Books: On the Pedasill

SCHNOZZOLA, THE STORY OF JIMMY DURANTE (256 pp.)—Gene Fowler—Viking ($3).

At the end of his radio & television shows, Jimmy Durante lowers his voice to a hoarse throb and murmurs, "Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are." Who Mrs. Calabash may be, nobody knows, and Jimmy won't say. His friends like to believe that his airwave salute to her symbolizes the Durante character: grotesque tenderness beneath the mask of a public clown.

The relation of the public Jimmy to the private Jimmy is one of the main preoccupations of Gene Fowler's story. Schnozzola is not as spectacular a performance as Fowler's life on...

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