Today in History, March 22, 1908:
Louis L’Amour is born in Jamestown, North Dakota.
Ditching school at age 15, he spent the next twenty plus years traveling the world, working as a cowboy, a longshoreman, a sailor, prizefighter, miner, and a World War II tank crewman in Europe.
When he came home from the war, he began writing. 108 books and 225 million copies later, he was recognized as the most prolific Western writer in America.
His narrative was gritty and quick…and many of us loved them.
Many in Hollywood would be honored to portray his characters…it made some careers. Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, John Wayne, George Peppard, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Debbie Reynolds and so many others.
My second favorite movie, “How the West Was Won” was based on one of his books. What a life!
Today in History, March 14: 1919:
The first “Max Brand” western novel, “The Untamed” is published. Max Brand was a pen name for Frederick Faust, one of 21 that he used.
He never used his actual name, however, being embarrassed by his stories, which he saw as poor quality.
He also wrote medical dramas (Dr. Kildare) and spy thrillers under other names. The history channel reports that Faust / Brand wrote over 500 western serials and novels, making him “perhaps” the most prolific western writer of all time.
I thought perhaps Louis L’Amour would give him a run for his money, but found that L’Amour reached perhaps 135. The books made Faust incredibly rich (bringing him out of poverty); for all of the money he made from westerns, he disliked the west with a passion…most of his books were written from his Italian Villa and he spent most of his life in Europe, although born in Seattle and raised in California.