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Hotch at 100: “The Day I Fired Alan Ladd”

In this installment of our ongoing series of interviews with author, philanthropist and Washington University alumnus A. E. Hotchner, Hotch tells us about the time he had to direct Hollywood Icon Alan Ladd in an Air Force propaganda film, and then tells us why he had to fire him.

When Hotch was attached to the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit of the Army Air Force he was ordered to go to Hollywood and make a film showcasing the Air Force’s efforts against German U-Boats in the Atlantic. Alan Ladd was ordered to provide narration, but a disagreement over his voice would have profound and wide-reaching effects.

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.

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, 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 materials are being processed and integrated with the existing A. E. Hotchner Papers.