“THE GREAT GATSBY” IN REAL LIFE

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” has captured the imaginations of readers for nearly a century. Now, we go back in time to show you the Long Island mansions that inspired this American classic.

Aired on October 9, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

IS IT REALLY A SURPRISE 'THE GREAT GATSBY' MADE IT TO THE LIST OF 100 OF AMERICA'S MOST LOVED NOVELS.

WRITTEN IN 1925 BY F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, IT'S REFERRED TO AS ONE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVELS OF THE 20th CENTURY, PAINTS A PICTURE OF THE ROARING '20s DURING THE SUMMER OF 1922.

FILLED WITH LOTS OF DRINKING, OVER THE TOP PARTIES AND ALL THE DECADENCE YOU'D EXPECT IN THE JAZZ AGE.

AT THE CENTER, A LOVE STORY BETWEEN JAY GATSBY AND DAISY BUCHANAN.

MUCH OF THE STORY TAKES PLACE IN THE PALATIAL MANSIONS OF LONG ISLAND.

THAT'S WHERE WE'D HEADED TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT JAY GATSBY WOULD DO FOR LOVE.

I'M ONE OF THE ONES THAT SAYS THIS IS A MASTERPIECE, THIS IS A MASTERPIECE OF LITERATURE.

THIS IS AUTHOR AND PROFESSOR DR. CHARLES RILEY.

HIS LATEST BOOK IS ALL ABOUT THE JAZZ AGE AND ITS INFLUENCE.

HE'S ALSO THE DIRECTOR OF THE NASSAU COUNTY ART MUSEUM IN LONG ISLAND WHICH HAPPENS TO BE IN THE FRICK MANSION, BUILT IN 1900 AND FAMOUSLY BOUGHT BY FORMER STEEL MOGUL HENRY CLAY FRICK IN 1919.

IT WAS A GIFT TO HIS SON.

THE MANSION WAS TAKEN OVER BY NASSAU COUNTY IN 1969 AND TURNED INTO AN ART MUSEUM, BUT STILL FITS RIGHT IN WITH THE MANSION DESCRIBED IN 'THE GREAT GATSBY.'

THIS IS HIS FORMAL GARDEN.

JUST LIKE GATSBY'S FORMAL GARDEN, I LOOK AT THIS AND SAY THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE THE PARTY SCENE COULD HAVE BEEN SHOT.

THESE WERE THESE WONDERFUL PARADISES THAT THE SUPER RICH WERE USING.

THIS WAS SO FASCINATING FOR F.

SCOTT FITZGERALD WHEN HE LIVED NOT HERE, OBVIOUSLY, BUT ON THE OTHER PART.

BUT HE WOULD COME OVER HERE AND SEE THE WAY THESE GUYS LIVED AND SEE THE FORMAL GARDEN SUCH AS THIS ONE.

HE WOULD SAY TO HIMSELF, WOW, HOW DO I GET TO THIS, BUT ALSO HOW DO I PUT THIS ON THE PAGE.

I THINK THIS WAS PROBABLY ONE OF THE PLACES WHERE HE CAME.

SO IT'S ALWAYS RATHER EXCITING TO THINK ABOUT F. SCOTT FITS JARLTD WALKING ALONG THESE BORDERS.

IN THE MASTERPIECE, NARRATOR NICK PLAYED BY TOBY MAGUIRE IN THE 2013 FILM PLAYS THE GATSBY, CONTINUOUSLY THROWING WILD PARTIES IN HOPES HIS LONG LOST LOVE HE MET EARLIER, DAZE BY BUCHANAN, CAREY MULLIGAN WILL SEE THE PARTIES FROM ACROSS THE BAY AND FIND HIM.

BY THE WAY, DAISY IS MARRIED TO TOM BUCHANAN, PLAYED BY JOEL EDGERTON.

HE CREATED THIS CRAZY WORLD JUST IN VIEW OF HER MANSION AND THEN MADE SURE THROUGH NICK THAT SHE WOULD FIND OUT HOW GREAT 'THE GREAT GATSBY' WAS AND, TWO, HOW AVAILABLE HE STILL WAS.

OF COURSE, THEN YOU GET TO THIS FASCINATING -- THE WAY HE MANIPULATES NOT JUST HIS NEIGHBOR, BUT A CAST OF THOUSANDS INCLUDING HIS SERVANTS AND THE GUESTS TO JUST SET THE SCENE FOR THE GREAT ENCOUNTER WHEN THE TWO OF THEM ARE BACK TOGETHER AGAIN.

JUST A FEW MILES AWAY FROM THE FRICK MANSION IS THE FAMOUS CASTLE GOULD.

THE CASTLE-LIKE FACADE, IT'S NOT HARD TO IMAGINE THE DECADENT PARTIES OF THE '20s.

IT HAS A VIEW THAT LOOKS LIKE --

QUITE TOUCHING IN MANY WAYS THAT HE WOULD SHOW NOT THAT MUCH MONEY, BUT THAT MUCH EFFORT, SO MUCH OF YOUR LIFE INTO TRYING TO GET DAISY TO LOOK LIKE THAT, INSTEAD OF LOOKING THIS WAY TO THE REST OF THE OLD MONEY AND THE PARTIES SHE WOULD HAVE HAD HERE AND THE POLO TOM WAS PLAYING, HE WAS TRYING TO SAY LOOK MY WAY AGAIN.

ONCE GATSBY WAS ABLE TO MEET HIS LONG LOST LOVE, HE TRIED TO IMPRESSIVE ON A TOUR OF HIS MANSION.

TAKE A LISTEN TO CHARLES AS HE'S READING AN EXCERPT FROM 'THE GREAT GATSBY' AS WE TOURED THE INSIDE OF THE FRICK MANSION.

RIGHT NOW WE'RE IN THE DINING ROOM OF THE FRICK MANSION.

EVERY TIME I COME IN HERE AND LOOK AT THE GORGEOUS DETAILS AND THE ARCHITECTURE OF IT, FOR INSTANCE, THIS ITALIAN MANTLEPIECE THAT WAS OBVIOUSLY ONCE THAT OF A NOBLEMAN IN CUSS CANNY, I WONDER TO MYSELF, IF YOU'RE NOT AN ITALIAN NOBLEMAN YOU CAN BUY IT AND BRING IT TO LONG ISLAND AND HAVE IT IN YOUR MANSION TO SHOW OFF.

THE MOST WONDERFUL MOMENT I THINK IN TERMS OF ROMANCE IN THE NOVEL IS WHEN GATSBY TAKES DAISY AROUND AND GIVES HER A TOUR OF THE HOUSE IN PRIVATE, NOT A BIG PARTY GOING ON.

NICK IS KIND OF FOLLOWING AROUND BEHIND.

THAT'S HOW HE KNOWS WHAT'S GOING ON.

AS HE WOULD POINT OUT THE BEAUTIFUL MARBLE MANTLE PIECE, HE WOULD LOOK AT HER.

THIS IS THE WAY IT READS.

HE HADN'T ONE CEASED LOOKING AT DAISY, AND I THINK HE REVALUED EVERYTHING IN HIS HOUSE ACCORDING TO THE MEASURE OF RESPONSE IT DREW FROM HER WELL-LOVED EYES.

LOOK AT MY MANTLEPIECE, AND THEN HE'D LOOK AT HER AND SEE, DID SHE LIKE IT.

HERE COMES THE NEARLY 100-YEAR-OLD SPOILER ALERT.

IT'S A TRAGEDY, AND LET'S JUST SAY IT DOESN'T END WELL FOR GATSBY.

HE AND DAISY CERTAINLY DON'T RIDE INTO THE SUNSET TOGETHER.

IN ALL THE THINGS HE DID FOR LOVE WERE FOR NOTHING.

I ALSO THINK THAT, LOOK AROUND YOU AND YOU SEE HOW GREEN THIS IS.

AT THE VERY, VERY END OF 'THE GREAT GATSBY' WHEN NICK IS HAVING THIS MEDITATION ON HOW QUICKLY GATSBY'S LIFE PASSED, BUT ALSO HOW FAST THE WORLD IS CHANGING AND HOW QUICKLY THE GREAT GREEN BREAST OF THE WORLD, IS THE PHRASE THAT I LOVE.

WHAT HE'S SAYING IS RIGHT OUTSIDE THE GATES, AND IT'S ABSOLUTELY TRUE, DEVELOPMENT IS COMING, THE STREETS ARE BEING PAVED, THE CITY IS EXPANDING.

AND ALL THIS EDEN IS ABOUT TO DISAPPEAR.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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