Clarence Budington Kelland

Clarence Budington "Bud" Kelland (July 11, 1881 – February 18, 1964) was an American writer. He once described himself as "the best second-rate writer in America".[1]

Although largely forgotten now, Kelland had a long career as a writer of fiction and short stories, stretching from 1913 to 1960. He was published in many magazines, including The Saturday Evening Post and The American Magazine. A prolific writer, his output included sixty novels and some two hundred short stories. His best known juvenile works were the Mark Tidd series and the Catty Atkins series, while his best known adult work was the Scattergood Baines series.[2] Other notable adult books by Kelland include Conflict (1920), Rhoda Fair (1925), Hard Money (1930), Arizona (1939), and Dangerous Angel (1953).[3] Kelland was the "literary idol" of the teenaged John O'Hara.[4] He was referred to in a 1995 installment of Harlan Ellison's television commentary, Harlan Ellison's Watching for the program Sci-Fi Buzz, wherein Ellison laments what he perceives as a prevailing cultural illiteracy[5]

Kelland's work resulted in some thirty Hollywood movies,[6] including Speak Easily (1932) starring Buster Keaton. Opera Hat, a serial from The American Magazine, was the basis for the film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) starring Gary Cooper.[7] Opera Hat later was turned into the short-lived television series Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1969–70), and the movie Mr. Deeds (2002). One of Kelland's best-known characters was featured in the Scattergood Baines series of six films from 1941 to 1943, starring Guy Kibbee.


Kelland was born in Portland, Michigan, and attended public schools in Detroit. After completing two years of high school, he took a job in a chair factory, studying law at night.[8] He earned a law degree from Detroit College of Law in 1902, but practiced law for less than a year. From 1903 to 1907, he worked at the Detroit News as a reporter, political editor, and Sunday editor.[9]

Kelland married Betty Caroline Smith in 1907, and at the urging of his father-in-law, left the newspaper business and moved to Vermont for a short period to run a clothespin mill with his brother. By 1907, he had returned to Detroit to work for The American Boy magazine, beginning as a proofreader, and moving up to become editor. Circulation grew from 90,000 at the beginning of his tenure, to 360,000 in 1915 when he left the magazine. From 1913 to 1915, he also lectured on juvenile literature and writing at the University of Michigan.[10] Kelland had two sons with Betty, Thomas Smith Kelland (1910–1989), and Horace Kendall Kelland (1913–2010).[11] Tom Kelland also wrote for a living, working a newspaper reporter in New York.[12]

Kelland made the news during the Great Depression when he refused to pay a $3,313 bill from dressmaker Hattie Carnegie, Inc., for purchases by his wife from February 27, 1931, to February 27, 1932, stating he was not liable for payment because the purchases were not "necessaries". His wife supported him, stating that she, not he, should have received the bill.[13] Kelland lost the action, and had to pay the full amount.[14] In that same year, Kelland was director of the Bank of North Hempstead in Port Washington, New York. The bank failed, tying up most of his securities.[15]

Kelland bought a house in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1937, and became active in national politics at about the same time.[15] He was politically active as a Republican, serving as the Republican National Committeeman from Arizona from 1940 to 1956.[9] Before 1941, he was a non-interventionist, opposing U.S. involvement in what became the Second World War.[16] Earlier, in the 1920s, he had favored complete exclusion of the Japanese from the U.S., saying, "I have believed for many years that the Japanese menace is a real one."[17] His passionate dislike for the New Deal seemed to have spurred his entry into national politics. Time magazine referred to him as "pugnacious", "vitriolic", "peppery", and "gaunt-faced"—a description at odds with the whimsical character of Kelland's fictional characters.[15] He was as harsh on his fellow Republicans as he was on Democrats, blaming Eisenhower for "wrecking" the party.[18] He was particularly critical of Eisenhower's appointment of Earl Warren to the Supreme Court.

From the mid-'20s forward, Kelland served as the toastmaster at the weekly luncheons of New York's Dutch Treat Club. In 1940, when he was president of the club, Kelland said "the fifth column in this country is headed by that fellow in the White House", i.e., President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Author Hendrik Willem Van Loon resigned from the Club to protest this "disparaging" remark.[19]

Later in life, Kelland became vice president and director of Phoenix Newspaper Group, which published the Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Gazette. He died in Scottsdale, Arizona, on February 18, 1964.[9]

His character Scattergood Baines was the protagonist in a series of six movies, all starring Guy Kibbee as Baines, beginning with Scattergood Baines (1941) and ending with Cinderella Swings It (1943).


Mark Tidd juvenile series

  • Mark Tidd: His Adventures and Strategies (Harpers 1913)
  • Mark Tidd in the Backwoods (1914)
  • Mark Tidd in Business (1915)
  • Mark Tidd's Citadel (1916)
  • Mark Tidd, Editor (1917)
  • Mark Tidd, Manufacturer (1918)
  • Mark Tidd in Italy (1925)
  • Mark Tidd in Egypt (1926)
  • Mark Tidd in Sicily (1928)
  • Mark Tidd in Palestine (serialized in American Boy 1926-1927)
  • Mark Tidd in Paris (serialized in American Boy 1929-1930)
  • Mark Tidd Back Home (serialized in American Boy 1931)

Catty Atkins juvenile series

  • Catty Atkins (1920)
  • Catty Atkins, Riverman (1921)
  • Catty Atkins, Sailorman (1922)
  • Catty Atkins, Financier (1923)
  • Catty Atkins, Bandmaster (1924)

Scattergood Baines series

  • Scattergood Baines (1921)
  • Scattergood Returns (1940)
  • Scattergood Baines Pulls the Strings (1941)

Other books

  • Quizzer No. 20, Being Questions and Answers on Insurance (1911)
  • Thirty Pieces of Silver (1913)
  • The American Boy's Workshop: Each Subject by an Expert (ed.) (1914)
  • Into His Own: The Story of an Airedale (1915)
  • The Hidden Spring (1916)
  • Sudden Jim (1917)
  • The Source (1918)
  • The Little Moment of Happiness (1919)
  • Highflyers (1919)
  • Efficiency Edgar (1920)
  • Youth Challenges (1920)
  • Conflict (1922)
  • Contraband (1923)
  • The Steadfast Heart (1924)
  • Miracle (1925)
  • Rhoda Fair (1926)
  • Dance Magic (1927)
  • Knuckles (1928)
  • Dynasty (1929)
  • Hard Money (1930)
  • Gold (1931)
  • Speak Easily (1931)
  • The Great Crooner (1933)
  • Tombstone (1933)
  • The Cat's Paw (1934)
  • The Jealous House (1934)
  • Dreamland (1935)
  • Roxana (1936)
  • Spotlight (1937)
  • Star Rising (1938)
  • Arizona (1939)
  • Skin Deep (1939)
  • Valley of the Sun (1940)
  • Silver Spoon (1941)
  • Sugarfoot (1942)
  • Archibald the Great (1943)
  • Heart on Her Sleeve (1943)
  • Alias Jane Smith (1944)
  • Land of the Torreones (1946)
  • Double Treasure (1946)
  • Merchant of Valor (1947)
  • Murder for a Million (1947)
  • This Is My Son (1948)
  • Desert Law (1949)
  • The Comic Jest (play) (1949)
  • Stolen Goods (1950)
  • The Great Mail Robbery (1951)
  • The Key Man (1952)
  • Dangerous Angel (1953)
  • Murder Makes an Entrance (1955)
  • The Sinister Strangers (1955)
  • The Case of the Nameless Corpse (1956)
  • Death Keeps a Secret (1956)
  • West of the Law (1958)
  • The Lady and the Giant (1959)
  • Where There's Smoke (1959)
  • Counterfeit Gentleman (1960)
  • The Monitor Affair (1960)
  • Mark of Treachery (1961)
  • The Artless Heiress (1962)
  • Party Man (1962)

See also


  1. ^ John Locke, "Authors and Others," The Ocean: 100th Anniversary Collection (Off-Trail Publications: Castroville, California, 2008), p. 29.
  2. ^ Clarence A. Andrews, Michigan in Literature (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992) pp. 87-88.
  3. ^ James D. Hart, Phillip W. Leiniger, Oxford Companion to American Literature, sixth edition, 1995 (Oxford University Press), pp. 343–344.
  4. ^ Matthew J. Bruccoli, The O'Hara Concern: A Biography of John O'Hara (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1975), p. 28.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Clarence Budington Kelland, America's Forgotten Author", "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2012-10-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) accessed 13 Oct. 2012 21:45 U.T.C.
  7. ^ Clarence A. Andrews, Michigan in Literature (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992) pp. 87–88.
  8. ^ "Michigan Authors and Their Books", Michigan Library Bulletin, vol. 16, no. 4, Sept–Oct. 1925 (Lansing Michigan), pp. 22–24.
  9. ^ a b c "Clarence Budington Kelland" (obituary), Milwaukee Journal, February 19, 1964
  10. ^ John Locke, "Authors and Others", The Ocean: 100th Anniversary Collection (Off-Trail Publications: Castroville, California, 2008), pp. 27–28.
  11. ^ "Clarence Budington 'Bud' Kelland", accessed 13 October 2012 23:08 U.T.C.
  12. ^ George Tucker, "New York", New London Evening Day, August 14, 1940, p. 5.
  13. ^ "Writer Fights Wife's Clothes Bill; 'Uncalled For'", Milwaukee Sentinel, October 11, 1932, p. 14.
  14. ^ "Hattie and Lawsuits," accessed 13 October 2012 22:51 U.T.C.
  15. ^ a b c John Locke, "Authors and Others", The Ocean: 100th Anniversary Collection (Off-Trail Publications: Castroville, California, 2008), p. 30–32.
  16. ^ Ralph Morris Goldman, The National Party Chairmen and Committees: Factionalism at the Top (M.E. Sharpe, 1990), p. 47.
  17. ^ Cornelius Vanderbilt, The Verdict of Public Opinion on the Japanese-American Question (privately printed, 1921), p. 22.
  18. ^ "Kelland Says Ike Condoned Republican Party Slaughter", Lewiston Morning Tribune, December 14, 1958, p. 1.
  19. ^ "Van Loon Quits Club Because of Kelland Remark", San Jose Evening News, May 13, 1940, p. 43.

External links

9th Academy Awards

The 9th Academy Awards were held on March 4, 1937, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. They were hosted by George Jessel; music was provided by the Victor Young Orchestra, which at the time featured Spike Jones on drums. This ceremony marked the first time in which the categories of Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress were awarded.

My Man Godfrey became the first film to receive nominations in all four acting categories, but did not win in any category. It is the only such film to not receive a nomination for Best Picture, and was the only one to lose all of its nominations until Sunset Boulevard at the 23rd Academy Awards. It was also the first of four films to receive four acting nominations without one for Best Picture, followed by I Remember Mama (1948), Othello (1965), and Doubt (2008).

A Woman's Faith

A Woman's Faith is a 1925 American drama film directed by Edward Laemmle and written by Edward T. Lowe Jr. and C.R. Wallace. It is based on the 1925 novel Miracle by Clarence Budington Kelland. The film stars Alma Rubens, Percy Marmont, Jean Hersholt, ZaSu Pitts, Hughie Mack and Cesare Gravina. The film was released on August 9, 1925, by Universal Pictures.

American Writers Association

The American Writers Association (AWA) was an organization formed in 1946 in opposition to an attempt to introduce a form of trade unionism for authors. Its members included writers such as Bruce Barton, John Dos Passos, John Erskine, James T. Farrell, John T. Flynn, Rupert Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Clarence Budington Kelland, Clare Boothe Luce, Eugene Lyons, Margaret Mitchell, Ayn Rand, Dorothy Thompson and Louis Waldman.The organization formed as a response to the "Cain Plan", a proposal put forth by the novelist and screenwriter James M. Cain. In July 1946, Cain proposed that an "American Authors' Authority" be created to act as a central repository for copyrights, and additionally negotiating collectively for authors to give them greater bargaining power. The AWA opposed this plan. Many AWA members considered the Cain Plan to be an attempt by Communists to gain control over copyrights. Flynn compared the Authority's board of governors to the politburo of the Soviet Union. Cain responded by referring to members of the AWA as "reactionary, almost incomprehensibly censorious".In September 1946, a group of 50 writers signed a joint letter to Elmer Rice, president of the Authors League of America, to announce the group's formation. The AWA soon found backing from radio and film producers, as well as newspaper editors and publishers. The group held meetings and began a newsletter. Erskine was initially elected as the group's leader, but he was soon succeeded by Hughes. Flynn, Lyons and Waldman were selected for a "strategy committee".The Cain Plan was quickly defeated, but the AWA continued to exist for several years after. In 1949, the group supported the Contempt of Congress citations against the Hollywood Ten by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. That same year the AWA denounced the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace as a "fraud", saying its Russian delegates were "prisoners" of that country's Communist authorities.

Cinderella Swings It

Cinderella Swings It is a 1943 American comedy-drama film directed by Christy Cabanne from the screenplay by Michael L. Simmons, based on the series of short stories by Clarence Budington Kelland centered on "Scattergood Baines". Produced and Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, it was released on January 22, 1943 and stars Guy Kibbee and Gloria Warren. It was the last of the six films in the Scattergood series, and its name was changed from Scattergood Swings It, since the franchise was not doing well.

French Heels

French Heels is a lost 1922 American silent romantic comedy film directed by Edwin L. Hollywood and starring Irene Castle. Based on short story "Knots and Windshakes" by Clarence Budington Kelland which appeared in Everybody's Magazine, it was distributed by W. W. Hodkinson.

Highways by Night

Highways by Night is a 1942 American crime drama film directed by Peter Godfrey from a screenplay by Lynn Root and Frank Fenton, based on the story Silver Spoon, by Clarence Budington Kelland. The film stars Richard Carlson and Jane Randolph.


Kelland may refer to:

Clarence Budington Kelland, American author

John Kelland

Peter Kelland

Philip Kelland

Eve Kelland

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (a.k.a. A Gentleman Goes to Town and Opera Hat) is a 1936 American romantic comedy film directed by Frank Capra, starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in her first featured role. Based on the 1935 short story Opera Hat by Clarence Budington Kelland, which appeared in serial form in The American Magazine, the screenplay was written by Robert Riskin in his fifth collaboration with Frank Capra.

Mr. Dodd Takes the Air

Mr. Dodd Takes the Air is a 1937 American musical comedy film. Composer Harry Warren and lyricist Al Dubin were nominated at the 10th Academy Awards in the category of Best Song for "Remember Me".

Scattergood Baines

Scattergood Baines is a 1941 American comedy-drama film. It is based on a novel by Clarence Budington Kelland. The character of Scattergood was also popular during the days of live radio.

In the film, Guy Kibbee plays the title character. The plot has him choosing the small New England town of Cold River to settle down in and, twenty years later, his outmaneuvering of the townspeople both when it comes to large matters (ownership of the local railroad) and small (the pretty new schoolteacher's hair).

Five other Scattergood Baines films, all starring Guy Kibbee, were subsequently made.

Scattergood Survives a Murder

Scattergood Survives a Murder is a 1942 American mystery film directed by Christy Cabanne from a screenplay by Michael L. Simmons, based on the series of short stories about "Scattergood Baines", penned by Clarence Budington Kelland.

Strike Me Pink (film)

Strike Me Pink is a 1936 American musical comedy film directed by Norman Taurog, starring Eddie Cantor and Ethel Merman, and produced by Samuel Goldwyn.

Cantor plays a nebbishy employee of an amusement park, forced to assert himself against a gang of slot-machine racketeers. The climax involves a wild chase over a roller coaster and in a hot-air balloon, filmed at The Pike in Long Beach, California.

The film was Eddie Cantor's sixth of six films for Goldwyn, all produced and released within seven years. The story derives from the novel Dreamland by the once-popular writer Clarence Budington Kelland, reworked as a 1933 stage musical comedy by Ray Henderson for Jimmy Durante.

The American Boy (magazine)

The American Boy was a monthly magazine published by The Sprague Publishing Co. of Detroit, Michigan from November 1899 to August 1941. At the time it was the largest magazine for boys, with a circulation of 300,000, and it featured action stories and advertising for the young boy.

In 1911 a copy cost $0.10, and a years subscription was $1.00. Format was 16" high by 12" wide. Founded by William C. Sprague of the Detroit-based Sprague Publishing Company in 1900, Griffith Ogden Ellis took over as president and editor in 1908. J. Cotner Jr. was secretary and treasurer; H.D. Montgomerie was managing editor and Clarence Budington Kelland was assistant editor. In 1929, Ellis merged the magazine with its rival, Youth's Companion, and in 1939 he sold his interest to his business manager, Elmer Presley Grierson. Franklin M. Reck was managing editor from 1936 to 1941.

The American Magazine

The American Magazine was a periodical publication founded in June 1906, a continuation of failed publications purchased a few years earlier from publishing mogul Miriam Leslie. It succeeded Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly (1876–1904), Leslie's Monthly Magazine (1904–1905), Leslie's Magazine (1905) and the American Illustrated Magazine (1905–1906). The magazine was published through August 1956.

The Cat's-Paw

The Cat’s-Paw (1934) is a comedy film starring Harold Lloyd and directed by Sam Taylor. It was one of the comedian’s few sound films.

The Cat’s Paw, a novel by Clarence Budington Kelland, had appeared in the Saturday Evening Post from August 26-September 30, 1933, when Lloyd read it, and decided to buy the rights to it for $25,000.

The Masked Menace

The Masked Menace is a 1927 American drama film serial directed by Arch Heath and mostly filmed in Berlin, New Hampshire. It was adapted from the story "Still Face" by pulp writer Clarence Budington Kelland and was released in ten chapters. It is now considered to be lost.

The Source (1918 film)

The Source is a lost 1918 American drama silent film directed by George Melford and written by Monte M. Katterjohn and Clarence Budington Kelland. The film stars Wallace Reid, Ann Little, Theodore Roberts, Raymond Hatton, James Cruze, Noah Beery, Sr. and Nina Byron. The film was released on September 8, 1918, by Paramount Pictures.

Thirty-Day Princess

Thirty-Day Princess is a 1934 pre-Code comedy film directed by Marion Gering and starring Sylvia Sidney, Cary Grant and Edward Arnold. The film was based on a story of the same name by Clarence Budington Kelland (which appeared in Ladies' Home Journal in 1933), adapted by Sam Hellman and Edwin Justus Mayer, and written by Preston Sturges and Frank Partos.

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