Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tullyfest: A Celebration of author Jim Tully

Tullyfest: A Celebration of hard-boiled Hollywood author Jim Tully (1886-1947) is set to take place October 10 through October 15 in Los Angeles. Here are the details, with more info at

Hollywood's forgotten literary bad boy Jim Tully honored with October "Tullyfest"

WHAT: LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association, UCLA Special Collections and The American Cinematheque celebrate the life, writings and films of Jim Tully (1886-1947) with a week-long "Tullyfest." Events include: 1) October 10 - LAUGHTER IN HELL screening at the American Cinematheque; 2) October 11 - REDISCOVERING JIM TULLY Bonnie Cashin Lecture at UCLA Special Collections and opening of exhibit (open thru December) of selections from the Jim Tully Papers; 3) October 14 - Jim Tully's Hollywood walking tour; and 4) The LAVA Salon at Musso & Frank honors "Jim Tully: A Hobo in Hollywood." (Detailed event info is below.)

FOR MORE TULLYFEST INFO: Contact Kim Cooper, amscray (at) gmail (dot) com, or 213-373-1947.

LOS ANGELES - On October 15, for its fourth quarterly Salon at Musso & Frank, LAVA - The Los Angeles Visionaries Association, makes a departure from the celebrated subjects of past literary Salons (Raymond Chandler, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker and John Fante) to honor a forgotten luminary of the 1930s Hollywood scene, the hobo novelist, journalist and screenwriter Jim Tully.

The LAVA Salon, entitled JIM TULLY: A HOBO IN HOLLYWOOD, wraps up a full week of Tullyfest celebrations stretching from Hollywood to Westwood and back again. Tullyfest events unfold in this order:

1) LAUGHTER IN HELL film screening and talk at the American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre.

WHERE: American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
WHEN: Wednesday, October 10, 7:30pm (time subject to change)
COST: General Admission $11.00. Cinematheque Members $7.00. Seniors 65+/Students w/valid ID $9.

Tullyfest week begins with a screening of the 1933 film "Laughter in Hell" with an introduction by Jim Tully's biographers Mark Dawidziak and Paul Bauer. Copies of their book "Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler" will be available for purchase from historic Hollywood bookseller Larry Edmunds. Based on the 1932 Tully novel, this hard-boiled, pre-code film stars Pat O'Brien as a wife-killing railroad worker who busts out of prison and takes up with Gloria Stuart. At the time of its release, the film gained notoriety for its no-holds-barred depiction of prison brutality and lynching. It is rarely screened today, and was for many years thought to be a lost film.


WHERE: UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library Main Conference Room, 11360 Charles E. Young Research Library, Los Angeles, CA 90095
WHEN: Thursday, October 11, 4-6pm (lecture), exhibition is open through December
COST: Free, but reservations required and space is limited. RSVP by October 2, 2012 to UCLA Library Development at 310.206.8526 or

For the second Tullyfest event, UCLA Library Special Collections hosts the Bonnie Cashin Lecture by Paul Bauer and Mark Dawidziak, entitled "Rediscovering Jim Tully: Golden Age Hollywood's Hard-Boiled Writer" in the Charles E. Young Research Library Conference Center. Bauer and Dawidziak are authors of the biography, "Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler" (Kent State University Press, 2011). The lecture will be followed by a reception in Library Special Collections for the opening of the accompanying exhibit, "The Life and Times of Jim Tully -- From Drifter to Celebrated Author" curated by Lilace Hatayama. The exhibit will feature selections from the Jim Tully Papers, including drafts of his novels and first editions, correspondence with Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, writers, editors, and screenwriters, research files for his non-fiction pieces, photographs with celebrities of the day, and mementos of his strong ties to his hometown of St. Mary's, Ohio.

3) JIM TULLY'S HOLLYWOOD walking tour presented by LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association
WHERE: Tour begins at the Larry Edmunds Bookshop, 6644 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90028
WHEN: Sunday, October 14, 12pm (time subject to change)
COST: Free, but reservations are required, and will be accepted starting on October 4 from the link below.

The third Tullyfest event is a free two-hour walking tour that will focus on the locations which were important to Jim Tully's career in the motion picture industry, during the teens through the 1930s. The tour will be lead by Mark Dawidziak and Paul Bauer, who are Jim Tully's biographers and who will be presenting at the LAVA literary Salon at Musso & Frank Grill the following night. Sites on the tour include: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Grauman's Chinese Theater, The Musso & Frank Grill, Mark Twain Hotel and the former Chaplin Studios.

4) Monday, October 15 - The LAVA Salon at Musso & Frank presents JIM TULLY: A HOBO IN HOLLYWOOD
WHERE: Musso & Frank Grill, 6667 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028.
WHEN: Monday, October 15, 2012 from 6-11pm.
COST: $100 per person, ticket price includes 3-course prix fixe dinner prepared by Musso & Frank chefs and Salon presentations. Cocktails not included.
TO PURCHASE TICKETS: Call Musso & Frank at (323) 467-7788 or visit the restaurant Tuesday-Saturday between 9am and 5pm.
FOR MORE INFO: Contact Kim Cooper,, 323-223-2767.

The fourth and final Tullyfest event is the LAVA Salon at Musso & Frank honoring "Jim Tully: A Hobo in Hollywood."

There is simply no Hollywood restaurant more closely tied to the city's literary legacy than Musso & Frank--a favorite of Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Fante, Hellman, Hammett, Chandler, Cain, Saroyan, Parker, West, as well as a new generation of luminaries.

On Monday, October 15, you are invited to join Jim Tully's biographers Mark Dawidziak and Paul Bauer for "Jim Tully: A Hobo in Hollywood," a night spent exploring a fascinating Hollywood literary figure who star blazed brightly through the 1930s, and unaccountably faded after his 1947 death.

The son of an Irish ditch-digger, Ohio-born Jim Tully (1886-1947) hit the road in 1901, spending most of his teenage years in the company of hoboes. While chasing his dream of becoming a writer, Tully rode the rails and worked as a tree surgeon, boxer, and newspaper reporter. All the while, he was crafting his memories into a dark and original chronicle of the American underclass. When he began to set his experiences onto paper in a style that was hard-boiled before the genre existed, he became a literary sensation.

At October's Salon, Jim Tully's biographers Mark Dawidziak and Paul Bauer will seek to answer the fundamental question: "Why isn't Jim Tully still a household name?" Tully exploded onto the scene with a stream of critically acclaimed novels, among them "Beggars of Life" (1924), "Circus Parade" (1927), "Shanty Irish" (1928), "Shadows of Men" (1930) and "Blood on the Moon" (1931). Yet the books were out-of-print for decades, their author forgotten.

To answer this question, Mark Dawidziak and Paul Bauer must look to the Hollywood of 1912, to the sleepy little suburb that Tully found and watched grow up around him, as he built his incongruous twin careers as motion picture publicist and independent writer. From his piercing insights into and deep ambivalence toward his longtime employer, Charlie Chaplin, to anecdotes of great friendships with W. C. Fields, Jack Dempsey, Damon Runyon, Lon Chaney, Frank Capra, and Erich von Stroheim, Tully exhibited a lust for life which was only surpassed by his devotion to his craft. By 1930 Tully was a major American author, and had launched a parallel career as a successful journalist. Both his novels and journalistic exposés shook the country and his peer group in Hollywood.

But Tully's novel "Ladies In The Parlor" (1935), was declared obscene and most copies destroyed, and Chaplin successfully prevented Tully's publisher from releasing a biography of the actor. By the mid-1940s, crippling physical ailments and family heartbreak left the writer on the ropes. With his death in 1947, his name quietly slipped from the front ranks of American Letters and into obscurity.

Since 2009, Kent State University Press has been rectifying this long neglect with a series of Tully reprints. And in 2011, it published Mark Dawidziak and Paul Bauer's definitive biography, "Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler," drawing on new information found in the Tully papers at UCLA Special Collections.

The time is ripe for a revival of interest in this fascinating American character, and we invite you to play a part in it at the October Salon and at all of the October TULLYFEST events.

Also appearing at the Salon is Howard Prouty (Acquisitions Archivist at The Academy Foundation/Margaret Herrick Library and proprietor of ReadInk) with the latest in his popular series of talks on a famous Los Angeles book seller with a history of Hollywood's landmark Pickwick Bookshop. And before and after the formal dinner and Salon presentations, guests will mingle with Hollywood historian Philip Mershon (proprietor of The Felix in Hollywood Tour Company).

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