Irving Wallace, On-screen

Before he made it big as a novelist, Irving Wallace spent the better part of a decade writing scripts for Hollywood films. His credits were unremarkable, and he found the work intellectually and financially unfulfilling. Nevertheless, Wallace would maintain connections to Hollywood for the duration of his career, and he apparently had few reservations about adapting his books for film and television. Starting with The Chapman Report in 1962 and continuing through CBS’s serialization of The Word in 1978, several of Wallace’s novels went on to enjoy a second life on the big and small screens.

Whatever their merits as art or entertainment, these adaptations highlight the cultural (and commercial) cachet of the Irving Wallace brand in the 1960s and 1970s. Whether in print or on-screen, his work seemed guaranteed to attract a large audience. 

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Advertisement for CBS’s television adaptation of The Word, from the Los Angeles Times, TV Times, Nov. 18, 1978. Irving Wallace collection.)