RARA-AVIS: Who Zoomed Who?

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 02 Dec 2004

I wrote:

>"I'm not sure if anyone else has added much more really new to the P.I.
>genre since, though, with the arguable exception of Robert B. Parker.
>Oh, there have been some great P.I. writers, but to be considered
>influential, you also have to sell beyond a small cult audience, and
>capture the imagination of the general public."

And Mark wrote:

>If the general public is the criterion, maybe the arena has shifted to
>TV -- Rockford? Magnum?

Well, certainly Rockford, created by Stephen J. Cannell and Roy Huggins, influenced a boatload of P.I. writers (just as Huston,, Dmytryk, Lang and other filmmakers did in their era). But Cannell and Huggins' Rockford appeared approximately the same time as Parker's Spenser, so it's hard to say who really knocked the lone wolf P.I. thing off its solemn pedestal, and upped the wisecracks.

Magnum was just Lance White without the wit, the charm or the great writing.

But my point was that for a writer to be really considered influential, he has to have really influenced other writers, not just been enjoyed by them. so, while I think someone like Crumley, for example, is a damn good writer, I'm not sure he's really influenced many other writers. Inspired them, maybe, but not necessarily influenced them.



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