Re: RARA-AVIS: Spillane & Browne

Date: 11 Feb 2002


Re the Browne/Spillane anecdote:

> I don't recall where I saw the anecdote, it may've
> been here even but
> according to Browne he'd asked Spillane's manager if
> Spillane would
> write a fantasy story for a rather piddling fee by
> the Mick's usual
> standards. The agent replied that Spillane didn'
> work for that kind of
> cabbage but he did say he had a real stinker of a
> story that everyone in
> creation had rejected. When Browne read it, he found
> it unpublishable &
> somehow wrangled the agent into letting him
> completely rewrite the story
> from scratch while advertising it as a Spillane
> story. Apparently, sales
> for that issue of Fantastic went through the roof.

When Browne told the story at a dinner I attended he never said the story was absolutely unpublishable. What happened was that the week before the magazine was due to appear, Spillane did an inteview with LIFE magazine. In the course of the interview, Spillane, who had no idea that his agent had finally managed to sell the piece, told the same story that Browne had already bought. Browne was now faced with having to publish a story in which the surprise ending had been given away, by the author himself no less, in one of America's most popular magazines. Trying to salvage something, he wrote a new story, trying to replicate Spillane's style as best as he could, using the original title.

The best part of the story is what happened later. Spillane, incensed that anyone had put his name on a story he hadn't written, phoned Btowne to ream him out. Browne explained the predicament he was in and tried to apologize, saying that, as a writer himself, he understood how upsetting this must have been to Spillane.

"I've never heard of you," snorted Spillane. "What the hell have you written?"

"Well, said Browne, "I don't write under my own name. I write as John Evans."

"Evans?" said Spillane. "You mean the HALO books? Damned good books!"

Suddenly, Browne was no longer a fraudulent user of the Mick's name, but a fellow mystery writer, and all was forgiven.


__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Send FREE Valentine eCards with Yahoo! Greetings!

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 11 Feb 2002 EST