We’re away until January 3, but we’re reposting some of our favorite pieces from 2017. Enjoy your holiday!
In 1953, J. D. Salinger fled Manhattan for rural Cornish, New Hampshire, hoping to protect his privacy and find the solitude he needed for his work. The Catcher in the Rye, which spent thirty weeks on the New York Times’ best-seller list, had generated immeasurable publicity and adulation for Salinger, who wanted none of it. Among his new suitors were such Hollywood bigwigs as Samuel Goldwyn and David O. Selznick, both vying for the screen rights to Catcher. They failed to secure Salinger’s approval, as did many others, in turn—but that didn’t stop Bill Mahan, an unemployed former child star and devoted fan from Los Angeles, from giving it a shot. In the early sixties, he resolved to claim the film rights himself, even if it meant disturbing Salinger at home.