Part 1 - Long Tall Sally

Time period: Spring - Summer 1992

The title "Long Tall Sally" refers to several things: a song and a painting on a plane, and the art project in the desert.

The B-52s

Mortuary for B-52/Tucson

From 1952-62 Boeing had supplied the U.S. Air Force with 774 Stratofortresses, costing $8 million each. In the critical days of the cold war, these intercontinental bombers, with the lightning emblem of the Strategic Air Command under the cockpit, used to be in the air twenty-four hours a day. On their alarm patrols, they used to carry the atomic holocaust around half the globe. -- from Dead Tech, 1982.

Klara: "But didn't life take an unreal turn at some point?"
Nick: "Well, you're famous, Klara."
Klara: "No. It's not unreal because I'm famous. It's just unreal." (73)
We first hear about Lucky Strikes.

"He went out to get a pack of cigarettes, and he never came back." (87)

Is it a target?

Designer Raymond Loewy was responsible for the Lucky Strike package. From the book Raymond Loewy by Paul Jodard:

One morning in 1941 a man introducing himself as Mr Hill called on Loewy. Taking off his jacket, bur retaining his hat, a battered affair decorated with fishing flies, he took out his cigarette case and lighter. Both were by Cartier, the man pointed out. Loewy was able to show that his suspenders were also designed - to measure - by Cartier; they order these things better in France. Civilities thus established, the man explained that he was George Washington Hill, the head of American Tobacco. Someone had told him that Loewy could redesign the Lucky Strike pack, though he didn't believe it. Loewy proposed a bet: fifty thousand dollars if the redesign (that would come to Loewy 'one spring morning') worked. Hill scribbled his acceptance of the bet on a visiting card, picked up his coat and left. One morning Loewy did have a go at the design, dropping the green background colour in favour of white, repeating the target design on both sides of the pack, and smartening up the typography. He won his bet.

Klara: "Many things that were anchored to the balance of power and the balance of terror seem to be undone, unstuck. Things have no limits now. Money has no limits. I don't understand money anymore. Money is undone. Violence is undone, violence is easier now, it's uprooted, out of control, it has no measure anymore, it has no level of values." (76)
We learn of Nick Shay and Klara's long ago affair, and that Klara attended the Black and White Ball.
Where's the ball?
Brian Glassic reveals that Nick bought the baseball. (95)

Nick reveals the price. (132)

In the first Manx Martin section, Cotter Martin gets the ball home after the game, but once he goes to sleep, his father Manx takes the ball. (150)

Become the Book

In the Manx Martin section, Cotter thinks about "a kid in his class who eats pages from his history book nearly every day" (141). This recalls a reminiscence of David Bell in Americana. "It was in Oh's class that a student named Humbro ate his copy of D.T. Suzuki's introduction to Zen." (p. 175 of current paperback edition). That section concludes: "One must become a book before one can know what is inside it."

The Honeymooners

The 39 well-known episodes of The Honeymooners were made in the 1955-56 television season. But Jackie Gleason began doing Honeymooners sketches while he was host of the show Cavalcade of Stars, 1950-52. More Honeymooners sketches were done on the Jackie Gleason Show between 1952 and 1955.



We built pyramids of waste above and below the earth. The more hazardous the waste, the deeper we tried to sink it. The word plutonium comes from Pluto, god of the dead and ruler of the underworld. (106)

To Part 2.
Back to DeLillo's Underworld.

Last updated: 10-OCT-97