Fitzgerald's Lost Weekend: Winter Carnival 1939

Lost Weekend poster

In 1939 Walter Wanger Productions decided to use Dartmouth's famous Winter Carnival as the backdrop for a college romance story. Wanger '15 hired recent Dartmouth graduate Budd Schulberg '36 to write the script. To assist the young writer, only three years out of college, they hired the more experienced F. Scott Fitzgerald. Malcolm Cowley described what transpired as Fitzgerald's "biggest, saddest and most desperate spree."

The exhibition was curated by Jay Satterfield and Peter Carini and was on display in the Class of 1965 Galleries in Rauner Special Collections Library from February 1 to March 3, 2008.

You may download a small, 8x10 version of the poster: FitzgeraldLostWeekend.jpg (1.5 MB). You may also download a handlist of the items in this exhibition: FitzgeraldLostWeekend.

Materials Included in the Exhibition

Case 1.

  1. Budd Schulberg ‘36. Winter Carnival, continuity breakdown script.  Walter Wanger Productions, 25 January 1939. Budd Schulberg Papers (MS-978), Box 51, Folder 19.
  2. Walter Beech Humphrey ‘14.  Earliest known Winter Carnival Poster.  Carnival 1911. Winter Carnival Poster Collection (available online).
  3. Fred Harris ‘11. Memory Book, showing record of his trip to the Montreal Winter Carnival. Memory Book: Harris (1)
  4. Dorothy Gardner, Queen of Snows, 1939. Photo File: Winter Carnival Queens, 1930s
  5. Carnival Ball, 1934. Photo File: Winter Carnival, 1920s
  6. Waiting for the train bringing guests to Carnival. Photo File: Winter Carnival, 1920s
  7. Triple Jump.  Three skiers head over the jump at Carnival. Pictured are Fred Harris ’11, John Carlton ’22 and Richard Bowler ’23. Photo File: Winter Carnival, 1920s
  8. Dartmouth Outing Club. For the Carnival Girl. Advice to girls attending Carnival in 1923. Vertical File: Winter Carnival I
  9. Betty Shroeder, Queen of Snows, 1931. Photo File: Winter Carnival Queens, 1930s
  10. Girls, ice sculptures, skiing and girls, what Carnival was all about. Photo File: Winter Carnival, 1920s


Case 2. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Budd Schulberg '36

  1. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Encino, to Budd Schulberg ‘36, Hollywood, February 28, 1939. Budd Schulberg Papers (MS-978), likely Box 33, Folder 2.
    1. Written two weeks after their Dartmouth visit, this is Fitzgerald’s parting thoughts on the script.
  2. Budd Schulberg ‘36, New York, to Victoria “Jigee” Schulberg, February 1939. Budd Schulberg Papers (MS-978).
    1. In this letter, written at the end of the fateful weekend in New York, Schulberg offers up an apology to his wife for a phone call placed the night before. He leaves out crucial details of the weekend while outlining the fiasco.
  3. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Tender Is the Night. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1934. Rare Book PZ3.F5754
    1. Presentation copy to Victoria Schulberg with tipped-in note: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hanover Inn, to Budd Schulberg ‘36, Hanover Inn, February 1939. Gift of Budd Schulberg ‘36
  4. Budd Schulberg ’36. The Disenchanted. New York: Random House, 1950. Presentation copy to Dartmouth College Library. Alumni S386di
  5. Budd Schulberg ’36 to Edmund Wilson, 1942. Budd Schulberg Papers (MS-978).
    1. At the invitation of Edmund Wilson, Schulberg wrote an essay on Fitzgerald for the New Republic. When told by Wanger that Fitzgerald had been hired to help him with his script, the young Schulberg replied, “F. Scott Fitzgerald, I thought he was dead.”
  6. John D. Hess. “Wanger Blends Abruptness with Charm in Personality,” The Dartmouth February 11, 1939. Budd Schulberg Papers (MS-978), Box 30, Folder 8. Or see the volumes of The Dartmouth in the Reading Room.
    1. The only mention of Fitzgerald’s presence on campus was this article in The D, an interview with Wanger and Fitzgerald “who looked and talked as if he had long since become tired of being known as the spokesman of the unfortunate lost generation of the 1920s.”
  7. Ralph Sanborn. Photograph of F. Scott Fitzgerald (left) and Walter Wanger ’15 (right) attending the 1939 Winter Carnival.


Case 3.

  1. Budd Schulberg ’36, Maurice Rapf ’35, and Lester Cole. Winter Carnival, final continuity script. Walter Wanger Productions, 17 May, 1939. Scripts 2435 or Scripts 2149 and D. C. History PS3537.C7114 W56
  2. The Dartmouth. Special Winter Carnival Edition, February 1975.
    1. This 1975 Winter Carnival edition of The D reproduces the cover of a mock issue of The Dartmouth Graphic used to film the movie.
  3. Publicity stills from Winter Carnival. Walter Wanger Productions, 1939
  4. Official credits for “Winter Carnival.  Walter Wanger Productions, 1 June 1939.
    1. Because he was fired so early in the production, Fitzgerald’s name does not appear in the final credits.