Weegee vs. Wallace: “They don’t need an artist like me anymore…”


Mike Wallace Asks, Simon and Schuster, 1958
A transcript of the “real” interview indicates that perhaps Weegee and Wallace didn’t have a great rapport; didn’t really like each other very much… This printed version is much edited, and is the only interview of about 50, where Wallace asks one question, and the interviewee rambles on for the entire chapter…
Although it’s only a page long, it’s a great page (a few excerpts: edited edits):

WALLACE: Weegee, you used to be the top murder photographer in the country. Why did you quit?

WEEGEE: Murder, Incorporated went out of business. I used to be the official photographer for Murder, Incorporated. I used to have one a night… I advised the boys on taste…
Murder’s not anything anymore. In the old days Murder, Incorporated, had a garage in Brooklyn… they’d teach them the trade, teach them how to shoot and so on. Train ’em like feudal craftsmen. They made a fine art of it. Each murder was better than the one previous.
But murder has gone out of style. It’s a different trend. Everything is organized these days. Instead of fighting with each other, they call a meeting They’re executives. You know what a an executive is? A guy that doesn’t eat in cafeterias. Today, it’s all organization and efficiency. They don’t need an artist like me anymore…. I’ve changed too. I used to go to Sammy’s on the Bowery. I had my own table… The younger generation is making a mockery of the fine art of murder.

Perhaps the Lili St. Cyr interview is a little more typical…

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