Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Charles Gordon Booth (1896-1949)

Author, Screenwriter
Born February 12, 1896, Manchester, Lancashire, England
Died May 22, 1949, Beverly Hills, California

Charles Gordon Booth may have been unique among contributors to "The Unique Magazine" in that he won an Academy Award for his writing. He was born on February 12, 1896, in Manchester, England. His father, William Booth, died in 1901. His mother, Emily Ada Hill Booth, took her son to Canada in 1904. Booth received his schooling in Toronto and Winnipeg and was working as a stenographer for a lumber company in Norwood, Manitoba, when he enlisted in the Canadian Army on March 3, 1916, in Winnipeg. His unit, the 203rd Battalion, called the Winnipeg Rifles, shipped out for England in October 1916. Booth was discharged in 1917 and was evidently sick or wounded, as he spent seventeen months in the hospital following his discharge. In 1922, he immigrated to the United States, taking his mother with him. They first went to Washington, then to San Diego. Charles Gordon Booth lived in southern California for all or most of the rest of his life. He became a naturalized citizen in 1930. At the time he was living in Ocean Beach, California.

Charles G. Booth was the author of scores of stories published between 1921 and 1944. He contributed to The Black Mask, Clues, Detective Story Magazine, Fawcett's Triple-X Magazine, Flynn'sHolland'sMacLean's, Munsey's, Mystery Stories, Open Road, Overland, Pall Mall, Pearson's Life, People's Popular Monthly, Sunset, Western Story Magazine, and many other titles. His lone story for Weird Tales was "Dust of Shun-Ti," from October 1925. He also wrote novels, mostly in the genres of crime and mystery. All but the last were published in the United States (first date below), and all were published in the country of their author's birth (second date below).
  • Sinister House: A Mystery Story of Southern California (1926, 1927)
  • Gold Bullets (1929, 1929)
  • Murder at High Tide (1930, 1930)
  • Those Seven Alibis (1932, 1933)
  • The Cat and the Clock (1935, 1938)
  • The General Died at Dawn (1937, 1941)
  • Mr. Angel Comes Aboard (1944, 1946)
  • Kings Die Hard (London, 1949)
Booth's stories were adapted to the screen beginning in 1936. He also wrote or cowrote several screenplays and won an Oscar for The House on 92nd Street, a semi-documentary spy movie from 1945. His movie credits:
  • The General Died at Dawn (1936)--Based on his story
  • The Magnificent Fraud (1939)--Based on his story
  • Hurricane Smith (1941)--Based on his story
  • Sundown (1941)--Screenplay with BarrĂ© Lyndon
  • The Traitor Within (1942)--Based on his story
  • The House on 92nd Street (1945)--Screenplay with BarrĂ© Lyndon
  • Johnny Angel (1945)--Based on "Mr. Angel Comes Aboard"
  • Behind Green Lights (1946)--Screenplay with Scott Darling
  • Strange Triangle (1946)--Screenplay
  • Fury at Furnace Creek (1948)--Screenplay
  • Moon Over Parador (1988)--Based on "Caviar for His Excellency"
Charles Gordon Booth was married to Lillian Lind Booth Foley (1904-1996). He died on May 22, 1949, in Beverly Hills at age fifty-three. He and his wife, who survived him by nearly a half century, were buried at Twin Falls Cemetery, in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Charles Gordon Booth's Story in Weird Tales
"Dust of Shun-Ti" (Oct. 1925)

Further Reading
"Charles G. Booth" by Steve on the blog Bear Alley Books, Oct. 26, 2015, here. Much of the information here is from Steve's blog posting. Thank you, Steve.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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