Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Thanks to Bill Crider (the link to his Pop Culture Magazine can be found to the left, amigos), I learned that today marks the 120th anniversary of Raymond Chandler's birth.

Chandler must be considered one of the fathers of hard-boiled detective fiction, a title he shares with Dashiell Hammett. His creation of Philip Marlowe stands as the epitome of the private eye.

To salute his birthday, I'd like to share an excerpt from "The Red Wind", one of his stories which was read by Lou Grant in "Mary The Writer", an episode of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'. Lou presented this to Mary Richards as an example of great writing:

"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband's necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."

"Red Wind" was first published seventy years ago in January, 1938. It appeared in "Dime Detective Magazine" and then appeared in two collections, "The Simple Art Of Murder" and "Trouble Is My Business".

It was adapted for television twice. The first time was as one of the episodes for 'Philip Marlowe, Private Eye' which starred Powers Boothe as the iconic private eye. About ten years later, it was remade for the 'Fallen Angels' anthology series. This time it took place in the alternate TV universe where previously white characters (like 'The Odd Couple') were now black. Danny Glover filled Marlowe's gumshoes for this production.

By the way... Mary's reaction to the excerpt? She thought that Chandler "writes well about the weather"!

So here's a tip of the fedora to the memory of Raymond Chandler on the 120th anniversary of his birth.

BCnU, dollface!
Toby O'B

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