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Drunkenness, however, became Chandler's personal nemesis. "At the annual oil and gas banquets of 1,000 rollicking oil men at the Biltmore," said one Dabney executive, "Chandler was a shadowy figure, stinko drunk and hovering in the wings with a bevy of showgirls, a nuisance." 4 He began to disappear from work, took up with a secretary and eventually threatened suicide. In 1932, the cellar of the Depression, Chandler was fired. He was forty-four, with a sixty-two-year-old wife and a drinking problem. Fleeing to Seattle, he lived with army buddies, and then "wandering up and down the Pacific Coast, I began to read pulp magazines," he wrote: "This was in the great days of Black Mask and it struck me that some of the writing was pretty forceful and honest, even though it had its crude aspect. I decided that this might be a good way to try to learn to write fiction and get paid a small amount of money at the same time." 5

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In the most bizarre incident of his life, Chandler arranged to finish the shooting script in an alcoholic siege. Paramount had two limos standing by at his house, six secretaries in teams of two for dictation and typing, and a doctor to give him glucose injections, since he wouldn't be eating while he drank and wrote. The limos took script to the studio, brought the doctor for Cissy, and took the maid shopping. When Houseman arrived he would find the writer passed out at the table and waken him. Chandler wrote another page and drank. Eventually he finished the screenplay of , as well as all revisions required by the producer. The movie brought him more fame (an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay) but doctoring of the final script had reduced Chandler's touch to a few sections of dialogue. 17

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What Chandler really wanted was out of the movie business, but after years of poverty he couldn't bear to part with the cushion. He denounced "Writers in Hollywood" for the Atlantic, which had featured his earlier " but he enjoyed consulting on Howard Hawks' version of in 1946. William Faulkner and Leigh Brackett were the script-writers, and Lauren Bacall the stars. The Chandlers made their last move that year, to a new house at 6005 Camino de la Costa, overlooking the Pacific in La Jolla. 18

February 14, 2018

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We had a truck carrying pipe in Signal Hill... and the pipe stuck out quite a long way but there was a red lantern on it, according to law. A car with two drunken sailors and two drunken girls crashed into it and filed actions for $1,000 a piece.... The insurance company said, "Oh well, it costs a lot of money to defend these suits, and we'd rather settle." I said, "That's all every well. It doesn't cost you anything to settle. You simply put the rates up. If you don't want to fight this case, and fight it competently, my company will fight it." "At your own expense?" "Of course not. We'll sue you for what it costs us, unless you pay without that necessity." He walked out of the office. 3

February 20, 2018

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Chandler, thirty-one, tried writing for the Los Angeles Daily Express, but he left after six weeks. When his mother came to live with him, Chandler took a job with the Dabney Oil Syndicate. He was still in love with Cissy Pascal; when she divorced he rented an apartment for her in Hermosa Beach, while he lived nearby in Redondo Beach with his mother. Only after his mother died in 1924 did they marry.

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Here Chandler settled into a routine of writing mornings, joining Cissy for lunch, then driving into La Jolla to do afternoon chores. He took tea with his wife at four, ate what the maid prepared for dinner, listened to Cissy play piano or to recorded music, and went to bed early. He played a bit of tennis and socialized with a few writers, but he was generally retiring. Few people saw the inside of his house. Even as he completed in 1948, he wrote his agent that Marlowe "is too valuable to let die out. But I find myself spoofing more and more." 19 Sales of this book were respectable and the rights sold well, though the novel was bitter about L.A., especially Hollywood.