Charley Ellsworth Grapewin.
Title The Town Pump: An American Comedy.
Book Condition Collectible: Very Good
Edition First Edition
Publisher Los Angeles: Thomas Perry Stricker, 1933
Seller ID HGK913-21a
12mo. 7 1/2 x 4 5/8 inches. [viii], 232 pp. Half-title, title-page decoration of the town pump under a tree designed by Will Cheney; text clean, unmarked. Half tan cloth, green paper sides, front cover repeats the Cheney design, green printed paper spine label, beautiful green facsimile dust-jacket with Cheney design on the front, jacket with plastic protector; binding square and tight, minor dust-soiling to top edge, inner hinge cracked at the foot of the gutter, but this is just cosmetic. Ownership signature on front free end-paper, "Property of L. L. Ostrow." Very Good. Perhaps this book is an autobiographical novel about Charley Grapevine's experiences in Hollywood? The story itself highlights the conflict between city- and country-life that characterized the internal cultural conflict within the United States in the 1920s and 30s. The basic story has to do with the rural village of Bowersville as the village is caught up in changes brought about by the forces of modernization. This particular copy of this title has a number of links with Hollywood and Los Angeles printing history. The book was printed by Thomas Perry Stricker (1898-1945), a tramp printer of sorts who settled in Los Angeles in the late 1920s and bought some printing equipment in order to establish his own printing business. This is one of a number of books he printed. Stricker oscillated between New York and Los Angeles; he finally sold his printing equipment to Ward Ritchie before his last move to New York where he died in the 1940s. The title page says that this book was written by Grapewin with the collaboration of Anthony Hillyer; the Clark Library lists Hillyer as a member of the Rounce & Coffin Club, but also as a pseudonym for Stricker. The title-page illustration was drawn by William M. Cheney, the Los Angeles typesticker who worked for Dawson's Book Shop for many years and who printed the Dawson's ephemera, as well as a number of miniature books. The book bears the ownership signature of L. L. Ostrow (1895-1956), an early Hollywood producer whose projects included Andy Hardy and Dr. Kildare. Ostrow began as a film cutter at Universal Studios and became an executive producer at Metro in 1938. During the 1930s, Charlie Grapewin is credited with appearances in more American movies than any other actor in Hollywood. Grapewin appeared in the film, The Petrified Forest (1936), as a toothless old man. The protagonist in this book is nearly toothless. He has 5 teeth: 4 molars in the back, two on each side, upper and lower, with which he chews his food. He also has one canine in the front with which he snags his food and throws it back to let the molars to do their work. His dental status is revealed about 3/4 of the way through the book, when he has his canine removed so that the dentist can prepare him a set of false teeth. The hero then takes the canine tooth (that the protagonist has named Snaggy), and has it set in a gold stick pin. Sort of a memento of his past life.
The Town Pump: An American Comedy, Charley Ellsworth Grapewin,