Monday, February 23, 2009

Evan Hunter and The Blackboard Jungle

The other night I linked to a Fredrik Pohl blog that Bill Crider noted. Pohl suggested that Evan Hunter got the idea for The Blackboard Jungle from a publisher and he then wrote it based on the suggestion.

Todd Mason has done his usual good job of getting to the truth. He contacted Barry Malzberg, an excellent writer of science fiction fantasy, who worked at the Scott Meredith Agency for years. This was the agency where Evan Hunter was working at the time he wrote his breakthrough novel.

Todd received the following from Barry today:

"Not so. BLACKBOARD JUNGLE is an expansion of Hunter's short story "To Break A Wall" which appeared in NEW WORLD WRITING in 1952 (it's anthologized); the essential story is there (in that version however the kids do _not_ stand up for him and the teacher is destroyed)."

Thank you, Todd.


Todd Mason said...

All thanks should go to Barry, who also noted that he was mistaken at first about the first publication of the short form...instead, it was in Vance Bourjaily's Pocket Books paperback magazine DISCOVERY, the major competitor to NAL's NEW WORLD WRITING.

Asking Barry about these, the progenitors of perhaps his favorite magazine (certainly in book form), Ted Solotaroff's NEW AMERICAN REVIEW (later AMERICAN REVIEW) (a near-tie with ESQUIRE in the '60s) is to read Barry at his most cheefully nostalgic.

mybillcrider said...

Thanks for clearing that up, Todd. Pohl's story is a good one. Too bad it doesn't fit the facts.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, I (Lawrence McKenna, a frequent visitor to Bill's blog and referred to yours thereby) was reading Superboy No. 86 (January 1961) recently and a letter was included from Evan's son, Richard. Here it is, straight from the "Smallville Mailsack":

"Dear Editor: I thought the recent story you published, 'The Dream of Doom', was terrific. Will we ever see any more stories featuring the green youth and his dog?' Richard Hunter, Pound Ridge, N.Y.

(A sequel to this story is being prepared. DC readers may be interested to learn that Richard Hunter, who sent us the above letter, is the son of Mr. Evan Hunter, the famous author whose two novels, 'The Blackboard Jungle' and 'Strangers When We Meet' were made into hit motion pictures. - Ed.)"

Anonymous said...

Did DC comics ruin him? :-) Just kidding. Being Evan's son, I'm sure he did well. But does anyone know what became of Little Richard Evans?