PLAYWRITING LINGBERGH'S FALL FROM GRACE.Byline: Reed Johnson Reed Cameron Johnson (born December 8, 1976 in Riverside, California) is an outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays of the American League East division of Major League Baseball. He weighs 180 lb (82 kg) and is 5'10" tall. Daily News Staff Writer
He was bigger than O.J., bigger than Gen. MacArthur - maybe even bigger than Nixon.
To the American public, Charles A. Lindbergh was more than a dashing young folk hero A folk hero is type of hero, real or mythological. The single salient characteristic which makes a character a folk hero is the imprinting of the name, personality and deeds of the character in the popular consciousness. . He was the very incarnation of the nation's hopes and aspirations, a mirror image of a people at its idealized i·de·al·ize
v. i·de·al·ized, i·de·al·iz·ing, i·de·al·iz·es
1. To regard as ideal.
2. To make or envision as ideal.
Yet within a decade or so, he plummeted from being perhaps the most admired man in America to possibly the most despised. And when the Lone Eagle fell, he took part of the popular imagination down with him.
Of course American history is rife with examples of once-lionized men brought low, says writer Larry Cohen cohen
(Hebrew: “priest”) Jewish priest descended from Zadok (a descendant of Aaron), priest at the First Temple of Jerusalem. The biblical priesthood was hereditary and male. .
But he insists that Lindbergh was a special case.
``Let's face it, Nixon was always hated,'' Cohen says. Lindbergh's story, Cohen asserts, ``was as if JFK had turned out like Nixon.''
Cohen attempts to extract some sense from that paradox with his new play ``Fallen Eagle: The Untold Story of Charles A. Lindbergh,'' which opened last month at The Sanford Meisner Center for the Arts in North Hollywood. It's playing there through Dec. 15.
Several of ``Fallen Eagle'''s themes will be familiar followers of Cohen's career.
A prolific, if cultish, screenwriter, playwright and movie director (``It's Alive,'' ``Original Gangstas''), Cohen, 58, may be best-known for ``The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover Noun 1. J. Edgar Hoover - United States lawyer who was director of the FBI for 48 years (1895-1972)
John Edgar Hoover, Hoover ,'' his 1977 bio-pic about the former FBI chief. Intended as a dramatic expose of Hoover's crimes and misdemeanors, the movie proved equally popular with devotees of high camp, who revelled in such images as an inebriated inebriated (i·nēˑ·brē·āˈ·td),
adj intoxicated. Hoover listening to a government officer's secret sex tapes.
Cohen had long been aware of certain parallels between John Edgar John Edgar (ca 1750 - 1832) was an Illinois pioneer and politician. He was born in Ireland. In 1776, he was the commander of a British ship in the Great Lakes. He resigned from the British Navy rather than fight against the Americans.
Edgar settled at Fort Kaskaskia in 1784. and Lucky Lindy lin·dy or Lin·dy
n. pl. lin·dies
A lively swing dance for couples. Also called lindy hop.
[From Lindynickname of Charles Augustus Lindbergh. .
``I've always been interested in heroes who turn out to be villains or villains who turn out to be heroes,'' he says, sipping cabernet sauvignon Cab·er·net Sauvignon
1. A variety of black grape used to make red wine, notably in Bordeaux and the Napa Valley.
2. A dry red wine made from this grape.
[French. at his Beverly Hills home. Ironically, the Spanish-colonial residence once belonged to the scion sci·on
1. A descendant or heir.
2. also ci·on A detached shoot or twig containing buds from a woody plant, used in grafting. of yet another former national idol, publishing magnate William Randolph Heart's son Charles.
``Both (Hoover and Lindbergh) were secretive men with dark sides,'' Cohen continues. ``Both men projected a very different side to the public.''
In crafting the 15-character play, which he also directed, Cohen believes he found the ``Rosebud'' behind Lindbergh's swift descent.
Barely 25, the photogenic photogenic /pho·to·gen·ic/ (-jen´ik)
1. produced by light, as photogenic epilepsy.
2. producing or emitting light.
1. pilot was propelled onto the front pages after becoming the first to fly solo across the Atlantic. Cheered in Manhattan and hailed on Capitol Hill, Lindbergh became a technical adviser to airlines and married Anne Morrow in 1929.
The sky, it seemed, was his only limit. In today's fickle celebrity culture, it may be hard to appreciate the adulation ad·u·la·tion
Excessive flattery or admiration.
[Middle English adulacioun, from Old French, from Latin ad given to Lindbergh.
``The gangsters were the heroes before Linbergh came along. It was the period of booze and flappers and free sex and people eating goldfish and climbing telephone polls. And suddenly along came this hero and they wrote songs to him and named a dance after him.
Then in 1932 came the infamous kidnapping and murder of the couple's infant son, followed by the traumatically public trial of the accused, Bruno Hauptmann.
Cohen believes that Lindbergh lost his self-respect after perjuring himself in order to gain Hauptmann's conviction. Lindbergh's unraveling accelerated when he opposed U.S. entry into World War II and made radio broadcasts that were widely condemned as anti-Semitic.
Though he later flew 50 combat missions in the Pacific, his stature never fully recovered.
But rather than leaving Lindbergh in this toppled state, ``Fallen Eagle'' takes the story up to the early 1960s, when President Kennedy partially restored Lindbergh's dignity by inviting him to the White House.
``I didn't just do the rise and fall; I tried to do the rise and the fall and the rise again,'' says Cohen.
``I may be completely wrong about everything, but it's Larry Cohen's history.''
The play: ``Fallen Eagle: The Untold Story of Charles A. Lindbergh.''
The run: Through Dec. 15.
Where: Sanford Meisner Center for the Arts, 5124 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.
When: Performances are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday; through Dec. 15.
ickets: $12. Call (818) 509-9651.
Photo: ``I didn't just do the rise and fall; I tried to do the rise and the fall and the rise again,'' says Larry Cohen of his play ``Fallen Eagle: The Untold Story of Charles A. Lindbergh.''