Re: RARA-AVIS: RE:Fast One Comic and Peter Ruric's Movies

From: Keith Alan Deutsch (
Date: 15 Apr 2000

Dick Lochte wrote:

> The "Fast One" graphic novel was published in 1991 by No Exit Press. Artwork
> is by Geoff Grandfield. It's very stylized black and white with gray tone.
> Pretty crude and I assume purposely so. No comic lettering. Chunks of
> typeface are routed into the art. It doesn't exactly work for me, but the
> story, descriptive passages and dialogue are very loyal to the book.
> Ruric's film work is described in a very interesting trade paperback,
> "Hardboiled in Hollywood" by David Wilt (Popular Press). Filmography
> includes: Gambling Ship (1933), The Black Cat (1934), Affairs of a Gentleman
> (1934), Jericho (1937), Dark Sands (1938), Twelve Crowded Hours (1939), The
> Night of January 16th (1941), Grand Central Murder (1942), Mademoiselle Fifi
> (1944) and Alias a Gentleman (1948). The essay says that Grand Central
> Murder, with Van Heflin as the detective, is his best work.
> Wilt also discusses the film work of Horace McCoy, Eric Taylor, Dwight V.
> Babcock and John K. Butler.

> Dear Dick Lochte,
> Excellent post re FAST ONE. No Exit Press has, as I recall, also published
> Cain's Seven Slayers Black Mask story collection--without my permission, by the
> way. I have been recommending FAST ONE for a film all over Hollywood in my
> travels licensing Black Mask for film and television series. A very modern
> novel ahead of its time. I consider Paul Cain the greatest unheralded Black
> Mask contributor. I intend to bring out an expanded Seven Slayers in the new
> Black Mask Book line. There are a number of uncollected stores remaining from
> BM.
> By the way, I wrote a script of Pigeon Blood, but at the time I had a Hollywood
> agent, she was more interested in promoting the TV series, than my script..
> In re Grand Central Murder, although I have not seen the film, I have also read
> that it is Ruric's best script and a fine movie. Some old timer I
> interviewed--i can't remember which one--told me that Ruric had a number of
> other names for various uses, was a loner, even to his friends. Others have
> mentioned Grand Central in conversation as a great script. Someone wrote,
> possible Hageman in his BM Index, that no one is sure of Ruric's real name.
> You also mention the script writing of Babcock, McCoy, and John K. Butler. I
> also control various rights to some of their short stories. I'm very fond of
> Butler's characters. In addition to owning all rights to Black Mask, I own the
> magazine, periodical, and serial rights to most of Popular Publications'
> magazines, including Dime Detective, Strange Detective (a genre I like), Terror
> Tales, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Detective Fiction Weekly, etc.

> Please let me know of any links you recommend I should put on the Black Mask web
> site. Also I'm offering authors, and aficionados guest spots in the Black Mask
> Crime Review on the site--and would really like you to contribute a few
> paragraphs now and again.
> Otto Penzler, Kevin Burton Smith, Bill Cider, Gary Niebuhr, Hugh B. Cave, Max
> Rosenberg (my Hollywood partner), Doug Greene, and David Wickes (London
> producer of the successful Chandler TV series for Granada in England) are on
> board and will be listed on the web site. So will recent friends I've met
> since posting on RARA-AVIS a few days ago: Kevin Burton Smith...Bill
> Crider...and Gary Niebuhr. I'm also asking my old pal Bob Weinberg who has
> licensed quite a bit of material from me over the years.

> I'm working with Doug Greene and Hugh B. Cave on a 90th birthday collection of
> Hugh's stories for Black Mask. A Black Mask book line, and a magazine are in
> the works. So are negotiations for a major mass media Black Mask project .
> The modest web page is a bit premature, but it is useful to help close the big
> deal, and get the word out on the return of Black Mask.
> Once the magazine is out, I'm offering you a regular column to cover popular
> culture as widely focused as your own enthusiasm. I am also looking for
> original or obscure work from living authors who have produced great works in
> the Black Mask tradition. Please recommend and spread the word.
> Best,
> Keith
> PS Do you know where I can contact Ron Goulart? Although I was an avid
> Hammett and Chandler fan as a kid, it was Ron's Hard Boiled Dicks collection
> that introduced my to so much of the material I now control. I haven't spoken
> to him in about 20 years and would love to have him involved in Black Mask.

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