Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Bonus FFB on Wednesday: Once Around the Bloch -- Robert Bloch

This is a repeat of a very recent FFB post, but since we're celebrating the Robert Bloch Centennial today, I thought it was a good time to put it up again.  You never know: someone might have missed it.

I had a feeling this "unauthorized autobiography" by Robert Bloch would be entertaining, and it certainly was.  Bloch doesn't go in for depth, but he covers the breadth of his life in some detail.  

I learned quite a few things I didn't know.  Having started reading Bloch's stories in the '50s in the SF digest, I'd always thought of him as a full-time writer.  He wasn't.  He worked for years in different jobs, primarily advertising and politics, until Hollywood work came along.  I'd never realized how much TV and movie work he'd done.  Quite possibly the success of Psycho had a lot to do with that.  Bloch wrote for the shows you'd expect and for some so obscure that I have no memory of their existence.  His stories of the fates of many movie and TV projects are among the most interesting in the book to me.

Bloch's Hollywood success led to some amazing friendships, including those with Boris Karloff, Buster Keaton, and Joan Crawford.  His writing about the latter has changed my opinion of her.

The tone is breezy and light (Bloch can't resist puns), and although the book is long, it doesn't seem to be.  Because I was fond of Bloch's work in the '50s, I wanted to know more about him, and I'm glad he left us this record of his life and work.


Richard Moore said...

I loved this book and refer back to it often--thus my one complaint is that it does not have an index. So when I am looking for a reference to his meeting Keaton or hobnobbing with Christopher Lee, I am flipping away. A later magazine piece published in Omni dealt with his diagnosis of incurable cancer. Typical of Bloch he began the piece with humor saying the doctor answered his question of "How long do I have?" by saying he could buy firecrackers for the Fourth but no need to buy Halloween candy. By all accounts a great guy.

mikechomko said...

This is a great book. I extensively quoted from it while writing the post about PulpFest celebrating the 100th anniversary of Bloch's birth at this summer's convention.