Surfing around in Bill Crider’s Pop Culture blog the other day, I noticed a link to an article about no less than eight literary homes being up for sale at the moment. I’d seen separate articles about Ray Bradbury’s long time residence coming on the market, and several that mentioned the so-called “Scarface Mansion” (that would be Al Pacino’s Scarface) being offered, if you just had enough moola.
None of the other articles mentioned that the Scarface Mansion once housed Thomas Mann, however. . . .
At any rate, check it out if you dig literary landmark action. The only big time literary home I recall being on the block recently was the Zane Grey adobe in Catalina, which I mentioned awhile back. (You’ll find a couple of shots of the adobe in that link, and a couple more in a follow-up post.)
Among other writers featured are Norman Mailer and Elizabeth Bishop (I have notes on Bishop’s stay in San Francisco in the event I ever do a revamped Literary World of San Francisco).
What most intrigues me about this news is whether or not Fritz Leiber visited Thomas Mann during his residency in the future Scarface Mansion — and would Fritz have had some nagging thought about the house looking Very Familiar when he caught the movie? (Pretty sure he would have caught the movie — director Brian De Palma was a darling of cineastes in that day, and Fritz was a cineaste living among cineastes.)
Fritz wrote about visiting Mann during his LA years in one article or another — don’t recall if there was enough description of the place to figure out a Scarface Mansion angle or not, and a quick check of various essays didn’t turn up the blurbage. If I stumble across it later I’ll do an update.
But for me that’s the cool aspect: yeah, Mann abiding in the future home of “Say hello to my little friend!” is interesting, but Fritz Leiber — a writer I knew — possibly visiting him there is much cooler.