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PCL MS 228 Sid Graedon Collection on Mickey Spillane

Introduction

The Sid Graedon Collection on Mickey Spillane consists of approximately 6 cubic feet of manuscript materials. The collection was donated to the Browne Popular Culture Library by the family of Sid Graedon in 2017. This collection is partially processed. Please address any questions about the collection to the archivist. The collection has no restrictions placed on its use for scholarly purposes. Researchers are responsible for securing copyright permission when using all unpublished manuscripts and published works found in this collection. The finding aid for this collection was created by Manuscripts & Outreach Archivist Steve Ammidown in April 2018, based on an inventory created by Graduate Student Assistant Sylvio Lynch III.

Biographical Sketch

Sid Graedon was a marketing executive at New American Library, who published Mickey Spillane's work in paperback from the 1960s on. The two men enjoyed a lasting friendship, and over many years, Spillane gifted these original manuscripts to his friend which, no doubt, is the reason they still exist, as during his lifetime Spillane lost one home to fire and another to Hurricane Hugo.

Frank Morrison Spillane was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 9, 1918.  “Mickey,” as he is better known, was raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey where he attended Erasmus Hall High School, the place where he would cultivate his writing talents. 

Spillane's earliest published writing was for comic books. Encouraged by his friends Joe and Ray Gill, in 1940 Spillane began writing for Funnies, Inc., a comic packager that provided content for companies such as Timely Comics, which later became Marvel.

Spillane enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but remained stateside, becoming a fighter pilot and then flight instructor until the end of World War II.

Spillane began his literary career with I, the Jury, his first novel. He later said that he wrote the book to try and afford a summer house.  While initial hardcover sales were disappointing, its paperback counterpart was a smash hit. Domestically, Spillane’s first effort sold over 6 million copies.  While reprints and foreign editions make an exact count difficult, most conservative sales estimates of Spillane's career output top 200 million copies. 

Spillane’s personal journey, as well as his folklore sometimes make it hard to separate his life from that of ‘Mike Hammer,’ the heroic protagonist in many of his novels. Spillane even appeared as Hammer in one of the film adaptations of his work, The Girl Hunters.

Embracing controversy as a selling point, the covers of Spillane’s hard-boiled crime fiction often contained scantily-clad women.  Despite overwhelming success as an author, Spillane’s novels were often panned by critics for their violent content and mass appeal.  Spillane reveled in such critical abuse, and the negative reviews would often be prominently featured in advertisements, next to the extraordinary sales numbers for the book.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Spillane was more in demand for his persona than his writing. He appeared in spisodes of Columbo, and was one of the lynch pins of the "Tastes Great, Less Filling" Miller Lite ad campaign that lasted for nearly 20 years.

Mickey Spillane died on July 17, 2006 in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, his home for many years.

Scope and Content

This collection spans the breadth of Mickey Spillane's career.

Spillane's early work in comic books (Boxes 2 and 3) is a highlight of the collection, including scripts written for many of the major characters created by Funnies, Inc. such as Namor the Submariner, Captain America, and Captail Marvel. Because most comic stories of the time were uncredited, there is great potential for research in this part of the collection.

When he returned from military service, Spillane conceived of the idea for a comic book named "Mike Danger". Many of Spillane's papers related to the near-production of this comic are contained in this collection. The idea made it to the layout stages, but didn't see the light of day until years later. When he made the turn to novels a year later, Spillane changed Mike Danger into Mike Hammer and a legend was born. Boxes 4 through 6 highlight the promotional efforts of Spillane and Graedon.

Also contained in this collection are typed manuscript copies of many Spillane's novels (Boxes 7-19). Many contain handwritten notes from Spillane and/or his editors. Several of the manuscripts, including the one for his first novel I, The Jury had been stored in a garage prior to Spillane gifting them to Sid Graedon, and show signs of aging as well as some fire damage. The manuscript in the collection for The Twisted Thing had been abandoned by Spillane in the 1950s, and lost the last several pages in a fire. Graedon came across the manuscript around 1966 and encouraged Spillane to reconstruct the ending and publish it. Spillane dedicated the published version to Graedon.

Boxes 7-12 contain manuscripts featuring Spillane's Mike Hammer character. Boxes 13-16 are stand-alone novels, while boxes 17-19 are from the Tiger Mann series.

The remainder of the collection consists of promotional items, including a vinyl pressing of Spillane reading a Mike Hammer short story titled "The Woman", as well as posters and original artwork. Extensive files kept by Graedon related to Spillane's publicity tours in the 1960s and 1970s will be of interest to those studying publishing during the era, as well as those interested in comparing Spillane the persona versus Spillane the man.

Inventory

Box 1

Folder Description Date
1 Correspondence 1950 - 1951
2 Correspondence 1961 - 1963
3 Correspondence- 1965 (1 of 3) 1965
4 Correspondence- 1965 (2 of 3) 1965
5 Correspondence- 1965 (3 of 3) 1965
6 Correspondence 1966 - 1967
7 Correspondence 1967 - 1968
8 Correspondence 1970
9 Correspondence- Graedon & Altman 1965 - 1966
10 Correspondence- Honey West 1965 - 1966
11 Correspondence 1971 - 1972
12 Correspondence 1973
13 Correspondence 1974 - 1980
14 Correspondence with Max Allan Collins 1982, undated
15 Correspondence undated

 

Box 2

Folder Description Date
1 Annie Oakley- Synopsis undated
2 Army Air Corps undated
3 Blue Bolt (comic book signed by Spillane) 1951
4 Comics Assignment Sheets undated
5 Current Plots- Adventure undated
6 Drifter Comics undated
7 Human Torch- Plot File undated
8 Human Torch- Current Synopsis undated
9 Kid Colt- Synopsis & Plots undated
10 Lena and the Revolution undated
11 Matinee Comics undated
12 Miss America- Synopsis & Plots undated
13 Tex Morgan undated
14 True Crime Plot File undated
15 True Crime- Current Synopsis undated
16 Two Gun Kid undated
17 V.M.I. Cadets- Magazine Clip undated
18 Miscellaneous Comic Story Plots undated
19 Miscellaneous Comic Story Plots undated
20 Miscellaneous Comic Story Plots undated
21 Miscellaneous Comic Story Plots undated
22 Miscellaneous Comic Story Plots undated
23 Miscellaneous Comic Story Plots undated
24 Miscellaneous Comic Story Plots undated
25 Miscellaneous Comic Story Plots undated
26 Miscellaneous Comic Story Plots undated
27 Namora undated

 

Box 3

Folder Description Date
1 Spillane- Completed Short Stories (1 of 4) undated
2 Spillane- Completed Short Stories (2 of 4) undated
3 Spillane- Completed Short Stories (3 of 4) undated
4 Spillane- Completed Short Stories (4 of 4) undated
5 Novel Fragments undated
6 Mike Danger- Indicia Examples undated
7 Mike Danger Magazine Mock Ups undated
8 Mike Hammer Daily- Strip Samples undated
9 Mike Hammer Daily- Scripts undated
10 Mike Hammer Daily- Synopsis undated
11 Mike Hammer Daily- Sketches undated
12 Mike Hammer Daily- Sketches undated
13 Mike Hammer Daily- Scripts undated
14 Artwork- Mike Hammer "Velda" Album undated
15 Screen Test Script- "The Deadly" undated
16 Re: Set Design- "The Night I Died" undated
17 Set Design- "I, The Jury" 1953
18 Original Transcripts- 13 tapes undated
19 "Learn to Fly"- Drawings for Book or Pamphlet undated

 

Box 4

Folder Description Date
1 NAL correspondence 1965
2 NAL correspondence/ Day of the Guns May-65
3 Mickey Spillane (correspondence) - Chamber of Commerce 1967
4 NAL correspondence/ Day of the Guns 1967-1969
5 Correspondence -NAL/Mickey Spillane 1970-1976
6 Bloody Sunrise - West Coast Tour 1965
7 Expenses - Mickey Spillane Tour - Day of Guns 5/9 - 5/22/1965
8 The Body Lovers (Tour) 1967
9 Mickey Spillane Promotional Tour -Minnesota Sep-67
10 The Delta Factor - Correspondence/Tour 1968/1969
11 The Erection Set (Tour) 1972
12 Mickey Spillane - Promotional tour expenses 1972
13 Atlanta - The Erection Set - Spillane Promo Tour 1972
14 Dallas - The Erection Set - Spillane Promo Tour 1972
15 Detroit - The Erection Set - Spillane Promo Tour 1972
16 Las Vegas - The Erection Set - Spillane Promo Tour 1972
17 Los Angeles - The Erection Set - Spillane Promo Tour 1972
18 Miami - The Erection Set - Spillane Promo Tour 1972
19 San Diego - The Erection Set - Spillane Promo Tour 1972
20 San Francisco - The Erection Set - Spillane Promo Tour 1972

 

Box 5

Folder Description Date
1 The Last Copout 1973
2 The Last Copout (Tour) Oct-73
3 The Last Copout - Spillane Promotional Tour Oct-73
4 (Photo) Mickey Spillane Autographing Party - Woolworth -Los Angeles, CA Sep-65
5 (Photo) Mickey Spillane Autographing Party - Woolworth - Market Street - San Fran,CA Sep-65
6 (Photo) Mickey Spillane Autographing Party - Woolworth - Los Angeles, CA Sep-65
7 (Photo) Mickey and Sherri w/Mr. E. Swain - Woolworth - Los Angeles, CA Sep-65
8 (Photo) Mickey Spillane Autographing Party - Woolworth - Los Angeles, CA Sep-65
9 (Photo) Mickey Spillane Autographing Party - Unimart - Culver City, CA Sep-65
10 (Photo) Mickey Spillane Autographing Party - Unimart - Culver City, CA Sep-65
11 Photos - Miscellaneous UNDATED
12 (Photo) Mickey Spillane Autographing Party - Woolworth - San Fran,CA Sep-65
13 Photos/Promotional materials - misc. (1) MISC.
14 Photos/Promotional materials - misc. (2) MISC.
15 Photos/Promotional materials - The Deep  1961
16 Photos/Promotional materials (1) 1965
17 Photos/Promotional materials (2) 1965
18 Sherri Spillane - Articles/correspondence MISC.
19 Photos - Sherri Spillane UNDATED
20 (Photo) Mickey Spillane Autographing Party - Sherri Spillane - Culver City, CA Sep-65
21 (Photo) Sherri Spillane - "A Funny Thing Happened…" - California 1965
22 Manuscripts - Miscellaneous MISC.

 

Box 6

Folder Description Date
1 Spillane - Manuscript undated
2 The Plastic Man - Manuscript - David Gerrity undated
3 Spillane - Articles/Clippings (1) undated
4 Spillane - Articles/Clippings (2) undated
5 Spillane - Articles/Clippings (3) undated
6 Spillane - Articles/Clippings (4) undated
7 Miscellaneous - Publications (1) undated
8 Miscellaneous - Publications (2) undated
9 Pigeons undated
10 Photos- Press/Promotional Tour 1965
11 Articles, Other Media undated

 

Box 7

Folder Description Date
1 Manuscript- I, The Jury 1947
2 Original Manuscript- Vengeance is Mine! (FRAGILE) 1950
3 Manuscript- Vengeance is Mine! 1950

 

Box 8

Folder Description Date
1 Original Manuscript- The Big Kill 1951
2 Manuscript- Kiss Me Deadly 1952
3 Manuscript- Kiss Me Deadly 1952

 

Box 9

Folder Description Date
1 Galley Proof- The Snake 1964
2 Edited Galley Proof- The Twisted Thing (1 of 2) 1965
3 Edited Galley Proof- The Twisted Thing (2 of 2) 1965

 

Box 10

Folder Description Date
1 Original Manuscript- The Twisted Thing undated
2 Manuscript- The Twisted Thing 1965

 

Box 11

Folder Description Date
1 Galley Proof- The Body Lovers undated
2 Manuscript- The Body Lovers 1966

 

Box 12

Folder Description Date
1 Galley Proof- Survival.. Zero! 1970
2 Manuscript- Survival… Zero! 1970
3 Manuscript- Survival… Zero! 1970

 

Box 13

Folder Description Date
1 Manuscript- Killer Mine 1965
2 Manuscript- Killer Mine 1965
3 Manuscript- Man Alone 1965
4 Manuscript- Man Alone 1965

 

Box 14

Folder Description Date
1 Movie Plans- The Erection Set 1972
2 Manuscript- The Erection Set 1972
3 Manuscript- The Erection Set (1 of 2) 1972
4 Manuscript- The Erection Set (2 of 2) 1972

 

Box 15

Folder Description Date
1 Bound Galley Proof- The Erection Set 1972
2 Galley Proofs- The Erection Set 1972

 

Box 16

Folder Description Date
1 Manuscript- The Last Cop Out 1973
2 Edited Manuscript- The Last Cop Out (1 of 2) 1973
3 Edited Manuscript- The Last Cop Out (2 of 2) 1973

 

Box 17

Folder Description Date
1 Galley Proof- Day of the Guns 1964
2 Edited Manuscript- Day of the Guns 1964

 

Box 18

Folder Description Date
1 Manuscript- The Death Dealers 1965
2 Galley Proofs- The Death Dealers 1965

 

Box 19

Folder Description Date
1 Edited Manuscript- The By-Pass Control 1966
2 Manuscript- The By-Pass Control 1966
3 Galley Proofs- The By-Pass Control 1966

Additional materials, including promotional posters and ephemera, have yet to be processed but will be added to the inventory when they are complete.

Transfers

The collection included many signed first editions of Spillane's work, which have been added to the Library's print collections.