Don Pearce
July 9, 2006 3:41 PM   Subscribe

A counterfeiter and a convict. A merchant marine and a safecracker. This is Donn Pearce's story before he turned twenty. This is his story before he could grow a beard, before he wrote Cool Hand Luke, was nominated for an Academy Award, went broke, and chased bail jumpers. You'd like to think you've got stories of your own, that you've lived a full life, and then you travel up Florida's I-95 to spend the afternoon listening to Donn Pearce.
posted by thisisdrew (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
That is a straight up stunning article. Thanks for posting it.
posted by cyphill at 4:32 PM on July 9, 2006

It certainly was a good idea for an article - and Pearce is a fascinating character - but god that was some over-wrought gee-whiz silliness. Here's a sample [emphasis on especially nauseating sentence mine]:

But he won't survive forever. Donn Pearce is seventy-six, and even today, in the age of medical miracles, seventy-six is pretty old. Donn Pearce no longer drinks beer or swings pickaxes or stays out late looking for trouble. Trouble has found Donn Pearce, caught him in the way that it will find and catch us all.

Ugh. But if you can get past the over-writing and tragically typical "deep thoughts" approach to magazine feature writing, its definitely a good story.
posted by ChasFile at 5:23 PM on July 9, 2006

What ChasFile said. Great story that I was unaware of (I lurve Cool Hand Luke), but man, talk about purple prose.
posted by bardic at 6:41 PM on July 9, 2006

What are you talking about? This is Grammy gold. Someone needs to set it to a I IV V pop progression and bingo.

"Imagine Saving Private Ryan minus the schmaltz." [page 5]

Imagine this article minus the schmaltz. Still, good link drew.
posted by yeti at 6:42 PM on July 9, 2006

Good link, thisisdrew. But damn, now I feel old in a "sure I've covered 7 continents, and seen the circus, but was I all that I could be?" kinda way...

Hope Pearce lives long enough to write all his stories, and gets, finally, decent editors.
posted by paulsc at 6:50 PM on July 9, 2006

Has anyone read Cool Hand Luke, is it worthwhile or is the film better?
posted by stbalbach at 8:24 PM on July 9, 2006

This article makes a good point. What good are stories, anyway? We're so used to hearing the tale of the CEO or somesuch who "gaineth the world but loseth his soul." But what about the guy who lived a long and colorful live, yet still wound up broke and in pain with a son who won't talk to him?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:48 PM on July 9, 2006

ChasFile: That's Esquire. They've always been that way. In the context of the print magazine, with some full-page, deep-color photos, it tends to work a little better.

stbalbach: Good reviews at Amazon. #230,000 in sales ...

Nobody Comes Back is doing a tad better: #57,000 in sales.
posted by dhartung at 9:14 PM on July 9, 2006

"the correct answer is Cool Hand Luke."
posted by shoepal at 10:21 PM on July 9, 2006

stbalbach: It's a good read, like candy. It's certainly short enough to be banged out in a weekend.
posted by Eideteker at 8:07 AM on July 10, 2006

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