Respondent
Litman, Lenny
Interview Date
January 14, 1987
Abstract
Lenny Litman, a former nightclub owner, entertainment promoter and entertainment column writer; birth date, May 15, 1914;
[T1S1] family background; early life in Braddock, PA; early schooling in Braddock; sportswriter for school paper; other high school activities; writer for Pittsburgh<i> Press</i> and Pittsburgh<i> Sun</i>; thirteen days employment at a steel mill; women in his family; education at Roanoke College and Shenandoah College; employment as sports publicity director at University of Richmond; becomes promotion agent for the University of Pittsburgh's 150th Anniversary; father's beer distributorship; a trip to California with high school friends to audition for movies;
[T1S2] Hollywood experiences; return to Pittsburgh in 1938; becomes press agent for Wallace Brothers Circus and later Russell Brothers Circus; return to Pittsburgh to attend law school, at father's urging; leaves law school to open Hoot Gibson Rodeo and Thrill Circus; enlistment in the Navy; experiences of anti-Semitism; return to Pittsburgh after the war; opens Mercur's Music Bar in 1944; marriage to Roslyn Leiber, 1948; becomes promoter for the Copa nightclub;
[T2S3] discussion of talents who played at the Music Bar; Pittsburgh's years as a jazz town; discrimination against Blacks during the 1940s; salaries that some famous musicians drew at that time; sells Mercur's Music Bar when the Copa opened; discussion of famous musicians who played the Copa; people who got their start at the Copa; taking Jackie Kohane to synagogue on his visits to Pittsburgh;
[T2S4] Jewish comedians who played the Copa; friendship with Andre Phillipe; the years when Sammy Davis played the Copa; Davis' conversion to Judaism; decline of nightclub business in Pittsburgh; becomes a correspondent for <i>Variety</i> magazine; former colleagues in the nightclub business; brings first professional basketball team to Pittsburgh; receives an award for this effort; endeavor to bring cable TV to Pittsburgh; leases and operates the Penn Theater in the late 1950s; promoter for college concerts and professional boxing; courtship of wife, Roslyn; birth of children; their lives and careers; promotion of events at Heinz Hall;
[T3S5] discussion of his promotion of the Bolshoi Ballet in 1967-68; writer for a "nightlife" column for the Pittsburgh<i> Press</i> from 1970 to 1985; views on the future of show business; his greatest success in life; his pen name; people who helped and influenced his career.
Subjects
Braddock (Pa.); Davis, Sammy, 1925-1990; Amusements; Musicians; Music; City and town life; Jews--Social life and customs
Birth Date
1914
City
North Braddock, PA
Profession
Businessman, Newspaper reporter, Show promoter
Work
Copa Club; Midway, Rock and Roll and Carnival; Shows Inc.
Residence
North Braddock, PA; Braddock, PA
Length (hours)
3
Interviewer1
Blum, Eleanor
Interviewer2
Faigen, Ann
Collateral Materials
Box 104 FF 11
Identifier
ais196440.282
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh