Damon Runyon is everywhere, in all the places I harbour affection; on screen and stage. I just never realised. He is the inspiration for the 1955 film ‘Guys and Dolls’ with Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra, ‘The Lemon Drop Kid’ in 1951 starring Bob Hope, ‘Money from Home’ 1953 starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and ‘Little Miss Marker’ that launched Shirley Temples career in 1934 and was remade with various titles, in 1949 with Bob Hope, 1962 with Tony Curtis and 1980 with Walter Matthau, to name but a few.
All these films I personally rate as being streets ahead of the likes of ‘Casablanca’, not least because at some point someone generally bursts into song and someone makes you smile. And that’s without mentioning the rich stage and radio dramatization presence of the many works of Damon Runyon.
The man wrote for the people and the people liked him, and by all accounts it seems still do, but they don’t make a song and dance about it.