Yeah…I have to admit being a little disappointed that I didn’t at least get a glimpse of Salinger. I’m not sure I agree with the notion that it would have made the endeavor any more invasive. Although, it could have been much worse…James could have barged into his bathroom and rubbed one off in his shower.
While I don’t think he would have been any less pleased with your interrupting him with camera in hand, as opposed to without, he might not have even spoke to you if you had it. So I guess, you two having this memory is better than nothing. I suppose if I want to see him, I should just make the trip myself. New Hampshire’s a long way from me though, and Salinger might be dead by the time I would get there.
Ah well…Good work on your film nonetheless.
So what’s the story? Is that it? Will their be a film festival entry? A DVD release? A free download of the entire film perhaps? A director’s cut? Deleted scenes? Please let me know. It appears as though I am your biggest fan.
-I have doubts about the part: ‘we don’t show the directions because this author published them in his book and we don’t want to be sued’. There was no need to say that you got the directions from him. So the excuse is not plausible at all. Neither is the outcome regardless of its truthfulness.
– You all appear to much on camera as if the documentary was about you. If for any reason Salinger could not be ‘caught’ on camera, interviewing the townspeople along your itinerary, especially in and around Cornish, would have been more interesting.
The whole thing, even this site seems somewhat ‘empty’ with the disappointing final on top.
So I got mobilized in San Antonio, Texas far from my wife and kids and bored as hell. So what do I do? Start googling random stuff like Salinger of course. And the next thing I know I’m watching your 6 part documentary.
Well congrats. I was really really pleased with your effort. Unlike others I wasn’t at all disappointed that you didn’t shoot the footage of Salinger at the conclusion of the film.
I remember reading the book for the first time in the 6th or 7th grade and the image I have of Caufield/Salinger (as stated before the two are basically one in the same) is the same one I have to this day.
In fact I think it might have tainted it for me to see the aging man in his 80’s. I’d rather keep Caufield/Salinger young and full of agnst. Not old and bitter.
It’s odd, but in a way, by being reclusive Salinger has let many of his readers keep him and his character young in their imagination.
Additionally I also enjoyed the humor you mixed in throughout the film, never seeming to take yourselves too seriously.
Great first effort. Keep up the good work. I hope to see more from you guys in the future.
Would love to see you follow the path of Steinbech through the California ranches, or even Harper Lee through the old south.
Somehow I knew exactly how this would end from the beginning, but I have to say a lot of stuff on the trip was worth it. I’d been to most of the New York locations before but in particular the Pencey Prep/Valley Forge visit was really interesting (it was a little unsettling actually as it looked pretty much exactly how I pictured it from the book).
The hardest thing for me to imagine is Salinger turning on the television set and trying to make sense of, say, MTV. If he hated movies back then, and if indeed he had a sense that the world was corrupt in some way, what must he think of the country today?
Come to think of it, even now at my age, moving into New England and becoming a recluse doesn’t sound so bad.
That said, I wish he’d give us one substantial interview. Just one long talk about the way his celebrity and his books impacted his life, and his view of the world. The occasional psychopath aside, people who love Catcher (or Franny & Zooey for that matter), tend to be at their most tender, when loving it, and I hope that’s not lost on him.
I have noticed that a lot of people forced to read that book hated it, and certain type-A personalities who read it on their own hate it, but almost everyone else who reads it tends to like it a lot.
As for Catcher, I’ve read it 5 times now – I will probably read it a few more, spaced out a little more now, perhaps once a decade. It changes as you age.
I wonder if he had any idea the extent to which that book would affect people. I wish he’d tell us.
But I guess in the end I got a whole hell of a lot more out of that $5.95 paperback than I paid for it, so I don’t have much to complain about.
you could have at least had an audio recording! shit… you didn’t offer him anything?! I doubt he’d want money but you could have at least tried. Did you write him a letter before you got there? You thought he would want to talk to you out of the blue for no reason at all?!
this wasn’t even planned out and the whole doc is about you guys!
you could have at least filmed his house, gotten a long lens and filmed from a tree or something. it seems like you didn’t even try… maybe you couldn’t find the house so you just made this up?
ok, forget all this criticism ^ (not that it’s all bad, but..) i love it. both as a JD Salinger fan and as an amature filmmaker. i found this website while looking for stuff for a salinger research paper…funny, interesting, and helpful. awesome job. thanks a bunch.
I listened to/watched this documentary at work with fascination, and a little bit of guilt. Some observations: the soundtrack is haunting and adds a lot, and the young man doing narration sounds perfect. – Your sincere interest in JD Salinger comes across and I’m so glad you didn’t record video or audio of the meeting at the house. — One of the things I deeply respect about Salinger is the fact he *doesn’t* do interviews or interact with the media. Would you really want him going on Larry King etc.?! How depressing would that be? There is dignity in his silence! And the thing about he being a recluse is not true, only with regard to the media. He still lives a fairly normal life and seems grounded. I respect that. Even his reaction to you at his house was reasonable– he didn’t scream or cause a comotion. He’s a WWII veteran who faught on DD Day, at the Battle of the Bulge and I’m sure he’s capable of defending his property and has a gun etc. And he has to be worried about intruders on his property who might be crazy… so his reaction was pretty measured, I thought, and gracious, under the circumstances. — I hope he does publish new, interesting material after his death and I hope it’s brand new and nothing to do with the Glass family or Holden. His writing seemed to deteriate at the point when he stopped writing, so I hope over the years, he managed to return to the simpler writing of his early books and short stories. Thank you for this, guys.
Thanks guys. Good stuff. If I had driven cross-country to New Hampshire to see the old man, I can’t imagine it would have been much different. You’ve documented an experience likely shared by a few brave and devoted fans.
As you know, in the late 1990s Salinger was set to publish Hapworth 16, 1924. Like many I was excited and hopeful that a positive publishing experience may lead to new publishing from Salinger.
After the date was pushed back I called my local book store. The girl I spoke with was confused why the date was continually changed. She said she would try to find out what was going on and call me back.
She then left a message with the publisher, Orchises Press. Once she got a call back with an answer, she called me and matter-of-factly said that she spoke with the author and gave me the new date.
When I questioned her regarding the details of the conversation it was obvious she was unaware Salinger was a recluse. She just stuck to her story that he called her back and said he was the one who wrote the story.
Hey, I saw the news at work today. It was a surreal moment, seeing the article that I always knew would appear at some point– I sort of felt he’d live to 108, for some reason– but never being ready for it, and I guess it shows the importance of this writer’s life and work on me that I feel as if I’ve lost someone really close. His words hung in my mind in such an intimate fashion, it felt like he was a friend and companion (illusion thought it may be). A world without J.D., even the reclusive, leave-me-alone J.D., seems a more lonely place. Since I last wrote here, I reread some of his short stories with admiration. What I most liked about him was he really went for it– he was writing about important things, authenticity, the meaning of life, what is a meaningful life; you wanted to be in his living room and be able to speak to him, what was on your mind, casually, like you could hang out with him and be his occasional buddy. That was also his nightmare, though.
As I said in my last post, I hope he has indeed been writing some great stories that we’re going to be able to read in the not-too-distant future; it wouldn’t surprise me. It will probably be nearly all Glass family material. On the other hand, he might have had a change of heart and decide not to publish at all, even on his death, and that would be a great tragedy. I wish to write more on him here in the future; this writer meant a great deal to me, both his writing and in the manner in which he lived his life. Let us celebrate this man, quirks and all, and be glad he did manage to share with us the body of work that we have seen so far. Rest in peace, J.D., in whatever form your future essence may take.
I did what you did. I went to J.D. Salinger’s house. I had written a short story/script I wanted to show him. It was for a potential Star Trek episode. In it, Kirk, Spock and Bones (McCoy) travel back in time, transporting down to earth in the 2000s. They land in Cornish at Salinger’s house, right in the room with the safe where he stores his manuscripts for the books he’s been writing since he stopped publishing. You see, in the future, in the 25th century or whatever, they know that Salinger will burn all his manuscripts he’s been working on before he croaks, and with time on their hands, they decide to do a little culture restoration project and travel back and save the manuscripts before he can burn them. (It’s a more light-hearted episode, as you can probably tell.)
So they beam back, McCoy, Spock and Kirk in the script, but also with a cultural historian, a really hot chick with one of those revealing miniskirts like they always had in the original series. Bones is delayed because the computer produced the wrong size of boots. They’re beamed into a very tight space and as Spock is picking the combination lock of the safe, the cultural historian trips over a broom and Salinger barges in on them. (The sensors were affected by some damage in the time warp and they weren’t sure if he was there or not.)
After they explained everything, Spock and Kirk realize the time line has now been contaminated and tell Jerry he has no choice but to return to the future because he knows about their future existence and all.
Salinger resists but in time adapts to his new surroundings in the 25th century (thanks in no small part to several mind melding sessions with Nimoy/Spock). In fact, he finds the new anonymity and freedom liberating. McCoy is able to revitalize Jerry’s body with new genetically grown material from his old body, so he’s able to have a 30-year-old body again. He has a torrid affair with the cultural historian, Meg O’Reilly, and starts to write some really new interesting material, totally different than anything he’s done before. He’s getting into a groove.
But then something bad happens. The Borg travel back in time and, in the ensuing battle on the bridge of the Enterprise, Salinger is unfortunately captured and taken to the Borg cube vessel. Kirk and Spock attempt a rescue mission but to no avail. The Borg Queen likes Jerry’s old writing and decides to cloan him and makes a series of Salinger drones. And all the Salinger drones start to write sequels to Catcher In the Rye, every one of them. Every time they get old and die, a new crop of Salinger drones is created that writes new revisions and updates of what Holden Caufield is doing, through all eternity. It’s really tragic.
So I asked Jerry what he thought, and he took a long time and then said he thought it showed potential but that the audience all knows that Kirk and Bones and Spock are on a TV series that they’ve personally watched, and he has too, so then you couldn’t really
believe they were coming from the future because here they all were on people’s TVs. He said it wouldn’t work because people couldn’t suspend their disbelief.
I was upset because I hadn’t really considered that possibility. But then I came up with the idea that the script was in an alternate universe where Star Trek, the series, hadn’t existed, just the actual real people in space in the 25th century, and them coming back to earth unknown. He seemed satisfied with that. We then chatted about quantum physics, Buddhism and Schrodinger’s The Mystic Vision and how the self doesn’t really exist and how the universe is all really one thing, not separated into separate parts and states of consciousness like we seem to experience. We ate cucumber sandwiches and cheddar cheese out on his deck where there was a beautiful view, and later on when it got dark, we went and looked at the moons of Jupiter on a new telescope he had out back. It was a delightful time. God, I wish you’d been there.
-Above is a quasi-story #1, fictional of course, in the style of Ring Lardner (written by me two weeks before Salinger died).