I was leafing through an old paperback copy of Pauline Kael's When the Lights Go Down, when out popped a yellowed New York Times clipping. It was apparently on page B16 of the Times, but there is no date or byline or even a proper headline: just the rubric "NOTES ON Fashion." As I scanned it, I remembered the piece well. It was an interview with Cary Grant, identified as 77 years old (thus answering the timeless question "HOW OLD CARY GRANT?"), and the objective correlative of its meaningfulness to me were the 37 separate pinholes at the top. In other words, I had tacked it to a whole lot of bulletin boards a whole lot of times.
If both Wikipedia and the article are to believed, the article appeared between January 18, 1981, and January 18, 1982. And sure enough, a search at nytimes.com reveals that it was published on March 31 of that year and was written by John Duka, whom I remember as a writer I admired and who was described this way by one of his editors: ''He was a remarkable writer, superb at seeing through everything. He understood people and situations instantly. This made him, frankly, a dangerous reporter.''
The occasion for that appreciation was a Times obituary for Duka.