Sunday Stories: “Die Hard, Starring Frank Sinatra”


Die Hard, Starring Frank Sinatra
by John Waddy Bullion

Did you know that, in 1968, Frank Sinatra starred in a moderately successful but ultimately forgettable crime thriller called The Detective? Did you also know that when 20th Century Fox first secured the rights to the source material (Roderick Thorp’s bestselling novel), the studio’s legal department inserted a clause giving it ownership of any subsequent novels produced by Thorp featuring Sinatra’s character, Detective Joe Leland? Would it surprise you in the least to learn that Roderick Thorp wrote another Joe Leland potboiler more than a decade later called Nothing Lasts Forever, which follows Leland—now retired from detective work—as he fights off an army of terrorists that has taken an entire Los Angeles skyscraper hostage? Did you know that Thorp’s book was another bestseller, and that Fox, without lifting a finger, now found itself sitting on a guaranteed summer blockbuster? (Do you see where this is heading?). 

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