Re: RARA-AVIS: Bill S. Ballinger

Date: 02 Aug 2003


Re your question below:

> What's the word on [Bill] Ballinger?

An Iowa native, Ballinger worked in advertising and broadcasting in Chicago and New York, and had traveled extensively all over the world by the time he settled in Southern California to break into screenwriting.

In addition to the two Barr Breed PI novels, he also wrote, during the 1960s espionage boom, a series of five books about Joaquin Hawks, an American Indian CIA agent operating in Southeast Asia.

Three stand-alone books, PORTRAIT IN SMOKE, THE TOOTH AND THE NAIL, and THE LONGEST SECOND are generally regarded as his best novels. They were collected in an omnibus volume entitled TRYPTYCH.

Ballinger was a prolific screenwriter, credited with scripts for eight feature films and over 150 teleplays. He won an Edgar in the TV category for his adaptation of the Stanley Ellin short story "The Day of the Bullet," which was shown on ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS. The mid-50s noir PUSHOVER, in which Fed MacMurray portrays a crooked cop, was partially based on Ballinger's novel RAFFERTY (the other credited source material was Thomas Walsh's THE NIGHT WATCH).

Kevin has a pretty good piece on the Breed series in his "Thrilling Detective" site, as well as entries on some of Ballinger's stand-alone PIs.



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