Raymond Chandler? Philip Marlowe? Dorothy Gardiner? Kathrine Sorley Walker? Apocryphal?
Question for Quote Investigator: A famous author of noir detective fiction was irritated that interviewers often thought that his veridical life should be similar to the life of his hardboiled fictional private eye. Apparently, some journalists wanted to know whether the author carried a Luger, a Colt, or a Smith & Wesson revolver. The author stated comically:
My favorite weapon is a twenty dollar bill.
Would you please help me to identify this author and find a citation?
Reply from Quote Investigator: Raymond Chandler created the archetypal detective character Philip Marlowe who appeared in the novels “The Big Sleep”, “Farewell, My Lovely”, and “The Long Goodbye”. These novels were made into popular movies with Humphrey Bogart providing a memorable characterization of Marlowe in the first film.
In 1951 “Picture Post” magazine of London sent a set of interview questions to Chandler via his Hollywood agent Edgar Carter. Chandler sent a letter to Carter disparaging the magazine and its questions. Chandler included a satirical self-portrait. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:1981, Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler by Raymond Chandler, Edited by Frank MacShane, Letter To: Edgar Carter, Letter Date: February 5, 1951, Start Page 257, Quote Page 257 and 258, Columbia … Continue reading
Yes, I am exactly like the characters in my books. I am very tough and have been known to break a Vienna roll with my bare hands . . .
I get my material in various ways, but my favorite procedure (sometimes known as the Jerry Wald system) consists of going through the desks of other writers after hours. I am thirty-eight years old and have been for the last twenty years. I do not regard myself as a dead shot, but I am a pretty dangerous man with a wet towel. But all in all I think my favorite weapon is a twenty dollar bill. In my spare time I collect elephants.
The remark about Wald was an inside joke. He was the head of Warner Brothers Studio in Hollywood.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
|↑1||1981, Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler by Raymond Chandler, Edited by Frank MacShane, Letter To: Edgar Carter, Letter Date: February 5, 1951, Start Page 257, Quote Page 257 and 258, Columbia University Press, New York. (Verified with scans)|