Remembering Spillane: links, songs and stories
The best places to start for basic information are his Wikipedia entry (as well as Mike Hammer’s) and the unofficial Spillane site, which hasn’t been updated in years but has a plethora of information, soundbites and more. Then move to Michael Carlson’s wonderfully in-depth interview that ran in Crime Time in 2001, and swing by Thrilling Detective’s page for a pretty damn comprehensive bibliography. Then if you have more time, check out Dan Schneider’s essay on Spillane, Maxim Jakubowski’s tribute from some years back, and Spillane’s fan letter to John Carroll Daly.
The Myrtle Beach Sun delivers on extensive coverage of the Mick, starting with a lengthy piece written by Johanna Wilson, Zane Wilson & Steve Paislin. The Charleston Post & Courier and the South Carolina State also offers local coverage. Other obits come from the LA Times, the New York Times, USA TODAY, Bloomberg News, NPR’s All Things Considered, the Guardian, and the 1980s version of Mike Hammer, Stacy Keach.
The most fascinating part of Spillane’s life and career is his relationship with Ayn Rand. As a 2001 profile of Mickey in the Washington Post revealed, “Rand was an atheist and Spillane was devoutly religious, but they found
common cause in their opposition to communism, a theme they agreed
should be championed in literature. Rand also liked Spillane because
her concept of an ideal man was similar to the Mike Hammer character:
tough, strong-willed, independent.”
My own exposure to Spillane happened in a more indirect fashion. There were the occasional reruns of MIKE HAMMER with Stacy Keach, watching the movie of KISS ME DEADLY, but what made the most indelible impression upon me of Spillane’s style and the structure of the books was, oddly enough, a ballet. Specifically, “Girl Hunt,” the noir-dance sequence in THE BAND WAGON where Fred Astaire takes on the Hammer role, looking for a dame in a red dress – Cyd Charisse, of course.
And finally, what might be my favorite Spillane cover ever.
UPDATE, 3:45 PM EDT: The Myrtle Beach Sun reports that “the family of the late Mickey Spillane will receive friends from 10 to 2
p.m. Saturday, July 22, at Goldfinch Funeral Home, Beach Chapel.
Services will be 2 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at Kingdom Hall on
Holmestown Road in Surfside Beach.
Memorials may be made to Tidelands Hospice, 2591 North Fraser St., Georgetown, SC 29440.”