In 1950 Macy's New York goosed up its advertising by raiding Madison Avenue for a top agency copywriter named Jim Breslov as copy chief. Over the next few years Macy's was the place for ad writers to work. Its extraordinary young copy crew included "Bunny" (later Mary) Wells, Joel Raphaelson, Kay Ruddy, Pete Oldham, Reva Fine, all who would go on to the agencies, plus guys like me who really wanted to be newspapermen. I thought of all this May 31 when a letter to the editor ran in The New York Times. It was from Joel Raphaelson, a wonderful writer now retired from Ogilvy & Mather and living in Chicago. Joel, whose dad Samson Raphaelson sent him through Harvard by writing Broadway plays and Hollywood movies, not only wrote ads for Ogilvy but went frequently to France to work with David on his latest book. His letter, about the need for good writing, follows in abbreviated form: "At the University of Michigan, my son, brainwashed by me in the virtues of writing clearly and simply, found that when he used plain words and simple sentences to express specific thoughts, he got poor grades. So he adopted academic jargon and ornate syntax, became deliberately ponderous and vague, and got B-pluses and A's. His successful efforts to write poorly helped him graduate magna cum laude."
Publisher Elizabeth Baker Keffer tells me The Atlantic's new "annual" fiction issue will carry short stories by Joyce Carol Oates et al and also "newly found works" by Dickens, Welty, Bellow.
One hot ad & marketing property at Gruner & Jahr USA that Meredith might think about promoting, Jack Bamberger, formerly with Parade and Sports Illustrated.
WCBS-AM touting its "in-depth" portraits of half a dozen candidates in the N.J. gubernatorial primaries. I counted each of these "in-depth" reports; they averaged six brief sentences.
Janet Staihar writes from D.C. to assure me that despite the local "magazine war...with several sleek style publications entering the market," 13-year old Washington Life, published by Vickie Bagley, edited by Nancy Bagley, is flourishing. "Our ad base continues to grow and we are expanding our readership base to appeal to a young, up-and-coming social set...while the mature audience is our principal readership."
Ladies' Home Journal, which usually remains discreetly above such strife, crowing it, "and not Vogue," got Madonna on its cover (for July).
Country Home (also Meredith) hosts a full-day interactive festival on decorating, cooking, music etc in Central Park Oct. 1. KitchenAid, W Hotels and Wish-Bone are among early sponsors. Editor Carol Sheehan and Creative Director Mary Emmerling host, Mary Chapin Carpenter sings.
Bradford Dillman, the fine actor who was married forever to the late and perhaps first supermodel Suzy Parker, just published his third novel, "Kissing Kate," a farce set in a lightly disguised Santa Barbara's local theater. Fithian Press publishes.
Hutchins Traver says his Remedy quarterly (circ 2.2 million) just put out their biggest issue ever, weighing a quarter pound (without the cheese).