Gordon Gordon

1912 -
(With wife, Mildred Gordon, and Louis H. Burke) With This Ring, McGraw, 1958.

(Editor with M. Gordon) A Pride of Felons (anthology), Macmillan, 1963.

With M. Gordon, under joint pseudonym, The Gordons; published by Doubleday, except as indicated:

Make Haste to Live, 1950.

FBI Story, 1950.

Campaign Train, 1952.

Case File: FBI, 1953.

The Case of the Talking Bug, 1955 (published in England as Playback , MacDonald & Co., 1955).

The Big Frame, 1957.

Captive, 1957.

Tiger on My Back, 1960.

Operation Terror, 1961.

Menace, 1962.

Undercover Cat, 1963, published as That Darn Cat, 1973.

Power Play, 1965.

Undercover Cat Prowls Again, 1966.

Night before the Wedding, 1969.

The Tumult and the Joy, 1971.

The Informant, 1973.

Catnapped!, 1974.

Ordeal, 1976.

Night after the Wedding, 1979.

Film scripts:

"Experiment in Terror" (based on their book Operation Terror), produced by Columbia Pictures, 1962.

"That Darn Cat" (based on their book Undercover Cat), produced by Walt Disney Productions, 1963.

"According to a Doubleday publicity release, the Gordons began each new novel by sitting down together and plotting the story, using a plot board and thumb-tacking small cards, each containing a plot segment, on it. They also wrote biographies of each character. After dividing the book into episodes, they worked in separate rooms, exchanged copy every few nights and, in their own words, 'blue pencil[led] out everything good that the other one ha[d] done.' What was left, the Gordons said, they sold to Doubleday. The method was successful. Their novels have sold more than twelve million copies in seventeen different countries."

Gordon was born in Anderson, Indiana on March 12, 1912 and married his co-author Mildred Nixon in 1932. "Experiment in Terror," a movie produced by Columbia Pictures was based on their book Operation Terror. The Walt Disney production "That Darn Cat" was based on their novel Undercover Cat.

Make Haste to Live, Power Play, and Case File: FBI are other novels by the Gordons that have been filmed.

Source: Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 1999

We started at the bottom of the ladder, I as a cub reporter earning $12.50 a week on the Tucson, Arizona, Daily Citizen and Mildred as a gal who did everything from editing to sweeping the floor at a magazine that became Arizona Highways.

We worked late in to the night at freelancing and in time were earning more than on our jobs. So we resigned. We wrote pieces from small magazines, news syndicates, and trade papers. We splurged on $25 checks and once ate dinner at a restaurant, actually, when we got a check for $100.

In time we realized that articles had few subsidiary sales while with fiction, there were many--paperbacks, foreign, television, even movies. So we switched to writing novels. What did we know about that field? Nothing. But we were assiduous readers. We read hundreds of "thrillers," past and present.

With our first movie sale, Make Haste to Live, we earned $5,000. Then we learned that the screenwriter got $40,000. From then on, every time we sold a novel--and we did eight--we insisted on writing the script. What did we know about screenplays? Nothing. But again we read and analyzed, read and analyzed. In time we wrote scores of teleplays, a dozen movie scripts.

Our goal was to become good craftsmen. We doubted if we had the talent to make it as truly fine writers. But there is immense satisfaction in doing your best, as limited as that may be, whether you're a carpenter or writer.

In novels we tried to write the kind of stories that we ourselves enjoyed reading. Fast-moving ones with excitement and surprises, flashes of humor, and about very ordinary people, much like ourselves.

Usually the tales were about an innocent person--someone struggling to make a living--who was caught up unexpectedly in a kidnapping, extortion, or blackmail. He was caught up because he just happened to be standing in a certain spot at a certain time, a facet of everyday living that keeps increasing with terrifying regularity. During our newspaper and FBI days we encountered much of this and marveled at the innate courage and jaw-setting of even the quietest victims.

We liked characters who never gave up, no matter the odds, who struggled to live decent lives, who knew there is a God and tomorrow will be better, who loved deeply and who rose above the sordid world in which many of them lived. We have been told by critics that there are no such people, that we were romanticists hiding in the suspense and excitement of very real situations and settings. We admit that our violence was brief, our sex never explicit, and our bad people often had signs of being redeemable. We thank the critics for granting that the stories possessed realism. Because we enjoyed backgrounds in the novels we read, we worked long and hard over the ones in our own books.

Since our third or fourth novel, we used a "continuous suspense situation," a single crime that unfolds in its creation and detection quickly with many logical tangents and twists. Most of our books were morality plays, in that good triumphed over evil. Not a squashy kind of good but that of courage, strength, and high intentions.

SOURCE: St. James Guide to Crime & Mystery Writers, 4th ed. St. James Press, 1996. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: The Gale Group. 2001. (http://www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC)