Edgar Wallace (1928)
Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace
1 April 1875
|Died||10 February 1932 56) (aged|
|Occupation||Crime writer, war correspondent, journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and playwright|
|Known for||Creation of King Kong|
Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1 April 1875 – 10 February 1932) was an English writer.
Born into poverty as an illegitimate London child, Wallace left school at the age of 12. He joined the army at age 21 and was a war correspondent during the Second Boer War, for Reuters and the Daily Mail . Struggling with debt, he left South Africa, returned to London, and began writing thrillers to raise income, publishing books including The Four Just Men (1905). Drawing on his time as a reporter in the Congo, covering the Belgian atrocities, Wallace serialised short stories in magazines such as The Windsor Magazine and later published collections such as Sanders of the River (1911). He signed with Hodder and Stoughton in 1921 and became an internationally recognised author.
A war correspondent is a journalist who covers stories firsthand from a war zone. They were also called special correspondents.
The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is also known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought the Boers to terms.
Reuters is an international news organization. It is a division of Thomson Reuters and has nearly 200 locations around the world. Until 2008, the Reuters news agency formed part of an independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data. Since the acquisition of Reuters Group by the Thomson Corporation in 2008, the Reuters news agency has been a part of Thomson Reuters, making up the media division. Reuters transmits news in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Urdu, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. It was established in 1851.
After an unsuccessful bid to stand as Liberal MP for Blackpool (as one of David Lloyd George's Independent Liberals) in the 1931 general election, Wallace moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a script writer for RKO. He died suddenly from undiagnosed diabetes, during the initial drafting of King Kong (1933).
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. He was the last Liberal to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
At the 1931 general election, a small group of official Liberal candidates led by former Liberal Party leader, David Lloyd George, and mostly related to him, stood on a platform of opposition to the National Government and were sometimes referred to as Independent Liberals.
RKO Pictures is an American film production and distribution company. In its original incarnation, as RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. it was one of the Big Five studios of Hollywood's Golden Age. The business was formed after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) theater chain and Joseph P. Kennedy's Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) studio were brought together under the control of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in October 1928. RCA chief David Sarnoff engineered the merger to create a market for the company's sound-on-film technology, RCA Photophone. By the mid-1940s, the studio was under the control of investor Floyd Odlum.
Wallace was such a prolific writer that one of his publishers claimed that a quarter of all books in England were written by him.As well as journalism, Wallace wrote screen plays, poetry, historical non-fiction, 18 stage plays, 957 short stories, and over 170 novels, 12 in 1929 alone. More than 160 films have been made of Wallace's work. As well as the creation of King Kong, he is remembered as a writer of 'the colonial imagination', for the J. G. Reeder detective stories, and for The Green Archer serial. He sold over 50 million copies of his combined works in various editions, and The Economist describes him as "one of the most prolific thriller writers of [the 20th] century", although the great majority of his books are out of print in the UK, but are still read in Germany.
King Kong is a giant movie monster, resembling an enormous ape, that has appeared in various media since 1933. The character first appeared in the 1933 film King Kong from RKO Pictures, which received universal acclaim upon its initial release and re-releases. A sequel quickly followed that same year with The Son of Kong, featuring Little Kong. In the 1960s, Toho produced King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), pitting a larger Kong against Toho's own Godzilla, and King Kong Escapes (1967), based on The King Kong Show (1966–1969) from Rankin/Bass Productions. In 1976, Dino De Laurentiis produced a modern remake of the original film directed by John Guillermin. A sequel, King Kong Lives, followed a decade later featuring a Lady Kong. Another remake of the original, this time set in 1933, was released in 2005 from filmmaker Peter Jackson.
The Mind of Mr. J. G. Reeder is a collection of short stories by the English crime writer Edgar Wallace, published in 1925.
The Green Archer is the 12th serial released by Columbia Pictures. It was based on Edgar Wallace's 1923 novel The Green Archer, which had previously been adapted into the silent serial of the same name in 1925 by Pathé Exchange.
Wallace's great grandfather was James Henry Marriott, and his grandmother was Alice Marriott.Wallace was born at 7 Ashburnham Grove, Greenwich, to actors Richard Horatio Marriott Edgar (1847–1894) and Mary Jane "Polly" Richards, née Blair (born 1843).
James Henry Marriott was a New Zealand theatre manager, actor, entertainer, playwright, songwriter, engraver, optician and bookseller. He was born in London, England, and arrived in New Zealand three years after the Wellington area was first settled. In Wellington he was involved with theatrical production at the Ship Hotel, Olympic Theatre, Britannia Saloon and Royal Lyceum. He made himself useful in the early days of the settlement by engraving tombstones, engraving illustrations for newspapers, and grinding lenses for telescopes. He ran a bookshop and sold sheet music, and contributed to the organised social and civic life of Wellington. In New Zealand he was the first regular producer of plays, a playwright, and the first optics professional in that country to make a telescope. He was the father of Alice Marriott and the great-grandfather of Marriott Edgar and Edgar Wallace.
Alice Marriott, known professionally as Mrs Marriott or Miss Marriott, was a nineteenth-century British stage actress. She was known for regularly playing the part of Hamlet in doublet and hose, to good reviews. She married Robert "Bob" Edgar, lessee of Sadler's Wells Theatre, and took responsibility for management and production at this and other theatres for some years, besides touring America and Britain. Towards the end of her career she played alongside Henry Irving and Ellen Terry at the Lyceum Theatre, London, but it was Alice Marriott who "made the female Hamlet respectable in England." She was the grandmother of Edgar Wallace and Marriott Edgar.
Greenwich is an area of South East London, England, located 5.5 miles (8.9 km) east-southeast of Charing Cross. It is located within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, to which it lends its name.
Wallace's mother was born in Liverpool to an Irish Catholic family. Her family had been in show business, and she worked in the theatre as a stagehand, usherette, and bit-part actress until she married in 1867. Her husband, Captain Joseph Richards, was also born in Liverpool, in 1838; he was also from an Irish Catholic family. He and his father John Richards were both Merchant Navy captains, and his mother Catherine Richards came from a mariner family. Joseph died at sea in 1868, leaving his pregnant wife destitute. After the birth of Wallace's older sibling, his mother returned to the stage, assuming the stage name "Polly" Richards. In 1872, she met and joined the Marriott family theatre troupe, managed by Alice Marriott, her husband Richard Edgar, and her three adult children (from earlier liaisons), Grace, Adeline and Richard Horatio Marriott Edgar.
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in North West England, with an estimated population of 491,500. Its metropolitan area is the fifth-largest in the UK, with a population of 2.24 million in 2011. The local authority is Liverpool City Council, the most populous local government district in the metropolitan county of Merseyside and the largest in the Liverpool City Region.
Wallace's parents had a "broom cupboard" style sexual encounter during an after-show party. Discovering she was pregnant, his mother invented a fictitious obligation in Greenwich that would last at least half a year and obtained a room in a boarding house where she lived until her son's birth, on 1 April 1875. [ citation needed ]During her confinement she had asked her midwife to find a couple to foster the child. The midwife introduced Wallace's mother to her close friend, Mrs Freeman, a mother of ten children, whose husband George Freeman was a Billingsgate fishmonger. On 9 April 1875, his mother took Wallace to the semi-literate Freeman family, and made arrangements to visit often.
Billingsgate is one of the 25 Wards of the City of London. Its name derives from being the City's original water gate, and this small City Ward is situated on the north bank of the River Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge in the south-east of the Square Mile.
Wallace, then known as Richard Horatio Edgar Freeman, had a happy childhood and a close bond with 20-year-old Clara Freeman, who became a second mother to him. By 1878, his mother could no longer afford the small sum she had been paying the Freemans to care for her son and, instead of placing the boy in the workhouse, the Freemans adopted him.His mother never visited Wallace again as a child. His foster-father George Freeman was determined to ensure Richard received a good education, and for some time Wallace attended St. Alfege with St. Peter’s, a boarding school in Peckham, but he played truant and then left full-time education at the age of 12.
By his early teens, Wallace had held down numerous jobs such as newspaper-seller at Ludgate Circus near Fleet Street, milk-delivery boy, rubber factory worker, shoe shop assistant, and ship’s cook. A plaque at Ludgate Circus commemorates Wallace's first encounter with the newspaper business.He was dismissed from his job on the milk run for stealing money. In 1894, he became engaged to a local Deptford girl, Edith Anstree, but broke the engagement and enlisted in the infantry.
Wallace registered in the British Army under the name Edgar Wallace, after the author of Ben-Hur , Lew Wallace.At the time the medical records register him as having a 33-inch chest and being stunted from his childhood spent in the slums. He was posted in South Africa with the West Kent Regiment, in 1896. He disliked army life but managed to arrange a transfer to the Royal Army Medical Corps, which was less arduous but more unpleasant, and so transferred again to the Press Corps, which he found suited him better.
Wallace began publishing songs and poetry, much inspired by Rudyard Kipling, whom he met in Cape Town in 1898. Wallace's first book of ballads, The Mission that Failed!, was published that same year. In 1899, he bought his way out of the forces and turned to writing full-time.Remaining in Africa, he became a war correspondent, first for Reuters and then the Daily Mail (1900) and other periodicals during the Boer War.
In 1901, while in South Africa, Wallace married Ivy Maude Caldecott (1880?–1926),although her father Reverend William Shaw Caldecott, a Wesleyan missionary, was strongly opposed to the marriage. The couple's first child, Eleanor Clare Hellier Wallace, died suddenly from meningitis in 1903, and the couple returned to London soon afterward, deeply in debt.
In London, Wallace worked for the Mail and began writing detective stories in a bid to earn quick money. A son, Bryan, was born in 1904 followed by a daughter, Patricia, in 1908.In 1903, Wallace met his birth mother Polly, whom he had never known. Terminally ill, 60 years old, and living in poverty, she came to ask for money and was turned away. Polly died in the Bradford Infirmary later that year.
Unable to find any backer for his first book, Wallace set up his own publishing company, Tallis Press, which issued the thriller The Four Just Men (1905). Despite promotion in the Mail and good sales, the project was financially mismanaged, and Wallace had to be bailed out by the Mail's proprietor Alfred Harmsworth, who was anxious that the farrago might reflect badly on his newspaper.Problems were compounded when inaccuracies in Wallace's reporting led to libel cases being brought against the Mail. Wallace was dismissed in 1907, the first reporter ever to be fired from the paper, and he found no other paper would employ him, given his reputation. The family lived continuously in a state of near-bankruptcy, Ivy having to sell her jewellery for food.
During 1907, Edgar travelled to the Congo Free State, to report on atrocities committed against the Congolese under King Leopold II of Belgium and the Belgian rubber companies, in which up to 15 million Congolese were killed.Isabel Thorne, of the Weekly Tale-Teller penny magazine, invited Wallace to serialise stories inspired by his experiences. These were published as his first collection Sanders of the River (1911), a best seller, and in 1935 it was adapted into an eponymous film, starring Paul Robeson. Wallace went on to publish 11 more similar collections (102 stories). They were tales of exotic adventure and local tribal rites, set on an African river, mostly without love interest as this held no appeal for Wallace. His first 28 books and their film rights he sold outright, with no royalties, for quick money. Critic David Pringle noted in 1987: "The Sanders Books are not frequently reprinted nowadays, perhaps because of their overt racism".
The period from 1908 to 1932 was the most prolific of Wallace's life. Initially, he wrote mainly in order to satisfy creditors in the UK and South Africa. However, his books' success began to rehabilitate his reputation as a journalist, and he began reporting from horse racing circles. He wrote for the Week-End and the Evening News , became an editor for Week-End Racing Supplement, started his own racing papers Bibury's and R. E. Walton's Weekly, and bought many racehorses of his own. He lost many thousands gambling, and despite his success, spent large sums on an extravagant lifestyle he could not afford.
During 1916, Ivy had her last child, Michael Blair Wallace by Edgar and filed for divorce in 1918.
Ivy moved to Tunbridge Wells with the children, and Wallace drew closer to his secretary Ethel Violet King (1896–1933), daughter of banker Frederick King. They married in 1921, and Penelope Wallace was born to them in 1923.
Wallace began to take his fiction writing career more seriously and signed with publishers Hodder and Stoughton in 1921, organising his contracts, instead of selling rights to his work piecemeal in order to raise funds. This allowed him advances, royalties, and full scale promotional campaigns for his books, which he had never before had. The publisher aggressively advertised him as a celebrity writer, ‘King of Thrillers’, known for this trademark trilby, cigarette holder, and yellow Rolls Royce. He was said to be able to write a 70,000 word novel in three days and plough through three novels at once, and the publishers agreed to publish everything he wrote as fast as he could write it. In 1928, it was estimated that one in four books being read in the UK had come from Wallace's pen. He wrote across many genres including science fiction, screen plays, and a non-fiction ten-volume history of the First World War. All told, he wrote over 170 novels, 18 stage plays, and 957 short stories, and his works were translated into 28 languages.The critic Wheeler Winston Dixon suggests that Wallace became somewhat of a public joke for this prodigious output.
Wallace served as chairman of the Press Club, which continues to present an annual Edgar Wallace Award for excellence in writing. [ citation needed ]Following the great success of his novel The Ringer, Wallace was appointed chairman of the British Lion Film Corporation in return for giving British Lion first option on all his output. Wallace's contract gave him an annual salary, a substantial block of stock in the company, a large stipend from everything British Lion produced based on his work, plus 10% of British Lion's overall annual profits. Additionally, British Lion employed his elder son, Bryan E. Wallace, as a film editor. By 1929, Wallace's earnings were almost £50,000 per annum (equivalent to about £2 million in current terms). He also invented at this time the Luncheon Club, bringing together his two greatest loves: journalism and horse-racing.
Wallace was the first British crime novelist to use policemen as his protagonists, rather than amateur sleuths as most other writers of the time did. Most of his novels are independent stand-alone stories; he seldom used series heroes, and when he did he avoided a strict story order, so that continuity was not required from book to book.
On 6 June 1923, Edgar Wallace became the first British radio sports reporter, when he made a report on The Derby for the British Broadcasting Company, the newly founded predecessor of the BBC.
Wallace's ex-wife Ivy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1923, and though the tumour was successfully removed, it returned terminally by 1925, and she died in 1926.
Wallace wrote a controversial article in the Daily Mail in 1926 entitled "The Canker In Our Midst" about paedophilia and the show business world.Describing how some show business people unwittingly leave their children vulnerable to predators, it linked paedophilia with homosexuality and outraged many of his colleagues, publishing associates, and business friends including theatre mogul Gerald du Maurier. Biographer Margaret Lane describes it as an "intolerant, blustering, kick-the-blighters-down-the-stairs" type of essay, even by the standards of the day.
Wallace became active in the Liberal Party and contested Blackpool in the 1931 general election as one of a handful of Independent Liberals, who rejected the National Government, and the official Liberal support for it, and strongly supported free trade.He also bought the Sunday News , edited it for six months, and wrote a theatre column, before it closed. In the event, he lost the election by over 33,000 votes. He went to America, burdened by debt, in November 1931. Around the same time, he wrote the screenplay for the first sound film adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1932), produced by Gainsborough Pictures.
He moved to Hollywood and began working as a "script doctor" for RKO.His later play, The Green Pack, opened to excellent reviews, boosting his status even further. Wallace wanted to get his own work on Hollywood celluloid, and so he adapted books such as The Four Just Men and Mr J G Reeder. In Hollywood, Wallace met Stanley Holloway's scriptwriter, Wallace's own half-brother Marriott Edgar. Wallace's play On the Spot, written about gangster Al Capone, would prove to be the writer's greatest theatrical success. It is described as "arguably, in construction, dialogue, action, plot and resolution, still one of the finest and purest of 20th-century melodramas". It launched the career of Charles Laughton, who played the lead Capone character Tony Perelli.
In December 1931, Wallace was assigned work on the RKO "gorilla picture" ( King Kong , 1933) for producer Merian C. Cooper. By late January, however, he was beginning to suffer sudden, severe headaches and was diagnosed with diabetes. His condition deteriorated within days. Violet booked passage on a liner out of Southampton, but received word that Edgar had slipped into a coma and died of the condition, combined with double pneumonia, on 10 February 1932 in North Maple Drive, Beverly Hills.The flags on Fleet Street's newspaper offices flew at half-mast, and the bell of St. Bride's tolled in mourning. He was buried at Little Marlow Cemetery, Fern Lane, Buckinghamshire, not far from his UK country home, Chalklands, in Bourne End.
Despite his later success, Wallace had amassed massive debts, some still remaining from his years in South Africa, many to racing bookies. The large royalties from his greatly popular works allowed the estate to be settled within two years.
Violet Wallace outlived her husband by only 14 months. She died suddenly in April 1933, aged 33, while the estate was still deep in debt.[ citation needed ]
Violet Wallace's own will left her share of the Wallace estate to her daughter Penelope (1923–1997), herself an author of mystery and crime novels, who became the chief benefactor and shareholder. Penelope married George Halcrow in 1955 and they went on to run the Wallace estate, managing her father's literary legacy and starting the Edgar Wallace Society in 1969.The work is continued by Penelope's daughter, also named Penelope. The Society has members in 20 countries. The literary body is currently managed by the London agency A.P. Watt.
Wallace's eldest son Bryan (1904–1971) was also an author of mystery and crime novels. In 1934 Bryan married Margaret Lane (1907–94), a British writer.Lane published Edgar Wallace's biography in 1938.
The Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine was a monthly digest-size fiction magazine specializing in crime and detective fiction. It published 35 issues from 1964–1967. Each issue contained original works of short crime or mystery fiction as well as reprints by authors like Wallace, Chekhov, Steinbeck, and Agatha Christie.
More than 160 films have been made based on Wallace's work.Wallace also has a pub named after him in Essex Street, off Strand in London.
Wallace narrated his words onto wax cylinders (the dictaphones of the day) and his secretaries typed up the text. This may be why he was able to work at such high speed and why his stories have narrative drive. Many of Wallace's critically successful books were dictated like this over two or three days, locked away with cartons of cigarettes and endless pots of sweet tea, often working pretty much uninterrupted in 72 hours. Most of his novels were serialised in segments but written in this way. The serialised stories that were instead written piecemeal have a distinctly different narrative energy, not sweeping up the reader on the story wave.
Wallace rarely edited his own work after it was dictated and typed up, but sent it straight to the publishers, intensely disliking the revision of his work with other editors. The company would do only cursory checks for factual errors before printing.
Wallace faced widespread accusations that he used ghost writers to churn out books, though there is no evidence of this, and his prolificness became something of a joke, the subject of cartoons and sketches. His 'three day books', reeled off to keep the loan sharks from the door, were unlikely to garner great critical praise and Wallace claimed not to find literary value in his own works.
Wallace characters such as District Commissioner Sanders can be taken to represent the values of colonial white supremacy in Africa, and now viewed by liberals as deeply racist and paternalistic. His writing has been attacked by some for its conception of Africans as stupid children who need a firm hand.Sanders, for example, pledges to bring 'civilisation' to "half a million cannibal folk". George Orwell called Wallace a "bully worshipper" and "proto-fascist", though many critics conceived Wallace more as a populist writer who wrote for the market of the time. Selling over 50 million copies of his works, including 170 novels, Wallace was very much a populist writer, and was dismissed by the literati as such.
Q. D. Leavis, Arnold Bennett and Dorothy L Sayers led the attack on Wallace, suggesting he offered no social critique or subversive agenda at all and distracting the reading public from better things.Trotsky, reading a Wallace novel whilst recuperating on his sickbed in 1935, found it to be "mediocre, contemptible and crude... [with no] shade of perception, talent or imagination." Critics Steinbrunner and Penzler stated that Wallace's writing is "slapdash and cliché-ridden, [with] characterization that is two dimensional and situations [that] are frequently trite, relying on intuition, coincidence, and much pointless, confusing movement to convey a sense of action. The heroes and villains are clearly labelled, and stock characters, humorous servants, baffled policemen, breathless heroines, could be interchanged from one book to another." The Oxford Companion to the Theatre asserts, however, that "In all his works [Wallace] showed unusual precision of detail, narrative skill, and inside knowledge of police methods and criminal psychology, the fruits of his apprenticeship as a crime reporter".
Wallace did not use plot formulae, unlike many other thriller writers. The critic Dixon maintains that Wallace covered a wide variety of perspectives and characterisations, exploring themes such as feminist self-determination (Barbara on her Own 1926, Four-Square Jane 1929, The Girl from Scotland Yard 1926), upsetting peerage hierarchies (Chick, 1923), science fiction (The Day of Uniting, 1926), schizophrenia (The Man Who Knew, 1919) and autobiography (People, 1926).
Edgar Wallace enjoyed writing science fiction but found little financial success in the genre despite several efforts. His constant need for income always brought him back to the more mundane styles of fiction that sold more easily.Planetoid 127, first published in 1924 but reprinted as late as 2011, is a short story about an Earth scientist who communicates via wireless with his counterpart on a duplicate Earth orbiting unseen because it is on the opposite side of the Sun. The idea of a mirror Earth or mirror Universe later became a standard subgenre within science fiction. The story also bears similarities to Rudyard Kipling's hard science fiction story Wireless. Wallace's other science fiction works include The Green Rust, a story of bio-terrorists who threaten to release an agent that will destroy the world's corn crops, 1925, which accurately predicted that a short peace would be followed by a German attack on England, and The Black Grippe, about a disease that renders everyone in the world blind. His last work of science fiction and the only one widely remembered today is the screenplay for King Kong.
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Posthumously, Wallace's most famous work would be one he never got the chance to see: Out of the many scripts he penned for RKO, Merian C. Cooper's "gorilla picture" had the most lasting influence, becoming the classic 1933 King Kong.
Wallace had written the initial 110-page draft for King Kong entitled "Kong" over five weeks, from late December 1931 to January 1932. The movie was initially to be called The Beast, and this was the name of Wallace's treatment. Kong was rejected as the title for the film because it was too similar to another Cooper film, Chang , released in 1927, and because it sounded Chinese. Wallace suggested the title King Ape. Wallace's own diary described the writing process for this draft: Cooper fed aspects of the story (inspired partly by an aspiration to use as much footage of an abandoned RKO picture with a similar premise, Creation , as possible) in story conferences and phone conversations; Wallace then executed Cooper's ideas, the latter approving the developing script on a sequence-by-sequence basis. While working on the project, Cooper also screened various recent films for Wallace to put him in the right mindset, including Tod Browning's Dracula and James Whale's Frankenstein , as well as the fragments of sequences shot by Willis O'Brien for Creation that were to be reused in the current script.
Although the draft was incomplete, Wallace only made minor revisions to it, each at Cooper's own request, before his fateful doctor's appointment in late January; when Cooper called Wallace in early February to discuss the script, someone else answered; Wallace was in the hospital. By 10 February, Wallace was dead, and Merian C. Cooper was left without a screenwriter. The fragmentary nature of Wallace's script meant that the main dialogue-free action of the film (the jungle sequences) would have to be shot first, both as insurance and as a showreel for the board of RKO.
In My Hollywood Diary, Edgar Wallace wrote about the reception of his screenplay: "Cooper called me up last night and told me that everybody who had read 'Kong' was enthusiastic. They say it is the best adventure story that has ever been written for the screen."Wallace himself had high expectations for the film: "I am certain that 'Kong' is going to be a wow."
Wallace began his screenplay with Denham and the party at the island, called "Vapor" or "Vapour Island" by Wallace because of the volcanic emissions. Ann Darrow is called Shirley Redman or Zena in Wallace's original script. John or Jack Driscoll is referred to as John Lanson or Johnny in the Wallace script. Captain Englehorn appears in Wallace's treatment, where he is much more domineering. Danby G. Denham is a promoter and a P. T. Barnum type showman who is looking for a giant ape to bring back to Madison Square Garden or the Polo Grounds to exhibit as a sideshow. The movie retains the Barnum theme when Denham, who evolved into Carl Denham in the Rose and Creelman treatment, refers to Kong as "the eighth wonder of the world", echoing Barnum's style of hyping acts. Wallace had created the major characters, their relationships, and their role in the overall plot.
In Wallace's original screenplay, Kong encounters the landing party when he rescues Shirley from an attempted rape by a crewman. Denham's crew consists of convicts. Shirley is in a tent when a crewman tries to rape her. Kong appears, rescues Shirley and takes her away. Wallace noted in a notation on the script that Kong is 30 feet tall, thus establishing Kong as a giant ape. John and Denham and the party then go after Shirley. Dinosaurs and pterodactyls attack Kong and the party. Kong takes Shirley to his hideout in the mountains. Jack rescues Shirley. The expedition uses gas bombs to knock out Kong. Kong is brought back to New York. Kong is put in chains. Shirley is attacked by big cats let loose on purpose. Kong kills the cats and whisks Shirley away. Kong climbs the Empire State Building where airplanes shoot at him. Merian C. Cooper sent Wallace an internal memo from RKO suggesting that John dissuade the police from shooting Kong because of the danger to Shirley: "Please see if you consider it practical to work out theme that John attempts single handed rescue on top of Empire State Building if police will let off shooting for a minute." Kong is finally killed when lightning strikes the flag pole which he is hanging on to. Early publicity stills for the movie have the title as "Kong" and "by Edgar Wallace" and show a lightning storm and flashes of lightning as envisioned by Wallace.
In Wallace's version, a small ape peeling a rose prefigured Kong's peeling away Shirley's clothes. Wallace's version included an underwater scene from the attacking dinosaur's point of view as it approached a capsized boat.
Wallace created the beauty and the beast theme, the overall plot structure and outline, many of the key characters, and many of the key events or episodes in the story. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack were thrilled with the screenplay and were ready to begin according to Wallace's diary notes in My Hollywood Diary (1932), but his 110 page script was merely the first rough draft, not a final and completed shooting script.
After Wallace's death, Ruth Rose was brought in to work on the evolving script that Wallace had started but was unable to finish or finalize. Rose happened to be Ernest B. Shoedshack's wife and was able to translate the expectations of the producers into the final script. Rose added the ritual scene on Skull Island to replace Wallace's original idea of the attempted rape of Ann Darrow. Rose also added the opening scenes of the movie in which the main characters and plot are introduced. James Ashmore Creelman, who worked on the screenplay for The Most Dangerous Game, a film that Wallace was in discussions to write the screenplay for at the time of his death, was also brought in to tidy up the script. The job of Rose and Creelman was to rework Wallace's original screenplay and replace scenes that failed to translate as expected.
The original Wallace screenplay was published in the 2013 book Ray Harryhausen – The Master of the Majicks, Volume 1: Beginnings and Endings by Mike Hankin.
The original Wallace screenplay is analyzed and discussed in The Girl in the Hairy Paw (1976), edited by Ronald Gottesman and Harry Geduld, and by Mark Cotta Vaz, in the preface to the Modern Library reissue of King Kong (2005).
In December, 1932, his story and screenplay for King Kong were "novelized" or transcribed by Delos W. Lovelace, a journalist and author himself who knew Cooper from when they worked on the same newspaper, and appeared in book form under the title King Kong. Lovelace based the transcription largely on the Ruth Rose and James A. Creelman screenplay. This "novelization" of King Kong, attributed to Wallace, Cooper, and Lovelace, was originally published by Grosset and Dunlap. The book was reissued in 2005 by the Modern Library, a division of Random House, with an introduction by Greg Bear and a preface by Mark Cotta Vaz, and by Penguin in the US. In the UK, Victor Gollancz published a hardcover version in 2005. The first paperback edition had been published by Bantam in 1965 in the US and by Corgi in 1966 in the UK. In 1976, Grosset and Dunlap republished the novel in paperback and hardcover editions. There were paperback editions by Tempo and by Futura that year as well. In 2005, Blackstone Audio released a spoken-word version of the book as an audiobook on CD with commentary by Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, and Ray Harryhausen, among others. Harryhausen stated that he had read the original screenplay by Wallace. There were also German and Czech versions of the novel in 2005.
On 28 October 1933, Cinema Weekly published the short story "King Kong", credited to Edgar Wallace and Draycott Montagu Dell (1888–1940). Dell had known and worked with Wallace when both worked for UK newspapers. This can be called a "story-ization" of the Wallace and Cooper story which relied on the Rose and Creelman screenplay, but which like the Wallace treatment, begins at the island. Both Wallace and Cooper had signed a contract which allowed them to develop the story in a book or short story or serial form. Walter F. Ripperger also wrote a two-part serialization of the Wallace and Cooper story in Mystery magazine titled "King Kong" in the February and March issues in 1933.
In 1959, a revival of Wallace's work occurred in West Germany, and his eldest son Bryan relocated there for some time. These later became a staple of late-night television. In 2004, Oliver Kalkofe produced the movie Der Wixxer , an homage to the popular black and white Wallace movies. It featured a large number of well known comedians. In 2007, Kalkofe produced a sequel Neues vom Wixxer.
There are more of Wallace's books still in print in Germany than elsewhere and his work has consistently remained popular.
The series was later continued by Francis Gérard -
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Louis Golding was an English writer, very famous in his time especially for his novels, though he is now largely neglected; he wrote also short stories, essays, fantasies, travel books and poetry.
Sydney Horler was a prolific British novelist specialising in thrillers. Born in Leytonstone, Essex, and was educated at Redcliffe School and Colston School in Bristol.
Horace McCoy was an American writer whose hardboiled novels took place during the Great Depression. His best-known novel is They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1935), which was made into a movie of the same name in 1969, fourteen years after McCoy's death.
Delos Wheeler Lovelace was an American novelist who authored the original novelization of the film King Kong (1933) published in 1932 by Grosset & Dunlap, slightly before the film was released. The story was also serialized in 2 parts in February and March 1933 by Walter Ripperger for Mystery magazine. Lovelace was a reporter for the New York Daily News and New York Sun in the 1920s.
Richard Wallace was an American film director.
Philip MacDonald was a British writer of fiction and screenplays, best known for thrillers.
Wallace Archibald MacDonald was a Canadian silent film actor and film producer.
William Edward Vickers was an English mystery writer better known under his pen name Roy Vickers, but used also the pseudonyms Roy C. Vickers, David Durham, Sefton Kyle, and John Spencer. He is the author of over 60 crime novels and 80 short stories. Vickers is now remembered mostly for his attribution to Scotland Yard of a Department of Dead Ends, specialized in solving old, sometimes long-forgotten cases, mostly by chance encounters of odd bits of strange and apparently disconnected evidence.
David Whitelaw (1875–1970) British writer, editor and illustrator.
Alan Brown Le May was an American novelist and screenplay writer.
Seymour Nebenzal was an American-born, Jewish-German film producer. He produced 46 films between 1927 and 1961.
Joseph Jefferson Farjeon was an English crime and mystery novelist, playwright and screenwriter. His father, brother and sister also made names for themselves in literature. His "Ben" novels were reissued in 2015 and 2016.
Sam B. Hardy was an American stage and film actor who appeared in feature films during the silent and early sound eras.
Woolf & Freedman Film Service was a UK film distributor which was founded by film producer C. M. Woolf, and which operated from 1919 to 1934. The company distributed more than 140 films over a 15-year period. In 1935, Woolf formed a new company, General Film Distributors.
In Agatha Christie's mystery novels, several characters cross over different sagas, creating a fictional universe in which most of her stories are set. This article has one table to summarize the novels with characters who occur in other Christie novels; the table is titled Crossovers by Christie. There is brief mention of characters crossing over in adaptations of the novels. Her publications, both novels and short stories, are then listed by main detective, in order of publication. Some stories or novels authorised by the estate of Agatha Christie, using the characters she created, and written long after Agatha Christie died, are included in the lists.
Marion Jackson was an American screenwriter of the late silent and early sound film eras. During her 15-year career she would pen the scripts for over 40 films, both original and adaptations.
Captain Robert McNair Wilson MB, ChB, was a British surgeon, writer and journalist and Liberal Party politician.
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