16 July 2018

The Dustiest Bookcase: F is for Fulford

Short pieces on books I've always meant to review (but haven't).
They're in storage as we build our new home.
Patience, please.

Right Now Would Be a Good Time to Cut My Throat
Paul Fulford
Richmond Hill, ON: Pocket, [1972]

The debut novel by Paul Fulford – commonly, "Paul A. Fulford" – about whom I know next to nothing. True, the book's author bio consumes the back cover, but can it be trusted?

Fulford is described as a magazine editor without identifying the publication. He's said to have written magazine articles, but I've yet to find one. Brochures? Speeches? Haven't most of us written these at one time or another?

Fulford is a subject of further research, which is not to say it hasn't begun. I've managed to track down a copy of Should a Scotsman Take Off His Kilt When He Meets a Lady?, published in 1969 by Young & McCarthy.

It was the publisher's only book.

I've also found seven letters Fulford wrote to the Globe & Mail, the earliest (26 March 1965) concerning a crosswalk accident that involved Toronto's Chief of Police. Others focus on problems with parking at the Canadian National Exhibition, Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin's 1971 Ottawa visit, the Oak Island Mystery, and humorist and columnist Richard Needham (whom Fulford criticizes as unfunny and lazy). The last, published in 6 January 1973, deals with dogs:

Never mind.

Given Fulford's association with Pocket Books, an American mass market branch plant, this letter published on 6 August 1971, is by far the most interesting:

As far as I've been able to determine, Fulford wrote just one paid piece for the Globe & Mail, "Can Penguins Show How To Solve the Generation Gap" (16 March 1971), an op-ed in which he's described as "a supply teacher at Forest Hill Junior High."

It's every bit as funny as Needham.

Barman, labourer, teacher, farmhand, I don't doubt that Fulford had been them all. Initially, I was dismissive about the claim that written of movie scripts, "Unproduced," I'd thought, until I came across a "Paul Fulford" as one of four screenwriters credited in the 1971 Canadian prison drama "I'm Going to Get You... Elliott Boy" (aka Caged Men Plus One Woman).

"Featuring today's bright young stars Ross Stephenson and Maureen McGill," according to the trailer, "this story was torn from today's headlines and actually filmed inside the walls of a modern and active penitentiary." "It seems a rip-off of John Herbert's 1967 play Fortune and Men's Eyes, which happened to have been released as a feature film in the very same month.

I wonder what happened to bright young stars Ross Stephenson and Maureen McGill, just as I wonder what became of Paul A. Fulford. As far as I can tell, he published only one more book, Who's Got the Bastard Pope [sic] (Markham, ON: PaperJacks, 1978). Surprisingly uncommon, I've been looking for it for years, but this small image spotted online is the closest I've got:

As for Fulford being married to a writer named Dorothy Parker... Well, you can't make that stuff up.

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