London Pubs: The Edgar Wallace

London, Reading & Writing

Tucked into the back of Temple near the law courts is the Edgar Wallace, a perfectly nice traditional pub in an alley crowded with lawyers, but I wonder if even Londoners remember who Edgar Wallace was. The English crime writer, journalist, novelist, screenwriter and playwright wrote 175 novels and 24 plays. His ‘Edgar Wallace Mysteries’ used to run on the lower halves of double bills in British cinemas when I was a boy. Over 160 of them were made from his novels, more than any other author.

In the 1920s, Wallace’s publishers claimed that a quarter of all books read in England were written by him. He is most famous today as the co-creator of King Kong, writing the early screenplay and story for the movie, as well as the short story “King Kong” (1933) credited to him and Draycott Dell. He was known for the J. G. Reeder detective stories, The Four Just Men, The Ringer, and for creating the Green Archer character, now all forgotten. But the pub that bears his name lives on. I’m surprised this habit hasn’t continued into the modern world, although I wouldn’t want to drink in The Jeffrey Archer. You’d always have to be checking your change.

3 comments on “London Pubs: The Edgar Wallace”

  1. Mary says:

    I can recall, with pleasure, the ‘turning head’ and the ‘Man of Mystery’ theme tune to the Edgar Wallace shortish films. The cinema was a true adventure to me…then!

  2. Helen Martin says:

    There is a semi-graphic novel version of King Kong with incredible illustrations by Anthony Browne. It is usually described as a ‘picture book’ but if you look carefully at the pictures (coloured, on each page)you’ll find all sorts of things. The whole story is there in the text, too.Highly recommended.

  3. Ian says:

    They used to repeat Mysteries Of Edgar Wallace on TV in late 80s. Great theme tune by The Shadows.

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