Monday, March 30, 2009

The Roots of Danny Fisher

In his review of the new movie "12 Rounds", Boston Herald critic Stephen Schaefer writes that the main character's name, Danny Fisher (played by John Cena), is "a tribute to Elvis Presley's Danny Fisher in the New Orlean's-set 'King Creole..."

That may be true, but just to complete the record, Presley's Danny Fisher is based on the character created by Harold Robbins in his beautifully written "A Stone For Danny Fisher." This was Robbins' first novel, I believe, and is probably autobiographical. How a novel that takes places in the poor neighborhoods of Chicago ends up in Louisiana is anybody's guess, but that's what happened.

I read somewhere that Robbins had aspirations to be what can lazily be called "literary" but when "Danny Fisher" didn't sell, he went off and wrote the potboilers he later became so famous for. ("The Carpetbaggers", "The Betsy" and the like.)

There's no shame in that. Robbins sold millions of books which were made into blockbuster films and he made a lot of money.

But if you're curious, go online and find yourself a copy of "A Stone For Danny Fisher", and you will be treated to an unexpected gem that has, to my mind, one of the most beautiful titles ever.

-- Lars Trodson