Dan Morgan and the Richest Corpse in Show Business.
As such reality TV programs as Love Island and hunted return to our screens would you expect such shows to be subject of a science fiction story written by a Spalding author in 1966? Would you believe at that date the horror of "Squid Game" could be predicted. Certainly that is what Spalding author and polymorph Dan Morgan achieved in his book The Richest Corpse in Show Business.
As a child in the 1970's I spent much of my time at my father's TV shop at 4 New Road, Spalding, just a few doors away from this shop at the top of Chapel Lane was Dan Morgan's shop, "Dannys". Dannys was famous throughout the area for being a quality jeans shop. I remember Dan Morgan as a slim, quietly spoken man that wore bright coloured, tailored clothes, square wire fram glasses and a very tidy goatie beard with a point on it. When he called into my father's shop for bits and pieces I often found him fascinating to listen to. Little did I know at that age that he was a polymorph with many talents.
Dan Morgan was an accomplished jazz, blues and spanish guitar player. In the 1950's he had played in Big Bill Campbell's band - a famous radio band of its day. The first Gibson guitar I ever saw was in his hands. Few realise that he wrote and sold the best-selling guitar playing book of its day that outsold Bert Weedon's famous, " Play in a Day". He also wrote a book teaching people how to sail board with him being an early adopter of this sport. In addition to this Dan Morgan wrote several science-fiction books. I remember him showing me one of his books published in America and explaining that the edge of the pages were coloured according to the genre of the content of the book, it was the first time I had seen this.
So we come to his 1966 book, a comedy science-fiction called "The Richest Corpse in Show Business". It is an amusing story of the trials and tribulations of a TV producer when the star of his reality TV series suddenly dies and the death is not caught on camera. This sounds very "present day" to me, but when the book was published in 1966 it was written with great fore-sight into what is now popular culture, and at that time was unheard of.
Such things that are foreseen in this story are:
- the rise and dominance of reality TV
- professional actors playing "second fiddle" to reality TV stars
- camera drones
- video calls
- commuter cars on automatic pilot
- self help gurus gaining popularity
- increased freedom from traditional sexual definitions
- a drug called sinatone having similar properties to viagra
- five second spot advertising teasers
The story even appears to predict such shows as Squid Game and Hunted, albeit with the death of contestants.
Perhaps the predictions of this story can be summed up in the following quote about TV that rings true when you view any reality TV:
"....its axiomatic in the real life TV field that the nearer to crazy your subject is the better the dramatic content he's likely to produce."