Yesterday was my delightful beloved ex-husband John Payne's birthday and I've lately been searching thrift stores for an interesting addition to complete his birthday gift. Anyone who knows me knows that two of my favorite things in the world are my delightful beloved ex-, John Payne and thrift store scouring. I comb through the charity shops so regularly that I'm recognized and greeted like family. Austin's Burnet Road has the best thrift and second-hand shops; from "Top Drawer Thrift" and "Assistance League" at one end all the way to "Goodwill" on Research Blvd. at the other. "Bethesda Resale" sadly closed its doors but as it was replaced by the super Monkey Nest Coffee (monkeynestcoffee.com), I won't complain.
I set out expecting to spend a whole morning in the hunt for that little something special but was surprised to find what I was looking for at my first stop, an antique book called:
"JOHN PAYNE and the Menace at Hawk's Nest"
Story by Kathryn Heisenfelt. Illustrated by Henry E. Vallely
Copyright 1943 by Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin
How exciting! A book with his name in the title! Since JP was born in 1951, he would've grown up with this style of book, early "pulp fiction" by the looks of it. The black and white illustrations were great, and it became clear from one with the caption, "John Smiled Despite His Concern" that the John Payne in the novel looked rather like real-live John Payne...hurrah!
Then I noticed the following writing: Except the authorized use of the name of John Payne, all names, events, places and characters in this book are entirely fictitious.
I was aware there was another, more famous John Payne...his most memorable film was Miracle on 34th Street...but I didn't know that writers in those days created novels around film actors, using them as the stars of books as well as movies. I went on-line and found that I was right -- those who know me know that I am indeed usually right -- there was a photo of movie star, John Payne, the same man as in the book!
Real-live John Payne was thrilled with his story of fictionalized John Payne based on once-real-live-but-now-dead John Payne. He started reading it last night. With chapters entitled: "Call of Distress" and "Old Gran is Valuable" and "A Little Sharp Knife," there's fun on the horizon. And with illustrations such as: "John Payne Was Eager to See His Old Friend" and "He Trained the Gun on Old Gran" and "Well, Son, Gettin' Yourself into Trouble?" he's back in his boy-hood world of grave danger, great adventure and...er...grand-mothers...