and Mortimer Gurmshire
Radio personality Frank Ford remembered the outrageous humor of David Goodis. Ford--known as Ed Felbin except in his broadcast life--grew up at 1008 Wyoming Avenue in Logan. Goodis lived around the corner at 4758 North 10th Street, between Loudon Street and Wyoming Avenue. Ford was a year ahead of Goodis at Simon Gratz High School, and did not know about David's high school achievements.
Ford remembered Goodis as having "a great sense of humor" and "a great imagination." "I did not think David was odd. I felt he was having fun. He liked being talked about. He liked meeting and impressing girls," Ford said. "David was not a mean guy or a tough guy."
As to imagination, Goodis had a talent for making up names. Ford remembers the name "Mortimer Gurmshire."
Frank Ford at Philadelphia Pioneers in Broadcasting luncheon, December 19, 2001. Audio Interview with Frank Ford after luncheon.
As to girls. . . . Ford remembers a summer when a group of guys rented a house in Ventor (a town adjacent to Atlantic City, New Jersey) on the back bay at Darby Avenue. "We called it Darby Hall. We slept on cots on the first floor, like a dorm. David was not one of the renters. However, he frequently came down the shore and somebody would put him up."
"When he stayed at Darby Hall, David would bring nothing. He would not bring pajamas. He tied a necktie around his eyes as an eyeshade so he could go to sleep," Ford said.
Ford remembered an incident at Darby Hall where Goodis made a kazoo from a comb and tissue paper. He also remembered David imitating a pro football player receiving a pass in slow motion.
"One of the guys at Darby Hall was Sid Daroff [a member of the family which manufactured Botany 500 suits]. One night David was accused of filling a condom with water and dropping it on Sid while Sid was sleeping. Sid got all wet. A night or two later, Sid did the same to David. Later, we found out that someone else--not David--had done this. A few days later, we told David that he had been falsely accused. David declared, 'David Dreyfus, David Dreyfus. I told you I was innocent.'" [Goodis was referring to Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish French officer who was wrongfully convicted of espionage and sent to Devil's Island].
"Later that summer David took out a young girl. When he came back to Darby Hall we told him that she was underage and that her father was looking to kill him. David took the last bus back to Philadelphia," Ford said. "We made up the story about the girl being underage and the father."
Ford recalled a Goodis prank to attract and impress girls." "On Saturday afternoons, everbody---guys, girls---would gather at Broad and Chestnut Streets. When enough girls were on the scene, David would pretend that his foot was caught in the street car tracks. As a street car was approaching, the girls would get excited. Just as the street car was about to hit the brakes, David would pull his foot from the tracks."
Asked about the legendary secret life of David Goodis, Ford replied, "It is true that he would go to Black clubs on Columbia Avenue and that he liked Black women. I heard that he was briefly married to a Black woman. David liked to go to the Blue Note jazz club at Broad [Street] and Ridge [Avenue]." Ford said that the Blue Note was not specifically racial.
Ford last saw Goodis in the 1950's. "From the time he became a professional writer, I never saw him. I only heard stories about him," Ford said. .