A Son’s Remembrance of His Legendary Father

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Michelle Berninger / First Run Features

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Diane Blackman / BR Public Relations


April 21, 2015, New York, NY  First Run Features presents the DVD launch of the acclaimed documentary Smiling Through The Apocalypse: Esquire in the 60s, a festival circuit favorite. Following a successful theatrical debut, the film hits the streets on June 2nd.


Smiling Through The Apocalypse: Esquire in the 60s is a son’s touching remembrance of his famous father. It is the story of maverick editor Harold T.P. Hayes, who made Esquire Magazine the voice of an era that brought sweeping social and political changes to the nation. Hayes served as editor between 1963 and 1973, which was not only a significant period in the coverage of the news but also the crowning moment of New Journalism.


Encouraging unprecedented journalistic freedom, Hayes curated many of the most talented artists and writers of the time including Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Nora Ephron, Peter Bogdanovich, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, and George Lois, all of whom provide vivid recollections of those charmed years in the film. He also gave bylines to established literary giants, among them Dorothy Parker and W.H. Auden. 

Years after the passing of Harold Hayes in 1989, his son Tom embarked on a five-year journey to discover his father’s legacy, conducting interviews with many icons from that bygone era. Hayes explains, “For me, he was simply dad; to the rest of the country he was Harold Hayes, editor of Esquire magazine. I embarked on a journey to find out what made him become what some have said was the greatest post-war magazine editor ever.”

Through the voices and images of these remarkable writers, photographers and artists, Tom Hayes captures the spontaneity and innovation that went into producing Esquire, the social curator and reflection of the American zeitgeist in the ‘60s.



Smiling Through The Apocalypse: Esquire in the Sixties (97 min, U.S., 2014) Produced, Directed, Written, Edited and Narrated by Tom Hayes. Featuring: Becky Bartlett – Esquire Copy Editor, Robert Benton – Esquire Art Director, John Berendt – Esquire Writer/ Editor, Candice Bergen – Esquire Photojournalist,  Peter Bogdanovich – Esquire Writer, Brock Brower – Esquire Writer, Graydon Carter – Editor-in-Chief, Vanity Fair Magazine, Ray Crespin – Esquire Fashion Editor, Byron Dobel – Esquire Editor, Lee Eisenberg – Esquire Editor, Harlan Ellison – Writer,  Carl Fischer – Esquire Photographer, Robert Frank – Esquire Phtotographer, Walter Friedenberg – Journalist, college friend Jean-Paul Goude – Esquire Art Editor, Tom Hedley – Esquire Editor, Hugh Hefner – Editor, Publisher Playboy Magazine, Ralph Herring – Artist, Harold Hayes college friend, Kitty Krupat – Esquire Researcher, Gene Lichtenstein – Esquire Editor, Gordon Lish – Esquire Fiction Editor, George Lois – Esquire Cover Designer, Martin Mayer – Esquire Writer, Editor, Bill McIlwain – Newspaper Editor, Harold Hayes college friend, Tom Meehan -  Picture Week Editor, Writer, Frank Rich – Esquire Writer, Bob Rifkind – Esquire Attorney, Burt Silverman – Esquire Artist, Ed Sorel – Esquire Artist, Gay Talese – Esquire Writer, Pete Turner – Esquire Photographer, Gore Vidal – Esquire Writer, Dan Wakefield – Esquire Writer, Garry Wills – Esquire Writer, Ed Wilson – Provost Emeritus, Wake Forest University, Carey Winfrey – Editor

Smiling Through the Apocalypse: Esquire in the 60s 



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