Authors: Paul Gallico

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

American novelist, short-story writer, and journalist

Author Works

Long Fiction:

The Adventures of Hiram Holliday, 1939, 1967

The Secret Front, 1940

The Snow Goose, 1940 (novella)

The Lonely, 1947

The Abandoned, 1950

Trial by Terror, 1952

The Foolish Immortals, 1953

Snowflake, 1953

Love of Seven Dolls, 1954

Thomasina: The Cat Who Thought She Was God, 1957, 1981

Mrs. ’Arris Goes to Paris, 1958

Too Many Ghosts, 1959

Mrs. ’Arris Goes to New York, 1960

Coronation, 1962

Scruffy: A Diversion, 1962

Love, Let Me Not Hunger, 1963

The Hand of Mary Constable, 1964

Mrs. ’Arris Goes to Parliament, 1965

The Man Who Was Magic: A Fable of Innocence, 1966

The Poseidon Adventure, 1969

Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, 1978

Matilda, 1970

The Zoo Gang, 1971

The Boy Who Invented the Bubble Gun: An Odyssey of Innocence, 1974

Mrs. ’Arris Goes to Moscow, 1974

Short Fiction:

Confessions of a Story Writer, 1946 (anecdotes and short fiction)

The Small Miracle, 1951

Further Confessions of a Story Writer: Stories Old and New, 1961

Ludmila: A Legend of Liechtenstein, 1964

Screenplays:

Pride of the Yankees, 1942 (with Jo Swerling and Herman Mankiewicz; adaptation of his book Lou Gehrig: Pride of the Yankees)

Joe Smith, American, 1942 (with Alan Rivkin)

Never Take No for an Answer, 1951 (with Pauline Gallico; adaptation of his short story)

Lili, 1953 (with Helen Deutsch; adaptation of his novel Love of Seven Dolls)

Teleplay:

The Snow Goose, 1971 (adaptation of his novella)

Nonfiction:

Farewell to Sport, 1938, 1981

Lou Gehrig: Pride of the Yankees, 1942

Golf Is a Friendly Game, 1942

The Steadfast Man: A Biography of St. Patrick, 1958

The Hurricane Story, 1960

The Golden People, 1965

The Revealing Eye: Personalities of the 1920’s, 1967

The Story of Silent Night, 1967

Biography

Born of immigrant parents–his father was a concert pianist–Paul William Gallico (GAL-ih-koh) turned from a musical career to work his way through Columbia University as a longshoreman, gym instructor, and translator. He served as a gunner in World War I and as a war correspondent for magazines in World War II. He lived much of his life in England, Mexico, Liechtenstein, Paris, and Monaco but retained his American citizenship and considered himself an American writer.{$I[AN]9810001954}{$I[A]Gallico, Paul}{$I[geo]UNITED STATES;Gallico, Paul}{$I[tim]1897;Gallico, Paul}

Sports dominated his life. From a position as a film reviewer with the National Board of Motion Picture Review, he moved to covering sports for the New York Daily News (1924-1936), where he became a respected sports editor, columnist, and, finally, assistant managing editor. His investigative reporting of abuses in sports led to reforms, and he began the Golden Gloves boxing tournament for matched amateurs. A big man and an athlete himself, Gallico climbed into the ring with Jack Dempsey once and was knocked out after two minutes. This led to his challenging other sport professionals–Dizzy Dean and Johnny Weismuller among them–in three dozen different sports. He raced cars, boats, and airplanes. His tribute to baseball came in his biography of Lou Gehrig, which he transformed into the screenplay Pride of the Yankees. The film received an Academy Award nomination in 1942. His lifelong love of sports continued even into his seventies, when he was the fencing master to the French army.

In 1936 Gallico retired from the New York Daily News, declaring that he had written enough short stories and fiction to strike out as a professional freelance writer; in the remaining years of his life he produced more than forty books, several screenplays, and hundreds of short stories for prestigious magazines. His first successful novel, The Adventures of Hiram Holliday, was transformed into a television series starring Wally Cox as the meek proofreader entrapped in intrigue and romance in a European wartime setting. Love of Seven Dolls was loosely based on a popular television show starring puppets and humans; he adapted the novel for the film Lili, and it contributed to the musical comedy Carnival.

With his animal stories Gallico enchanted children and adults equally. His animal characters include Scruffy the Barbary ape, Jean-Pierre, the pignapped guinea pig, and the donkey in The Small Miracle, and several of his works center on extraordinary cats such as the Scottish Thomasina: The Cat Who Thought She Was God, whose story was transformed into the 1963 film The Three Lives of Thomasina. Jenny in The Abandoned, who traces her lineage to the royal Egyptian Cat goddesses, stoops to help a boy who has been transformed into a kitten. One of his most popular works is The Snow Goose, which combines three sympathetic misfits–a wounded snow goose, an embittered hunchbacked artist, and a lonely girl–set against the background of the English seacoast and the heroic evacuation of British soldiers from Dunkirk. In Gallico’s gallery of characters, Mrs. ’Arris, the hardworking British charwoman who longs for a Dior dress, asserts her independence to spread her contagious good humor into the internal workings of international fashion and politics. The series about Mrs. ’Arris was popular enough to be made into a musical and to warrant a television edition starring Angela Lansbury.

Gallico popularized the “disaster” adventure genre with his Poseidon Adventure and Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, both made into films and launching a fleet of imitators. By placing a diverse group of familiar stereotypes in a confined area and under crisis situations, Gallico reiterates his love of sport (and random chance) and his belief in the inherent decency of humans. His keen sense of the dramatic scene allows his stories to translate easily into film versions.

Gallico was a sympathetic storyteller and a careful craftsman, and in his writing he tended to champion the underdog, animal or human. Gallico’s reputation as a good storyteller survives the test of time, and his works continue to delight adults and children.

BibliographyBaise, Arnold. Review of The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico. Navigator: An Objectivist View of Politics and Culture 1, no. 10 (June, 1998). A review of Gallico’s story on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of its publication.Holtzman, Jerome, ed. No Cheering in the Press Box. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974. Gallico’s journalism career is referenced.Litzinger, Boyd. “Paul Gallico.” In American Novelists, 1910-1945, edited by James J. Martine. Vol. 9 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Group, 1981. An overview of Gallico’s work and career.McGill, William J. “Paul Gallico.” In Twentieth-Century American Sportswriters, edited by Richard Orodenker. Vol. 171 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996. Gallico’s sports writing is emphasized.Peragallo, Olga, ed. Italian American Authors and Their Contribution to American Literature. New York: S. F. Vanni, 1949. One of the few extensive discussions of Gallico’s work.
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