The Second World War was a particularly bleak period of Dorothy Parker’s life, both personally and professionally. She quit writing verse when she married Alan Campbell, and had all but stopped writing short stories. Parker was shuttling between homes in Beverly Hills, hotels in New York and her Bucks County farm. With Campbell away in the Army Air Corps, she was alone. She rarely, if ever, saw her old chums from the Round Table days. To further send her down into depression, her older brother and sister both died in 1944. Parker was 51.
Amid this turmoil, there was still work to be had, if she wanted to take it. The World Publishing Company of Cleveland wanted Dottie to edit an anthology of work by women writers, and write an introduction. She agreed. This would only take a few days, at most a week, of work for her. She accepted and editor William Targ agreed to meet her at the Warwick Hotel for drinks.
Arriving at the Warwick, an upscale hotel on the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 52nd Street, around the corner from “21”, Dottie was a mess. According to What Fresh Hell is This, on a rainy night Dottie and her poodle Misty paid an unexpected visit to editor Targ. She was probably residing temporarily at the Ritz Towers. She chain-smoked her Chesterfields as usual, and slugged down martini after martini. Dottie lied to Targ that she was hard at work on his book. An inebriated Parker dragged the sleepy poodle out into the rain, and Targ tried to pour her into a cab. She refused, and stumbled out into the rainy night. That was the last he saw of her, and she never did work on his anthology.
Today, the Warwick has a great little bar-restaurant in the lobby level, named Randolph’s, after another figure in early 20th Century pop culture and literature, William Randolph Hearst. There is a good connection between Parker and the infamous media baron as well. When Hearst ran MGM, his mistress was actress Marion Davies. Writing of Davies, Parker said she had “only two expressions, joy and indigestion.”