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"The Tech Rep" by James Michener; Continued

"He had lived an intense emotional life which appeared, at casual inspection, to have been structured upon the films made by these two actors. Actually, it was the other way around; American life in those years was so clear cut, the national values so well agreed upon, the films mirrored the consensus-type of life Holt lead. Instead of his aping Tracy and Bogart, they were copying him. Art thus followed life, which is the preferred Sequence; today art, Especially popular music, invents new patterns which students follow in enthralled obedience.

Because Tracy and Bogart summarized the best that America was producing in those middle decades, Holt Remembered almost every picture they had made and considered appropriate that they had never appeared in the same film. THEY WOULDN'T HAVE FITTED, he said when I asked him about this. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT MEN. He did not say, THEIR STYLES WERE DIFFERENT. He said as men they would have clashed, for he saw in them not as actors but as living men who happened to be thrust into evocative situations.

Bogart represented the man Harvey felt he was; Tracy, the gentlemen he would have liked to be. At his frontier stations he had ample opportunity to watch his favorites in their best films, for construction firms provided their men with five films a week, and the oldies from 1940 to 1960 predominated. Once, when a women dressmaker in Hong Kong had to go out of business because a Yugoslavian adventurer had stolen her cash, Holt sat morosely listening to Glenn Miller tapes and reflecting the matter. I KEEP THINKING OF THE WAY HUMPHREY BOGART SAVED THAT NEWSPAPER FOR OLD ETHEL BARRYMORE. A WOMAN IN BUSINESS OUGHT TO HAVE SOMEONE SHE CAN RELY ON."

To be continued:

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