STEINBECK, JOHN. 1902-1968.
Autograph Letter Signed ("John"), in pencil, 1 p, folio, n.p., June 22, 1960, to Annie Laurie Williams, on yellow lined paper, regarding the lapse of the option on The Short Reign of Pippin IV, leaf creased and mildly toned.
Annie Laurie Williams was Steinbeck's theatrical agent from 1937, when she shepherded the successful adaptation of Of Mice and Men to the New York stage, through the end of his life. Steinbeck writes here regarding the prospects for his 1957 work, The Short Reign of Pippin IV: "Enclosed you will find the letter Columbia signed. I'll be glad to have Pippin back ... Before I came out here I was calling on Harry Buckman [Steinbeck's attorney]. It was a social call ... We talked for over an hour about everything among them Pippin. He said he had always thought of it as a musical first and afterward a picture based on the musical. This makes great sense to me. Please think about it."
Steinbeck's instincts (and that of his attorney) were correct: in 1972, Stephen Schwartz created the musical Pippin based on the same source material but not indebted to Steinbeck's work; today Schwartz's version is a classic of the modern musical theater genre.