RARA-AVIS: Re: W R Burnett

From: jimdohertyjr ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 07 Apr 2006


Re your question below:

> According to my notes, Burnett also wrote a film script as Saint
> Johnson. Does anyone know anything about this?

Although there was much talk about the various film versions of SAINT JOHNSON, I'm not sure it was ever made clear that all these film versions were based on a novel by Burnett which, in turn, was a fictionalization of the Earp/Clanton conflict in Tombstone, AZ. This was perhaps the first fictionalized version (at least the first that made no bones about being fiction) of the OK Corral shootout ever written. Since then dozens of novelists, including crime writers like Loren D. Estleman and Robert B. Parker, have tried their hands at novels about the incident. One of the most recent, and one of the best, is Richard Wheeler's TROUBLE IN TOMBSTONE.

The hero, whom Burnett admitted in a foreword was directly based on Wyatt Earp, was named Wayt Johnson, a deputy US marshal for the area whose two brothers are town marshals. The characters based on the Clanton faction all refer to Wayt as "Saint" Johnson because of his "rectitudinal" demeanor.

In the first and last film versions of the novel, the name "Wayt" is, for some reason, changed to "Frame." The most recent film version, entitled, like the first, LAW & ORDER, and starring Ronald Reagan as Johnson, is really more of a sequel than a direct adaptation.

Hope that helps.


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