Throughout my entire childhood, my mother would make a point to have an annual viewing of March of the Wooden Soldiers, one of the many great movies to come from the Golden Age of Hollywood. One year, after our annual viewing, I went down the rabbit hole of watching a bunch of these movies from the 1930s. This led me to watch ‘The Adventures of Hollywood’ and I immediately became obsessed with Errol Flynn, which then led me to watch another movie of his, Green Light.
Finally, the bookie in me was incredibly happy to discover that this movie was actually a book first. Even at the ripe age of sixteen, I could not resist immediately ordering myself a copy of this book and then blasting through its some-300 pages in record speed. Since I am approaching the time at which we do our annual viewing of March of the Wooden Soldiers, it reminded me of that year I spent obsessing over 1930s films and Errol Flynn, and that is why we will be covering Green Light by Lloyd C. Douglas for this week’s TBT.
Douglas, born in 1877 in Columbia City, Indiana, did not write his first novel, Magnificent Obsession, until he was over fifty years old. He saw immense success, though, as this became the first of many of his books that would be popular at the time (and for some, best sellers). Not only this, but multiple books of his were adapted into movies as well. Perhaps it is largely to do with the general nature of his stories, which were often inspirational and left readers feeling content upon finishing them. Green Light is not an exception to anything said thus far, as it was a best seller upon its publication in 1935 (and the most popular book of the year!), it was adapted to a screen play, and it tells an inspirational story.
Green Light follows a man named Newell Paige, a doctor in the mid-West United States, who takes the blame for a medical error made by his mentor/father-figure, Endicott. This error takes place after Endicott learns of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and results in the patient losing her life. After Paige was disgraced by society for the mistake that was believed to be his, he runs away to almost re-discover himself in a sense. You will have to read the book to learn for yourself what the importance is of the green light and to see how Paige manages to piece together the bits of himself required to move on from what happened and find happiness.