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Interview with Arthur Buchwald [Undated]

Barbara Matusow:

I'm about to interview Art Buchwald, one of the country's best-loved humorists, at his house --

Arthur Buchwald:

Buchwald.

Barbara Matusow:

What am I --

Arthur Buchwald:

Buchwald.

Barbara Matusow:

Oh, well, sorry. I'm sitting here with Art Buchwald, one of the country's best-known, best-loved humorists, at his house in Washington, DC, at 4029 Hawthorne Street. Art was a Marine, and he's going to tell us a little bit more about how he came to be a Marine and what his service consisted of. Okay. So --

Arthur Buchwald:

I was 17 years old, and I had fallen in love with a girl that summer in Mount Washington, New Hampshire, and we had a very torrid affair there on the 19th hole of the golf course. And then I thought it would be forever. So when I decided to run away and join the Marines, I wasn't very happy with school or living with my father and three sisters. I ran away, and I decided I was going to go down to North Carolina where she went to school -- her name was Flossie Stallard(?) -- and to say goodbye to Flossie before I made my big move.

So I showed up at her door at the University of North Carolina. And she was very surprised and said, "What are you doing here?" And I said, "I came to say goodbye. I'm going to fight for my country." And she said, "I have a date this weekend with a guy from VMI. And I am flabbergasted that you would even not tell me."

So she didn't know what to do with me. So she got me a date with her roommate and -- Sylvia Lohan(?). And I didn't have any use for Sylvia. All my eyes was on the VMI guy. And then after the dance, we went to a -- I guess a hot shop or something like it for scrambled eggs and stuff. And when the bill came, I didn't have any money to pay. So there was a big silence at the table. It was six of us there. Then I got back in the car, his car. In the backseat, I sat on a bottle of Southern Comfort.

So I put it in my pocket because I wasn't going to allow Flossie and that VMI guy any chance to drink it. So then I got to the YMCA, and I said good night, and then nobody said good night to me. So the next day was a Saturday. I figured there's no other way but to join the Marines. So I went to see, and he said, "How old are you?" I said, "Seventeen." He said, "You have to have your parents' permission." So I said, "Oh, don't worry about that. Dad's in town now buying feed. Just give me the papers to sign." He says, "They have to be notarized." I says, "Don't worry about that, sir."

So I walked out of the post office where the Marine Corps recruiting station was. And I was walking down skid row, which was right next to the post office. And I ran into a drunk. And he was very grizzled and old. And he said, "Can I have a dime for a drink?" I said, "I can do better for you. I can give you a pint of Southern Comfort." And he said, "What do I have to do for it?" I said, "You have to be my father for an hour."

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

And he said, "That's patriotic." So we found a notary. And I said to the notary, "My father's been drunk for a month. Do you mind if I hold his hand while he's signing the papers?" He said, "Anything for a boy going in the Marines." So I held his hand and old dad. And then I rushed back to the recruiting office, and they gave me food stamps, and they gave me a ticket to Parris Island. And that's how I wound up at Parris Island in the Marine Corps in boot camp.

Barbara Matusow:

Well, let me -- let me just stop and ask one thing. When you went down to see Flossie, were you planning to join the Marines at that time?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yes, I was, because I had seen To the Shores of Tripoli with John Wayne -- Payne. John Payne. And that was what persuaded me that they were the best-looking and they had the best uniforms and they were the toughest and -- that's what I thought. So at boot camp, they make you into a Marine. They tear you apart, and then they put you back together again. Well, I had a pretty rough time in the Marines in boot camp because I was from New York and most of my platoon was from the South. So they called me "Brooklyn."

Barbara Matusow:

How about being Jewish? Did that enter into it?

Arthur Buchwald:

Not at that time because you were so bedazzled(?) by everybody. Later on, I'll tell you about that. So then I -- I was in the Marines, in Parris Island. And then it was a real interesting period. I had a DI, a drill instructor, which you remember for the rest of your life, named Pete Bernardi(?). And what's interesting is 20 years later, I went back to Parris Island and -- with Bernardi. We were friends by then. Anyhow, then I -- the last day of boot camp, they called out where you were assigned. So my -- I was assigned to the air wing, and the other guys, a lot of guys were assigned to ground, hitting the beaches. So --

Barbara Matusow:

Could we just go back and talk a little about basic training first before you move --

Arthur Buchwald:

Oh, the training?

Barbara Matusow:

Yeah. What was the experience like?

Arthur Buchwald:

Well, first of all, they made you do terrible things. In fact, I say in my book they violated all the Geneva Conventions.

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

They made you use a toothbrush to do the head. They made you sleep with all your rifles if you called it a gun instead of a rifle. They had all sorts of torture for us. And they did -- not -- by the time it was over, you felt 10 feet tall. That's good.

Barbara Matusow:

Do you feel like it made a man of you?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yes. Completely. It didn't, but I thought it did.

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

Anyhow, the last day, my DI called out the assignments. And they assigned me to air. And I got furious because I wanted to be John Payne. So I went in to see my DI, and I said, "Sir, when I enlisted in the Marine Corps, they said I could be in the paratroopers." So he said -- he said, "Okay. You're a paratrooper."

Barbara Matusow:

Oh.

Arthur Buchwald:

As a joke.

Barbara Matusow:

Oh.

Arthur Buchwald:

So I was stuck in the air wing. It turned out my period in the Marines, I was glad after a while that I was in the air part instead of on the ground because all the people I was with got killed in Tarawa and Iwo Jima and everything. And as they -- I was a ordnance man in a fire squadron.

Barbara Matusow:

What was the number?

Arthur Buchwald:

113th. VMF 113th. And we went to Enewetak with the -- Enewetak. And --

Barbara Matusow:

There was fighting?

Arthur Buchwald:

Huh?

Barbara Matusow:

Was there fighting at Enewetak?

Arthur Buchwald:

Not really. We got bombed a couple times, but that's all. So it was a good life, and then I was sent home before my squadron went to Iwo Jima.

Barbara Matusow:

Why?

Arthur Buchwald:

Huh?

Barbara Matusow:

Why were you sent home?

Arthur Buchwald:

Because I'd been there for about 14 months.

Barbara Matusow:

Uh-huh.

Arthur Buchwald:

So I finally made sergeant.

Barbara Matusow:

Mm-hmm.

Arthur Buchwald:

But it wasn't that hard in the air, compared to the guys on the ground. And I was a lousy ordnance man.

Barbara Matusow:

Yeah?

Arthur Buchwald:

Terrible. So I edited the outfit's -- I edited the outfit's newspaper called The Human Comedy because it was about the FUG(?). And then --

Barbara Matusow:

Were you supposed to be writing, you know, little news items or --

Arthur Buchwald:

Oh, sure. Gossip, that type. And I also, when I was an ordnance man, dropped a bomb, a 500-pound bomb, on my foot.

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

And the whole --

Barbara Matusow:

How did that happen? Where were you? Just paint the scene a little bit.

Arthur Buchwald:

I was in (inaudible) and the fire planes were there. And there was one 500-pound bomb that you had to put -- thank you -- There was a 500-pound bomb that you put in the center of the F4U, which is a Corsair, like Pappy Boyington's, you know. So there was one thing there, I never knew what it did. So like a dope, I hit it. And the bomb fell on my leg.

Barbara Matusow:

Oh, my. Did it break your leg?

Arthur Buchwald:

No. It missed my foot. But everybody on the line saw that it was going on, and they all scrambled. And I just realized I was in a lot of trouble, so I lie on the ground, and I held my leg. "Oh, my leg, my leg."

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

So they sent the ambulance. And I was taken to the hospital there. And the doctor said, "There's nothing wrong with your leg." I said, "There will be if you don't keep me here overnight."

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

So the next day, the squadron commander called me in. And he said, "I'm putting you in for the Navy Cross." And I said, "Why?" He says, "Well, you didn't defuse the bomb. You didn't fuse the bomb. So you saved the lives of 500 Marines." So that was that.

Barbara Matusow:

Did you really get a decoration?

Arthur Buchwald:

No. He was -- he was mad as hell. So we lived on the island. We made our own raisin jack. We -- there were no women on the island. And the only women we ever saw for those 13 months was Carole Lombard, who was with Jack Benny, I think, and --

Barbara Matusow:

USO show?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. Bob Hope. Jack Benny. So they always had girls with them. And we started rumors that the officers were getting it. We're not getting any.

Barbara Matusow:

Was it like a thrill to have these stars come through? I mean, was it a morale builder?

Arthur Buchwald:

Well, anything to break the monotony. Unfortunately, when Bob Hope was coming through, I stole a bunch of wood from the Seabees for the floor in our tent, but we had to put it in because otherwise, the Seabees would find it. So I insisted they had to do it, my squad -- my tent. And they insisted that I -- they wanted to go see Bob Hope. So we all went to see Bob Hope. I was sorry about that. Now, there are a couple things about the Marines which I've talked about before, and that is there weren't too many Jewish kids in the Marines. So they -- some of them came from places where they had never seen a Jewish Marine -- a Jew. So -- so I took a lot of abuse. And one day, someone said to me, my tent mate, he says, "You know, Art," he says, "they're not giving you a bad time because you're Jewish. They're giving you a bad time because you're an asshole."

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

And after that, I felt better.

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

And --

Barbara Matusow:

So what sort of things happened?

Arthur Buchwald:

Well, you get a little rocky happy out there. The island that I was on was called Engebi. It was the north part of the atoll. Enewetak was an atoll, and the north part was where we were. And it was about 2 or 3 miles long and about 2 or 3 miles wide.

Barbara Matusow:

Mm-hmm.

Arthur Buchwald:

And there was an Army outfit on there. There was a Seabee outfit, and there were two Marine squadrons. So we were rock happy. We did crazy things. We had a softball game that we bet $10,000 with the Army on the softball game. One of my memories of that period is Lindbergh came by. He was an advisor to Ford because he wasn't accepted in the service. And so that was a big deal. And then I'd said we made kickapoo(?) juice, raisins and yeast. And the food was terrible and -- But we did a couple of really crazy things. For example, we had sheets, and we painted them with the Japanese --

Barbara Matusow:

Rising sun?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. And then we went out in a boat to -- to the ships in the thing and sold them as Japanese --

Barbara Matusow:

Souvenirs?

Arthur Buchwald:

Of course.

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

We got a hundred, $200 for it. So that was one thing that was very successful. It was -- compared to anybody -- most people, particularly on the ground, it was a good place to be, in the air wing. And --

Barbara Matusow:

Did you feel that the service made -- made good use of you all or -- or --

Arthur Buchwald:

Well --

Barbara Matusow:

(inaudible)

Arthur Buchwald:

I don't know if they made good use of us all, but the service straightened me out. I was a lot of trouble. I was 17 years old. I hated school. I hated everything. And all of a sudden, they just beat me up and said, you know -- so that part was really, really good. And I have always been happy with that. And then because of my notoriety, the Marines accept me as really a good fighter, flier. It wasn't true. But they accepted that.

Barbara Matusow:

What do you mean? When? What period, your notoriety?

Arthur Buchwald:

When I got famous.

Barbara Matusow:

Oh, okay. All right. That's what I thought you meant.

Arthur Buchwald:

So the commandant of the Marine Corps at that time was Jim Jones, and they gave me a parade at 9th and High.

Barbara Matusow:

You're kidding.

Arthur Buchwald:

The entire --

Barbara Matusow:

When was that?

Arthur Buchwald:

Huh?

Barbara Matusow:

When was that?

Arthur Buchwald:

About three years ago. And here I was, standing there with all these people, and the thought went through my head, "If my guys could see me now."

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

And it was a real thing, so I've done Marine -- things for the Marines. And when I was sick, the commandant sent over a Marine Corps flag. And then during the war years, the Vietnam, it was tough because I was doing commercials for the Marine Corps, and I knew that Vietnam was a disaster. So I felt a little of that.

Barbara Matusow:

But it was Semper Fi, I guess, huh?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. And then I -- I've gone to several of their birthday balls. And now, they're -- they're in a lot of trouble, and someday, they're going to have some sort of a memorial to these guys.

Barbara Matusow:

Yeah.

Arthur Buchwald:

And so -- but the thing about it is I wrote a piece for Father's Day, and I said, "My father was the Marine Corps." And I got a lot of mail on it, a lot of mail.

Barbara Matusow:

Tell -- expand on that. Tell why you said that, that your father was the Marine Corps. Because he was rough on you or --

Arthur Buchwald:

It was everything. I didn't have a father before that.

Barbara Matusow:

Oh, excuse me. I misunderstood you. The Marine Corps was your father?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah.

Barbara Matusow:

Your father was the Marine Corps?

Arthur Buchwald:

That's what's I wrote.

Barbara Matusow:

Uh-huh.

Arthur Buchwald:

It's interesting. When I went to Parris Island with my DI 20 years later for Life magazine, we -- we were going up then, both of us. It was funny. The opening conversation when I found him, I called him, and I said, "This is Art Buchwald in Platoon 911." He says, "Oh, I thought you got killed."

Barbara Matusow:

Did he really?

Arthur Buchwald:

Oh, sure.

Barbara Matusow:

What was that guy's name again, the drill --

Arthur Buchwald:

Bernardi(?).

Barbara Matusow:

Bernardi.

Arthur Buchwald:

Pete Bernardi. So we -- we went down to Parris Island. He was very critical of everything down there, the training, the this and that. And then about several years later, I got a call from a guy who said, "Pete is in the hospital now with cancer. It would be nice if you gave him a call." So I said, "Yeah." So I called him, and then I sent him a photograph from Life of him and me. And I wrote on it, "To Pete Bernardi, who made a man out of me." And he was so pleased with it that he put it on the door of his room. And then when he died, his wife wrote to me that he had it buried with him.

Barbara Matusow:

Oh, really?

Arthur Buchwald:

So that was very nice. So it's a life of a man who got through a war. I didn't win any medals. I didn't do anything, but I was there, and now I like to talk about being there, and --

Barbara Matusow:

Well, when you came back to the States after your 14 months there and you became sergeant, where were you, you know, where were you attached, and what did you do then? What year was that --

Arthur Buchwald:

Well, this is a funny story. You know, as you can tell from -- I was pretty much in charge of myself as -- making decisions. So I was at Cherry Point, and they didn't know what to do with us. The war was over. And so they had a guy in charge of all of us. There were about 500 guys there with nothing to do. And he was a prison guard. He was from Sing Sing, and then he became our sergeant. And he took us out into the -- into the fields. We had to cut trees. And we hated him.

Barbara Matusow:

Was that to keep you busy, or was there any use for it?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. Just to keep us busy. So one day, I was driving by the playing field, and I saw the football team. And I said -- the guys are right there, so I went up to the coach, and I said, "Do you have a public relations man for the football team?" He said, "No." I said, "Well, I can do that. That's my business." So he said, "Okay." I said, "Give me a note." He gave me a note. And suddenly, I was the PR for the football team, which was -- that was big --

Barbara Matusow:

This is in Cherry Point, South Carolina?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. And this was just after the war, so football became popular again. So my biggest memory of that was I got called in one day by the special service colonel, and he said, "Pack your bags. You're going to Washington in an hour." I said, "What for?" He said, "You'll be met there. They'll explain it to you." So I -- they put me in a torpedo bomber, and I flew up there. And I was met by an officer in a Jeep. And I was driven to headquarters, Marine Corps headquarters. I walked in the room, and there were several colonels and a couple of generals there. And they said, "Sergeant," they said, "the big game, the Air Transport Command versus the Cherry Point Marines. What are our chances?" And I said, "We'll beat the hell out of them, sir." We had a very lousy team, by the way. So they said, "Well, we want to really make a show of it now that the war's over." So I said, "Yes, sir." So I had a lot of pictures and a lot of stuff. And I walked out of the office, and there was a -- an Army Air Transport lieutenant there. And he said, "Come with me." I said, "Yeah. Where are we" -- He said, "We're going to work together." I said, "That's great." So he took me to this -- not the Sheraton. The other hotel. Shoreham. He took me to the Shoreham Hotel, and I went upstairs. They had a big suite. They had an orgy going on there all the time. So I wasn't doing much work, and I'd look at the papers, and it said -- the last line of the story would be, "They will be playing the Cherry Point Marines." So the Marines were getting real mad, where I was. So they called me in again. I said, "I'm waiting, sir. I'm waiting." And then I went out, and I went to -- there's about five or six newspapers in those days in Washington. And I went to the sports editors. And I said, "Look. I'm alone. They have a staff. AT&T. And I'm going to get court-martialled if you don't help me." So they -- I gave them photographs. And they ran photographs, and they gave me a lot of stuff. So I felt better about that. Now, the team came up there.

Barbara Matusow:

Mm-hmm.

Arthur Buchwald:

There was a lot of partying in Washington in those days. A lot. So I went upstairs. I went to the airport to meet them. And they said -- the team, they said, "Where are the girls?" And I said, "You've got a game tomorrow." They said, "That isn't what we asked you." I said, "Well, I happen to know a few." So the coach partied with a lady, and all the guys partied all night long. The next day, they looked like hell. And they weren't too good to start with. So I came out on the field, and I saw all these generals and colonels there. I put my hands up like this and said, "We're going to do it." And then we lost the game like 34 to nothing. So after the game was over, I said, "Well, colonel" -- I said, "Well, colonel, do you want me to clean up here?" He said, "No. On second thought, you'd better come back." So I went back with him. And he said, "How would you like to get out of the Marines?" I said, "Sure. I'd like that." So they gave me a discharge, not based on how many points I had, but to get rid of me because the Marine Corps was mad at me. So that is how I left the Marines. And it was a -- it was a nice ending.

Barbara Matusow:

It was time to go, right?

Arthur Buchwald:

Well, yeah. But it was a nice ending to my Marine Corps history, you know.

Barbara Matusow:

Sort of dropped out (inaudible)?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah.

Barbara Matusow:

Tell a little bit about your living situation and your family situation that let you to run away.

Arthur Buchwald:

Well, I was in foster homes. And then the last home was my father, my three sisters. And they -- they -- since I hadn't had any experience with a family, my father was a Sunday father. The girls all thought they wanted to be my mother. I was the youngest boy. And I did like school. And I slept in the kitchen with my father. We had a three-room apartment. It was a fancy neighborhood, but we had a three-room apartment. And the kitchenette is where my father and I slept, and my sisters slept in the bedroom. The whole thing stunk. So I said -- the war was on. I tried --

Barbara Matusow:

What year was it? What year -- what year did you sign up?

Arthur Buchwald:

I signed up in '43. No. '42. But when Pearl Harbor happened, I did go down, and I enlisted in the Army, but they sent the papers to my sisters or my father. And that day, my -- it was a strange thing. My -- one of my sisters was sick, so she had the key to the mailbox. So she found the letter from the Army. And they were really mad. Then I was 16.

Barbara Matusow:

Uh-huh.

Arthur Buchwald:

So when I was 17 and I enlisted, about a month later, they found out where I was, and I sent a word -- a message to the person who found out. And I said, "Tell them if they try to get me out, I'll do it again." But the funny part of that story is that I was -- during boot camp, there were many times, I was tempted to say, "I was a runaway."

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

"I was a runaway. I forged my father's" -- I don't think they would have done anything about it.

Barbara Matusow:

Uh-huh. Right. You were in there then.

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah.

Barbara Matusow:

So --

Arthur Buchwald:

But the thing about it is it's the roll of the dice. I had no way of knowing I'd be in the air wing. I had no -- I had no idea where I'd go. And so luck played a part.

Barbara Matusow:

Sure. And most of those guys that were -- that did ground combat, you said were killed?

Arthur Buchwald:

Well, I never knew, but that was at the time, '42, and Guadalcanal was going on.

Barbara Matusow:

The Pacific was terrible.

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. It was. The guys on the ground were the ones who hit the beaches first. And once again, there were a lot of errors. Like Tarawa. We left 4,000 people there because they didn't know about the tides. Iwo Jima was terrible. Okinawa was terrible. Peleliu was terrible.

Barbara Matusow:

Not just Marines. On Corregidor and -- and Manila (inaudible).

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. Well, that was a different kind of thing. But we were on troop ships going out there, Enewetak, and --

Barbara Matusow:

Step a little closer.

Arthur Buchwald:

We were on troop ships going out there. And I played chess the whole time I was on the troop ships with a guy whose name I didn't know. We just played every day. And then we left. And then I never saw him again. And --

Barbara Matusow:

Tell a little more about this Pete Bernardi(?). What was he like?

Arthur Buchwald:

Well, he was a very strong guy. He was a terrific athlete. And his job was to make all of us into Marines any way he can. At that time, he wasn't simply use physical force. And I don't think I ever saw him hit anybody, though the platoon next to us had Sterling Hayden in it, and some DI made a remark about his wife, Madeleine Carroll, so he -- he socked the -- he socked the DI, and he was sent to jail for a week -- brig for about a week. So you really -- the whole purpose of that was to make you protect the man on your right, to protect the man on your left. You don't think about the Japanese. You think about the sergeant.

Barbara Matusow:

Right.

Arthur Buchwald:

And the man on the left and the man on the right.

Barbara Matusow:

Mm-hmm.

Arthur Buchwald:

And I've written this, but the Japs were too far away. But -- you know. And --

Barbara Matusow:

Now, when you were on that atoll, you said that it was bombed a few times.

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah.

Barbara Matusow:

Were you -- you know, were you anywhere near --

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. The bombing -- we hit a -- an Army (inaudible) which was right outside our area. Scared silly. And I remember one lie(?) which I've used is true. We're sit -- we're in a foxhole, this guy and I, and he said -- I said, "We're in a foxhole with Brinckerhoff, and he's an atheist." That was -- that's a way to deal with fear. And that was the most frightened I've been because fighting -- oh, I buried guys on the next island. I was part of the burial detail.

Barbara Matusow:

That's awful(?).

Arthur Buchwald:

Well, yes. And we -- we carried them on stretchers, put them on the boat and then got over there. And then we buried them. Came back, took another one. And I didn't enjoy that.

Barbara Matusow:

Was there any type of a religious service or you just buried them in the ground?

Arthur Buchwald:

I don't think there was any religious service. I think eventually they may have been moved to Hawaii or somewhere, but --

Barbara Matusow:

So was that the most frightened -- in that foxhole was that sort of one of the few frightening experience you had --

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. Yeah. The rest was -- I was so scared of getting -- anything wrong.

Barbara Matusow:

Oh, yeah.

Arthur Buchwald:

I was.

Barbara Matusow:

Yeah. Why?

Arthur Buchwald:

Because they made you feel that way.

Barbara Matusow:

But you sound like you were pretty -- I mean, you sound as if you weren't afraid to just sort of step out and try a few things, you know, like -- in other words, you weren't just a sort of a regimented soldier?

Arthur Buchwald:

No.

Barbara Matusow:

In the Marine Corps?

Arthur Buchwald:

I was like I am now.

Barbara Matusow:

Yeah. Exact -- I guess that's --

Arthur Buchwald:

A free -- a free spirit.

Barbara Matusow:

Right.

Arthur Buchwald:

And I guess the one thing that I had was imagination. And when I put out the paper, it was fun. It was a gossip sheet. And I've got a copy somewhere.

Barbara Matusow:

Yeah. I'm going to ask you for some -- some things that you might be very valuable, (inaudible) copies of, but that news -- when you signed up for the -- what was it called? The Human Comedy?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah.

Barbara Matusow:

You didn't have any newspaper experience --

Arthur Buchwald:

Nothing, nothing.

Barbara Matusow:

Is that what sort of set you on your path to newspaper --

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. Well, I wrote a column in high school and -- yeah.

Barbara Matusow:

Oh, you did write a column?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. In high school.

Barbara Matusow:

So did you write humor for this Human Comedy?

Arthur Buchwald:

Oh, of course. Of course.

Barbara Matusow:

So did that help you get a job afterwards or not?

Arthur Buchwald:

No. After that, I went to USC. And then when I went to Paris, I got a job. But --

Barbara Matusow:

But it -- it seems like you always knew you wanted to be a newspaper -- you know, a humor columnist?

Arthur Buchwald:

Yeah. I guess I didn't say, "I'm going to be a humor columnist." I just enjoyed writing, and apparently I enjoyed getting even.

Barbara Matusow:

(laughter)

Arthur Buchwald:

That's what my book's about, getting even.

Barbara Matusow:

Uh-huh, uh-huh. All right. I think that's great. Any -- any more that, you know, episodes that stand out in your mind either in basic training or over in the South Pacific?

Arthur Buchwald:

Well, like most of the people that you'll be interviewing, it was a very big moment in their lives, probably the biggest, because we capsulated this whole experience in a very short period of time. And when we remember it, we remember the guys we were with. We remember their names. And each of us has their own camera, video of where we were, when we were. And so the thing that's very important about having done what I did, which wasn't heroic, was it made -- it made me straight. It straightened me out. And that was (inaudible) before. And then because of what I've been doing now, it's been paying off, like the Marine Corps parade.

Barbara Matusow:

Yeah.

Arthur Buchwald:

And then also, I've spoken at several Marine Corps gatherings and birthday things and everything. And all the way back to the Vietnam War. Jesus Christ.

Barbara Matusow:

So let's get your -- okay. I guess we should end there. (End of interview)

 
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  October 26, 2011
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