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Smiling Through the Apocalypse: Esquire in the 60s
A film by Tom Hayes

97 minutes, documentary, color, 2013

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Exploring the revolution in journalism sparked by the turbulence of the 1960s, Smiling Through the Apocalypse: Esquire in the 60s is the story of maverick editor Harold T.P. Hayes, who made Esquire magazine a galvanizing force in American culture.

In this fascinating documentary, filmmaker Tom Hayes (Harold’s son) paints a portrait of editorial genius using the voices and images of the iconic writers, photographers and artists who, with Hayes at the helm, brought Esquire to the vanguard of the cultural revolution.

Watch the Trailer


"Vivid...fascinating!" - Los Angeles Times

"A wonderful reminder of a time when monthly magazines were gleaming, state-of-the-art, ad-stuffed engines of both fact and sensibility, and guides to a confident, contemptuous, and romantic new postwar cosmopolitanism." - Vulture

"A compelling story of challenge, triumph, and defeat, painting an explicit portrait of an era through a man who cultivated an extraordinary group of writers, photographers and artists, providing avid context for nothing less than the rebirth of American aesthetics."
- Encore Magazine

" Fascinating." - Examiner

"Takes us on a journey into the soul of our own culture." - VideoTapeworm

"A treasure trove of inside-baseball stuff for anyone who loves magazines." - Biographile.com

"Smiling Through the Apocalypse is a treat for any journalist, history fan, or pop culture aficionado to watch, with its happy narrative and inspirational, larger-than-life character of Harold Hayes." - Highbrow Magazine


See details about this film's theatrical release.

The Start of New York: Clip from 'Smiling Through the Apocalypse'New York Magazine, 9/11/14

Disc Features

●  Three Extended Interviews: Gore Vidal on William Buckley; Nora Ephron at Esquire; Gay Talese on "Frank Sinatra has a Cold"

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