The setting: Hollywood: the character: Pat Hobby, a down-and-out screenwriter trying to break back into show business, but having better luck getting into bars. Written between 1939 and 1940, when F. Scott Fitzgerald was working for Universal Studios, the seventeen Pat Hobby stories were first published in Esquire magazine and present a bitterly humorous portrait of a once-successful writer who becomes a forgotten hack on a Hollywood lot. "This was not art" Pat Hobby often said, "this was an industry" where whom "you sat with at lunch was more important than what you dictated in your office."
Pat Hobby's Christmas Wish (excerpt)
It was Christmas Eve in the studio. By eleven o'clock in the morning, Santa Claus had called on most of the huge population according to each one's deserts.
Sumptuous gifts from producers to stars, and from agents to producers arrived at offices and studio bungalows: on every stage one heard of the roguish gifts of casts to directors or directors to casts; champagne had gone out from publicity office to the press. And tips of fifties, tens and fives from producers, directors and writers fell like manna upon the white collar class.
In this sort of transaction there were exceptions. Pat Hobby, for example, who knew the game from twenty years' experience, had had the idea of getting rid of his secretary the day before. They were sending over a new one any minute—but she would scarcely expect a present the first day.
Waiting for her, he walked the corridor, glancing into open offices for signs of life. He stopped to chat with Joe Hopper from the scenario department.
'Not like the old days,' he mourned, 'Then there was a bottle on every desk.'
'There're a few around.'
'Not many.' Pat sighed. 'And afterwards we'd run a picture—made up out of cutting-room scraps.'
'I've heard. All the suppressed stuff,' said Hopper.
Pat nodded, his eyes glistening.
'Oh, it was juicy. You darned near ripped your guts laughing—'
He broke off as the sight of a woman, pad in hand, entering his office down the hall recalled him to the sorry present.
'Gooddorf has me working over the holiday,' he complained bitterly.
'I wouldn't do it.'
'I wouldn't either except my four weeks are up next Friday, and if I bucked him he wouldn't extend me.'
As he turned away Hopper knew that Pat was not being extended anyhow. He had been hired to script an old-fashioned horse-opera and the boys who were 'writing behind him'—that is working over his stuff—said that all of it was old and some didn't make sense.
'I'm Miss Kagle,' said Pat's new secretary...
Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940), known professionally as F. Scott Fitzgerald, was an American novelist and short story writer, whose works illustrate the Jazz Age. While he achieved limited success in his lifetime, he is now widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Fitzgerald is considered a member of the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby, and Tender Is the Night. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also authored 4 collections of short stories, as well as 164 short stories in magazines during his lifetime.