Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Case of the Missing Paperback

With books like Airport Arthur Hailey (1920 - 2004) must be one of Canada's most commercially successful writers. His first book, co-written with John Castle (joint pseudonym of John William Garrod & Ronald Charles Payne), was Flight Into Danger, published simultaneously in 1958 by Ryerson Press, Toronto and Souvenir Press Ltd., London. It was based on a CBC play broadcast in 1956. The story proved to be very popular with a film in 1957 (as Zero Hour!) and new broadcasts in the UK (1962) and the US (1971 as Terror in the Sky). And of course famously spoofed in Airplane! (1980).

More editions followed. The book was published by Doubleday in 1958 as Runway Zero-Eight with Bantam issuing the first American paperback in 1960 under the same title. The UK paperback edition came out in 1958 (London: Pan) and a French edition came along in 1959 under the title 714 Appelle Vancouver. But Canadians would wait 18 years for a paperback edition. And then it was an odd one from Clarke, Irwin of Toronto. Described as an educational edition on the copyright page, it is abridged with six pages of questions and topics for further study prepared by Norah K. Morrow. The abridgement alone is odd as the original edition is just 154 pages long. The Clarke, Irwin edition is longer at 158 pages but has a larger font size. Somewhere in the publisher's archives at McMaster University is the story about this book.

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