Monday, September 20, 2004

Dan J. Marlowe

Ed Gorman has some more questions and comments about Dan J. Marlowe. I've sent him a note about Al Nausbaum's relationship with Marlowe, but I'd like to take off from Ed's remark about the support Marlowe received after his stroke from So. Cal. writers like Richard Laymon. I have three odd little items called "Fastback Sports Books" by Marlowe and one by Laymon. These were published in 1985, and they're 25-30 pages long. I have no idea where they were sold or who the intended audience was. I just couldn't resist picking them up when I saw them. I wonder how much Marlowe and Laymon got paid for these.


James Reasoner said...

I think in his memoir, A WRITER'S LIFE, Laymon says these books were used in schools for remedial reading classes. I can't check because I can't find the book right now, organization not being my strong suit. But they were definitely intended for older kids with low vocabulary levels.

Bill said...

Thanks for the info, James. I guess I should read Laymon's memoir. I didn't even know about it. Writing "easy readers" must have been an interesting break from Laymon's other novels. But then I think he was also "Lee Davis Willoughby" a time or two. Another interesting break.

James Reasoner said...

Yes, Laymon wrote THE LAWMEN as Lee Davis Willoughby, his only house-name book as far as I know. I've read it, and it's pretty good.

Peter Enfantino said...

Hey Bill!
Long time no talk. Hope you're doing well. I'm enjoying your blog (thought I'd never live to see the day I'd say that) and Ed's as well (despite his dislike for MYSTIC RIVER, which I thought was the best flick of 04). I never have the time to write you, even though your stuff always makes me smile. I did want to quickly fill you in on the Fastback and Pink Tea threads. Nussbaum and Marlowe were members (along with Dick Laymon, Gary Brandner, Richard D. Hughes, Clayton Matthews, Marshall Oliphant, Charles Fritch, and our old Gold Medal fave, Bob Colby) of The Pink Tea writers group in 1970s Los Angeles. They would meet twice a month at each other's houses and discuss writing and read their own work to each other for critique. Dick Laymon spoke very fondly of the Pink Tea (man, I miss our phone conversations). I somehow ended up with Al Nussbaum's collection of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine about ten years ago (I think through Dick Laymon) and still have em. As for the Fastbacks, James Reasoner is right in that they were aimed at, in Dick's words, "young adults with reading difficulties" and were given out at the schools or sold through a Scholastic-type program. There were 15 Fastbacks and 5 Double Fastbacks, published under genres such as "Fastback Sports", "Fastback Crime and Detection", "Fastback Spy", "Fastback Mystery",and "Fastback Horror." Several of these stories were later reprinted in various anthologies. Hope this answers some of your questions. If Dick were still around, he could answer all your questions about Nussbaum and Marlowe. He thought Marlowe a fabulous writer.
Oh, and drop me your address in a private e ( I'll try to dig you up a copy of A WRITER'S TALE.
Pete Enfantino