Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: 77 Sunset Strip

Date: 13 Feb 2008

Fred B wrote:

"I'd like to see someone reprint the Roy Huggins novel and novellas."

From Howard Browne's "A Brief Memoir" in Incredible Ink:

One day I got a manuscript in the mail from a guy named Roy Huggins. In a cover letter he said, "You like the hardboiled style--here's one I've written. You can send me the check. P.S. My grandmother didn't like the book."

I read it, and it was great--until you got to the last quarter of the book, where it completely fell apart. He didn't know how to finish it and had called up a private detective friend of his and had him solve the problem for him! I wrote him back a seven letter, saying, in part,
"I enjoyed the book--until I got to the last quarter, where it fell apart. Had I been writing it, I would have done A, B, C, D" . . . right on down the line.

He sat down, rewrote the ending, sent it back to me and said, "Now you can send me my check." I did--and paid him a cent a word for the The Double Take, which was serialized in Mammoth Detective. He then sent it to Wm. Morrow and they brought it out as a hardback book in 1946, giving it the largest first printing of a mystery that they'd ever done up to that time. Columbia Pictures bought it, but he wouldn't sell it to them unless they'd let him write the screenplay, and he'd never seen a screenplay! He did write the screenplay; the movie was made and titled I Love Trouble--a horrible picture, because by the time everybody got through changing his script it wasn't his script anymore. That got Roy started in Hollywood.


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