Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Boucher

So it's 1985 or so and Carol and I are with Marty Greenberg and Bob Randisi at TSR Games & Publishing in the wilds of Wisconsin and one of the people we meet there is Pat McGilligan our editor (Bob & I sold him on a sf novel that Bob would do alone when the time came, me busy with another project) and he was a likeable, witty guy I sort of left in memory right there in Wisc. So then it's the early 1990s and I read this rave review of a biography of Alfred Hitchcock by Patrick McGilligan and I think nah, impossible. Patrick's a common name for micks; McGilligan even more common. But as usual I'm wrong. He's not in Wisc. He's in Hwood and he's doing very important books about film history.

So what does this have to do with Anthony Boucher? I was looking through the Psycho chapter of McGilligan's Hitchcock bio the other night and came upon a fact I'd forgotten. Psycho was submitted to Universal where three readers wrote coverage on it. They all came to the same conclusion. Psycho a feature film? Are you kidding? If Hitch's people saw the coverage they probably didn't bother to show it to him. Why waste his time on something so unfilmable? But Hitchcock was a fervent fan of Anthony Boucher's Sunday mystery reviews in the New York Times. Boucher loved the book, Hitchcock ordered a copy immediately and the project was soon underway.

Thank you, Mr. Boucher.

1 comment:

Vince said...

McGilligan's Backstory books are absolute essentials to anyone interested in Hollywood. They recount movie history decade by decade from the perspective of the great screenwriters of each era. He and his colleagues interviewed almost every writer who ever worked with Hitchcock. They're an endless source of fascination.