How to Win Friends and Influence Producers
“Life is too complex for there to be any truth in the old slogan of every man for himself” (Schulberg 9), Al Manheim tells Sammy Glick, but Sammy Glick sets off to show the reader just the opposite. In his Introduction, Budd Schulberg writes he intended to show Sammy as a victim—a slave to his own obsessions. Schulberg had to actively stop his own compassions and sympathies from crossing into the page. However, “The mood is hopeful. The dog-eat-dog slum where Sammy started life, ‘a mangy puppy,’ had much to do with the making him what he was, Mr. Schulberg believes” (Macbride).
Intelligence can help get you anywhere in life: “street smart” and “book smart” alike. College is increasingly expected of high school graduates, and master’s degrees are also becoming more of the status quo. Hollywood, though also largely depending on talent and connections, is no different. The first exchange between Sammy Glick and Al Manheim happens when Sammy first gets his copyboy job at the paper. “Don’t say ain’t,’ [Al] said, ‘or you’ll be an office boy forever’” (Schulberg 3). This exchange is referenced multiple times throughout the book while Al reflects on how far Sammy has come both professionally and personally.
Kit Sergent is another example of intelligence paying off in the industry. Kit attended Vasser College, a prestigious school, which is how she is familiar with Laurette Harrington. Kit is a valued member of the Hollywood community, sitting on the Guild board and holding her own significant career. In fact, she tells Al that she could support him instead of the traditional alternative. Kit is a successful author with a well-known novel published. These tidbits are all the audience is given about Kit—no connections to speak of, so the audience can assume her achievements are based on her own merit and intelligence. Sammy, on the other hand, was not formally educated. However, he is still intelligent in his own way....