Saul David (producer)

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Saul David (June 27, 1921 – June 7, 1996) was an American book editor and film producer.

Early life[edit]

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, he won an art competition and received a scholarship to the Rhode Island School of Design, which he attended from 1937 to 1940. After graduation he worked at a radio station in York, Pennsylvania and on a newspaper in Port Huron, Michigan. During World War II, David enlisted in the US Army where he wrote for Yank, the Army Weekly and the Stars and Stripes in North Africa and Europe.[1]

Bantam Books[edit]

From 1950 to 1960 David worked at Bantam, starting as a publisher's reader then advancing to editorial director and editor in chief.[1] He had known Bantam's president Oscar Dystel during their time working on Stars and Stripes in Cairo. Whilst at Bantam David lured Ross Macdonald away from Pocket Books and hired artist James Avati. Rather than reprint several hardcover Western authors, David thought of hiring and promoting one author to write three original books for Bantam every year. Out of a shortlist of five authors, David chose Louis L'Amour[2] who had been disillusioned with Fawcett publishing.[3]

Hollywood[edit]

David left Bantam to try his luck in Hollywood working for Columbia Pictures and Warner Brothers. Whilst at Warners David acquired Helen Gurley Brown's book Sex and the Single Girl for the studio. When one studio executive told him the book had no plot, David replied "I told you that a hundred thousand dollars ago";[4] the studio had purchased a title, not a plot.

He became a producer at 20th Century Fox with the World War II prisoner of war adventure Von Ryan's Express filmed on location in Italy with Frank Sinatra and a strong cast. He then produced three spy-fi films, Our Man Flint, Fantastic Voyage, and In Like Flint.

The plot of In Like Flint concerns a missing three minutes in the life of the President of the United States. Ironically, when Fox edited out three minutes of In Like Flint that added more depth to the film, David left the studio.[5] Years later David was enraged when watching ten to fifteen minutes cut out of Our Man Flint during a television showing that "was not so much reedited as lobotomised into senselessness". He wrote to California Senator George Murphy to say that as a publisher had to inform readers they were buying and reading an abridged works so should television stations inform their viewers they were watching abridged films.[6]

David produced Skullduggery originally for ABC Pictures, but after a disagreement the film and David went to Universal Pictures.[7] Though he announced a busy production schedule of five films, none were made.[8]

Still interested in science fiction David recalled the book Logan's Run and produced the film. MGM hired David to produce a television version of the film but then fired him.[9] He died of congestive heart failure in Culver City, California.

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

David, Saul The Industry: Life in the Hollywood Fast Lane 1981 Times Books

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b p.74 Gale, Robert L. A Ross MacDonald Companion 2002 Greenwood Publishing
  2. ^ p.149 Gulick, Bill Sixty-Four Years as a Writer 2006 Caxton Press
  3. ^ http://jeanhenrymead.com/Louis%20L'Amour%20Interview.htm
  4. ^ p.113 Scanlon, Jennifer Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown 2009 Oxford University Press
  5. ^ p.154 Mavis, Paul The Espionage Filmography: United States Releases 1898 through 1999 2001 McFarland
  6. ^ p.93 Segrave, Kerry Movies at Home: How Hollywood Came to Television 1999 McFarland
  7. ^ p.71 Weaver, Tom I Was a Monster Movie Maker 2001 McFarland
  8. ^ http://issuu.com/boxoffice/docs/boxoffice_052669/14
  9. ^ http://www.phantombookshop.com/williamfnolan/MessagefromWFN.htm

External links[edit]