BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

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Monday, September 27, 2010

A few 'Dollars' more

Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name was the inspiration for a series of novels published in the US by Award and in the UK by their sister company, Tandem—both were imprints of subsidiary companies (Universal-Award House Inc. and Universal-Tandem Publishing Company Ltd.) owned by Universal Publishing & Distributing Corporation. Hence an awful lot of crossover between the two companies in the early 1970s. Many Award Books' titles can be found with a UK price printed on the cover and sometimes even a mention of the connection between the two companies.

Award Books picked up the rights to novelise Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), the third in what is known as the "Dollar Trilogy", following on from A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For A Few Dollars More (1965). Leone's original 'spaghetti western' owed much to Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (which itself owed much to Dashiell Hammett's novel Red Harvest). The debt was rather too much for Kurosawa, who sued, eventually reaching an out-of-court settlement which entitled him to 15% of the film's worldwide receipts and exclusive distribution rights in certain Far East territories. There was a second lawsuit regarding the American release of the film and the sequel also ran into legal problems when the co-producer and Italian distributors of Fistful sued Leone and Eastwood because For a Few Dollars More had been made without their participation.

All this meant that A Fistful of Dollars was not released in the United States until January 1967. For a Few Dollars More followed in May and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in December. The latter grossed some $6.2 million in the USA and Award Books licensed the Man With No Name from Produzione Europee Associate SAS and hired Joe Millard, a veteran of American western pulp, to write novelisations of For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; A Fistful of Dollars was, at that time, off-limits and the American release had no screenwriting credits.

The two novels were an immediate success when they appeared in 1967 and Award hired Willis Todhunter Ballard to write a spin-off novel featuring the Man With No Name. A Dollar to Die For appeared in 1968 (with a 1967 copyright notice), and all three books continued to sell (For a Few Dollars More was in its 5th printing in 1975, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly its fourth).

Award's links with Tandem meant distribution in the UK, where the books were also hugely popular, and more novels featuring The Man With No Name began to appear in 1971; so popular were the books in the UK that Terry Harknett was asked to novelise the first movie, A Fistful of Dollars, for publication in 1972 (as by Frank Chandler). Harknett had already established his credentials as a writer of movie novelisations, having adapted three films using the pen-name William Terry in 1971-72; sales of these, along with the continuing success of the Man With No Name novels, were enough for NEL to ask Harknett to launch his own series of paperback westerns. Harknett, writing as George G. Gilman, responded with the first Edge novel which was to help fuel a boom in paperback westerns.

A Dollar to Die For by Brian Fox (New York, Award A-917, [©1967] Nov 1968)
Tandem T242, 1968, 156pp. *Award.
——, 4th imp., 1971.
Tandem 4260-6680-?, 1972, 25p.
Tandem 4260-3420-1, 1975.
Tandem 14015-X, 1977, 144pp, 60p. Cover by Chris Achilleos
——, [X]th imp., 1977; [X]th imp., 1978.
Star 0352-30741-2 [5th imp.], 1980.

A Coffin Full of Dollars by Joe Millard (Award A-856, Oct 1971)
Tandem 4260-6592-1, 1972, 155pp, 25p. Cover by Chris Achilleos
Tandem 13549-0, [c.1974].
——, [2nd?] imp., 1977, 60p; 3rd imp., 1978.
Star 0352-30744-7, 1980.
The Man With No Name
Hard, lean, fearless, he is sometimes called The Hunter, sometimes The Bounty Killer, sometimes The Man From Nowhere. He is the quickest gun in the lawless Southwest—and sometimes he is merely called Mr Sudden Death
__Shadrach, with the Y-shaped scar under his eye is a crafty killer who has foiled The Man With No Name again and again, stealing corpses from right under his bullet. The two bounty hunters--stalking the same human prey for the same prize in cash—have sworn to kill each other on sight...
__Apachito: no outlaw has ever caused such fear in the hearts of men. He is a snakelike killer who relishes the slow death of his enemies. With his ruthless banditos riding behind him, he's earned his reputation as The Cruelest Gun in The West—and the price on his head is the fattest of all...
__A legendary threesome, out for each other's blood—with a coffin full of dollars as the winner's take-home pay!
The Devil's Dollar Sign by Joe Millard (Award, Oct 1972)
Tandem 4260-7181-6, (Jan) 1973, 156pp, 30p. Cover by Chris Achilleos
——, [X]th imp., 1974.
Tandem 0426-14031-1, 1977, 156pp, 60p. Cover by Chris Achilleos
——, 3rd imp., 1978.
Star 0352-30743-9, 1980.
The Man With No Name
The king of the bounty hunters, his smoking gun is the fastest in the Southwest. But for once he is the prey. For the first time he knows how it feels to have a price on his head—$50,000 offered by the Organized Outlaws Association.
__Gold hunger has lured the greedy to Dollar Sign Canyon, site of a legendary mine. Their greed brought death with it; for the sake of the fabulous riches under the Devil's Dollar Sign the gold-seekers ran the gauntlet of Bloody Hand's Apache braves. Only one thing could tempt them away from the gold—the chance to gun down Mr Sudden Death, the bounty hunter they all feared.
__But the Man With No Name was a match for them all—for the crazy recluse whom even the Apaches respected, for the renegade preacher and the double-crossing sheriff; for the outlaws who had set him up for death.
Blood for a Dirty Dollar by Joe Millard (Award, Mar 1973)
Tandem 426-13127-4, 1974, 159pp, 30p. Cover by Chris Achilleos
——, 2nd imp., May 1974.
Star 0352-30471-5, 1978, 159pp, 60p, Cover by Chris Achilleos.
——, 2nd imp., 1979.
The Man With No Name
He's the fastest and deadliest gun in the West. His name's a secret, his aim's a legend, and his business is cashing in on other men's flesh.
__This time business looks better than ever. Twenty thousand dollars for just one varmint—a crazy killer called Bandera the Great.
__Bust business suddenly takes a turn for the Hunter's own grave when he finds himself up against a medieval fortress in the middle of the desert—shooting for a helluva lot more than a bounty on a dead outlaw's head...
__The Man With No Name deals himself into an ugly game with a berserk bandit—gambling his life for a deadly number of dollars!
The Million-Dollar Bloodhunt by Joe Millard (Award, Oct 1973)
Tandem 426-13645-4, (Jun) 1974, 190pp, 35p. Cover by Chris Achilleos
——, [X]th imp., 1977; [X]th imp., 1978.
Star 0352-30745-5, 1980.
The Man With No Name.
Two men and a beautiful woman, locked together on a violent death hunt for the bloodiest bandit in the West. One of them—the Man With No Name—was gunning for the killer. The other two were after the outlaw's gold.
__The biggest bounty in the history of the territory was offered for Puchuco—the vicious murderer who escaped from a maximum-security desert prison. Now the ruthless bandit was heading toward the hills and a million bucks worth of hidden gold.
__The Man With No Name was gambling on his treacherous guides' greed to keep them together until he found his prey. But then the double-dealers decided they wanted the money first—at any price!

3 comments:

Jenny said...

Thank you, I have been looking everywhere for summaries of these books, and was glad to find your post.

TParker said...

I wrote a review and a breakdown for 'A Dollar to Die For' on my blog. While it was well written, there were notable problems with characterisation (what the heck would Tuco be doing in the army? Apart from the reasons stated in the book?) and just some weird plot devices, like the killer ants.

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Jonathan Silverstein said...

My father, Michael Silverstein, posed for the cover of A Dollar To Die For. It was his one and only modeling job. He had the cover hanging on his wall ever since. I've never seen the actual book, and it is fun to read your reviews.

He passed away at the age of 75 yesterday, and I will miss him terribly. Thank you for helping me relive some good memories.

-Jonathan Silverstein