Monday, December 12, 2011

Joseph Heller

Dear Mrs., Mr., Miss, or Mr. and Mrs. Daneeka:  Words cannot express the deep personal grief I experienced when your husband, son, father, or brother was killed, wounded, or reported missing in action.
From his novel, Catch-22, which was published in 1961.  The book sold only 30,000 copies in the first year after it was published, but eventually sold 10 million copies in the U.S.  Heller, who flew 60 combat missions as a B-25 bombadier, died on this date in 1999.

Heller published an excerpt from the novel as Catch-18, but his agent asked him to change the title so the book would not be confused with Leon Uris's World War II novel, Mila 18Catch-11 was suggested but ultimately rejected after the movie Ocean's 11 was released in 1960.  Catch-17 also got a thumbs' down because it might be confused with the prisoner of war movie, Stalag 17Catch-14 was also rejected because the publisher didn't think that 14 was a funny number. 

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