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Obsess Some More

April 18th, 2005 (05:19 pm)

The Young Rajah story, con't:

So after talking to the film historian guy, I figured I’d go find a copy of Amos Judd, the once-popular book that The Young Rajah was based on. (It looks like the movie came out four years after the author died.) I don’t think the book is in print, although it's not very hard to find a copy on eBay. My public library doesn’t have it, but the local university does, so I stopped in there on Saturday to make copies.

Well, their copy is dated 1896, and I doubt it’s been opened in decades. I took it to the copying machine and started off. It soon became clear that the book was in no shape to be copied – the spine started falling apart and pages started separating as I went along. I took it up to the circulation desk and told them the book was too fragile to copy. They seemed okay with that – they’re going to take it to restoration, but it’ll be gone for several months. They had no problem with me taking it back and further ruining it in the process of making the rest of my copies, but I couldn’t do that in good conscience. So I went over to the public library (was headed there anyway) and asked them about it. They’re getting it Interlibrary Loan, but I’m not sure it’s any sturdier than the university copy. Meanwhile, I saw it on eBay for $1.95; that's another option.

On Sunday I had a couple of hours to kill on Amtrak, so I started reading what I had copied on the train; and, although the concept is dated (they’ve got the whole Mysterious Orient thing going on), it actually could be done today with appropriate updating / rewriting (possibly as a period piece). As long as they actually weren’t patronizing and focused on the fantastic aspects of the story...

It was kinda cool to sit there with a 109-yr old book and find out what was popular around that period (the movie was done in the early '20's). And I just found out the author created Life Magazine. Cool beans.

I also emailed the film historian guy asking about posters for the movie (I’ve seen only stills when I search around). Guess I’m on a The Young Rajah jag right now.