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Herman Raucher (born April 13, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York, United States) is an American author who has written several screenplays, among them the popular Summer of '42 and The Great Santini and several novels and plays. He was married to Broadway dancer Mary Kathryn Raucher from 1960 until her death in 2002; they had two daughters.
Many of his works have autobiographical undertones or are straightforward memoirs. His 1980 book, There Should Have Been Castles, was a re-telling of the early years of his relationship with his wife. The book also chronicles his early years in the film industry and his wife's time on Broadway. Though he took certain dramatic license for the sake of the story (for example, minor elements relating to his wife were actually taken from a girl he dated in college; the names of certain real-life people were changed for their protection and Raucher's; Raucher changed his and his wife's names to Ben and Ginny in the final draft of the book), he maintains that the book is still over ninety percent accurate. Despite being a bestseller, the book went out of print in the mid-1980s along with all of Raucher's other works, following an unexplained falling out between Raucher and his publishers. The book fared much better in Poland where it has come to be considered a classic of contemporary literature and remains in print under the title Prawie Jak w Bajce. In the 1980s, Raucher sold the film rights to the book for $250,000. The movie was never made, but because the studio retained the rights Raucher was allowed to keep the money.
Summer of '42 began as Raucher's tribute to his real-life friend Oscar Seltzer, who was killed in action in the Korean War while tending a wounded soldier as an Army medic. But it evolved into the retelling of his real-life summer on Nantucket Island, in 1942, and on his friendship with and crush on a woman named Dorothy, who befriended him with her husband until the man went to fight and die in World War II and—in her grief upon learning of her widowhood—slept with Raucher only to leave the island the following day. Raucher has long since revealed that the woman wrote him when the film became a surprise hit, saying she had hoped their unexpected affair hadn't traumatized him.
Raucher was subsequently commissioned to write the novelization and screenplay for Ode to Billie Joe based on the song by Bobbie Gentry. He met with Gentry to learn the reason for the protagonist's suicide, which is not revealed in the song. Gentry replied that she had never come up with a reason.
Author's Official Website
- Summer of '42 (novel and screenplay)
- Class of '44 (screenplay)
- There Should Have Been Castles (novel)
- Published in Italy as La Vestaglia Della Zingara (The Gypsy Robe)
- Published in Poland as Prawie Jak w Bajce (Almost a Fairy Tale)
Non Autobiographical Works
- Studio One (television series)
- Goodyear Television Playhouse (television series)
- The Alcoa Hour (television series, episodes "Finkle's Comet" and "The Magic Horn")
- Sweet November (1968 film) (screenplay)
- Follow that Dream (play adaptation, "Pioneer, Go Home!"; uncredited)
- Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? (screenplay)
- Watermelon Man (novel and screenplay; novel originally published as The Night the Sun Came Out on Happy Hollow Lane)
- Harold (play)
- A Glimpse of Tiger (novel)
- Published in Spanish as Requiem por una secretaria (Requiem of a Secretary)
- Remember When (screenplay)
- Ode to Billy Joe (novel and screenplay)
- 'Published in Spanish as Sublime Amor Juvenile
- The Other Side of Midnight (screenplay)
- The Great Santini (screenplay based on the novel by Pat Conroy, with Lewis John Carlino; uncredited)
- Maynard's House (novel)
- Ginger (play)
- Kitty Hawk: The Musical (play)
- Leonard, William T. (1983-12-01). Broadway bound: a guide to shows that died aborning. Scarecrow Press. p. 481. ISBN 978-0-8108-1652-7. Retrieved 24 June 2011.