Cisco and Me
by Jim Longhi
Longhi traveled with Woody and Cisco Houston in the Merchant Marines for
three years during W.W.II. In his book, he recounts his years of
friendship with both Woody and Cisco. The trio enlisted in the Merchant
Marines and together shared some humorous, dangerous, and often moving
He gives a first-hand
account of Woody during those crucial years with anecdotes that
no other living person could tell; his action-packed account of
their ship's dangerous journeys through mine-infested waters, his
memories of their ships being torpedoed, his description of their
shore leaves throughout North Africa, Italy, Scotland, England and
France, his hilarious "on-board" stories of Woody as the
ship's dishwasher, menu artist, totem builder, and impromptu entertainer
for the troops. Here we have yet another side of Woody, described
as only Jimmy could. Jimmy's more personal observations of
Woody as a "bunk-mate" and friend are perhaps even more
revealing. He describes one incident where Woody saved his
life after a torpedo hit their ship. He also tells us of the
day after Woody's four year-old daughter Cathy died in a house fire
and Woody's response. The memories go on and on... His
writing is so eloquent and descriptive one can't help but think...
"what a great movie this would make!" (Jimmy's working
has been a prizefighter, ladies' stocking salesman, merchant seaman,
lawyer and politician as well as a playwright. During World
War II he and Woody, shipped out in the Merchant Marine. Guthrie
taught him to sing, play the guitar, and "to be brave."
They entertained troops under fire and were torpedoed twice
off Italy and Normandy. After the war, Longhi became a lawyer,
representing Brooklyn's rank-and-file longshoremen against the gangsters.
With three longshoremen murdered, Longhi became the spokesman for
the movement. People from all walks of life came to help,
Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan among others. Longhi urged them
to make the movie "On the Waterfront" for which Longhi
conceived the original idea. Thereafter, Longhi wrote his
own play about the waterfront called "Two Fingers of Pride,"
and gave Steve McQueen his first job. Longhi's second play,
"Climb the Greased Pole," was produced in London's Mermaid
Theater, starring Sir Bernard Miles. "The Lincoln Mask,"
which was performed this year off Broadway. His latest play
"The Lantern," a play about Lincoln, was just finished.
Jimmy Longhi passed away on November 22, 2006. Read Nora's News on Jimmy Longhi.