Monday, October 10, 2011

Penn State Abington -- Stanley J. Cutler

In the fall of 1972 I started my second year of college at Penn State Abington. I was 18 years old.  What you don't know when you're 18 is that you'll be 18 for the rest of your life!  I took an introductory course in public speaking taught by a young instructor named Stanley J. Cutler. I earned a grade of A in the course. Mr. Cutler thought highly of my public speaking ability. 

Cutler was born during World War II into a hardworking immigrant family and grew up in Philadelphia and the Inlet section of Atlantic City, New Jersey.  He graduated from The Central High School of Philadelphia, and later earned a degree from The Pennsylvania State University.   His father was a Ph.D. who taught high school; his mother was an executive secretary.  His brother Robert became a physician.  Cutler spent his early working years hopping between teaching jobs until he realized that he wanted to do something else.  He learned how to program computers at night school, entered the world of business and then got into consulting managing big IT development projects.  His last job was the best, working for NOAA to help establish ground systems for weather satellites.  Cutler quit when he could afford it.  He's loving the fact that he's no longer any one's employee -- his schedule and efforts are his own. He plies the writer's trade without any need for book sales ("though," as he puts it,  "it would be nice"). 

His first novel is called Low Light and is available through Amazon & Barnes&Noble. It's a fun tale about a plot to blackmail J. Edgar Hoover in Nucky Johnson's 1929 Atlantic City. If you like HBO's Boardwalk Empire, you'll love 'Low Light' by Stanley J. Cutler.  The FBI that Cutler describes -- the FBI of the early Hoover years -- was the FBI of Bob Strauss, founding partner of the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, who joined the Bureau in 1941 fresh out of law school.

The second novel is called Letter From Odessa and is about the battleship USS Wisconsin and an attempt to sabotage it in the Delaware River before it could see duty in the Pacific during the Second World War. It is also about how Americans might have reacted had they known with certainty that the Holocaust of European Jews was happening.

The third novel is a work in progress. It's about a fictional murder amongst the people who built ENIAC, the first electronic computer, in Philadelphia in 1944.


Gary Freedman said...

The founding partner of Akin Gump, Robert S. Strauss, had started his career as an FBI agent. The New York Times featured a front-page article, dated June 5, 1991, written in connection with Mr. Strauss’ nomination to the post of U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union. Titled “’The Ultimate Capitalist’ - Robert Schwarz Strauss,” the article states in part: “After he graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1941, Robert S. Strauss took a job as an F.B.I. agent ‘watching out for Communists,’ he jokingly recalled today about his F.B.I. postings in Washington, Ohio, Iowa and Texas. ‘I would come home at night and my wife, Helen, would say, ‘Did you catch any spies today, dear?’’”

Gary Freedman said...

My early days in the Inlet in Atlantic City. Do you think Mr. Cutler knew the Lischen boys?

Gary Freedman said...

My English instructor in the spring 1972 term was Ellen Furman:

Gary Freedman said...

I took two courses with Claire Hirshfield, Ph.D. at Penn State Abington -- the finest teacher I have ever had:

Gary Freedman said...

1972 was the year of the Watergate break-in, the Munich Olympics and Massacre, Mark Spitz's seven Olympic gold medals, the Nixon-McGovern Presidential election on November 7 -- and Hurricaine Agnes!

I voted for the first time on November 7, 1972. McGovern, of course!

I visited Atlantic City in July 1972 for the first time since 1968, another Presidential election year.

My maternal grandmother died on September 28 -- the first day of classes at Penn State.

Gary Freedman said...

Joe Kaplan was a classmate in Stanley Cutler's public speaking course. We were not acquainted. I recall that he gave a speech advocating a unicameral legislature to replace the U.S. House and Senate.

Gary Freedman said...

What you don't know is that you'll be 18 for the rest of your life! --Billy Chenowith on Six Feet Under