David Goodis
Philadelphia's Noir Prince

“After a while it gets so bad that you want to stop the whole business. You figure that there’s no use in trying to fight back. Things are set dead against you and the sooner you give up the better. It’s like a mile run. You’re back there in seventh place and there isn’t a chance in the world. The feet are burning, the lungs are bursting, and all you want to do is fall down and take a rest.”

----First paragraph of David Goodis’ first novel Retreat from Oblivion (1939).

David Goodis surrounded by Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. Notice the lines of B&B's clothing and Bogart's real hairline. Photo courtesy of April Feld Sandor.

So began the writing career of David Goodis. Typical Goodis. A statement of frustration, introducing a tale of gloom, depression and despair. Noir at its blackest.

David Goodis was Philadelphia’s noir prince. After graduating from Temple University in 1938, Goodis moved to New York where he wrote advertising copy, radio scripts and thousands of words for pulp magazines. In the mid-1940’s he was in Hollywood as a screenwriter. He crashed and returned to his parents’ home in Philadelphia, where he churned out novels and short stories, depicting the bleakness and darkness of lives in free fall.

Who was David Goodis and why did he write as he did?

Design by Michael Gabriel

Shooting pool with David Goodis, the Internet's biggest source for all things Goodis.


Second Prize


I am pleased to announce that my photograph "Family Day" won Second Prize in the intermediate category in the Art in City Hall contest for Philadelphia City employees in December 2006. The contest was sponsored by the Nattional Arts Program Foundation. Click for information on the contest and Foundation. The above photograph was taken in June 2006 with my Leica M2 camera and Ilford HP5 black and white film. The Leica was manufactured in 1960. The camera was manufactured in 1960 and takes razor sharp pictures. Sundays are family day in the Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia.


The Kat meets the Moose.

Pasted Graphic

Photos from McCain-Palin rally. Black and white forever.


Solstice Philadelphia


Noir at noon.


Aviation Nation


Photos from the Nation's largest air show


Images from the Crypt


The USS HERMITAGE springs to life


As America entered the crest of the McCarthy era, the far left made a brave attempt to influence public policy in Philadelphia. From the archives of the Jenkins Law Library, read how the Communist Party and the Progressive Party wanted to design the new City Charter. Click to
The Far Left and the Philadelphia City Charter.

Last Trolleys at Luzerne


Before there was trendy light rail in Portland, Charlotte, Baltimore and Minneapolis, Philadelphia had trolleys. See original photographs showing the death of Philadelphia's largest trolley depot. Click to Last Trolleys at Luzerne.

More than half a century has elapsed since the nation was rocked by the Hiss-Chambers case, in which an editor for Time Magazine accused a former State Department official of stealing documents for the Soviet Union. There is a Philadelphia connection. Priscilla Hiss, wife of Alger Hiss and the suspected typist of abstracts of the stolen documents, grew up on Philadelphia's Main Line and attended Bryn Mawr College. To learn more about her life, visit the Priscilla Hiss Bryn Mawr Archives.
Return to Kadesh Barnea

Nature preserve outside of Las Vegas, 2005


Quarter Deck


It's great to be back at sea! See what Navy life is all about. Click to
Quarter Deck, USS HERMITAGE (LSD-34), 1969-1972.

Israel in Black and White


Discover why nothing beats black and white analog photography. Click to Bicentennial Israel and Solstice Magic .

A new view of the portion of the week. MicrobrewTorah


The Mighty Zed
Seriously Eastcoast


Click to:

Havana Nocture

Night of the Drunken Hessians

The Maltese Falcon: How could a "member" be so "ist"?

The Maltese Falcon: A subtle and wicked tale

Shopping for Passover with Johnny Mathis

Passover and the Permanent Revolution

Severance Package

Harlem Renaissance

Face of Islam

The Blessing of the Sun

Paul Robeson: The Museum and the Midrash


Report from NoirCON

Writers are poor; poets are destitute. So explained one panelist why people write and publish noir. It is for the fun, not the money. NoirCON was a blockbuster. Writers, publishers and fans gathered at the Society Hill Playhouse in Philadelphia for a four-day celebration of noir writing. For podcasts of NoirCON click to Richard Edwards and Shannon Clute's www.noircast.net. For this non-author, NoirCON was an out-of-body experience. Click for photos from NoirCON. Hats off to Philadelphia's Doctor Noir (a.k.a. Louis Boxer, M.D.), Deen Kogan and staff.

NoirCON 2012
November 8 to 11

Register now.


Photo Gallery

Email me at aaron@microbrewjournalism.com