Faulkner Goes To Hollywood

…of course it was kind of hard to think of reasons for me to look in that exhaust pipe every time, but, you know, we had good writers. William Faulkner can write an exhaust pipe gag that would really make you think. — Moe, “Radioactive Man”

When William Cuthbert Faulkner arrived in tinseltown in May 1932, his resume included seven novels, including canon bombshells As I Lay Dying and The Sound And The Fury, dozens of short stories, and a few poetry collections. It was time to move on to better things.

In order to pay off his debts and keep his swanky Oxford, Miss., lifestyle going, Faulkner served as screenwriter and script doctor for all sorts of Hollywood features, most notably with Howard Hawks, with whom Faulkner collaborated on several flicks, including The Big Sleep, an adaptation of the iconic Raymond Chandler private dick romp.

I was as empty of life as a scarecrow’s pockets. — Philip Marlowe

By all accounts, Faulkner spent his time in Hollywood drinking and being eccentric, a popular combo for the legends among us. He also regularly insulted the people signing his paychecks, a trait embodied by the Simpsons writers decades later.

Hollywood is a place where a man can get stabbed in the back while climbing a ladder. — William Faulkner

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