Friday, March 14, 2008

The haunts of Bill Finger

Bill Finger was not, as is sometimes stated, born in New York City but rather in Denver, unlikely as it sounds.

In his childhood, his family moved to the Bronx, and he stayed in New York for the rest of his life. Not always the Bronx, and not always New York City, but always New York.

He would vacation in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with his first wife, Portia; three of the "new" photos I turned up show them there. In one, he's topless. (In fact, I have a total of three topless Bill photos.)

In the 1960s, Bill spent time on Long Island, specifically Roslyn and Great Neck Plaza.

Wherever he went, it was not behind the wheel. Three of my sources (one of whom was Alvin Schwartz, who also mentioned this in his online column) told me that Bill never got his driver license. Independent of one another, both Charles Sinclair and Bill's second wife said he never once drove them in a car. Some of you might recall that the biography of Bill in Green Lantern #1 stated that one of his odd jobs during the Great Depression was driving a taxi. I'm thinking that was thrown into the mix not in the name of veracity but because it sounded suitably Depression-like, suitably New York-like, or both.

And though he once attended a Passover seder in Texas (unlikely as it sounds), he got there by train or bus. Bill never once flew on an airplane.

In fact, the farthest Bill traveled was after his death. But I'll save the where and why of that for another day, and the what for my book.

Coming soon, though not necessarily in this order: Bill's real name, how I found the man with whom Bill wrote a two-part episode of the 1960s Batman TV show, the former possession of Bill's that man kindly gave me, and more "new" Bill photos.

1 comment:

Chris Duffy said...

I'm really interested in hearing how you've tracked down some of these folks. It's so great that you're doing this. Writers of comics don't get a lot of attention--naturally I guess, since it's a visual artform. But if you imagine Batman without Bill Finger...well, it's not exactly ANYTHING without Bill Finger.