Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Hano’s Final Inning

Arnold Hano was born in New York City back in March 1922. He grew up to become a copy boy for the New York Daily News, a book editor, an award-winning sportswriter, and the first president of a group dedicated to preserving the “unique village character and cultural heritage” of Laguna Beach, California, where he and his wife had lived since 1955. Oh, and along the way, Hano penned novels—noir thrillers, westerns, and sports yarns, often published under pseudonyms.

Hano finally died this last Sunday, October 24, aged 99.

In its obituary, The Laguna Beach Independent recalls that Hano’s “writing career encompassed 26 books, including A Day in the Bleachers [2004]”—his much-lauded memoir of attending Game 1 of the 1954 World Series—“as well as hundreds of magazine articles and over 200 newspaper columns compiled in It Takes a Villager: Wit and Wisdom by Laguna’s Irreverent Observer [2013].” He also authored the crime yarn So I'm a Heel (1957), which was republished, along with Flint (1957) and The Big Out (1951), in a 2012 Stark House Press omnibus edition titled 3 Steps to Hell. Fellow Southern California author and sometime Rap Sheet contributor Gary Phillips, who composed that omnibus’ introduction, brings my attention to the fact that Hano served as managing editor at Bantam Books, then as editor-in-chief at Lion Books, working with David Goodis and with Jim Thompson “during his most prolific period.”

In an e-mail note, Phillips tells me, “It was my great pleasure to know him and hang out a bit with him and his wife, Bonnie, these past few years. Great guy and wonderful writer.”

Would that we could all be remembered in like fashion.

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