Thursday, September 5, 2019

WUH: Stephen King 1974-79



Stephen King shot out of the gate with the publication of Carrie in 1974. Though the hardcover didn't sell all that well the paperback rights were acquired for a whopping $400,000.00, of which King received half plus royalties. The paperback went on to sell one million copies in its first year.

Over the next five years King followed up with 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, The Stand, and The Dead Zone in quick succession. That's six novels in six years, plus the short story collection Night Shift in 1978 AND the books Rage and The Long Walk written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. Whew!

In 1976 Brian DePalma brought Carrie to the big screen. The movie was a critical and commercial hit, and since King's books were selling like gangbusters Hollywood came a callin'. 'Salem's Lot was turned into a TV mini-series in 1979, The Shining was made into a movie by Stanley Kubrick in 1980 (and later a TV mini-series, written by King and directed by Mick Garris), The Stand became another mini-series directed by Garris, and The Dead Zone was made into a movie in 1983 by David Cronenberg and a TV series in 2002 that ran for six seasons.

Not all King adaptations are created equally, and some can cause division (and derision) among fans of the books. In my opinion things start out very strongly with DePalma, Kubrick, and Cronenberg at the helm of their respective films. In this episode I talk at length about three of my favorite King stories.

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