To Alan Collins [Letter 171]

Item Reference Code: 131_13x_010_001

Date(s) of creation

August 20, 1945


Alan Collins


10,000 Tampa Avenue
Chatsworth, California

August 20, 1945

Mr. Alan C. Collins
Curtis Brown, Ltd.
347 Madison Avenue
New York City

Dear Alan:

Thank you for your letter and the samples of the King Features book strips.

I could do a swell job of condensing Roark’s speech into 1,000 words—that’s what I did for the screen-play version. But I can see by the samples that two days of a theoretical speech might be too much for this kind of condensation. So—if the syndicate editors feel they can give me two days, I’ll be very happy. If they feel it’s too much—I’ll agree to just one day and five hundred words, in which I’ll use just the quotes I consider most important and attention-getting.

I don’t mind what you call the “terrific compression”—it amounts to just a long, illustrated synopsis. I think they can do a good job of it—if the writer keeps his narrative as hard and simple as possible and goes easy on the adjectives.

I’d like to make the same suggestion about the illustrations: keep it SIMPLE. My whole book is done by understatement—and I’d like the strip done the same way, if possible. It should be hard, simple, clear-cut, stylized, underdrawn—nothing but the bare essentials, as uncluttered as possible. Of the artists in the samples you sent me, I like Harold Foster best, if I have any choice in the matter—but perhaps they can find someone with a still harder and simpler style of drawing.

If the deal goes through, I’d like to send them some specific suggestions for the artist about how the characters should look, and some advice to the writer about how to condense the story. Being an ex-synopsis writer myself, I know all the tricks of how these things are done. I hope the deal does go through—I’m curious to see the thing illustrated.

I have made hotel reservations in New York for September 8th—and will be there as close to that date as transportation permits.

Sincerely yours,


The Fountainhead was King Features’ first postwar serial. It began in the Los Angeles Herald-Express on December 24, 1945, ran for thirty episodes of 500 words each, and was published in two dozen other US and foreign newspapers.