Thursday, March 10, 2016

Alabama Book Covers (9): William March

Novelist and short story writer William March is probably best remembered for one novel published in 1954, The Bad Seed. Actually, adaptations in other media are probably better known than the book and author. That same year Maxwell Anderson wrote a two-act play from the book that ran for 334 performances on Broadway before closing in September 1955. In 1956 a film starring Patty McCormick in the title role was released and was a hit for Warner Brothers in both the U.S. and Great Britain. The ABC network premiered a version for television in 1985. The story is a classic evil-child tale that still resonates today despite the use of the idea by endless horror movies.

March was a Mobile native born in September 1893 as William Edward Campbell. A highly decorated U.S. Marine in World War I, March built a career in business after the war. Before his death in New Orleans in May 1954, March published several novels and many short stories. Most were set in Alabama. 

March wrote about his war experiences in his first novel, Company K. A film adaptation by Robert Clem appeared in 2004. Clem has filmed several other works related to Alabama. March's short story "The Little Wife" was adapted for television three times by 1955. 

March's papers are in the Hoole Special Collections at the University of Alabama. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Tuscaloosa. The Encyclopedia of Alabama and Wikipedia entries offer good introductions to his life and work. Roy Simmonds' book The Two Worlds of William March was published in 1984.

William March ca. 1933

Source: Wikipedia

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