This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Irita Van Doren introduces the first speaker, Quintin Reynolds, author of "Headquarters" a profile of the New York City Police Department. Reynolds discusses crime in New York. The book is a profile of Detective Frank Phillips, the most decorated active officer at the time. Reynolds speaks highly of the NYPD, dismissing claims that they are crooked.
Next, Van Doren introduces John P. Marquand, author of "Sincerely, Willis Wayde." He speaks generally about writers and the intricacies of the written word.
Finally, Clifton Fadiman speaks about
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71253
Municipal archives id: LT6458
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
I think I can safely say that. The meeting not on the Guardians and. Our children. On the like a. Tough question. Ladies and gentlemen. You will be subjected today to a variable. From three professional writers to mock one must decide on myself however these two old friends of mine Mr Mock quantum as the Phantom and much too modest too sensitive to talk about their own books I however being completely completely uninhibited extrovert find that I am not bound by the delicate sensibilities of my two old friends so if you'll forgive me I'd like to talk about this book of mine. About its subject matter but first I'd like to talk about the weather yesterday remember yesterday sometimes spring is very kind to us in the UK and I think yesterday spring was out of kindness if you saw a report this morning in the times you would have noticed that there was some thirty convention being held in New York City that means at least two hundred thousand extra people run out of time and I'm sure yesterday as they walked around in the gentle sun drenched streets of our city they thought this was a lovely town. It was a family last night brings a balmy evening to us was peaceful and quiet. Typical day in our hometown it was a lovely day but in the quiet and peaceful day but was it a quiet and peaceful day there's only one way to find out these white sheets I have in my hand there are some eighty of them here. On this sheets that go every morning from police headquarters to every precinct and every detective in New York state and they list what happened during the past twenty four hours Well what happened during the past twenty four hours and what happened on this ordinary quiet peaceful sun drenched day according to these official reports there were three murders yesterday one woman died of a criminal negligence twenty seven people of alone Leslie assaulted there were eleven muggings to a four cases of rape in a car and in Central Park you read about it in the afternoon papers and three hundred limbs attacked a sixteen year old girl at midnight last night there were thirty one holed up one hundred forty homes and businesses babbling for months with Burgo And when you go out and pick up your afternoon newspaper you will see that Pearl Bailey the star of House of flowers I think when she arrived home in our apartment at two A.M. this morning found the broken into and seventeen thousand dollars in jewelry stolen it was sixty four cars stolen in our city yesterday it was sixty nine cases of Graham Ross making. Seventeen pickpockets were picked up two on the steps of the hotel lasted. One man of the not conduct squad which is commanded by Inspector Phillips was stabbed at six o'clock this morning by a junkie and is now in Bellevue Hospital two of the cops in the performance of that duty were hurt badly enough to be in Bellevue Hospital it was six cases of Austin and two hundred seventy five tickets but traffic violations were handed out in show what on this quiet lovely spring day. Four hundred twelve crimes committed and. It was a quiet day according to the standards of the police. It was a maverick day usually days are much tougher but when you give the cold site as I put down in this sixty or seventy page police report that goes out every morning over the teletype it seems that New York is a jungle and when you realize that this city of ours has a population of eight million one hundred eighty thousand that it has six thousand miles of streets and five hundred seventy eight miles of waterfront and that sound in the gallery is the cops call it the rogues gallery there are the pictures on the fingerprints of one million four hundred thousand Professional criminals and they've got ing the city of ours are only twenty two thousand man the wonder of it is that this report doesn't list eight times as many crimes as it has. About a year and a half ago Cass Canfield of houses asked me to do a book on the police laws I. Couldn't get the idea for I was born in New York and always lived here and I say asked how can we human eyes this well cares can feel who is something rare among publishes a pretty smart guy. Find out who's the best cop and know you all can do his story well as I read it said I first went to Frank Hogan the district attorney of New York and with the Miles McDonald over in Brooklyn I went to Thomas Murphy now a judge but for some time a police commissioner and I went to Georgia Monaghan was then the police commissioner a year and a half ago and I asked each of them to give me a list of five or six cops from a conservative the highest representatives of the force to would be typical that I could I could write about them and the force would feel proud and I found that there was one name on all of these lists the name of Francis D.J. Phillips Now Inspector Phillips in charge of the central office bureaus and squat while before I went to see him I'd never met the man I looked him up in the newspaper clips and I I found out that he was quite a fellow I found out but as a kid he'd been down on Wall Street and on the curb exchange when he was twenty one he was offered a partnership in the firm and he turned it down because he'd always wanted to be a cop so he turned down a hundred dollar a week job to take a forty dollars a week job and he's been at it ever since I found out that when he was made a first grade detective. In one thousand nine hundred eighty six it was a page one story in the papers because it was the youngest first grade effective ever in the history of the department the same was true when it was made lieutenant captain and inspector at the age of four days I found from the newspaper clips that he'd been a member of the populous team of Johnny called days and Johnny Broderick who fought the gangs in the late twenty's and thirty's literally fought them and had achieved distinction and I was in fighting the Legs Diamond events in college the two gun Crowley I found that they caught Willie Sutton twice and captured some of the greatest and most notorious criminals of our time so I figured Phillips was a man for me so then I went to see him across right expected some. Hot dogs tough looking flat but with a few momentos of his violent life upon his face men stand I found this man looks like a refugee from the Holy Name Society of Our Lady of refuge. Which incidentally he belongs. He was horrified when I told him I wanted to do his life story and I had to go to the police commissioner to issue him a direct order for a year and I have five I've lived literally lived with them not only at headquarters but at his home in Brooklyn and I've learned to know this man as well as one man can ever get to know one another but the information which I put in the book didn't come from him very little of it. Because he's not a man who lives in the US He lives in the you Sheriff. He doesn't care about the things that he's done he's only worried about the things that he's going to do so the information I had to get came from a man to work with him on the beat when he was a kid Christie street nice. For men like Johnny Cody is it was said Phillips I took him out as a kid and I was a hot shot and I was the best detective on the force he was the only man ever to get the Medal of Honor twice johnny caught is and he said one thing about Phillips even that was greatest thing if I told him Frankie jump out of the window he just look at me and say Johnny which way and. Then I saw Johnny Broderick the fabulous man who had one faulty just a question of criminals and it was an answer but he's one of our great cops and he said about Phillips he says well if you had a had a giant but there were a few of Muslims behind the closed door with guns you never had to worry about Phillips being B. I knew he never was me I He was always right along side of him I get information from all of the people he's worked with since he became a cop back in the twenty's and that's the stuff of which this book is made but as I read it is that I got a great deal of information from people outside the last six months ago Archie Stewart who engineered the ruble ice plant robbery back in the thirty's you may remember that four hundred fifty thousand dollars was stolen all in small bills I'm inside of three years Phillips wrapped up that case and she's still in Sing Sing he got out a few months ago and I met him and he talked about it he was very happy because Philip had gotten the job. As a bank. He's working man now and his employer has complete confidence and I'm not used to it said one thing about Phillips once ecology He never be sure to. Buy a cup of coffee give me a cigarette kids a little in the first thing in the US when there. Is a fellow named Eddie Wilson Frankie Phillips little trouble with two years ago one thousand nine hundred five To be exact he tried to arrest Wilson up on Broadway and I have been twelve street Wilson was one of the five bank robberies he was released that was accomplished Wilson draw a gun and shot at Phillips the fall of Saddam moment tonight and hit Phillips between the Wilson between the eyes by some freak and didn't kill him but if blinded I'm alive he got out of Sing-Sing six weeks ago and I met him when he got up and said How do you feel about Frankie PHILLIPS You sound like the guy all those years I've been saying the same used to send me cigarettes now and then a buck I believe landed you. Yeah but so what I tried to kill him and he shot a sense of this soon so we have no hard feelings I read has told you what Willie Sutton told me about Frankie she admitted one line the last line on Willie's letter to me was. That we're both professional I'm a professional. Frank is a professional cause we respect each other never any hard feelings and I don't mind the fact that I'm in jail for the next hundred twenty years because Phillips got well I'm talking too long about this man so let's but I'd like to talk in general. For about a minute and I have about the New York police I did a living for a year and a half I said with I've seen the crooked cops I know them too and I've included their stories in this little book of mine but it's a funny thing of one cop is crooked the newspapers make a big thing out of it and all of the public immediately says Oh what about those cops they're all crooks funny thing is that if one doctor is convicted of illegal practice the rest of us don't say the whole medical profession is drunken if one man in the quartermaster chorus found guilty of some dreadful contract the father was on nest we don't say the whole Army is broken if one bank goes south with money we don't indict the whole banking business but if one cop is headlined as a crook somehow or other we the public smear the whole police force of twenty two thousand men but they malfeasance well during the past year and I have I've lived with the cops. They've been creasing I've been with them day and night the fact that Phillips will tell you and I've never in my life met a more decent a more dedicated group of men than the ninety eight percent of the honest members of our police force for the greatest bunch of Man I've been and if this book to thank. This book does nothing else CYA hope it will get this very long as they are off to people who live in my home town of new yok that this report today came to all precincts at eight thirty this morning which lists about four hundred crime is good but having been for the twenty two thousand dedicated members of our police force would probably have lifted. A thousand times that's why I. Dedicate this book of mine inspector Frankie Phillips and to the twenty two thousand men and women of the police department to keep this town about. From becoming a junkie. I might add that he has dedicated this book not only to Inspector Philip and the twenty two thousand man but to Elsie spectacle of white. In nineteen thirty seven John Mark one surprised the leaders of the popular the I surprised the readers of his popular series of stories about Mr Moto by publishing the late play the critics who thought they had a place not too prominent pigeonhole that that were taken by storm Boston self-esteem was distinctly ruffled and if you let surprise committee was moved. On him a prize fiction in one thousand nine hundred eighty eight. Crime found himself overnight. One of the few writers who command both critical and reading public. Interest with great pleasure and appreciation a distinguished novelist John Motson. Mr. Levison John. I have a great feeling of inferiority when I have. Sandwiched between two great platform my eyes have. Muscles Runnels I'm I'm S.F. fandom on because. Go up the sort of thing up tall. Almost completely forgot what I was going to say I was listening to Mr REYNOLDS. Stuff. Here in. New York when I was a child and I used to play a song called Baby day I. Listen here. I'm afraid to go home in the dark. Every day paper. Wrapper a in a pot. So I spent the night and the Y.M.C.A.. Singing just like a long. But there is no place like home. But I'm afraid to go home and not talk. Well I don't left side of it after a moment as one grows old I want to. Learn something and I have learned from Mr Randolph that if I have to walk across Central Park after sundown from the east side to the west side. By side I'm going to have inspector Phillips. The good time marches saw me on the. While ago I was asked by James Spieth to conduct one he was president of Harvard to write a speech for the associated hop at the club and deliver it finally with great difficulty I wrote it and I felt that it might be a little difficult. I've set the wrong same so I went to the president's office and university hall and had yob. Come into his office and I said Now I want to read your my speech and he listened to it. When I was finished he said when you speak before the associated. Press you are not going to read it on your own. I said frankly yes because my memory is not as good and F. Well all going on back very glad written the speech because read a second automated if you will please excuse my I'll just say these few words. After our modest size the last time I appeared on this platform. At the hotel I stopped was a long long while ago sixteen year since a matter of fact and the early spring all the early one thousand nine hundred seventy nine when I have finished to me is a perfectly priceless novel and. I'm going to say a few words about it later but it's a perfect Christmas novel that called with print point. And at that time Mrs Van Doren was kind enough to ask me to. Speak after my publishers and a number of people told me. That it would be a very good idea and did if I was to come and give a little talk about my novel and the reason why they told me that percept are a great idea was because I said the more you impression of personality on groups. T