I CAUGHT FLIES FOR HOWARD HUGHES by Ron Kistler

I CAUGHT FLIES FOR HOWARD HUGHES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

One-time driver/bodyguard/movie projectionist for no doubt the world's richest eccentric tells all. It was the time of Hughes' TWA shenanigans (1957-60), but what the author mostly saw was a naked man with private parts covered by a pink napkin sitting in a sweltering 15' by 24' room watching movies and worrying about germs. To take care of the latter he had a man on 24-hour duty to swat away flies the rare times someone opened his door (with a tissue, of course); Hughes himself picked up nothing except with a tissue--which he then threw on a huge pile of kleenex and birdshit that totally filled his room. The people around him had no life of ease: the author made $464 a week--but that was for a 24-hour day and a seven-day week ($2/hour, plus time-and-a-half for surely the longest consecutive period of overtime in history); and as for Hughes' heavily-guarded ""mistress"" and wife, they probably would have had more fun in prison. That the staff around Hughes (Mormons all) was incompetent and nearly as loony as he was should come as no surprise. After several years the author began to long for his family and a normal life, so he quit. Lucky thing--otherwise we might never have gotten this memoir in which everything is viewed with a jaundiced but nonetheless affectionate eye.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Publisher: Playboy Press