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                                               He Didn't Get it Right All the Time

In the opening scene of Butterfield 8 Gloria Wondrous, in walking around Weston Liggett's living-room apartment, spots this: 

... one picture of an oarsman holding a sweep. This picture she inspected closely. His hair was cut short, he was wearing short, heavy woolen socks, a cotton shirt with three buttons at the neck, and a small letter over the heart, and his trunks were bunched in the very center of his jock strap and what was in it. She was surprised that he would have a picture like that hanging in this room, where it must be seen by growing girls.

From Matthew Bruccoli:

Butterfield 8 provides an example of O'Hara's approach to realism. He tried hard to get every detail right in his fiction, but when a rare factual error was pointed out to him after a novel was published he let it stand. Perhaps he felt that the printed material had achieved a life of its own. In Butterfield 8 there is a picture of Gloria Wandrous studying the bulging jock of Weston Liggett in his crew photo. Press agent Russell Maloney told O'Hara that crewmen didn't wear jocks, which was confirmed by Hobart Weekes, a New Yorker editor who had rowed for Princeton. O'Hara was furious, but didn't revise the description. It was the start of a feud with Maloney. The O'Hara Concern, page 125.

A few years back I researched Al Grecco's V-61 Cadillac in Appointment in Samarra and found it was really a V-16 Cadillac. The digits had been reversed. I had the privilege at Penn State to examine the original manuscript, and I learned this was the author's error, not the typesetter's.

None of us can get it right all the time, especially an author who was as so incredibly prolific as John O'Hara.

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