Condon, Richard (1915-1996)

The Richard Condon collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, research material, financial material, photographs, audio, and other items.

The manuscripts in the Condon collection are present in several drafts with numerous revisions. In addition, most pieces include several ancillary items, such as correspondence, professional items, publicity items, reviews, and other material.

Manuscripts for novels by Condon in the collection include The Oldest Confession (1958); The Manchurian Candidate (1959); The Two-Headed Reader, consisting of The Oldest Confession and The Manchurian Candidate (1959, 1966); Some Angry Angel: A Mid-Century Faerie Tale (1960); A Talent for Loving: Or, the Great Cowboy Race (1961); The Chinese Decoy (unpublished); Sherlock (unpublished); An Infinity of Mirrors (1964); Any God Will Do (1965); The Ecstasy Business (1967); Mile High (1968); The Vertical Smile (1971); Arigato (1972); Winter Kills (1974); Money is Love (1975); The Whisper of the Axe (1976); The Abandoned Woman: A Tragedy of Manners (1977); Bandicoot (1978); Death of a Politician (1978); The Entwining (1980); Prizzi’s Honor (1982); A Trembling Upon Rome (1983); Prizzi’s Family (1986); Prizzi’s Glory (1988); Emperor of America (1990); The Final Addiction (1991); The Venerable Bead (1992); and Prizzi’s Money (1994).

Manuscripts for other books by Condon include the “faux memoir” And Then We Moved to Rossenarra ; or, the Art of Emigrating (1973); the cookbook The Mexican Stove: What to Put On It and In It, written with his daughter Wendy Bennett (1973); the cookbook Ole Mole!: Great Recipes in the Classic Mexican Tradition (1988); and the unpublished autobiography Stained Glass .

Manuscripts for screenplays in the collection include early drafts of Robin and the 7 Hoods (film released in 1964 with no credit to Condon); The Long Loud Silence (ca. 1956) and Dead End (1964), both written with his wife Evelyn Condon; Hugger Mugger in the Louvre (1970s); The People of the Night (1969); and Condon’s adaptations of his novels The Oldest Confession (filmed and released as The Happy Thieves, 1962); The Manchurian Candidate (1962; re-made and released by Paramount, 2004); Some Angry Angel (unproduced); A Talent for Loving (Paramount, 1969); An Infinity of Mirrors (unproduced); Mile High (unproduced); Arigato (unproduced); Winter Kills (1979); and Prizzi’s Honor (1985). Also present is Gold Key to Paris, a “story written for the screen” with Art Buchwald; and numerous items regarding The Summer Music, an unrealized film project from the 1960s (see below).

Manuscripts for stage plays by Condon in the collection include the three-act comedy Men of Distinction (played on Broadway, 1953, and published by K. Osborne that same year);and Lady Natasha Bocca, Detective .

Other manuscripts by Condon include the teleplay Practical Joker ; a novelette titled Love Life ; personality profiles and other items written for magazines, sales divisions, etc., from Condon’s career as a film studio publicist; a speech given by Condon to the Colophon Society of Southern Methodist University (1977); and numerous short pieces (essays, articles, reviews, etc.) written for magazines and newspapers.

Correspondence in the collection covers Condon’s personal and professional lives extensively. Many letters are grouped around specific works by Condon.

Professional letters date from 1961 to the 1990s, and include letters to various editors, agents, publishers, and translators. The Matson Co., Dial Press and Random House are especially well-represented. Despite their professional nature, several of these letters include Condon’s comments on his personal life, activities, and philosophy of writing. Personal letters date from the 1930s to the1990s, and include two high school report cards (1934); a long letter from Condon to his psychotherapist; assorted resumes on writing techniques and opinions about books; several letters to and from his daughters Debbie and Wendy (1950s-1990s); and other items.

Other significant groups of letters include correspondence with Joseph Fox (1961-1963); correspondence with Franklin Heller (1960s-1985); correspondence with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (1960s); letters from the “International Confederation of Book Actors,” a group of Condon’s friends whose names appear as characters in his books (1973-1980); correspondence with literary agent Harold Matson (1960s-1990s); and numerous letters from various readers.

Correspondence regarding specific works by Condon includes letters regarding Lady Natasha Bocca, Detective, including a letter from Tammy Grimes; numerous letters regarding The Summer Music, including letters from Anthony Newley and Tony Curtis; letters regarding A Talent for Loving, including letters from Eli Wallach, Pamela Tiffin, Lawrence Harvey, Brian Epstein, Harold Matson, and Richard Quine; letters written by Condon under the pseudonym “Osgood Noon”; letters regarding An Infinity of Mirrors, including a letter from Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.; numerous letters regarding The Manchurian Candidate, including letters from George Axelrod (author of the screenplay version), Art Buchwald, Alfred Hitchcock, John Lahr (adaptor and director of the London stage version), and Frank Sinatra; letters regarding Any God Will Do ; letters regarding Condon’s non-fiction writing; letters regarding Arigato, including several letters between Condon and John Frankenheimer; letters regarding Prizzi’s Honor ; and letters regarding various other works.

Other notable correspondents include Steve Allen, Richard Attenborough, Dave Brubeck, Tony Curtis, Samuel Goldwyn, Larry Gelbart, Bob Hope, Garson Kanin, Deborah Kerr, Hank Ketcham (including drawings), Eleanor Kilgallen, Leslie King (including a drawing), Irving P. Lazar, James Mason, Rex Stout, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and Irwin Winkler. Other letters of note include a letter to Condon proposing a film idea which eventually became Robin and the 7 Hoods; a letter from Condon to a free-lance writer explaining his views on his children’s upbringing (1962); a letter from Condon to his editor explaining his writing schedule (1963); and letters regarding Condon’s early career as a film publicist (1940s).

Printed material in the collection includes copies of several magazines and tearsheets containing the published versions of Condon’s writings. They date from 1936 to 1996. Titles include Newsweek, Vogue, Esquire, Time, The Daily Telegraph, The Film Daily, Books and Bookmen, Holiday, Look, The Nation, Gourmet, The New Yorker, Film Comment, Playboy, Harper’s, and This Week, among other titles. The collection also includes book jackets for Condon’s books, as well as press releases, advertisements, promotional posters, numerous reviews of his books (1960s-1990s), an autobiography of Condon used as publicity material for The Vertical Smile, several clippings regarding Condon’s daughters Debbie and Wendy, as well as his other family members (1940s-1970s), and other miscellany.

Research material in the collection consists of notes and other material regarding the Nazi occupation of Paris, France; the treatment of Jews in France during World War II; details of the inner workings of the SS, SD, and Gestapo; and other related subjects, primarily used for An Infinity of Mirrors. Also present are several pages of research notes for Any God Will Do, Mile High, and an article on the history of fasting; as well as various notes and other items regarding the Watergate affair (1973-1976), mind control (1974-1975), and Geneva, Switzerland (1974).

Financial material in the collection includes statements and earnings from Condon’s agent Harold Matson (1959-1960), and various receipts, tax documents, credit cards, statements, expenses, estate affairs, and other material, all dating from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Photographs in the collection are primarily personal images. They are all prints, both black and white and color. Personal photos include a photo of a portrait sketch inscribed to Condon by Frederick Wentham (May 1949); two photos of Condon with John Huston; one photo of Condon with Cecil B. DeMille; photos of Condon with family members in various locations (1960s and 1970s); and photos of Condon with Franklin Heller and other friends (1970s-1990s). Also present are two film stills from Men of Distinction, with Robert Preston, David Burns, and Orson Bean pictured. Other photographs of notables include images with Tony and Janet Curtis, Stanley Donen, Jose Ferrer, Olivia de Havilland, Hank Ketcham, Sophia Loren, Myrna Loy, Alan Melvin, Jane Russell, and Adlai Stevenson.

Audio recordings in the collection consist of reel-to-reel tapes, record albums, and audio cassettes regarding various subjects. Notable items include audition tapes for Lady Natasha Bocca ; reel-to-reel tapes regarding The Manchurian Candidate, including a copy of the audio version broadcast on the BBC; a cassette recording of Condon’s appearance on the “Desert Island Discs” BBC Radio program (1987); recordings of Condon’s appearances on various programs, including the Larry King Show (1987); audio “letters” from Franklin Heller and Ed Lewis; a recording labeled “Frankenheimer”; a recording of a special radio memorial broadcast for Max E. Youngstein; a recording of a song with lyrics by Condon; recordings of soundtrack material for The Summer Music (see below) and A Talent for Loving ; and other items.

Other items include a document pertaining to a libel action against Condon by two men who believed they were mentioned in Any God Will Do ; Condon’s solitaire scorecard (“played whenever I ‘dry up’”); a scrapbook of clippings, photographs, and publicity material; diary notes, including notes on a California Christmas trip (1965); certificates for membership in the “International Confederation of Book Actors” (see correspondence above); two sheet music items inscribed to Condon from Irving Berlin; Condon’s biorhythm charts; blueprints, letters, and plans regarding Condon’s house; eight agenda books of Condon’s (1963-1968); a color sketch by Hank Ketcham; legal material regarding the estate of Condon’s father, Richard Condon, Sr., and the marriage of Condon to Evelyn Hunt; medical material that lists Condon’s surgeries, major diseases, and fractures; several of Condon’s datebooks (1962-1994); an address book; Condon’s awards for Prizzi’s Honor (1985) from the Writer’s Guild of America and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association; Condon’s award for excellence from the North Dallas (Texas) Chamber of Commerce (1986); a red ribbon from the Texas Literary Festival (1987); and several subject files regarding various topics.

Material regarding Franklin Heller includes a binder of photocopied pages from various Condon novels showing Heller’s “appearances,” as well as a datebook and calendar of his from 1970. Material from Condon’s younger years includes several early writings, including three children’s stories (unfinished), six stories collectively titled The Horse Books, a novel titled A Shrewdness of Apes, and other stories and writings, primarily regarding horses; five photographs (1926-1929); an autograph book from Condon’s eighth grade class (Nov. 30, 1930); a biology class notebook (1930); three swimming medals (1932) and Condon’s high school letter in swimming (June 1933); souvenirs from Condon’s Dollar Line world tour (1933); and Condon’s yearbook, the Clintonian, from Dewitt Clinton High School in New York City, dated 1933, his graduating year (Art Buchwald, Condon’s sometime collaborator, graduated in the same class).

A significant portion of material in the collection concerns The Summer Music. In addition to the material mentioned above, the collection includes Franklin Heller’s notes and journals on the project (1962-1965) and his desk calendars (1965-1969), as well as other diary notes; numerous clippings and tearsheets about potential actors, writers, directors, etc.; stationery with the film’s title and logo; a “recap of the entire history of the project to March 1969” as well as other, later recaps and project synopses; logo designs; budget and accounting papers; letters, research, and manuscripts about a projected British version titled Brain Drain ; a microfilm of the script; transcribed telephone calls (1963), including calls to Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Rock Hudson; various legal and financial documents, including contracts; photographs taken on location searches (1962); several reel-to-reel and audio cassette recordings of meetings, telephone calls, and conversations between Condon, Franklin Heller, and others involved in the project (1959-1969); recordings of Dave Brubeck performing projected music; numerous financial items; and other material.

Notable Figures
1. Condon, Richard
Associated Subjects
1. Literary Collections Subject Guide
2. Theatre and Film Subject Guide
3. Humor, Comedy, and Satire Subject Guide
4. Cuisine, Nutrition, and Agriculture Subject Guide
5. Public Relations Subject Guide