Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce Archive of Notes Reveals Business and Personal Side of Controversial Comic

Lenny Bruce Archive of Notes Reveals Business and Personal Side of Controversial Comic

 

LENNY BRUCE, Archive of autograph drafts of letters and notes, several to Lewis DePasquale, and several signed, ca. 1960-1966. A number on stationery of Hotel Mark in Atlantic City, New Jersey. With two black-and-white photographs of Lenny Bruce and his attorney in Philadelphia court.  Twenty-eight items, 40 pages, various sizes, 3" x 5" to 7.75" x 10", photographs 3.25" x 4.5".

 

 

Excerpts

Lenny Bruce to Sally Marr, n.d.

Dear Ma

            Check & see if my black atache case with the soya bean lables on it is upstairs It has value. If there was a theft I am sure I am insured for it. and proble a lot of other stuff. That will cover you. The bracelet I nerver gave you and the ring for that reason. Lenny why do you keep womans jerly in your house  Trick to get women in there. Come up to my apartment & see my ear rings Love your gonifing son.

“Sally Marr” was the stage name of Bruce’s mother, Sadie Kitchenberg Schneider (1906-1997), who was a stand-up comic, dancer, and actress.

 

Note, n.d.

Get me something nice for my mother a braclet with a nice stone in it something for about $3,000 you can get me a beautiful pice for really holesale it will cost you hockshop to sell

1960 March

Found a pice he idemized

 

Note, n.d.

I bought a bracelet that was worth $8,000 dollars wholesale from a very good friend of mine Lewis DePasquale. As soon as he writes and send’s bill of sale send him $150.00. Get the Insurance Co. pay off.

                                                                        Lenny B

 

[Lenny Bruce to Max Gordon, n.d.

Dear Max,

            This is an excerpt of wire I sent I.T.A. Please, Please, Max I know that I like Jackie Gleason and never liked Bud Abbot & Lou Costolo.

            Played miniature golf but never bowled, wouldn’t drink out of a glass with lipstick on it. Will fress up strange shmushskie.

            I reflect the taste of a big buying market. The Alberts double it. (stop)

            Sad clowns are goyish. All I think of when I look at Emmet Kelly pictures is some old bum made cissy on the radiator. “Quote.”

            The Blue Angel is like sending orchids in a steam heated car.

            It’s good for Earl Grant, bad for Earl Hines their props are delightful paintings that hang tastefully in their living room, where they entertain gracefully.

            I saw their act in England. The stage at the Vanguard needs widening & it’s about time too. It can run straight & have a dressing room in the back. If I’m sounding ridiculous it’s because I’m interested in the café business & developing talent in a way that most people hate, by spending a few dollars on them.

            I will send carpenter to do job. you pay for lumber that’s all & mabey a painter.

            It all boils down to I’m staking my ego on my taste as far as what is commercial, plus I will give you 4 free days on a five week booking any time after New Years’

            Four 6 day weeks, 2 shows nightly, 3 Saturday $3500, per week. Week starts on Fri. night. The 5th wk I’ll work 7 days for $1500.

            Please wire me immediately

                                    8825 Hollywood Blvd.

                                    Los Angeles, Calif.

Max Gordon (1903-1989) was a jazz promoter who founded the Village Vanguard jazz club in New York City in 1935. He opened the Blue Angel in midtown Manhattan in 1942.

This letter is particularly poignant in that it was written from 8825 Hollywood Blvd., where in 1966, Lenny Bruce was found dead in his bathroom from a drug overdose.

 

Lenny Bruce to Lewis DePasquale (written on torn telephone bill envelope), n.d.

Dear Lewis DePasquale

I wish to employ you to drive me to Miami at the rate of $20 Per day

                                                                        Lenny Bruce

 

Lewis DePasquale to “Doctor,” draft, n.d.

Dear Doctor

            I have a son fourteen months old who is a hydrosafalic. The last surgery Anthony underwent was to replace the plastic tube that acts as a drain for the excess spinal fluid. My wife & I are in a (see X on other letter)

Candidly I am a bad risk economly I’m just hoping you will see Anthony for his sake, he is rather a nice chap.

                                                                        Lew

P.S.

I realize protocol is to have Anthony doctor write you. But in case you dont answer at least we wont lose Dr. Keek who ego would certainly be offended if I were to ask him to write you.

 

Lenny Bruce to Lewis DePasquale, n.d.

Dear Count-

See if you can buy the guitar, trumpet, saxophone and drummer that I loved in Atlantic City. You of course as leader you get $300. per wk.  See what the cheapest you can get them.

talk to the guy at the Sir John Hotel

See what kind of a deal he will make us for 4 separate rooms. In other words I’d like to give the men Room, Breakfast & Dinner Plus Salary every week. tell Guy at Sir Johns it would be for Six weeks. get back to me Spell it out.

O.K.                                                                Later

                                                                        Len

P.S. at the Red Hill in Jersey.

Lenny Bruce / c/o S. Grush / 9460 Wilshire / Beverly Hills / Calif

The Sir John Hotel catered to African Americans in Miami Beach, Florida, in the 1960s. Unable to stay at white hotels in Miami Beach, African American performers stayed in “Overtown,” a community just north of downtown. Originally built as the Lord Calvert Hotel in 1951, the Sir John also had an integrated nightclub called Knight Beat, and celebrities like Nat King Cole, Lena Horne, and Aretha Franklin stayed and performed there.

 

Lenny Bruce to Dolores DePasquale, n.d., on stationery from Tidelands Motor Inn, Houston, Texas

Dear Countess

            Doing good in Chicago, thinking about you.

                                                                        Love

                                                                        Lenny

 

Lenny Bruce to Lewis DePasquale, Sept 10, 1961

Dear Count,

            Have definite gig for you Sept 15-Sept 25, Red Hill N. Jersey $750. I’m telling the ? if he doesn’t take you, He doesn’t get me. Pretty good eh? Come in a day earlier so you can get that Miami Sand out of your shoes

            Can’t wait to see you

                                                                        Love Lenny

Bruce and DePasquale appeared at Joe DeLuca’s Red Hill Inn Jazz in Jersey nightclub in Pennsauken, New Jersey, across the river from Philadelphia.

 

Lenny Bruce to Lewis DePasquale, n.d.

Dear Count

            Get these shoes home for me they are in back of this sea.

            I’m afraid they will get stolen in dressing room

                                                                        Love Lenny

 

Lenny Bruce, Fragments, on stationery from Hotel Mark, Atlantic City, New Jersey, n.d.

It is only correct to tell you I request a specific job from you I agree and pay it. If you should catch me on the secret phone in the bathroom giving another law firm the same assignment and at the last moment decide to change my plea to guilty & demand a public defender your comment may be varied but lack unreliable re payment and that’s the only business relation ship I can exist by is a strick buesness relationship. I plan to be involved with in many areas & seriously will never exploti you & seriousley insist that with any contract’s we sign from here on in speciphing a semi anual lie detector test & as a security meauser you pick a lie detector man & I pick one  we flip a coin and the lie detector gives us a test after he’s taken a lie detector test that he has not be coerced by other one of us. a out of the hat operator will give him the test when I have discovered the intraciec of the machine it’s weekness how to beat it I shall inform you imeditaly and there apone devise a new to find out if you are lieing to me.

 

Please firm up Count Lewis & 4 piece group for Alternit Act trio & girl singer $250.00 for Count which is under scale for leader stop

Take ad for girl singer beauty wanted and you audition them Culb pays half pay for week preceeding opening.

Cou[nt? agress to work one week playing pececake opening playing auditions for girl singer & twist show girl’s & bust out Bunnies.

Here’s plan.

Run ad in paper for two week’s before opening of club. Beauty wanted for twisted Bunnies “position” and girl singer’s stop and & nude sun bating and health potrot. a nudiest familiy who have posed togeather & grandmother 65 to 75 and other couple son & daughter or son & daughter in law. Prefere naturel shapes with nice generous stomacks pendleous bussoms to appear in live picture frame setting’s in night club. must be a curent members of acredited nudist organization  The older man’s coustume brown leather sandel’s white roll down socks, & pipe standing by the sandwich truck

            Charles what ever devious maner you use get this ad in figged on the roth alberts decion’s quote nudity in it self cannot be considered obseen. unquote Three time’s a night

They run through the audience signing in German and for a fleating token they may serenade one ?

Has to be senseatoin of the searin’s I am serious

Count will play the adoudition for this

Definote umbical cord severance form you dad, florid bash, flim art, and mock anglander

Don’t forget go to the Union so you can get contract blanks Have owners to sign contract’s for Count Lewis and you can have a wonderful week of auditioning.

                                                                        Love

                                                                        Lenny

Owner must absorb cost of nudist, girl singer the tallest nude in the world 45 feet with good sighting & several magnifying lenses stop

Count’s trio plus alternit duo. Thas a stedy show from ten to five

These notes may reflect Bruce’s increasing paranoia. Paul Krassner, who edited Bruce’s autobiography How to Talk Dirty and Influence People, later said that Bruce demanded that Krassner take a lie-detector test.

He refers to two important obscenity cases, Roth v. United States and the companion case of Alberts v. Christopher Sommer (1957), in which the Supreme Court ruled that obscenity was not protected by the First Amendment and defined materials as obscene whose “dominant theme take as a whole appeals to the prurient interest.”

 

“Count” Lewis DePasquale (1930-2001) was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and he married Dolores Martino in 1951. DePasquale served as a cryptographer and musician in the special services during the Korean War. He was a jazz keyboardist and played the organ for such performers as Ella Fitzgerald and Harry Belafonte. He was widely known as “Count.” In January 1960, he was introduced to Lenny Bruce in Miami, Florida. Bruce immediately liked DePasquale and asked him to come open for him at the El Patio Club across town.  Over the next six years, the Count played, worked, and wrote movies with Bruce. When he died in 2001, he was in the process of writing a memoir of his experiences with Bruce.

 

 

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