RARA-AVIS: Shell Scott and the birth of Travis McGee

From: moorich2 (moorich@aol.com)
Date: 19 Oct 2009

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    I'm certain the story has been told on the role Shell Scott played in the creation of Travis McGee. The Scott novels were huge money makers for Fawcett's Gold Medal Books. Knox Burger, who replaced the original editor, angered Prather to the point he left Fawcett and took Scott to Pocket Books for major bucks. Burger rocked the boat of several of the writers he inherited for various reasons. As I recall the story, it was the editing of Prather's political rants that set the writer off. But I wouldn't swear to that. it sounds a little pat to me.

    In any case, Burger was about to lose his job and he saved it by getting JDM to do a series--a request he had long resisted. JDM and Burger were friends--he had edited JDM at the competing Dell First Editions--and he agreed to the request. McGee was a huge success as we all know and despite all the money he made initially, I always felt Prather (and Shell Scott) suffered from the change.

    Richard Moore

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