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How I Became a Famous Pickup Artist : Part 2

This is a continuation of the story, How I Became a Famous Pickup Artist Part 1. If you haven't read that already, you should do so before reading this article.

Papa was notorious for being in contact with everyone in the pickup scene. I couldn't blame him, either - he was the business side of "Real Social Dynamics", a company that taught seminars and workshops to aspiring players. Not surprisingly, he was the only person at the seminar that I knew.

In order to extract every last precious second out of my experience, I had gotten on the earliest flight to Chicago that I could book. I called Papa when I arrived at the hotel at 10am. I could hardly make out his voice. He'd been out in the clubs until very late and was still sleeping.

The story of ‘The Godfather’

On The Thoughtful Young Djedi from Bermuda

[Note: I wrote this as a senior in university.]

The story of The Godfather begins in the hands of an unlikely writer by the name of Mario Puzo. At forty-five years old, Puzo had written two novels which had earned him a measly $6,500. The year was 1965 and he owed over $20,000 to finance companies, bookmakers and relatives. In an effort to ameliorate his financial position, Puzo set out to write a book that would financially secure him for the rest of his life. Puzo decided to forego an attempt to produce a great work of literature in favor of making a killing. Although he had never met a single gangster, he chose to write about a crime family in his hometown of New York. Through childhood stories and extensive research, Puzo began work on a three-year effort to create a romanticized, gripping, emotional look at a fictional character named Vito Corleone and his rise in the criminal underworld. He called the book Mafia.

After receiving a modest advance from his publisher G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Puzo secured interest from Paramount Pictures for his unfinished book—a full two years before it hit the bookstore shelves. In the spring of 1967 Mario Puzo, still an unknown writer at the time, walked into the offices of Robert Evans who was the head of production at Paramount Pictures. Initially as a favor for a friend, Evans had consented to take this meeting with the then unknown writer from New York. Puzo carried under his arm the first draft ofMafia; 50 or 60 typescript pages which he desperately needed to use as collateral. Puzo was a serious gambler and had found himself in with the bookies for ten grand. A deal on his evolving book was his last hope of not having his legs broken by the very same people he portrayed on those pages. In a decision more out of pity than excitement, Evans agreed to an option of $12,500 against $75,000 if it became a book. A few months later Puzo called Evans to ask if he could change the name of the book to The Godfather. “I had forgotten he was even writing one,” Evans almost laughed out loud (Seal, 1).

By the early 1960s, the prestige and glamour surrounding the old studio of Paramount had begun to decline. Paramount recorded modest profits, with a handful of successes but even larger flops. With a financial position that was prone to uncertainty, Paramount Pictures became increasingly vulnerable to a takeover. In 1966 a diverse holding company called Gulf+Western purchased Paramount Pictures outright, led by its founder and CEO Charles G. Bluhdorn. During the 1960s blockbuster hits were few and far between at Paramount and apart from films such as Barefoot in the Park (1967),The Odd Couple (1968) and Rosemary’s Baby (1968) — the studio contributed very little to the corporation’s profits. In 1970 Gulf+Western made five times more money selling cigars than movies. This prompted discussions of disbanding Paramount and Bluhdorn considered selling the studio on Melrose Avenue and disposing its assets.

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