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01-17-11, 01:32 PM #1
Franklin Roosevelt's version of the O/R story line
Like our O/R story line, but longer. The New Deal wasn't FDR's only invention....
10. The art of writing by committee
"The President's Mystery Story" by Franklin Roosevelt and seven other novelists
Many American presidents have written books, but only Franklin Roosevelt has contributed to a mystery novel. At a White House dinner in 1935, Roosevelt pitched his story idea to author Fulton Oursler. Roosevelt's tale started like this: A man named Jim Blake is trapped in a stale marriage and a boring job. He dreams of running off with $5 million and starting over with a new identity.
Unfortunately, the President hadn't worked out one major plot point: How does a man with $5 million disappear without being traced?
To solve the problem, Oursler formed a committee of five other top mystery writers: Rupert Hughes, Samuel Hopkins Adams, Rita Weiman, S. S. Van Dine, and John Erskine. Each author wrote a chapter and ended it with Jim Blake in a terrible situation, which the next author was left to resolve. Despite being the work of a Washington committee, the end result was surprisingly successful. "The President's Mystery Story" was serialized in a magazine, published as a book, and even turned into a movie in 1936.
Yet, the writers never came up with a solution to Roosevelt's original problem. That didn't happen until 1967, when Erle Stanley Gardner wrote a final chapter to a new edition of the book. In it, the secret to Jim Blake's mysterious disappearance is discovered by Gardner's most famous character, Perry Mason.
More books that were hard to write here: 10 works of literature that were really hard to write - CNN.com
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