Burial of the Fruit
by David Dortort
Growin up gangster in Brooklyn is just da kind of hard knocks life ya need ta produce da two biggest tv westerns ever’. Protecting the ranch is the same as protecting the hood. Bros is Bros, right?
Dortort grew up in a Brooklyn tenement slum. As as teenager Dortort joined the Atlantic Avenue gang. Even though he was dead center in the Murder, Inc. hood, I could not find any info on this particular gang (there were as many gangs in this area of Booklyn in the 1930’s as there are Starbucks in Seattle today). Later, Dortort would revisit this life for two novels, Burial of the Fruit and Post of Honor.
Juvey delinquents were a popular “menace to society” in the 1950’s. So it’s fun to note the bizarro nature of the publishers treatment of the subject. Burial of the Fruit tale is real pulp, but the flap copy treats it like some kind of documentary on moral decay in the slums. The poor illustrator does not know what to do.
My Caption: Out for a lovely springtime row in a boat in the slums of Brooklyn, the teenage killer (the one that looks like a fed) is about to grab Trixie’s naughty “ciggie”.
Burial of the Fruit sold 2 million copies. Ben Hecht and Burt Lancaster optioned it for a script, but it never got made. Reports were it was too brutal.
Dortort was undeterred. He concentrated on scriptwriting. By 1958 his ship came in. He pitched an idea for a show set in 1859 after the gold rush. For 14 seasons Bonanza’s band of brothers and their father Ben settled range wars, battled racism and promoted religious tolerance in the wild west.
Dortort died in 2010 at age 93. Salute.
Condition: Burial of the Fruit, David Dortort, Avon 183, 1948, First Edition. Good.