Our man in Puerto Vallarta
I'm keeping a diary of the '64 season. I'm going to write a book, "Diary of a Champion." They start losing. Ray Hunt, the managing editor, comes by, dusts the ashes off his cigar, and says, "If they blow it, we ain't interested." I said, "How about a nightmare diary?" He said, "If they blow it, we ain't interested." So, of course, they blow it. I go off to cover Cardinals-Yankees in the World Series.
I come back and Ray Hunt is waiting for me. He says, "We're sending you to Puerto Vallarta." They're making a movie, 'The Night of the Iguana.' John Huston is the director. Richard Burton is the star. Sue Lyon is in it. Elizabeth Taylor is there with Burton. Ava Gardner is in it. He says, "It sounds like what we need because they're about to raise the price of the paper.'' We're going from a nickel to a dime. I say, "How long do I stay?'' He says, "Until you have enough for a series . . . Oh, and don't tell them you're coming.''
No air conditioning, no radio, no TV. There is one ship-to-shore phone that the movie company can crank up. Because of that, I'm a hero to the crew because they want to know how the World Series turned out. They're buying me lunches and beers so I can tell them about the World Series. Then there's an actress, Grayson Hall, who's in the movie. She says, "I hear you're from Philly.'' It turns out, her real name is Shirley Grossman and her mother lives on the Parkway - she becomes my inside source. I get very lucky there.
Huston loves boxing and he wants to talk Philly boxing. Burton loves baseball and wants to know about the World Series. I wind up teaching Burton how to shoot pool in the one pool room in Puerto Vallarta - the Mexicans bail out and let us play during the movie-crew lunch hour. I have lunch with Burton and Liz Taylor - she's gorgeous but she's leery about a Jewish guy from Philadelphia because she just dumped Eddie Fisher.
Meanwhile, the paper has put my picture on the sides of the delivery trucks. "Our man in Puerto Vallarta."
http://www.philly.com/dailynews/sports/ ... chman.html
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