When I first came to her office on Madison Avenue in 1958, Blanche was representing Margery Sharp, the well known British author and Dorothy B. Hughes, the famous mystery writer, among others. We haven't strayed far from the mark with Lilian Jackson Braun and her best selling mystery series, although in those years we couldn't have anticipated the electronic media -- audio cassettes and E-books -- in connection with the CAT/WHO mysteries.
That's not to say we weren't "multimedia". Of course nobody called it that when Blanche was making motion picture deals for books by Sharp and Hughes. In fact, Sharp's CLUNY BROWN and Hughes' RIDE THE PINK HORSE, were frequently shown on TV until recently.
And I think you have heard of Walt Disney's THE RESCUERS, with characters based on Margery Sharp's children's books.
We were happy when Blanche sold Edmund G. Love's first book, SUBWAYS ARE FOR SLEEPING, to Harcourt Brace, and ecstatic when a musical based on the book was produced by David Merrick on Broadway with Comden and Green writing book and lyrics and Jule Styne composing the music. Opening night in 1960 was a gala occasion. Ed gave a cocktail party, and later we joined the Loves for the drive in a limo to the theater. As we got out of the car, Blanche, who never raised her voice, shouted exuberantly, "Here comes Ed Love!", and the bystanders, waiting to get a glimpse of celebrities, broke into applause.
Then Dorothy Uhnak, a former policewoman who wrote police procedurals was added to our list. A television series, GET CHRISTIE LOVE, was based on one of her books and many were made into films.
Blanche launched the careers of other celebrated authors: Paul Theroux, Joyce Carol Oates, and Annie Dillard. Annie won a Pulitzer in 1974 for her non-fiction book, PILGRIM AT TINKER CREEK.
On the list of Pulitzer Prize winners for 1998 was an historian who won for his book about the Scopes Trial, or the Monkey Trial, held in Tennessee in 1925. Scopes, a young teacher, volunteered to be prosecuted for teaching Darwinian evolution in his classes. This was a crime according to state law which held that biblical creationism was an uncontradictable truth. Clarence Darrow volunteered to defend Scopes and William Jennings Bryan was the prosecuting attorney. You will recall the play and film, INHERIT THE WIND, based on the trial.
I mention this because the young historian, when receiving the award, said there had not been a book about the Scopes trial in years. Actually, in 1967, a personal memoir entitled CENTER OF THE STORM, by John Scopes with James Presley which we handled, was published by Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
I'm sure no one would go to court to challenge the evolution of media. We tracked our first clients with handwritten filecards now we use the web. Whatever the format, the love of a good story continues to inspire us into the next millenium.