07 October 2013

N is for Nablo News

All kinds of activity here this past weekend in preparation of Friday's Gwethalyn Graham plaque dedication and Saturday's John Glassco event, but I somehow managed to slip in a bit of work relating  to James Benson Nablo. I can now report that The Long November, the Niagara Falls writer's only book, will be returning to print this coming spring as part of the Véhicule Press Ricochet Books series.

I could not be happier.

Set in Toronto, Chicago, Moreland Lakes (read: Kirkland Lake, Ontario), an unnamed Italian village and the author's hometown, The Long November is one of the most interesting novels of the post-war period. News Stand Library pitched it as "a tale of passion and virile drive". It's all that and more.

One of the unexpected pleasures of this exercise, this stroll through the neglected writing of our past, is that it has often brought contact with the children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces of the writers concerned. It was my good fortune that the daughter and grandson of James Benson Nablo spotted my posts on The Long Novemberthe novel's paperback history and the author's career in Hollywood.

So it is that I spent an enjoyable few hours yesterday reading through five James Benson Nablo manuscripts on loan from Nancy Vichert, his daughter. As far as I've been able to determine, all are unpublished and have no connection with the stories that were adapted by Hollywood: Drive a Crooked Road, A Bullet for Joey, Raw Edge and China Doll.

After the success of The Long November five editions in six years! – the native of Niagara Falls made his way to Hollywood. The duo-tang for one of the of the manuscripts features an address that places him within walking distance of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, not too far from Chateau Marmont:

8401 Ridpath Drive, Hollywood, CA
(cliquez pour agrandir)
James Benson Nablo's time in Tinseltown was not long, but he left his mark. Drive a Crooked Road, adapted by Blake Edwards and Richard Quine, was Columbia Pictures' great attempt to turn Mickey Rooney into an adult star. A Bullet for Joey places Edward G. Robinson and George Raft in Montreal as, respectively, a French Canadian detective and infamous gangster.

Nablo's talent was such that further adaptations appeared after his untimely death at the age forty-five.

I'm pleased to be involved with the return of The Long November. It's been more than a half-century. Long overdue.

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  1. Replies
    1. I'm pleased that you say so. Patti. J.B. Nablo is such an interesting figure. What really intrigues is the speed with which he found his footing in Hollywood. Imagine what might've achieved had he not died at such a young age.

  2. Congrats on another reissue from Vehicule Press! (BTW - what's going on with Sugarpuss...?) Great tribute to a truly forgotten writer. I never heard of him until today. I'm going to track down A BULLET FOR JOEY since the screenplay is by two excellent writers who gave us Out of the Past ("Homes" aka Daniel Mainwaring) and They Drive by Night, Track of the Cat, and the brilliant On Dangerous Ground (Bezzerides) .

    1. Thank you, John.

      I've not yet announced this on the blog, but Sugar-Puss has been available for a week or so now... in Canada, at least.

      More anon!

  3. Wow, what a cool opportunity. It's pretty neat that his family found you through your blog.