Tag: David Morrell

Rambo

How David Morrell and ‘Rambo’ Helped Dissolve the USSR

You may already know all about David Morrell, the legendary bestselling author of First Blood (the 1972 novel that the entire Rambo franchise is based on.) What you may not know, however, is that Rambo actually had a pretty big part in dissolving the USSR

 

David Morrell and Sylvester Stalone

David Morrell and Sylvester Stallone | Image via IMDB

 

Now, Morrell (AKA: Rambo’s Father) hadn’t actually set-out to achieve something so historic; he never could’ve known the power his words might hold while he was putting them on the page. And he didn’t actually learn about Rambo’s involvement in the dismantling of the Soviet Union until about fifteen-or-so-years after the initial Rambo adaptation was released.

 

At Thrillerfest this past weekend, Morrell recounted the story of how Rambo‘s influence in Poland came to his attention. 

During the early 2000’s, Morrell was visiting Poland on a book tour and noticed straight away that he was being treated, well, differently

 

David Morrell

Image Via davidmorrell.net

 

The flag that maybe things weren’t exactly as they seemed was that Morrell was visiting Poland at the same time as then-President Bill Clinton, and they happened to be staying in the same hotel. Despite the fact that the literal President of the United States was currently staying there, David Morrell was the one the hotel staff decided to place inside the Presidential Suite; Bill Clinton stayed in the second-best room, the suite usually left for authors.

 

Morrell thought that this was strange, but assumed that maybe there was a glitch in the system or something, so he didn’t really think too much about it…that is, until things got even stranger

 

The next clue was that, like clockwork, journalists were lining up to interview and speak with him, just one after the other in a seemingly-never-ending cycle:

 

It seemed like fifteen minutes would go by before a new journalist approached me…it got to the point where, eventually, I was being interviewed by this nice Polish woman, about thirty-five years old or so…and I just asked her, ‘what’s going on? why is everyone so excited to meet me?’

 

The woman informed Morrell that, during the late eighties and early nineties, while Poland was struggling to cut-ties with Russia, the Soviet Union had banned the Rambo film from entering the country. So, the people did what any citizens trapped within the confines of a fascist-ruled state would do; they smuggled copies of the film into the country, hosted illegal viewings, and soaked up every bit of activism, justice, and rebellion they could, before taking to the streets. 

 

In fact, demonstrators speaking out against the USSR found Rambo so inspiring that they drew from his speeches, wardrobe, and the entire energy he encompassed to make their protests that much more powerful.

 

The journalist looked at Morrell and stated,

 

So, you see, people love you here because Rambo helped dissolve the USSR.

 

It’s incredible just how powerful books and films can be, and the influence art can have on us; people have used music, novels, artwork, poetry, and more to protest injustices since the beginning of time.

 

So, let’s all take a piece of advice from David Morrell by creating the things we feel compelled to create, fearlessly and without a second-thought; we never know just how important they may turn out to be.

 

via GIPHY

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Variety

David and Harlan

‘Rambo: First Blood’ Author David Morrell Pays Tribute to “Genius” Harlan Ellison

Writer Harlan Ellison, who died on Thursday aged eighty-four, was best known for writing the Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever”, as well as the 1975 film A Boy and His Dog, and the short story “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream”, among many other works.

Ellison was a close friend of First Blood author David Morrell, who we had the pleasure of interviewing on Bookstr two weeks ago. Morrell shared with Bookstr the reasons why he will never forget Ellison, who was in his words ‘truly a legend.’

 

Image Via Detroit News

Harlan Ellison |  Image Via Detroit News 

 


 

My author friend Harlan Ellison died on June 28 in his sleep, age 84. Harlan wrote stories, novels, teleplays, screenplays, essays—if it could be put on a page, he did it. (I’ll get to titles in a moment.) He was truly a legend. Anyone who met him never forgot him. The drama of his personality was forever seared into your memory. One print example of this is Harlan’s famous encounter with Frank Sinatra in Gay Talese’s classic 1966 essay “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold.”

 

Here’s why I myself can never forget him. In 1987, he visited the University of Iowa to give an evening lecture. I taught in the English department there. I’d never met him, but we had mutual friends, so through those friends I invited him to dinner before his lecture. This was in the fall. In June of that year, my wife and I had lost our 15-year-old son Matthew to a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. During dinner, Harlan described his new collection of stories Angry Candy, scheduled to appear in 1988. The collection was about attitudes toward death, he explained, and was motivated by the numerous recent deaths of friends and creative people who mattered to him. His introduction to Angry Candy, he continued explaining, would be about his extended grief for these people and would list their names and death months in the margins. Inevitably, the topic of our own grief entered the conversation as we explained about our son. Harlan listened with obvious pain in his eyes. The following year, we bought Angry Candy, and as I read the introduction, I was stunned to read my son’s name as one of the items in the margin, in distinguished company. “June 1987 Fred Astaire Matt Morrell.” I weep as I type these words. What a magnificent gesture of sympathy.

 

Harlan was the best author public speaker I ever saw. He was somewhat short, but he could fill a stage like a giant. I once saw him speak to a vast audience about the books he would offer for sale during the intermission. Yes, his talks had an intermission. The books, he explained, had been purchased for $2.00 as his publisher cleared that section of its warehouse. He’d bought every copy. These were the only copies in existence, and the lucky people in the audience could buy them during intermission and receive his signature for $25. And they grabbed at the opportunity. He signed for an hour before returning to give another fifty minute talk.

 

As charming and gracious and generous as he could be, Harlan could also be outrageous and insulting. Sometimes this was for dramatic effect, because Harlan did enjoy attention. (I was once on a panel with him at a Horror Writers Convention. He called me “a windy bastard” as I answered a question from the panel master. He then took control of the the panel and spoke three times as long I’d been doing.) But often Harlan’s outrage was genuine if he felt he’d been slighted. Some of his targets were James Cameron and Star Trek’s Gene Roddenberry.

 

Those names give me a chance to mention titles. Two of Harlan’s most famous teleplays are “Soldier” and “Demon with a Glass Hand,” included in the 1964 season of the TV series The Outer Limits. The former has a plot remarkably like James Cameron’s The Terminator. Harlan sued, was relentless about it, couldn’t be discouraged, and won. At the end of The Terminator  films, you’ll see an ‘indebted to Harlan Ellison’ reference.

 

Another of his teleplays, “The City on the Edge of Forever,” was voted the best episode from the original Star Trek series. He received several awards for the script—the original script, he emphasized, not the corrupted version that Gene Roddenberry produced. (Borderlands Press released an excellent limited edition of all the versions of the script, plus Harlan’s excoriating introduction about how much he disliked Gene Roddenberry.)

 

“I Have no Mouth But I Must Scream.” “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman.” A Boy and His Dog. These are only some of the other titles that Harlan Ellison enthusiasts discuss when they get together. So great a loss to the literary world. So sorry for his wonderful wife, Susan, who is as unforgettable as Harlan.

Here’s a photo from 1990 when I visited Harlan at his distinctive Sherman Oaks home. Harlan loved to walk around in his bathrobe. I look sleepy, but Harlan appears as ready to go as ever.

 

Image Via David Morrell

Image Via David Morrell

 


 

Our deepest thanks to David Morrell for sharing his memories of Harlan Ellison with us, and our condolences to Harlan Ellison’s family, especially his wife, Susan. 

 

Featured Image Via David Morrell 

book on beach

The Bookworm’s Beach Survival Kit

It is summertime. The weather’s warmed up and every day is (hopefully, fingers crossed) filled with sunshine. That means…
 

Image Via GIPHY

 

It’s beach time!

 

Via GIPHY

 

Here is a list of bookwormy goodness you need for your next trip to the beach!

 

1. This cute book themed duffel bag to hold your book paraphernalia. 

 

duffel bag

Via Etsy

 

2. Adorable tumbler to hold your refreshing drink.

 

etsy

 

Via Etsy

 

3. These flip flops so your toesies can get some sunshine on the walk from your transportation to the perfect spot on the beach.

flip flops

 

Via Groovebags

 

4. Book beach towel because sand is gross.

 

towel

 

Via Social6

 

5. Cute jewelry because you can never be too extra.

 

bracelet thing

Via Etsy

 

6. You might also want to pack some book themed treats, like book shaped cookies!

 

book cookies

Via RoamingRosie

 

7. Your book! Here is a little suggestion~ Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell

 

cover art

Via Amazon

 

Enjoy your next trip to the beach!

 

Feature Image Via MapQuestTravel