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Synopsis: Born 1880. Shot dead 1911. Buried 1977. These are the critical dates in the extraordinary life and afterlife of Elmer McCurdy. Elmer McCurdy's first thirty-one years in this world didn't add up to much. He was a hobo, a plumber-come-miner, who'd jumped a train and drifted west on the back of an infectious, turn-of-the-century optimism. He was a drunk too, and, soon enough, a failed train robber. In 1911, in an attempt to blow open the safe of a train, McCurdy fused $40,000 to the safe's walls. Later that year he robbed the wrong train and rode away with a haul that was described by the papers as 'one of the smallest in the history of train robbery.' Within days he was dead -- shot by a sheriff and his posse in a gun battle on a ranch. At this point McCurdy, like millions of others, should have slipped quietly from memory. But, in death, he accidentally found fame. From the Joseph Johnson Funeral Home, where the owner propped McCurdy's mummified cadaver up and charged a nickel-a-look, to the sideshows of the Great Patterson Carnival, McCurdy became big business. In 1928 he was the star attraction in a carnival that accompanied an extraordinary transcontinental running race from Los Angeles to New York. He was the 'Oklahoma Outlaw', admired as a hero in a criminal league to which he'd never truly belonged. And then, in the 1940s and 1950s, he was reinvented for a series of Hollywood exploitation films, before winding up painted day-glo orange and hanging by his neck in the Laff in the Dark ghost tunnel in Long Beach. He was found here in 1976 during the filming of an episode of 'The Six Million Dollar Man' and finally handed over to the authorities. Mark Svenvold unravels this remarkable story -- a dead body's journey through the 20th-century -- with the sensitivity the dead are due. Part travel book, part exposition of the bizarre and exotic corners of the American entertainment industry, part meditation on death and its meanings, 'Elmer McCurdy' is a unique and gripping biography.
About the Author: Mark Svenvold is Visiting Professor of English at Brucknell University, where he teaches creative writing. He is an award-winning poet and his non-fiction journalism has appeared in Icon/Thoughtstyles and Harper's Bazaar. He lives in New York City.
Title: Elmer McCurdy: The Misadventures in Life and...
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd
Publication Date: 2004
Book Condition: Good
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2004. Paperback. Condition: Used; Good. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. This book is in good condition but will show signs of previous ownership. Please expect some creasing to the spine and/or minor damage to the cover. Seller Inventory # CHL1311153
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2004. Paperback. Condition: Used; Very Good. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. Though second-hand, the book is still in very good shape. Minimal signs of usage may include very minor creasing on the cover or on the spine. Seller Inventory # CHL1526205
Book Description Fourth Estate 15/03/2004, 2004. Condition: Very Good. This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. . Seller Inventory # 7719-9781841153230
Book Description Fourth Estate 15/03/2004, 2004. Condition: Very Good. Shipped within 24 hours from our UK warehouse. Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal wear to the cover. Spine still tight, in very good condition. Remember if you are not happy, you are covered by our 100% money back guarantee. Seller Inventory # 6545-9781841153230
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2004. Paperback. Condition: Used; Good. We are committed to providing each customer with the highest standard of customer service. All books are picked, packed and dispatched from the United Kingdom. Seller Inventory # FH1571036
Book Description Fourth Estate 2004-03-15, 2004. Paperback. Condition: Very Good. All books are pre-owned and will have been read by someone else before you. They may well show signs of minor wear and tear. Please note, cover images are illustrative only, and the actual book cover and edition can vary. Seller Inventory # 9781841153230-21
Book Description Fourth Estate, 2004. Condition: Very Good. Seller Inventory # U9781841153230
Book Description Fourth Estate Ltd. PAPERBACK. Condition: Very Good. 1841153230. Seller Inventory # LION0003801
Book Description Fourth Estate Ltd, 2004. Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Seller Inventory # 1841153230-2-4
Book Description Fourth Estate Ltd. PAPERBACK. Condition: Very Good. 1841153230 Little edge wear. Seller Inventory # Z1841153230Z2