“I DID MAKE A SERIOUS MISTAKE IN PRESCRIBING TRANQUILIZERS AND QUAALUDES FOR CHUCKY”: LETTER SIGNED BY ELMORE LEONARD
LEONARD, Elmore. Typed letter signed on letterhead stationery. Birmingham, Michigan: 1983. Quarto sheet (8-1/2 by 11 inches), typed on one side. $450.
Typed letter signed, on Leonard’s stationery from his Michigan home, in response to Dr. Leopold Bellak’s letter, included here, in which Bellak praises Leonard for the understanding of Attention Deficit Disorder he displays in his 1983 crime novel Stick.
In Leonard’s novel, the character Chucky is afflicted with ADD, then known as MBD (Minimal Brain Dysfunction). Dr. Bellak specialized in the treatment of adult MBD at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and wrote in his letter to Leonard of April 25, 1983, that he “was very much impressed [that Leonard] should know the condition so well and built Chucky on it.” Leonard responded to Bellak’s note almost immediately, reflecting, “I guess as I began trying to picture [Chucky], give him life, one thing led to another. For some reason I saw him as a hyperactive child— and I very rarely go back that far into a character’s past. The only thing I was sure of, I wanted to make him an oddball.” In response to Dr. Bellak’s informing him that “amphetamine-like drugs have a tranquilizing effect on people with MBD,” Leonard admitted: “I did make a serious mistake in prescribing tranquilizers and quaaludes for Chucky rather than amphetamines.” As an aside, Leonard mentions that Roy Scheider is up for the part of Stick in the movie version; in fact, Burt Reynolds played the part in the 1985 film he also directed. Finally, Leonard recounts his next work, La Brava, which was published the same year as Stick, and which is said to have clinched his reputation.
Small closed marginal tear, not affecting text. A witty, personal letter in near-fine condition.