True Noir News, Another Nomination Plus a Serving of Fudge

May 14th, 2024 by Max Allan Collins

The crowd-funding effort at Kickstarter for True Noir: The Casebooks of Nathan Heller has been postponed until June (exact date to be shared when I know what it is) because we’d be in conflict with another crowd-funder our star Todd Stashwick is involved with. We don’t want to be competing with somebody in the family. (True Noir is directed by Robert Meyer Burnett and is a fully immersive audio drama. In production now!)

Also, I’m going to be announcing soon the next indie film I’m doing, and I won’t be crowd-funding that, either. But any of you who are interested in contributing to the production will be invited to contact me directly. Associate Producer credits and first edition books of your choice will be in the offing.

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After all the talk about winning and losing awards last week, another nomination has popped up for Spillane: King of Pulp Fiction by Jim Traylor and me. I’ve spoken here before about how meaningful this work is to both my co-author and myself – our many decades-long friendship grew out of the need for two Spillane enthusiasts to work together on one Spillane literary bio. We were stymied a bit by Mickey’s insistence that he would cooperate but only in terms of a book about the Mike Hammer/Mickey Spillane by examining his fiction and limiting the biographical material to a short single chapter.

Mickey wanted to write his own biography – that is, autobiography – but he never got around to it. He did cooperate with me (and how) on doing a documentary on his life and work, which became Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane (1998), which has been expanded by my collaborator Phil Dingeldein and myself into a special edition now available from VCI (and on Amazon, of course). As a bonus feature it includes the 90-minute program (kinda a movie), Mickey Spillane’s Encore For Murder, the radio-style play we mounted here in Muscatine, Iowa, as a fund raiser for the local art museum. My Mommy’s Day star (co-star with Patty McCormack), Gary Sandy (of WKRP in Cincinnati fame) came in to play Mike Hammer. Gary was so terrific that, at the last moment, I decided to record the show (and our little movie version was edited by Chad Bishop and myself from one dress rehearsal and the lone performance).

Some of you will recall a longer radio version of Encore was done for Brilliance (there were two done, both Audie Award nominees and one winning, The Little Death) with Stacy Keach in his iconic role as Mike Hammer. Gary portrayed Hammer for me in two stage productions of Encore, one at Owensboro, Kentucky, another at Clearwater, Florida.

Anyway, the Spillane documentary is available on Blu-ray as mentioned above, with the 90-minute Encore for Murder as a special feature. Encore is also available alone as a DVD.

Some years ago, in its first incarnation, Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane won an Award of Excellence from the Iowa Motion Picture Association. And in 2023 I unexpectedly won Best Director from the Iowa Motion Picture awards for the production. So there have been various awards, I’m happy to say, connected to all of these endeavors.

We, of course, lost the Edgar (as I expected to) to a bio of James Elroy (not my favorite author). And now we’re up against that book, and a number of others, nominated for the non-fiction Anthony, the awards named for critic Anthony Boucher given at Bouchercon. I’ve won one of those before, in 2005, for The History of Mystery (written with George Hagenauer). I’m not going to Bouchercon in Nashville, August 28 – September 1, as I’ll be shooting my next indie movie at the time. Because it’s a fan event with the voting going on at the event, it would be a good thing to be there, since that amps up your possibility of winning. And I’ve been to many a Bouchercon, but just can’t make this one.

Which makes this a good time to request that those of you attending Bouchercon 2024, who liked the Spillane book, consider voting for it.

But, as I discussed here last week, I really did and do consider the Edgar nomination a major victory for this biographical study of the genre’s most controversial figure. And I could not be more thrilled by this surprise Anthony nomination – and I know editor Otto Penzler, co-author Jim Traylor and, hell, my agent Dominick Abel are also pleased.

To those of you out there whose votes got us included among the nominees, you have my sincere thanks. Two nominations among the handful of the genre’s major awards (no, it’s not a leg lamp) are nothing to sneeze at. And I ain’t sneezing.

Speaking of awards, I’m going to provide a window onto a January 1968 performance on The Ed Sullivan Show by a rock group that is not in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. This may seem like a non sequitur to some, but longtime fans/readers of mine will probably recall that (as is the case with Bobby Darin) I am a huge fan of that particular, incredibly great, historically significant and hugely influential band who have been roundly forgotten by the rock organization that is too busy giving out its awards to Hip Hoppers and country western artists than to recognize true pioneers in the field.

But, as my wife says to me frequently, “At least you’re not bitter.”


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One Response to “True Noir News, Another Nomination Plus a Serving of Fudge”

  1. Clinton Salisbury says:

    one of the all time great moments from the Ed Sullivan show.