Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Stories by Famous Authors Illustrated... was published by Seaboard Publishing and lasted for 13 issues, providing competition for the elephant in the room, the much bigger and better known Classics Illustrated.  Not only did Seaboard usurp the concept from Classics Illustrated, but it used some of the same artists, angering Albert Kanter (the owner of CI ) who bought the tiny, pesky competition.  What was to be Stories by Famous Authors Illustrated...#14 (The Red Badge of Courage) was published as Classics Illustrated #98, perhaps the thinnest comic book in that line because the story (following Seaboard's usual length) was only 32 pages long.

A major exception to the 32-page length was issue #7, which came out 52 pages.  This issue also differed from the others by featuring a story that was a bit unlike anything else Seaboard published in the series, which had previously adapted The Scarlet Pimpernel. Captain Blood, She, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Beau Geste, and Macbeth, and would go on to adapt Hamlet, Nicholas Nickelby, Romeo and Juliet, Ben Hur, Svengali, and Scaramouche.  Also, The Window was adapted from a movie, RKO's 1949 adaptation of Cornell Woolrich's "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" (Mystery Book Magazine, March 1947). 

The film starred twelve-year-old Bobby Driscoll, Barbara Hale, Arthur Kennedy, Ruth Roman, and Paul Stewart.  Directed by Ted Tetzlaff from a script by Mel Dinelli, the movie was actually shot in 1947 but was shelved by studio head Howard Hughes for two years.  Woolrich's original story was later published under the title "Fire Escape" in his pseudonymous collection  Dead Man's Blues by "William Irish."; it has been republished several times, most notably in two anthologies edited by Bill Pronzini.  A proposed remake of the film eventually morphed into 1984's Cloak & Dagger, featuring Henry Thomas and Dabney Coleman.

Back to Stories by Famous Authors Illustrated...:  Tommy Woodry is a young boy prone to exaggeration and telling stories.  His world of make-believe included, cowboys, Indians, gangsters, and whatever else his vivid imagination could conjure.  Of course, no one believes his tales and the adults get very tired of his fabulations.  So when Tommy is the only witness to a murder he is not believed.  Except by the killer.

Woolrich's tale for the comic book was adapted by Dana Dutch and drawn by Henry Keifer (perhaps the best-known of the artists who were poached from Classics Illustrated).

Enjoy this bit of comic book noir.

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