Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Writer Did You Discover First on TV or in a Movie?


I was reading Gerard Saylor's review of DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER and found it interesting to see how a book read before we were so influenced by the SHOWTIME series and the terrific performance of Michael Hall on that show.

Many times I first discover a writer through a TV series or movie. I think this is especially true with non-U.S. writers. The BBC and PBS have introduced me to many favorites over the years.

But right now, I am caught up with Longmire and ready to read THE COLD DISH. How about you? Who did you find first on TV or at the movies?

33 comments:

Deb said...

Back in the early 1970s, I saw "The Golden Bowl" on Masterpiece Theater. I was about 14 at the time and had never heard of Henry James, but I loved the adaptation and went searching for the book. I became a James fan as a result. I'm not sure I would have felt that way had I waited to read James when I got to college.

I came to read Galsworthy's The Forsythe Saga in the same manner. Thank you PBS and Alistair Cooke who always made the books sound so interesting.

Todd Mason said...

Probably James Thurber was the first, since I saw MY WORLD AND WELCOME TO IT when it was on, briefly, when I was five or six, and liked it a lot. (Despite seeing the first film of DR. DOLITTLE at about the same time, not because of though one can see how that might happen, I still need to read Lofting. Oddly, he wasn't much in evidence in the libraries of my youth.)

Todd Mason said...

Ha, Deb, I still need to read Galsworthy, as well, despite enjoying the 1960s FORSYTE SAGA tv series enormously. Thanks for that reminder.

souldestructionblog said...

I prefer to read the book first if I can. Partly because I enjoy my imagination assisting in the creation of what the scenes and characters look like, but also so I don't know what's going to happen. I often find once I've read the book, when it comes to seeing the movie, I am disappointed by what's been left out. One book I read then watched the movie and enjoyed both equally was Trainspotting. Perhaps I'm bias though, because it's my area of interest and I too, write about heroin addicts.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I first discovered Michael Crichton, the author, after I saw JURASSIC PARK based on one of his books most of which were made into movies. His DISCLOSURE was the first book I read though I didn't care so much for the film.

Ditto for French writer Gaston Leroux whom I heard of for the first time only after watching Joel Schumacher's version of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (2004).

Another pleasant discovery was (non-writer) Judi Dench in a British sitcom, AS TIME GOES BY, alongside Geoffrey Palmer.

Randy Johnson said...

Hugh Lofting is probably the one. I was thinking about and his comment on Dolittle reminded me. I was a young reader and, as soon as i found out there were books I was off to the library digging them out.

More currently, Like You Patti, I'm enjoying Longmire and have planned to try the first couple shortly. Last name notwithstanding, I'd never heard of Craig Johnson before the series came along.

Randy Johnson said...

I forgot to mention Todd's name-sorry Todd-senility maybe.

Todd Mason said...

Randy, I'm doing well these days when I can remember my own name.

J. Kingston Pierce said...

The two authors I discovered first through TV adaptations of their work were Ellery Queen and Colin Dexter.

Cheers,
Jeff

pattinase (abbott) said...

And for me also E.M. Forrester after ROOM WITH A VIEW. Oh, and BRIDESHEAD took me to Waugh-read a ton of those. I thought I was the only one to remember MY WORLD. I will do that next week for forgotten films.
I like to read the book first but sometimes you stumble on to it. I had heard of the Craig Johnson books but didn't know how charming and the setting doubly so for me.
Judi Dench is just amazing in any part.
Yes, I think I may have seen the first Morse series before I read it too. He made an indelible impression in that part.

Charles Gramlich said...

Rod Serling, I guess. I can't think of anyone else.

Anonymous said...

"Discover" is the tough word. There have been cases where I've seen TV shows or movies before reading the books but that doesn't mean I didn't know the author beforehand. I usually do, at least these days. I'd probably have to go back to my early days to find authors I "discovered" through watching adaptations of their work: General Lew Wallace (Ben-Hur), Max Shulman (The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis), Roy Huggins (77 Sunset Strip), etc.

I've been reading Craig Johnson since I got a free copy of THE COLD DISH in the book bag at one Bouchercon or other.

Jeff M.

PS - Deb, I also bought THE FORSYTE SAGA after seeing the 1967 TV series but I never did read it, I must admit.

Jerry House said...

Erle Stanley Gardner, from the old Perry Mason show when I was a kid. Max Shulman, although I enjoyed most of his other books than I did his Dobie Gillis.

That's all I can come up with, although I have to credit Richard Matheson for my habit of reading screen credits.

Erik Donald France said...

Great question. As a kid, I used to sneak and watch Johnny Carson and some of his peers, and there saw wild hellions like Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, Joan Rivers, Orson Bean and so on. Loved every minute of thse crazy characters~!

Erik Donald France said...

Some writers through The Twilight Zone . . .

Dan_Luft said...

Almost every writer I read in adolescence. Hammett because of the Maltese Falcon movie. John Irving because of GARP. The Spenser for Hire Show. I don't think there's a person alive that read Frankenstein or Dracula without watching a bunch of movies. Older stuff like Robert Louis Stevenson and Dickens are a direct result of my Dad's ancient Classic Comics collection.

pattinase (abbott) said...

yes "discover" is a difficult word because most of the writers I had heard of before seeing a movie or series featuring their work.
Craig Johnson even-I was getting his newsletter for some reason. But I didn't know how evocative Longmire and his cohorts in Montana would be.
And it is also true for me--that many writers came by way through the medium--which is the message after all. Although I must say as a 12 year old watching Twilight Zone it never occurred to me that people were writing those shows. I credited Rod Sterling with all of it.

Richard L. Pangburn said...

I've been touting Craig Johnson on my blog for a long time. I last blogged about his books on the day the first episode appeared on A&E.

The first episode was choppy, the cliff notes of the novel, cramped into about forty minutes with twenty minutes of dumb commercials. It would have played better on PBS where at least you would have had longer episodes.

You'll do well to read the book, COLD DISH. The episodes have gotten better as the series continued. His literary book, HELL IS EMPTY, was one of my best books of last year.

In person, he is very charismatic, and his talks on the mystery genre are available (or at least were) on youtube. He is the real thing, a rancher, horse-trainer, and yarn spinner. The way he speaks of his wife is endearing, at least to us.

The good thing about Longmire being on A&E is that they repeat it late, giving us a chance to watch both PBS Masterpiece Mystery (Lewis and Morse), and the new season of LEVERAGE earlier.

Sunday night television is best of the week.

Anonymous said...

Richard: we never watch anything when it is run any more, other than live news and baseball games. Everything is DVR'd even if we just start it 20 minutes after it begins.

We usually get to the Longmires around Tuesday or Wednesday...

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Everything is on Sunday night.
We DVR it all and watch one show a night throughout the week.
Johnson does seem like the real deal. This show is about a different guy, in a different place with a different cast of characters.

sandra seamans said...

I discovered the work of Ernest Gaines through the TV movie "A Lesson before Dying". His books are wonderful.

pattinase (abbott) said...

One of the favorite books ever in my book group.

Naomi Johnson said...

I had never read any of CS Forester's work until after A&E aired their Horatio Hornblower movies. Now I've read all but one Hornblower tale (the last one, which I'm saving for I dunno what) and several of his non-Hornblower books. I had never even watched all of THE AFRICAN QUEEN until after I'd read the Hornblower books and found out Forester had written that story as well.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Didn't know that either.

John Weagly said...

Charles Willeford after seeing MIAMI BLUES with Alec Baldwin.

James Lee Burke after seeing HEAVEN'S PRISONERS with Alec Baldwin.

I'm not the biggest Alec Baldwin fan, but I find it interesting how these two influences turned out.

Todd Mason said...

There's something in me these years (see my last comment on this post) that wants to confuse Craig Johnson with Craig Lesley. Maybe because they both won the Spur from WWA. Maybe it's just the brain cell deterioration.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - I'm very glad you like the Walt Longmire series. I think I'm one of the odd ones out; I just about always discover a book before a TV adaptation.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Not familiar with Craig Leslie.
Didn't know HEAVEN'S PRISONERS was a Burke.
Yeah, I can take Baldwin or leave him although I think he was one of the stronger elements of Woody's new movie.

Graham Powell said...

I managed to discover Raymond Chandler from the Philip Marlowe TV series that ran on HBO in the early 80s. After RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK I was heavily into 30s pulp fiction, and this series, with Powers Booth as Marlowe, got me hooked on the books.

Anonymous said...

Patti, I agree about Baldwin shining in Woody's movie, along with Judy Davis and a few others. Woody looked old and - to me - his timing just seemed off, at least with the rest of the cast.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Don't think I saw that series, Graham.
Judy Davis shines in any role, no matter how small.

Gerard Saylor said...

Interestingly, I read a Craig book and thought it good but not great. I like the TV series better than the book. But, I started watching the TV series after learning it was from the book.

The lead actor on Longmire does an excellent job. Hard to believe he is Australian.

John said...

Fergus Hume, R Austin Freeman, William Hope Hodgson and all from THE RIVALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, the UK series shown on US PBS back in the 1970s. When I was a teenage boy those TV shows mesmerized me. It was very hard for me to find the stories in any book or anthology back then. Ditto for Peter Lovesey's Sgt. Cribb novels and the Lord Peter Wimsey series with Ian Carmichael. Never read Sayers until I saw the Tv shows.