Saturday, September 22, 2018

Frank Yerby, Black novelist whose bestseller was adapted for the big screen in Hollywood

Author Frank Yerby Pens Seven Novels In Seven Years - Jet ...

Ever read or heard of the book "The Foxes of Harrow?" It was a smash bestseller back in 1946 and was purchased by a Hollywood studio the same year and was given the H'wood treatment in 1947. It was released as "The Little Foxes."

It was a damned good movie about the in-fighting, treachery and greed of a rich, prominent, White Southern family. My mom loved that film because one of her favorite actresses was in it - Bette Davis. Rex Harrison starred too. I saw it years later and have to admit old Bette put the work in and commanded every scene she was in

But more interestingly, the book it was based on was written by Mister Frank Yerby. A Black man who probably would have had to sit in the "peanut gallery" (the upper mezzanine where it was hard to see the total film as the top part of the screen was partially covered by the friggin' curtains above it), that lovely viewing area to which Black folks were relegated in a movie theater at the time.

Yerby, a Georgia native, a graduate of Paine College and Fisk University, took up writing after he dropped out of the University of Chicago's doctoral program in education. Wow. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during THAT conversation with his parents.

Anyhoo, Yerby beat the odds and wrote 33 books, mostly centered on White Southerners and established a track record of success.  He left America (um, I wonder why) and settled in Spain. He remained there until his death


The Foxes of Harrow
A Woman Called Fancy
Pride's Castle
The Voyage Unplanned
The Girl from Storyville
The Dahomean ( 1971 release considered to be his best work)
and many more

Frank Yerby

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