Thursday, February 4, 2016

Let's Tie One In!

This cover shot is of the secretary that resides in my living room. It's not perfect, but it's my pride and joy because I rescued it, filthy and dirt-ridden, from an antique market and cleaned it up/restored it to its warm mahogany finish. Inside is an array of vintage paperback books that have been carefully chosen because - me being me, after all - each one is connected in one way or another to a movie. I have scores more of these in boxes upstairs, but I didn't want to cram the thing full.
I'm not your usual "the book was so much better than the movie" sort of person. For one thing, I NEVER read fiction, EVER, unless it's a book I want to read because I've already seen the movie and want to explore the movie's subjects in greater depth and expand upon what I've already enjoyed. I'm a movie first, book later person, so movies are virtually never likely to disappoint me in their adaptation from the book. (I voraciously read non-fiction, however, with rarely less than two or three showbiz-related books going at once!)

All this is to say that today we're going to look at an array of books connected with a movie (or TV program), the tie-in paperback novel. These are in some cases books that were later transformed into movies or books that have stemmed from the movie's screenplay or at least were re-issued specifically to conjoin with a movie. In some cases, someone has been hired to read the screenplay and adapt the story into book form as a way of promoting the film. (Often, these would be released to bookstores prior to the films being released into theaters.)

These aren't necessarily favorites of mine, just covers I felt the need to share because of some degree of interest or another which I'll describe in the captions. Now let's turn the page to the books themselves!
I loved this artwork of Claudette Colbert from a movie I had never even heard of, Sleep, My Love (1948.) Seeing as it's directed by Douglas Sirk there's a strong chance I would love it!
This one was an existing novel adapted for the screen. I included the back cover because it contained a few more pictures from this obscure movie. (Note that all three renditions of Colbert - front & back - feature her favored left side!)
The lineage of this one is even more convoluted! Kathryn Forbes wrote a book called Mama's Bank Account that was turned into a stage play called I Remember Mama that was then made into a movie. So the book Mama's Bank Account was reissued to promote the movie I Remember Mama (1948.)
We like Myrna Loy (and a dimple-chinned Robert Mitchum is welcome, too) so we offer this promotional version of The Red Pony (1949.)
I liked the cover art chosen for this tie-in to The Unsuspected (1947.) Apart from the trio of startled stars in the foreground, note Audrey Totter's looming visage in the background.
One of the nice things about tie-in books such as this one is that it gave the owner a color portrait of the stars from a black & white movie. Thing is, I think this photo from Night and the City (1950) is flip-flopped! If you visit the film's page, you see a source photo that is facing the other way and looks more like the stars in question.
Likewise, this book let readers enjoy a rare shot of Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor in color for Father of the Bride (1950), a black & white movie.
This tie-in has "other adventures" listed along with Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) and doesn't even list an author on the cover! The film was done from a Leon Uris screenplay that had been "suggested by" an article someone wrote on the topic. It's always struck me as amusing that allegedly Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster couldn't make heads nor tails of their characters until they determined that the only way to play them was as two men in love with one another who didn't know how to express it!
Here we finally have an example of the outright tie-in novel, in which Owen Aherne was pressed to turn the screenplay from An Affair to Remember (which was already based on the prior screenplay for Love Affair, 1939) into book form.
Here's a shot of our Joan Collins, sans much make-up, in Sea Wife (1957) with a five o'clock-shadowed Richard Burton. This is the one in which she played a nun shipwrecked on an island with several men who don't readily know of her vocation. Censors wouldn't allow a kiss, so this romantic palm tree had to do.
This tie-in novel for The Tall T (1957), much like the one for Gunfight above, also has no author's name and (in smmmaaallll print) likewise says "and other western adventures." Burt kennedy had written the screenplay though it was actually based upon a story by Elmore Leonard, known for his crime stories.
I included this back cover because of its nice photo of rugged (by now leathery!) Randolph Scott and his female costar Maureen O'Sullivan who played Jane in several Tarzan movies and later gave the world Mia Farrow.
Fun portraiture of some of the stars of Guys and Dolls (1955), though chief female star Jean Simmons is barely visible, tucked behind some gamblers, and Vivian Blaine is yelling at Marlon Brando instead of at her perennial fiance Frank Sinatra!
This is another commissioned "novel" based on a screenplay that was written by Terence Rattigan. Even though The V.I.P.s (1963) was filmed after the infamous and tumultuous Cleopatra (1963), it was completed and released first, allowing it to capitalize on the world famous adulterous relationship of its stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
A color photo adorns this reissue of Someret Maugham's story for the 1964 black & white movie Of Human Bondage. The earlier 1934 film with Leslie Howard and Bette Davis seems to remain the definitive screen adaptation.
Did everyone know that Hud (1963) was based upon a Larry McMurtry novel called Horseman, Pass By? I didn't.  I bet there were quite a few Paul Newman fans who were happy to have this photo of him even though he never intended for his character to be an object of adoration. He considered the character deplorable!
I would be interested to know if this tie-in novel for Harper (1966) has been augmented from the original novel the movie was based upon called The Moving Target. You see, that Ross McDonald book was one of a series about a character named Archer. Paul Newman wanted his character's name to start with an H. So did someone (in those pre-computer days) go through the whole novel and change it from Archer to Harper for this paperback tie-in??
I always enjoyed the 1967 movie Warning Shot, which was made-for-TV but released to theaters instead. Apart from a decent male cast, it manages to also include Stefanie Powers, Joan Collins, Eleanor Parker and Lillian Gish into its storyline!
I thought this was just about the most bizarre selection of a cover photo for Julie Christie's Petulia (1968) considering how great she looks throughout much of the rest of the movie. This portrait reveals nothing, nor is it in any way enticing.
More satisfying is this tie-in for Fahrenheit 451 (1966) in which Christie played dual roles, one being Oskar Werner's shallow wife and the other his deep-feeling, but forbidden lover.
The same man hired to write The V.I.P.s was enlisted to forge this tie-in paperback for Move Over, Darling (1963.) This one was complicated as well for the script of the movie was reworked from the unfinished Marilyn Monroe picture Something's Got to Give, which was already a reworking of the original movie My Favorite Wife (1940)!
This is an obscure one. Surprise Package (1960) has never come my way and I don't know if I'd ever even heard of it before! This book is actually the source novel A Gift from the Boys by humorist Art Buchwald, which is likely a bit different from the screenplay.
As much as I like Paul Newman, I've never been able to generate much interest in 1963's A New Kind of Love (even with its setting in the fashion industry!) I did think the cut-outs of him with wife Joanne Woodward were amusingly strange for this novel derived from the Melville Shavelson screenplay.
You know the sort of laugh you sometimes get in which you start gagging and falling over because it's just THAT funny that you - literally - lose it? Well the first memory I ever have of laughing that way occurred when I was a tyke watching a re-release of Lt. Robinson Crusoe, U.S.N. (1966.) I bet you now I could watch the entire thing in stone-faced silence, but back in the day I recall almost collapsing to the floor of the movie theater during the harried climax. Interestingly, the story for this movie was conceived by Retlaw Yensid. Consider his name in reverse if you will!
This is another instance of a "novel" being completely generated from an original screenplay (Big Jake, 1971) just to seem at first glance as if the movie were based on a book. Interesting that the cover photo practically shows the ending of the film!
Same basic deal, "See the film, READ THE NOVEL" though there never was a prior novel. This is a book derived from the screenplay of The Last of Sheila (1973.) It would be interesting to see how the book handles some of the visuals of the film, which lent the viewer clues to the mystery throughout.
I had to include this one because it is listed on the cover as a "smash hit movie" and yet I have never, ever heard of this film! I like to think I'm up on '70s cinema, but somehow the 1975 "blockbuster" Whiffs has escaped me till now...
This is the lesser-known sequel to Westworld (1973) called Futureworld (1976.) It was one of the scarce leading feature film roles for Blythe Danner. She and costar Peter Fonda were later reunited in a charming Hallmark Hall of Fame TV-movie called Back When We Were Grownups (2004.) This tie-in came with 16 pages of photos from the movie which, for me back then in pre-computer days, was a huge reason to purchase any book of this type.
Freaky Friday (1976) is one of those rather rare instances in which a book's author, in this case Mary Rodgers, was permitted to also write the movie's screenplay! So often, the original writer is prevented from doing so for one reason or another.

This is another one like that. Cameron Crowe, who'd gone undercover as a high school student as research, wrote a book about his observances and then was able to also pen the screenplay for Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982.)
As you can guess, I have all the various tie-in novels for 1970s disaster movies (and the novels that led to Airport, 1970, The Poseidon Adventure, 1972, The Towering Inferno, 1974, and so on.) The Cassandra Crossing (1976) is an extremely unique sort of approach to the genre with a wonderfully eclectic cast.
I couldn't resist sharing this Italian edition of the paperback, which (like so many non-U.S. posters as well) features a far more dramatic cover photo. It stands to reason that the Carlo Ponti-produced movie would feature Sophia Loren most prominently in the Italian market.
Turning to TV now, we find a novel inspired by the hit show I Spy (1965-1968) which features some fun artwork with the show's title formed by stone blocks.
One of Robert Wagner's successful shows was It Takes a Thief (1968-1970), loosely inspired by the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief, which starred Cary Grant.
Here's a faceful of David Carradine as Caine, the lead character in the series Kung Fu (1972-1975.)
After seeing this tie-in paperback about The Brady Bunch (1969-1974), I'm starting to wonder if maybe Jan Brady (the omitted Eve Plumb) might have had some grounds for feeling like she was always being left out or otherwise overlooked!
Here we have a case of a truly popular TV show being advertised as such on a book cover, yet not too many people are familiar with the show. The reason? Bridget Loves Bernie (1972-1973) was about a Catholic girl married to a Jewish boy and despite it being #5 in the Nielsen ratings it was canceled after 24 episodes. Strident protests (even threats) from several Jewish organizations caused it to be removed from the air. It remains the highest-rated series ever cancelled after only one season. (Can't we all just get along?)
I never watched Welcome Back, Kotter (1975-1979), but I used to see so many kids with these paperback tie-in books back in the day! I also recall there was a time when one seemed to see the books Coma, The Legacy or Jaws clasped in every third person's hands.
Anyone remember when the prime-time soaps put out a series of paperbacks, fleshing out the storylines of the parent series? This one is from Knots Landing (1979-1993), but I also recall seeing ones from Dallas and Dynasty in print.
I close with what may have been the ULTIMATE sort of movie tie-in paperback, the Fotonovel. These books were ALL pictures, frames from the chosen movies, with little bits of dialogue printed on them so that one could relive the experience of the film in those (mostly) pre-cable and pre-VCR days. This one is from Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), but there were many others from movies such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Grease (1978), Ice Castles (1978), Hair (1979) and many others. They made an awesome keepsake for fans of the given film.
Trekkers (then known as Trekkies) were also in heaven because all or practically all of the cult favorite TV series Star Trek's (1966-1969) episodes were transfigured into Fotonovels. This way, fans could relive virtually any frame of the show whenever he wanted to by simply cracking open a book.
This is an example of what Fotonovels looked like on the inside, though the ones based upon movies tended to vary the way the dialogue was printed from film to film. I hope you found this peek at paperback diverting. I'll be back soon with something else!


Gingerguy said...

I am fit to be tied, this was great Poseidon. I do remember these. I had "Star Wars" book sequels and even one for "Bugsy Malone". Funny, I never thought of Randolph Scott as getting old, I can only picture him young and gorgeous. I love the glamorous cover for "The VIP's" but can't even imagine that there was a "Move Over Darling"(btw that is the greatest theme song ever and is on my iPod). "Last Of Sheila" is my favorite, what a nasty piece of camp that movie is, wonder if the book is as witty? A lifetime of movie watching helps me visualize while I am reading. It makes, for me, an immersive experience.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how they printed "Horseman, Pass By" as "Hud" and got away with it. Maybe some sort of business deal, perhaps? Hud is one of my favorite films, and Patricia Neal is fantastic in it.
A friend of mine used to have that edition of "The Last of Sheila"!

Narciso Duran said...

One interesting note is that William Saroyan was hired by MGM in 1942 to write "The Human Comedy." In a pique, he left MGM and published the treatment as a novel, which sold well. The movie came out a year later, and other than chapter-episodes not used, it is identical to the book. That movie was just remade as "Ithaca" (2015) directed by and starring Meg Ryan. It is yet to be released.

Michael said...

Brilliant post as always. Love Story always confused because the book came out after the movie I think and at 12 years old that made no sense. I remember Whiffs because it had an Oscar nominated song, by Sammy Cahn no less. Called Now That We''re in Love. And I had the 45 record by Steve Lawrence!

Scooter said...

I remember being in elementary school and being able to order books and other movie (and TV) tie-in merchandise through some sort of catalog. I'm trying to remember...was it done through the Weekly Reader or was there some other source? I recall posters, books, T-shirts and other swag. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

Poseidon3 said...

Thanks, Gingerguy! I was not much of a reader as a child or teen, didn't really begin to appreciate it until my twenties, so all of my keepsake books as a kid were ones that had lots of pictures and/or photos! LOL Meanwhile, my boxed sets of E.B. White, Laura Ingalls Wilder and so on collected dust (though I did work my way through the then-titillating Judy Blume ones.) Whenever I read a book that spawned a movie and a significant character shows up who wasn't in the movie, I immediately have to "cast" the part in my mind! For (hilarious) example, when I read "The Poseidon Adventure" around 1990, Susan and Robin's parents are on board - the two are not traveling alone as in the movie. So, for me, they became Richard Long and Constance Towers. And on another loosely connected note, when I read GWTW, because I have never warmed to Leslie Howard as Ashley, I pictured Randolph Scott throughout!

Armando, one (hopefully) assumes they paid the author something handsome in order to reprint the book that way. At least they do refer to the original title on the cover and, hey, any time an author gets his book republished and read by more people I don't think it can be too much of a bad thing!

Narciso, that is interesting... I had no idea that the property was remade. So many complex situations have cropped up with screenplays. There have to have been THOUSANDS of drafts of movie screenplays that were commissioned and rejected over the years. It seems like almost no first draft screenplays have made it to the screen except for the most rare instances.

Michael, it might have to do with your being in the U.K., but Love Story, which I ALMOST featured in this post, was a famous example of a movie studio (Paramount) deliberately asking for a novel to be written by the screenwriter of the movie so that it could be released ahead of time and built up as a "best-seller" (which it was!) and would add literary cache to the movie once it came out soon after. Practically everyone had read the slender paperback by the time the movie hit screens in the U.S. I am gobsmacked that Whiffs had an Oscar nomination!!!!!! Where have I been???

Scooter, I ABSOLUTELY recall what you're talking about. Fellow students would peruse that catalog (more of a flyer, right?) looking at A Separate Peace or Sounder or whatever and I'd be staring at a Starsky & Hutch or Mork & Mindy tie-in, wishing my mother would let me have the money for it! LOL I have just asked an old grade school classmate who remembers everything to see if she recalls what it was called. I'll report back if she does. Thank you!

roberta steve said...

Poseidon, we children of the 60s and 70s really grew up in the apex of schlock. II love that it is now considered "vintage". Aside from the novelization books of movies there were also cheapie paperback book purporting to tell the " behind the scenes" story of the making of the movie. They usually included lots of pictures and the text was pure Hollywood public relations designed to make you think everyone got along during the filming. There were usually "cute, humorous" takes of pranks pulled by the actors on set or other benign shenanigans. My sister had one of the Brady Bunch. I had one on the making of Jaws, which I was obsessed with because of my then-huge crush on Robert Shaw. I wonder if any of your other readers remember these?

And, Poseidon, you know I love you, but I have to correct you. Look closely at the cover of the Guys and Dolls book. Jean Simmons is there. She's just under Brando's chin.

Poseidon3 said...

Oh, gawd... I was looking at the Guys and Dolls book in such a small size that somehow I bunched Jean in as a gangster! LOL I'll fix. And, yes, I recall those "behind the scenes" books you refer to. I think there was one for "Superman: The Movie" and perhaps "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and I think I even have one at home for "Earthquake" complete with blurry photos of some of the miniatures used in the movie! I loved stuff like that back then.

Gingerguy said...

I think the magazine all you sixth graders of the 70's are talking about was maybe "Dynamite"? I think it was put out by scholastic and I used to pore over it. I also remember drawing horns on the cover of Kristy McNichol.

Poseidon3 said...

My ol' pal Stephanie from grades 1 through 12 tells me that we ordered our merchandise from Scholastic Book Club. (But I definitely remember there being a teen magazine called Dynamite! Seemed like Leif Garrett lived on the cover along with Kristy, Shaun Cassidy and John Travolta!)

Gingerguy said...

Right on! Scholastic Book Club! you ordered "Dynamite" from that, I remember now, lol.

A said...

That's a great shot of Paul Newman's jeans on the cover of Hud. I was stuck, however, trying to figure out why he would want his character's name to start with an H. ??? Out of eighty three movie credits on IMDB, only four start with an H. And those don't seem to be done sequentially. Career advice from a fortune teller?

Anyway, I think this was one of your best!

Ken Anderson said...

What an amazing collection! It was really fun looking at these - part because it was like a virtual trip to a one of those flea markets I'd visit every Sunday as a kid in Berkeley (when it was still regular folks cleaning out their attics, not "vendors") - but also because they evoke such a great time in movie tie-ins. They all seem so naive. You picked a broad assortment of these tie-in paperbacks and I couldn't get enough. Lots of fun and informative too!

Poseidon3 said...

A, there seems to be a bit of question as to exactly why the title of "Harper" became so. All along, it was intended to be "Archer," but the producers had only purchased the rights to the one book "The Moving Target" - not the whole series - and thus wanted to separate themselves from it and not necessarily be tied to it. Newman had not had a lot of "H's" but the two he did have, "Hud" and "The Hustler" had resulted in Best Actor Oscar nominations! So that's why he felt a bit of luck surrounding the letter. Anyway, after "Hombre," he seems to have abandoned the concept. :-) I'm glad you liked this post!

Ken, you have hit upon something (as usual) which helps explain why so often trips to flea markets are no longer the unique and exciting adventures that they used to be. Time was, you had no idea what was next around the corner. Now, you pretty much assume it's going to be more bulk "merchandise" instead of cast-off treasures and junque... LOL I'm so glad you enjoyed this!

Chellis610 said...

You've got all those TV 'tie-in' books, and yet NOTHING from "Dark Shadows"? Shame on you!

EricSwede said...

In "The Best of Everything" there's a rack of paperback books in the office where the girls work. All of them are movie tie-in paperbacks of books that Fox had filmed. The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, Diary of Anne Frank, Compulsion, Ten North Frederick, tales of the South Pacific, etc. You get a good view of it watching the DVD.