Sunday, August 17, 2014

Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan, Now a Film Franchise

This week successful Hollywood screenwriter, producer, Shane Salerno announced the film franchise of Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan best-selling series.  In the 1970s, at the height of Don Pendleton's success with the original series, Don had this to say about his books:  "I do believe that I have managed to utilize highly, highly dramatic situations, perhaps bordering on the melodramatic to bring out the deeper values that are inherent in all human life.  I’m very strongly aware that many young and impressionable readers read my books and I feel a sense of responsibility there.  I work very hard to see that my hero is a truly three dimensional person with very high purpose.  I try to present the things he does in the context of tremendous meaning."
"I will never apologize to anyone for my Executioner books.  I feel they are a testament to the human spirit of mankind and I find it personally gratifying that the books have evoked such a wide response in the American reader.  And it has been a wide response, not just in the numbers of books sold but in the cross section of American society who happen to be reading the books.  The readers are professional people, white collar workers, blue collar people, military people, men, women, children from age twelve to age ninety four.  The books are more than simple escape literature.  The books do actually involve the reader in a rather high cause–the perpetration of human excellence, high human values, and besides that, they are just entertaining, that’s all."
"Beyond that, I don’t know how to evaluate the books.  I doubt very much that any writer can really give a purely objective evaluation of his work.  The only sort of gauge I have is in the way I feel when I write those final words, The End.  If I have a good feeling when I put those words down, then I feel I have accomplished my objective.  I’ve said what I’ve started out to say and told the story I started out to tell, and if I finish the book feeling good then I have to assume that the reader will finish the book feeling the same way–and that’s really my primary goal."
"I want to entertain and along with the entertainment, I do want to include something that does dignify the work a bit.  That doesn’t mean that the time spent reading the book is lost time-completely frittered away–but that along with the entertainment there has been a few moments of perhaps introspection on the part of the reader, perhaps a little bit of understanding of the world about him."
"I don’t suppose the books will ever go down in the big registry of great literary masterpieces, as certainly, they’re not that.  I could only hope that Mack Bolan will take his place along with such American fictional heroes as Mike Hammer, Travis McGee, Perry Mason, Matt Helm, and of course James Bond, who is not an American hero but an Englishman, but nevertheless, in the same genre.  And I hope it can be said that Mack Bolan is his own man–his own type–and he does stand apart from the other heroes, perhaps no better than they are but unique in his own right, and aside from the hope that the books will have continuing acceptance, that they will continue to sell, this is about the most I could ask for."
~Don Pendleton. 
The photo I took of Don Pendleton autographing a book for the young boy was at the Mack Bolan Convention in San Francisco in 1985.  
Read more at my previous blogs on the 40th Anniversary of Mack Bolan, in 2009, beginning with Part One, The Birth of Mack Bolan