Monday, July 17, 2006

Mickey Spillane

I'm sure a lot of people will be weighing in on Mickey Spillane's passing. I really enjoyed most of Spillane's novels, and some of them I've read several times, which is rare for me. I'll probably never forget reading ONE LONELY NIGHT on a summer evening at my sister's house, or THE SNAKE during study hall when I was in high school, or KISS ME, DEADLY at my aunt's house in Blanket, Texas, when we were visiting down there. The first Spillane novel I read was THE DEEP, when I was in sixth grade. I persuaded several of my friends to read it, too. I don't know if they remember that, but I sure do.

This is a sad day. I may have to dig out my copy of ONE LONELY NIGHT and read the first chapter again.


Anonymous said...

Just last week I watched KISS ME DEADLY on TCM. Made me think about what a great writer Spillane was (or is). Tremendous losss for the world.

Charles Gramlich said...

Growing up in a very small Arkansas town in the Bible Belt probably warped my reading habits compared to many other writers out there. I don't remember ever seeing a Micky Spillane book while I was growing up. In fact, I never read anything by Spillane until I was already in my thirties and I never became a big fan. I probably would have liked him much better had I read him at a younger age.

Anonymous said...

Mertz Meets Mickey:

Twenty-five years ago I was living in a snowbound little Colorado ski resort town, pounding out Mack Bolan novels. Mickey was affiliated with Miller Lite at the time, and was hosting some winter fling whatever at one of the resorts on Saturday for mucho dinero (too much $$ for me, at any rate). But wait, says here in the article that he’ll be doing two book signings on Friday. So I call the local bookstores. Nada. Frustrating. What the-- Then I get a brainstorm and call the local Miller distributor and am told, “Naw, Mickey’s not signing at the bookstores. He’ll be at Liquor World from five til seven and at the bowling alley from eight to ten.”

Hell yeah, Mick went where the fans were!

By this time I’d socialized with Mickey on a couple of occasions, thanks to mutual friends, and he’d given me a few signed books, so when I show up at the bowling alley, and he’s sitting there pretty much unnoticed at a table with the local Miller rep, he more than graciously meets me with, “Good to see ya! What the hell ya doin’ livin’ way out here in the snow? You’re a writer, man, you should live in the sunshine!”

I sat for two hours drinking beers on Mickey’s tab. He insisted, probably because I had a good-looking woman with me. At one point, a blonde came up, asking not for an autograph but a kiss. Mickey obliged but eased her back when she started to French kiss. “I’m a married man,” he reminded her gruffly. And the cat was 63!

We talked shop and I worked hard, in vain I’m sure, to keep from being the slavish acolyte. Clive Cussler was his favorite writer at the time, and I promised to read him and was glad I did. I left Mickey with a copy of my own current pulp epics and with deepest thanks for the hours of enjoyment he’d given me--and for letting a kid with an imagination know what he wanted to do with his life.

--Stephen Mertz