis Lepke (Buchalter), Bugsy Goldstein, and Frank Costello, among others. In any case, the fast-paced story holds the reader's interest as it inevitably reaches a happy ending. Author Warren Adler has written five collections of short stories and more than 25 novels, including The War of the Roses, which was made into a popular movie for which he wrote the screenplay. He grew up in Brooklyn so that he is familiar with the setting for part of his story. After graduating from New York University, he worked for several newspapers. He served in the army during the Korean War, stationed in Washington DC where he remained when he was discharged. He ran an advertising and public relations agency, owned radio and TV stations, and started a magazine. Since 1974 when his first novel was published, he has devoted himself full time to writing. He lived in Hollywood for many years, finally coming back to New York "from a forty-odd year exile in other parts of America." Referring to Thomas Wolfe's last book, You Can't Go Home Again, Adler refutes "the wisdom of this great title of the novel by Thomas Wolfe, the fabulous and favorite writer of my youth. Few read him now, although my guess is that one day he will have his long overdue revival." Adler has returned home to New York "And here I am. Home again." One consequence of his being back in New York is this latest novel which will make readers glad that Adler has come home again."