Monday, February 26, 2007

My Man Godfrey

What I'm reading now I didn't get from the Bakerville Library, but if anyone wants to borrow it, just e-mail me (the link is over in the column on the right). I was browsing Powells.com, a west-coast bookstore that has become an alternative to Amazon, and I noticed a service that they offer--type in the book (new or used) that you're looking for, and they'll notify you when it becomes available. I had been looking, off and on for a couple of years, for a copy of My Man Godfrey, by Eric Hatch (who used to live in Litchfield), which is what the old Carole Lombard/William Powell movie was based on.* It has been out of print for a while, and I had given up hoping to find it, so I just signed up for the Powells service and forgot all about it.

Obviously one thing led to another, and last week this used copy (for $3 plus shipping) arrived in the mail. I'm quite enjoying it. The basic plot is pretty similar to the movie's. The Carole Lombard character is much less elegant, and funnier, and I like Hatch's prose. I haven't finished it yet, so I don't know whether the book is any deeper than the movie (which is not); I'll let you know.

*Actually it was based on Eric Hatch's novel 1101 Park Avenue, so maybe this version of the book was released with this title after the movie came out? Here's a decent synopsis of the movie.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aside from numerous references to "1101 Park Avenue" on the internet, I can't find anything to substantiate that there was ever a novel published by that name by Eric Hatch. The earliest copies I can find for sale of the novel are all "My Man Godfrey" and quite a few are noted as "first editions." Well, if there was a publication of "1101" I can't find it anywhere. If anyone knows more, please leave a comment.

Thanks,

Bill from Palm Bay Florida

J Auclair said...

I have never been able to find a copy of "1101" anywhere, and I confess I took that detail from those numerous references on the web. Actually, the movie credits may also refer to the book under that title.

Bill from Palm Bay said...

J,

The movie credits only say "based on the novel by Eric Hatch." One bookseller I contacted suggested that the title comes from a magazine publication of the novel, but I did a bit of research on that too, and only found that the story appeared first in "Liberty" magazine under the title, "Irene, the stubborn girl." I don't have a date for that publication. If I learn more about it, I'll post it here.

Bill from Palm Bay Florida

J Auclair said...

I'll be interested to read what you find out. Thanks!

As I mentioned in the post, Eric Hatch lived up here in Litchfield around the time when he was writing. My father used to babysit his kids. I'll keep my ear to the ground and see if there's any local lore about him.

Anonymous said...

From what I've read, 1101 Park Avenue was a short story by Eric Hatch rather than a novel. There are many references to it and he is credited in the opening of the film, My Man Godfrey.

J Auclair said...

Certainly the book I read was short enough to be a short story.

J Auclair said...

As a side note, here's something interesting about Eric Hatch's brother:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alden_R._Hatch