From the Inside Flap
What Makes Sammy Run?
Everyone of us knows someone who runs. He is one of the symp-toms of our times—from the little man who shoves you out of the way on the street to the go-getter who shoves you out of a job in the office to the Fuehrer who shoves you out of the world. And all of us have stopped to wonder, at some time or another, what it is that makes these people tick. What makes them run?
This is the question Schulberg has asked himself, and the answer is the first novel written with the indignation that only a young writer with talent and ideals could concentrate into a manuscript. It is the story of Sammy Glick, the man with a positive genius for being a heel, who runs through New York's East Side, through newspaper ranks and finally through Hollywood, leaving in his wake the wrecked careers of his associates; for this is his tragedy and his chief characteristic—his congenital incapacity for friendship.
An older and more experienced novelist might have tempered his story and, in so doing, destroyed one of its outstanding qualities. Compromise would mar the portrait of Sammy Glick. Schulberg has etched it in pure vitriol, and dissected his victim with a precision that is almost frightening.
When a fragment of this book appeared as a short story in a national magazine, Schulberg was surprised at the number of letters he received from people convinced they knew Sammy Glick's real name. But speculation as to his real identity would be utterly fruitless, for Sammy is a composite picture of a loud and spectacular minority bitterly resented by the many decent and sincere artists who are trying honestly to realize the measureless potentialities of motion pictures. To this group belongs Schulberg himself, who has not only worked as a screen writer since his graduation from Dartmouth College in 1936, but has spent his life, literally, in the heart of the motion-picture colony. In the course of finding out what makes Sammy run (an operation in which the reader is spared none of the grue-some details) Schulberg has poured out everything he has felt about that place. The result is a book which the publishers not only believe to be the most honest ever written about Hollywood, but a penetrating study of one kind of twentieth-century success that is peculiar to no single race of people or walk of life.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Budd Schulberg was born Seymour Wilson Schulberg in New York City on March 27, 1914. “Budd” was derived from a family nickname. He was the son of Benjamin Percival Schulberg , who was a pioneer film producer who ran Paramount Pictures in the 1930s and had discovered Clara Bow. Thus, Budd Schulberg was familiar with Hollywood movie practices from childhood, long before he became a major screenwriter himself. Budd Schulberg wrote “On the Waterfront”, made into a movie starring Marlon Brando, and he wrote “The Harder They Fall” made into a movie starring Humphrey Bogart. Being the son of a successful Hollywood producer, Budd Schulberg had an insider's viewpoint on the true happenings of Hollywood, and his literature and film reflected this. Although "What Makes Sammy Run?", his scathing look at Hollywood, was twice presented on television in New York-based productions in 1949 and 1959 and appeared on Broadway in a musical version with Steve Lawrence playing Sammy that ran for 540 performances in the 1964-1965 season, Hollywood itself has never made a version of this popular novel. Dreamworks acquired the rights to the novel from Warner Bros. for $2.6 million for a proposed version starring Ben Stiller, but that movie has yet to be made. A movie industry insider, Schulberg published the damning expose of Hollywood "What Makes Sammy Run?" in 1941, creating the greatest of all Hollywood anti-heroes, Sammy Glick. The book made him persona non grata in Hollywood for years. Schulberg had been a Communist Party member in the 1930s, and the Communist Party USA also attacked his book. Disillusioned with communism and what the USSR had devolved into under Stalin, he appeared as a friendly witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951 and named names. Budd Schulberg died on August 5, 2009 at aged 95 in Quogue, Long Island, New York. He was married only four times and had only five children.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.