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McCoy, Horace

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 9 months ago

Horace McCoy was an American writer of hardboiled stories. He was born in Tennessee and educated in Nashville. He served in the US Army during WW1 and worked as a journalist in Dallas until 1930, when he became a screenwriter. More detail of McCoy's life and career can be found here.

 

Mike Grost on Horace McCoy

 

Carroll John Daly shows considerable contempt for social climbing. Both his bad guys and his subsidiary minor characters indulge in this, and Daly holds them up to ridicule, using this feature for comic relief in his tales. The rigidly middle class in his personal life Daly, is a contrast here to such social climbing pulp writer contemporaries of his as Dashiell Hammett and Horace McCoy, both of whom were eager to go up the social ladder. McCoy would go on to be the Hollywood scriptwriter of Gentleman Jim (1942), the Raoul Walsh directed tale of an athlete whose goal it was to crash society, a very charming movie that is virtually autobiographical (McCoy's younger years were spent as an athlete-sports writer who aspired to the upper reaches of Dallas Society). Gentleman Jim is the definitive sympathetic film about social climbing. The scenes where Jim Corbett essays acting on the stage also reflect similar acting experiences in McCoy's own youth.

 

McCoy's protagonists tend to be rough, macho agents of the Texas State Government. McCoy's characters are often summoned to the State house in Austin Texas, where they meet a tough, fatherly commander of their force. He has a big office filled with imposing furniture, and he lauds the hero for his work. His characters pretend indifference to all this, but the scene is so common in McCoy's fiction, it was clearly a very gratifying fantasy to him. Jim Corbett's boxer in Gentleman Jim is given a priest as his sympathetic father figure. Similar macho fantasies form the substance of "The Mopper-Up" (1931), in which Texas Ranger Tom Bender takes over and tames a wild West Texas oil town. He earns the total respect of all the people in the town, both good and bad. McCoy's work shows an almost limitless need for public recognition.

 

Bibliography

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1935)

No Pockets in a Shroud (1937)

I Should Have Stayed Home (1938)

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1948)

Scalpel (1952)

Corruption City (1959)

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