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HALDEMAN, Joe [James Kahn?]

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Price: $500.00

New York: Warner Books, (1982). First Edition. 8vo. Publisher's original wraps. Wraps sunned at spine. Minor soil and edge-wear. Offsetting from removed correction and sticker at front panel. Interior bright and clean. Correction slip pasted to title page. Very good. 301pp. (Item ID: 16890)

Uncorrected page proofs (stated) of POLTERGEIST, the novelization of Steven Spielberg's cult film of the same name. Originally adapted by Joe Haldeman, a noted science fiction author, it appears that the publisher eventually published this adaptation as that of writer James Khan (best known for his novelization of Return of the Jedi). However, we've compared the proof and the final version and find no differences between the two, so whose work this really is remains unclear. The title page of this volume has a slip pasted in replacing Haldeman's name with James Kahn, while the cover reflects Haldeman's name. Haldeman has written of the experience: "My previous agent, Kirby McCauley, was a good friend, too, but like a lot of us he's impressed by famous people. Steven Spielberg called him up and asked for me to write the novelization of Poltergeist [...] [T]hey gave me the script. It was absolutely appalling [...] About halfway through the movie there's an awful scene where the young boy Robbie wakes up in the middle of the night and there's a terrible storm, actually a tornado. He walks hypnotized down the hall toward a shattered window. Outside the window is a huge old tree that has a slippery red mouth full of teeth [...] What was going on here was that Spielberg had constructed a $1.5 million special-effects tree, and by god it was going to be used in the movie no matter what. But I wrote to Kathy [the producer] that there was no way I could shoehorn that kind of silliness into a novel. 'I'm sure it will work in the movie,' I told her diplomatically, 'but in cold black type it sucks eggs.' She evidently agreed -- or more likely, didn't care one way or the other -- but the week after I finished the book, Spielberg got around to sorting through the memoes and, of course, took offense.[...] Spielberg kicked me off the project and hired another, faster, writer. I've never read that book, either. (My version of Poltergeist did get printed into bound galleys before Spielberg killed it; I've signed two or three of them for collectors. My most rare book, by a couple of orders of magnitude. Possibly not my worst.)" Halderman's account suggests the text remained his while the final product was simply issued under Kahn's name. However, to our knowledge this has never been definitively proven. Still, a scarce edition (with none in trade as of 9/2017) of a classic 1980s horror film.

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