Tuesday, January 31, 2006


As Bill Crider indicated on his own fine blog the other night, there's a very snazzy new edition of the novel Detour, on which the classic cult film was made. I read it straight through and was impressed by the fact that Martin M. Goldsmith, author of book and screenplay, was able to do what Horace McCoy did in They Shoot Horses, Don't They?--give you a much more open ended novel than just a narrow pulp tale. Goldsmith gives us a true road tale, a true look at the post-Depression as it effected the west coast, a true ballbusting romance, and his own idiosyncratic take on the promise of the Hollywood of his time. You'll find some interesting differences between book and script. This is a winner.
Detour is published by O'Bryan House rdoody@ix.netcom.com According to publisher Richard Doody, it's his plan to publish a number of "great books from the (Depression) era." Order from him or Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble and Target.

Re the Orson Welles entry the other night:
In the 1970s Orson Welles was the spokesman for Gallo wines. He did a great job. The problem was getting that great job on film and on audio tape.

One of his recording sessions became the most listened-to private tape of the year. You know how geniuses are supposedly unable to work in any kind of "team" way? Well, he starts calling the advert guys various names because they made a few suggestions about his reding of a line. Then he tells them that the copy stinks. He refuses to read it. He wants to rewrite it himself. On and on freaking on in one of the most juvenile and nasty personal attacks I've ever heard in a studio.

From most excellent writer Norman Partridge:

Hey Ed:

I never heard this story, but it must have been the inspiration for a funny bit on the old SCTV show. One of their holiday episodes had a skit with John Candy appearing as Orson Welles on a Liberace Christmas special. It was hilarious, with Candy screwing up his lines and berating the camera crew as he sits before the laden Xmas table. Finally, Candy stalks off, but not before ripping a leg off the roast turkey!

Boy, do I remember those Gallo commericals--they were always in heavy rotation out here in California. Too bad they didn't let Welles do one as Hank Quinlan; I can (easily) picture him wandering those TOUCH OF EVIL streets with a bottle of Gallo screwtop in his hands....



Michael Stern wrote to remind me that writing novels that don't quite fit neatly into any one genre was the path followed by "the writer you always sight as being a major influence on you--Fredric Brown." Excellent point, Michael. Brown sure did take a lot of liberties with each genre he worked in. And speaking of whch, weren't there two publishing programs that were going to put all of Brown's major work back into print? Anybody know what happened to those?


People have been betting on the net all day (no money--just guessing) as to how long it will be till bushie cites 9/11 tonight. My bet is 47 seconds. My friend Sarah thinks his first words will be, "9/11 was meant to stop America from expressing itself in speeches like this...blah blah blah." I think she may be on to something.


Blogger Clark Nova said...

If you're interested, here's some of the Orson Welles outtakes - not from the Gallo Wine spots, but a Frozen Peas ad. Just click on the MP3 icon in the top right corner. Enjoy!


2:53 PM  
Blogger Duane Swierczynski said...

Ed, you were pretty much right. Just a few minutes into the speech, Bush dropped the 9/11 bomb.

And I didn't know you were a big Fred Brown fan, too. Stewart Masters were the guys who brought back the Ed and Am novels, but they seem to have gone out of business.

Maybe we could talk Charles into reprinting a Brown novel over at HCC. KNOCK THREE, ONE TWO would be very welcome.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Gormania said...

Brown's the only writer I collect first editions of. I got hooked on him in the mid-fifties. The bookmobile for the service families had a great collection of genre stuff, mystery, sf, westerns. I'll check and see if those folks have gone out of business. I'm and editor at Stark House now. Maybe we could do a pair in early `07. Greg Shepard, the publisher, managed to do the impossible today--secured rights for a pair of extremely rare Gil Brewer pb originals.

7:58 PM  

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