Monday, November 03, 2008

PEACHES & DADDY in The New York Post and Boston Globe

Michael Greenburg's Peaches & Daddy tops Billy Heller's "Required Reading" column this week in the New York Post: "Never heard of Peaches and Daddy? If they were around today, People and Us Weekly would be vying for exclusives. He was a 51-year-old Manhattan millionaire, she, a 15-year-old dropout. When they married, Roaring-'20s America roared even more, with newspapers printing every scandalous development. "Daddy Browning and his social escapades carried a certain jazz age cache that was thought of and followed in much the same way as Donald Trump, Paris Hilton or even Anna Nichole Smith are in modern times," author Greenburg tells us. "They were shameless and maniacal publicity hounds." And with the couple frequently judging Charleston dance contests, he adds, "Couldn't you just see them on 'Dancing with the Stars'!"

And The Boston Globe adds: "The tabloid presses must have been kept running around the clock in the mid-1920s to churn out the latest buzz: Leopold and Loeb. Lucky Lindy. And the prurient sensation of the day, the marriage of 51-year-old New York real estate mogul and philanthropist Edward Browning to Frances "Peaches" Heenan, age 15, soon followed by a gratifyingly sleazy divorce trial. Photographs of Browning's Lolita reveal a dumpy teenager sporting the cloche hats and skimpy frocks of flapper fashion. From the moment he first laid eyes on her at a sorority dance (Browning was attending as the group's benefactor), his epitaph was written. He would forever be "Daddy" to Heenan's "Peaches." Browning was no stranger to the gossip sheets. A real-life Daddy Warbucks, he was known both during and, less reassuringly, after a previous marriage for his well-publicized efforts to adopt young girls. Once the scandal ran its course, a wised-up public would demand reforms preventing old wolves from indulging a taste for lamb - the most enduring, if least intentional, of Browning's good works. . . the author tells an engrossing tale about the convergence of matrimony, journalism, and law in what has been called the "Era of Wonderful Nonsense."

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