RARA-AVIS: Re: The first tie-in

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 05 Nov 2007


Re your comment below:

"I think the first TV tie-in novel is written by one of our guys, Richard Deming. He did two Dragnet books, which, I think, are first examples of this genre. They were published in the mid-to-late fifties, can't remember the actual year and am too lazy to check."

Actually, the first DRAGNET novel wasn't written by Richard Deming, but by another of our guys, Richard S. Prather, under the pen name of "David Knight." It was called CASE NO. 561, and fictionalized the case of cop-killer Erwin "Machine-Gun" Walker, the same case that provided the basis for the film HE WALKED BY NIGHT, the movie that inspired Jack Webb to create DRAGNET. Prather's novel came out in 1956 from Pocket Books.

In 1957, the juvenile publisher, Whitman, hired Deming to do a collection of short stories based on DRAGNET, called DRAGNET - CASE HISTORIES FROM THE FAMOUS T.V. SERIES. These were not original stories, but were all adapted from scripts from the radio and TV series. Hence, "novelizations" rather than "tie-ins."

Mark VII Limited was impressed enough with the short story collection, that they hired Deming to continue the novels for Pocket. Deming's first DRAGNET novel came out in 1958. It was called THE CASE OF THE COURTEOUS KILLER. It was followed in 1959 by THE CASE OF THE CRIME KING, which most regard as the best in the Pocket Book series. These were original novels, not based on scripts, but were, like the series adapted from actual cases.

In 1967, after the series was revived, David H. Vowell, one of the scriptwriters on the revived series, wrote one original novel called DRAGNET 1968, the only prose DRAGNET story which has Friday and his partner working as narcs.

However, as Imentioned earlier, the DRAGNET novels were far from the first tie-ins. Tie-in novels, and novelizations of stories originally written for screen, stage, or broadcast, predate, not merely DRAGNET, but television, and go all the way back at least to Conan Doyle, whose short story "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone," was adapted from his original Sherlock Holmes stage play, THE CROWN DIAMOND.


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