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June 12, 2009



Besides Wodehouse with sex, Smith also invented Topper.

Old Dominion Tory

Is time for a new organization: the Roman Catholic Boys for, er, Line Drawings?
Does Basil know about this author? Sounds like the type of writer with whom Basil would be most familiar.
Also, the title of the book mentioned on the cover of The Glorious Pool (and, gosh, where do I get myself one of those pools? It provides a mgnificent backdrop to some fine line drawings.) is especially intriguing. The Bishop's Jaegers. A bishop with his own company of German light infantry? Would this be a Lutheran bishop or, perhaps, because of the Hanoverian connection to the Crown, certain Anglican bishops have right to maintain their own bodyguard of Jaegers? Hmmmm . . .

Old Dominion Tory

I just checked information on Mr. Smith via Wikipedia. First thing: you're working your way backwards through Smith's ouevre. The Passionate Witch was his last book, and The Glorious Pool is next to last.
Mr. Smith, however, seems to be the type of fellow who would fit right in with the Patum Peperium crowd. His description in Wikipedia: "James Thorne Smith Jr. (March 27, 1892–June 21, 1934), was an American writer of humorous supernaturnal fantasy fiction. Best known today for his creation of Topper, Smith's comic fantasy fiction (most of it involving sex, lots of drinking, and supernatural transformations, and aided by racy illustrations) sold millions of copies in the early 1930s. Smith drank as steadily as his characters . . ."
Finally, make sure Mr. Peperium reads these books for they could provide him with inspiration for his own successful books. I say this because Smith's background also includes the following:
"[A]fter hungry years in Greenwich Village working as an advertising agent, Smith achieved meteoric success with the publication of Topper in 1926."
This could be the start of something big.

Mr. Peperium

Thanks for the good thoughts, ODT, but I would bollox up the whole thing.

I'd lampoon feminism. I'd lampoon liberalism. T. Smith probably wouldn't get away with it, either: he lampoons vegetarianism.

After a quarter of a century writing for other people's products and services, if I took up the keyboard in a serious effort to make cash it would have to be a book about what I liked and was interested in. And that, as my stunted career in poetry has taught me, is pretty much unmarketable.

I do mean what I said in Mrs. P's post: this is Wodehouse with sex. Another difference: While Wodehouse obviously liked his daily cocktail and populated an imaginary world with folks who did too, he never lived as they did, even after he had attained the riches that would make it all possible. For Smith, being in advertising--even as an "agent", whatever that was--the opposite course was probably preordained.

Yes, WAC, I'm waiting for The Baz to weigh in, too. Smith looks like just the sort of alley he would love to be up. (If indeed he hasn't been already) We'll find him, days later, festooned with old banana skins and coffee grounds, gibbering about line drawings and and the possibility of creating a late-night animated series for cable.


It says that although the Passionate Witch was written by Smith, she was "completed" by Norman Matson.

The imagination boggles.

George Pal

The spectral Mr Smith has faded but is not yet gone. The unforgotten Thorne Smith AND the THORNE SMITH Newsletter.



How lucky you are to have the complete AND unabridged version of The Glorious Pool.


Also: Your lawyer in New York is too damn expensive and you should not be calling him.


I think that, in this context, "complete and unabridged" was code for "dirty parts included."


'...Most of it involving sex, lots of drinking, and supernatural transformations, and aided by racy illustrations...'

Genius! And as reading material, a lot more interesting-sounding than the Civil War...


In the movie version, "I Married a Witch," Veronica Lake is wearing a robe when Fredric March rescues her from the burning building. See the trailer here:


Mrs. Peperium

That was the movie version? I LOVE that movie...

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