Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bloch party

Still on my Halloween kick.

I think the best analogy to the success of Robert Bloch as a writer is found in Tony Bennett's success as a singer. Not that Bloch ever sang a hit record, or that Tony Bennett ever wrote a short story or book. But both artists toiled in their fields for years, both had a fair amount of success, and then both hit it really big: Bennett with the worldwide hit song, "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," and Bloch for the good fortune of having Alfred Hitchcock pick his book, Psycho, to be made into a movie.

Bennett said about his biggest hit, "it gave me the key to the world." I'm sure Bloch must've felt that way about Psycho, too. He got more mainstream attention, his books sold well, his short story anthologies sold well, more movies were made from his stories, he wrote screenplays. He had it pretty good! He was an excellent writer; he deserved his success, even if he had to share some of it with the notoriously egotistical Alfie. While Hitchcock made Psycho a "Hitchcock movie," Bloch was allowed to put on the covers of his books, "Author of Psycho," which gave him instant credibility amidst an avalanche of other novels and would-be famous authors.Bloch died in 1994 at age 77.

These covers represent some of Bloch's short story anthologies. They're both UK and US paperbacks. When it comes to mystery, suspense, horror, fantasy, science fiction or humorous dollops of all of those genres, it would be hard to beat Robert Bloch. As for leaving his heart anywhere, much less San Francisco, Bloch said, "Underneath it all, I have the heart of a small boy. I keep it in a jar on my desk."

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