10:30 AM on New Year’s Eve, I arrived at Clay
Felker’s apartment on East 57th Street. A robust
man in his late thirties, Felker was not only a consulting
editor at Viking, but the editor of the Herald Tribune’s
“New York” magazine section. When he answered
the door, he looked as if he had just woken up. He was
wearing pajamas, a silk art-nouveau bathrobe, and slippers.
He took me through an impressive library of leather-bound
books in glass-enclosed cases. A staircase led downstairs,
where he suggested I wait while he got dressed.
His duplex had its entrance, library, and bedrooms upstairs.
The living room, which had a 20- foot-high ceiling and
casement windows, was downstairs. In the center was
a tall, tinsel-covered Christmas tree with an angel
on top. Next to it was a ladder.
The Filipino maid seated me at a round table, then brought
me coffee on a silver tray. About ten minutes later,
a strikingly thin woman in a sheer white nightgown descended
the stairs, carrying a box and scissors. Unaware of
my presence in the room, she climbed the ladder, her
blond hair flowing over her shoulders, and began removing
decorations from the tree. I did not speak up for fear
of startling her. Felker then bounded into the room
and introduced the beautiful woman on the ladder as
his wife, Pamela. At that point, I recognized her as
the movie star Pamela Tiffin.
Felker apologized for the delay, explaining he had been
on the phone to the White House. He said in a grave
tone that President Lyndon Baines Johnson might be ill,
adding that the news might upset the stock market. He
joined me at the table while Pamela, who had put on
a robe, brought a basket of croissants.
I handed Felker my thesis.