Sunday, June 30, 2013

Michael Avallone (1924-1999)

Author, Editor
Born October 27, 1924, New York, New York
Died February 26, 1999, Los Angeles, California

I have written recently about a couple of authors--Murray Leinster and E.C. Tubb--who penned novelizations of television shows. Another in that group was Michael Avallone. Born in New York City on October 27, 1924, Michael Angelo Avallone, Jr., was an army veteran of World War II and a seller of stationery before he got into the business of writing fiction. Once in, he never let up. No one knows how many books he wrote, but it was upwards of 150. Part of the confusion comes from Avallone's use of more than a dozen pseudonyms. He called himself "The Fastest Typewriter in the East" and said that he would rather write than eat or sleep. Not bound to any particular genre, Avallone wrote science fiction, fantasy and horror, Gothic fiction, Westerns, thrillers, mysteries, soft porn, sports stories, children's books, and adaptations from television shows, including The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Hawaii Five-O, Mannix, and The Partridge Family. According to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, Avallone's first published science fiction or fantasy was "The Man Who Walked on Air" in Weird Tales, September 1953. There doesn't seem to have been any moderate opinion on Avallone and his work. He was one of his own favorite authors. Not everyone shared that opinion. In any case, Michael Avallone, born a generation too late for the pulps, died in Los Angeles on February 26, 1999. He was seventy-four years old.

Michael Avallone's Story in Weird Tales
"The Man Who Walked on Air" (Sept. 1953)

Further Reading

Michael Avallone's first book was The Tall Delores (1953), a detective novel starring Ed Noon. I guess the low point of view on the cover illustration is to emphasize the woman's height. The tight, white sweater and the lifted arm emphasize her other physical qualities.
Avallone followed that book with The Spitting Image (1953), another Ed Noon mystery. This time there's a photo cover and the sweater is red. You can bet that the person handling a Luger in old movies and TV shows is a bad guy. It's no different here.
Avallone is well known for his novelized adaptations of TV shows and movies, but who knew The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was translated into French? (Shouldn't that be L'homme de l'oncle?)
If I'm not mistaken, Avallone's novel, The Doctors, was a tie-in to a daytime soap opera that ran on NBC-TV for about a gazillion episodes from 1963 to 1982. 
Michael Avallone is known for his turns of phrase. He may or may not not have written the blurb on the cover of Sex Kitten (1962), but that and the illustration shouldn't leave any doubts as to what you'll get when you read the book.
Michael Avallone became a pretty regular contributor to Tales of the Frightened with its first issue in Spring 1957. His story was "The Curse of Cleopatra." If I had seen this magazine on the newsstand, I would have snapped it up, if only for Rudy Nappi's cover.
Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley


  1. I was first consciously introduced to Michael Avallone's writing when I read the first Man From U.N.C.L.E. paperback. Besides my monsters, I was a total Bond,UNCLE, and 60's spy FREAK. My heart leaped into my throat when I spied in on the drug store spinner rack. On the way home, I was immersed in intrigue until, later that day, I finished the book!

  2. Thanks for the link, but my blog is called Pretty Sinister Books, not Pretty Sinister Images. I have also written about Avallone under his pseudonym "Edwina Noone". Your readers will definitely want to know about The Craghold Creatures as it is more in line with the content of the original Weird Tales magazine. It's also the best of the Edwina Noone Gothic novels. The others are tiresome retreads of the "girl gets house" formula.

  3. Hi, John from Pretty Sinister Books,

    I have corrected the name of your blog. Sorry for the error.

    I have bought a few Gothic romances and have read one so far, The Twisted Tree by "Lynn Benedict." It, too, was ghostwritten by a man (Victor Banis) and suffers for it. It's really just a potboiler that falls apart at the end. Not a pleasurable reading experience.

    "Girl gets house" is a perfect expression for these romances. I suppose they all go back to Jane Eyre, a really fine book. (I prefer it to Wuthering Heights.) I just wrote about Dark Shadows, another variation on the theme.

    Thanks for writing.