Let’s talk Harold Robbins! At one time, Harold was the bestselling author of his time, selling millions of copies. His books made the leap to big screens and small, and the characters he created were played by Hollywood elites.
But don’t think of his work as snapshots frozen in time or trapped in amber like a fossil. His work has transcended the pulpy landscape of fiction in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s by holding a mirror to human nature. We often don’t like what we see, but we cannot deny that we’re staring at ourselves in his work.
For each re-release of Harold’s books, we’ll be exploring its modern-day relevance.
For this post, let’s continue to talk about Spellbinder.
From the desk of Jann Robbins:
One of the most important qualities that an author expresses is curiosity. Curiosity ‘killed the cat’ was an adage used long, long ago. In today’s world, the pulled back curtain reveals truths on the morning news every day.
Harold Robbins was the master of seeing between the lines and revealing the many secrets his characters held in their hearts. He lived in the midst of those secrets as though he had a magnet drawing him in the world of his subjects. He had an unseen power that made his storytelling real. Harold and I went to the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills hotel for lunch 2 or 3 times a week when we lived in Beverly Hills. He lived at this hotel in a Bungalow while he finished THE ADVENTURERS. The Polo lounge could have also been his research lab.
When he wrote SPELLBINDER, we would also run into some of the characters that he watched with curiosity on late night TV as he wrote his controversial book about cable TV preachers. One, in particular, was Dr. Gene Scott, an educator, Preacher, and complete NAG about money. He would preach 10 minutes and then berate his listeners if the phone wasn’t ringing offering donations. Dr. Scott often arrived at the Polo in a white limousine, flanked by a bevy of stunning blonde silhouettes. He and his entourage would keep the wine flowing for hours. We wondered if his listeners who were trying to buy a ticket to heaven would be sustained by Dr. Scott’s lavish display of greed, lust, and power.
When Harold pulled back the curtain in SPELLBINDER, he was put on a ‘kill’ list by fringe radicals. But, luckily curiosity didn’t kill this cat!
For more of Harold’s work, visit the Harold Robbins page at Oghma Creative Media.
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Michael Frizell hold an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Arkansas at Monticello. You can find his work on the National Gallery of Writing, in Red Ink Journal, The Moon City Review, and others, and his poetry featured as part of The Good Men Project. With TidalWave Comics, he writes comics based on the lives of the famous and infamous. His fiction comics include The World of Polka Spot, a children’s story about a world-famous llama and film diva, The Fantasy World of Bettie Page, a Cold War-era sci-fi action graphic novel featuring the authorized likeness of Bettie Page, and James Dean: Timeless, a sci-fi western. He is currently writing the forwards to the re-releases of Harold Robbins’ novels for Oghma Creative Media. His graphic novel, Bender, about the serial killer family of the same name from the Midwest, was serialized in Saddlebag Dispatches. The collected edition will be available in hardcover on September 19, 2018. He lives in Springfield, Missouri with his wife, Julia.