Edwin Blum

Biography

Edwin Harvey Blum grew up in San Francisco and moved to Los Angeles in 1933 with hopes of a screenwriting career in Hollywood. He was initially employed as ghost writer and assistant to Ernest Pascal, who later served as third president of the Screen Writers Guild (1935 to 1937). In 1938, Blum was hired under contract by 20th Century Fox, co-writing the imaginative script for Die Abenteuer des Sherlock Holmes (1939), based on the stage play by William Gillette, rather than on the original stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. Blum also penned the original screenplay for the musical comedy The Great American Broadcast (1941), starring Alice Faye, before free-lancing variously for Columbia, MGM and Paramount. He was critically acclaimed for his solo effort on Das Gespenst von Canterville (1944), and subsequently nominated (along with Billy Wilder) for a Writers Guild Award for the World War II prisoner-of-war drama Stalag 17 (1953). Blum made occasional forays into writing for the stage. However, his two attempts at Broadway in 1936 and 1938, were conspicuous failures. He had more success in 1960, winning a Ford Foundation Prize for "The Saving Grace". Focusing his interest on Democratic politics during the 1950's resulted in significantly fewer contributions to the screen. In 1950, Blum became involved in managing former actress Helen Gahagan's unsuccessful senatorial bid against Richard Nixon in California (it is entirely conceivable, that Nixon's nickname 'Tricky Dick' -- first uttered in a speech by Gahagan -- originated with Edwin Blum). Much of Blum's other work involved writing jokes or speeches for presidential candidates Adlai Stevenson and Hubert H. Humphrey. He continued to write, albeit sporadically, for television, until his retirement in 1977.

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