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Hotch at 100: Last Clear Chance

After making a name for himself in live television with his adaptations of “The Battler” and other Hemingway stories, writer, philanthropist and Washington University alumnus A. E. Hotchner enjoyed a long and prolific career bringing original projects to the stage and screen. In this installment of “Hotch at 100,”  Hotch tells us about his favorite production from the Golden Age of Television: original courtroom drama “Last Clear Chance,” which was nearly cancelled when lead actor Paul Muni’s forgot all his lines at the dress rehearsal and was only saved when director George Roy Hill came up with a previously unheard-of solution.

The following images, from our most recent acquisition of A. E. Hotchner materials, include a signed cast photo from “Last Clear Chance”, and a selection of draft pages from the teleplay. In shooting scripts for film and television, colored pages indicate successive layers of revision, with white pages generally indicating the earliest draft material remaining in the script. This allows it to be clearly seen if everyone has the most recent version of the script.

Cast photo from “Last Clear Chance”, featuring (L-R): Eithne Dunne, Luther Adler, Paul Muni, Dick York, Lee Remick
Title page from “Last Clear Chance”
Cast of characters from “Last Clear Chance”
Draft page from “Last Clear Chance”
Draft page from “Last Clear Chance”

The Modern Literature Collection has been acquiring Hotchner’s manuscripts and other papers since 1967. The A. E. Hotchner Papers currently consist of manuscript and editorial material toward the books Papa Hemingway (1966), Treasure (1970), King of the Hill (1970), The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (1981), Looking for Miracles (1975), Choice People (1984), Louisiana Purchase (1996) and Hemingway in Love (2015), as well as scripts for Hotchner’s adaptations of Hemingway materials for television and original plays for television and the stage. View the Finding Aid here.

A major new acquisition from Hotchner this year includes further manuscripts and screenplays, correspondence with Hemingway, photographs and other memorabilia of Hotchner’s time at Washington University, dozens of photographs of Hemingway, and many materials related to Hotchner’s long-running charity production of the Hemingway story-cycle “The World of Nick Adams”. These acquisitions are still being processed.