SKU: A01518 Category:


Description: In this typed letter signed, Chayefsky responds to a lengthy letter from a disappointed theatergoer who attended a production of his Middle of the Night (copy of her letter included). She writes in part: “a man of your talent should devote himself to raising standards of the concept of life, rather than flaunting lower concepts”. Chayefsky writes in full: “Dear Mrs. Elliott: I am genuinely sorry you didn’t enjoy the play. ‘Good taste’ is a highly personalized thing. I thought some of the play as it was done in Philadelphia bordered a little on the unnecessarily unpleasant, but I will not accept the charge of being tasteless. I tried in my own way to present whatever truth I know. What I tried to show in this play was the existence of moments of beauty, even in particularly sordid surroundings. There is no way I know of  portraying the sordid in life without in some way showing some of it. I hope you will think more kindly of my work, understanding that I meant no vulgarity or even distastefulness. Sincerely, Paddy Chayefsky”. The recipient was obviously not impressed by Chayefsky’s defense, and she wrote words to that effect at the bottom of his letter “This reply to the attached letter is disappointing. I did not stress ‘bad taste’ of the author — just ‘bad taste’ on evident demands of audience. Mr. C. is not as perceptive as I thought. Too bad. Hope he ‘grows’.”

Sidney Aaron “Paddy” Chayefsky (1923-1981), playwright and screenwriter, won three Academy Awards for original screenplays (MartyThe Hospital, and Network).

Written on an 11″ x 8 1/2″ sheet of Strathmore bond paper. Included as provenance: an old catalogue entry of this item from noted autograph dealer Walter Benjamin. Item #A01518

Condition: Mailing fold lines, light toning (perhaps from storage with a newspaper clipping), two slivers of hinging tape on verso. Generally good condition with excellent content.